It was such an informative and fun weekend. Both of us left having learned new information about plants, new practices and lots of inspiration. Darryl is seriously no-nonsense in his approach, yet also brings a lot of humor to his classes.
He also went very in depth on medicinal mushrooms. We both loved it because the plants and fungi he spoke about are the plants we spend the most time with-simply because they are the ones in this bioregion. Naturally, those are the plants we would like to use effectively in practice.
We ate deliciously- yellow dock pancakes with Chaga syrup from Chaga that Darryl foraged from the southernmost point that Chaga can be found- in the Blue Ridge Mountains, shagbark hickory tea with the Chaga syrup, Chaga tea, acorn balls, savory acorn jelly, acorn jerky, and sautéed chicken of the woods. Darryl and his assistant Dewayne graciously made it all gluten-free.
So, Darryl is there cooking up this salve in a big cast iron pot with these roots boiling away in lard. I say to him how I have learned that oils need to be gently infused and said that solar infusions were what I have learned, and asked him didn’t the hot oil burn out the plant constituents. He gave me a look and a sigh and told this story:
The difference between northern and southern herbalism is this. Northern herbalists like to go out in the moonlight and gently harvest, with gratitude, but only after the plant spirit has communicated with them. Tobacco offerings are given and they tiptoe off to pray over the plant… Southern herbalists just boil the hound out of it.
That was such a huge a-ha moment for me, because I know that Darryl Patton makes effective medicine and gets results. With my medicine making, many times I end up not making medicine with a plant if something isn’t perfect- if I wasn’t able to spend time sitting and breathing with a plant, if it’s not the right moon, etc. The lesson is to stop overthinking things and expecting things to be perfect. There is a baseline of comfort and ability with your practice that is necessary, sure. That changes depending on the person, situation, plant. But sometimes, just make the damn medicine!!
I came home with a DVD of Darryl’s, so if you are local and want to watch it, let me know!