Together in spirit
Silvia Federici has urged us repeatedly to think seriously about herbal healing methods as a way to reconnect to the subtleties of bodies so that we can perform the holistic and collaborative preventative medical care that contemporary western medicine tends to neglect. In light of ever-increasing diseases related to neoliberal modes of production that systemically exploit humans and non-humans alike as well as our planet, it is becoming more urgent to preserve the knowledge of herbal healing and re-activate it – not necessarily to replace western medicinal practices but at least to supplement them.
Amid a global pandemic, in the garden of what used to be an orphanage, we (re-)recited (our contemporary version of) ‘The Nine Herbs Charm,’ an old English poem first recorded in the tenth-century CE. The charm describes the preparation of 9 plants that still live/grow in our vicinities today. It has received multiple revisions over the centuries -the first part talks about Woden, and a later verse speaks of Christ- so we think it is only appropriate to honor this process by its continuation.
In addition to performing the poem we serve a healing cocktail -prepared with the freshly picked rosemary from the garden- in a performative food-ritual.