Pro Black Activist, Death Doula in training, Chronically Ill Herbalist, and Queer Poet.

Ash They/Them

My ancestors are from the regions of Benin/Togo/Mali (West Africa) and Cameroon/Congo and Southern Bantu Peoples (South Africa) and France. 

It all started while living in a tent for 3 years in the wilderness on land that was and still is stolen from the Chumash Native Peoples in Ojai, CA. While living in the woods in Ojai with community I learned the process of growing food, homesteading, hunting by bow and arrow, foraging wild plants, building cob structures, working through trauma and reclaiming my connection with the spirits of the land. This was also when I noticed the daily and organic process of the life death cycle in nature every day and understanding my death and the death of my loved ones as part of that process. In addition, I learned how to work with plants and strengthen my psychic and intuitive abilities by communicating with the more than human world.  Currently as a Queer, Black, Non-binary person living in white dominated Eugene, OR I realize a severe lacking in my own safety being in nature and a hesitation in exploring my own connections with land and plants  here without having white culture tell me the "right way" to do everything. 

In tandem with the racial oppression and harms I have encountered in this town and in my entire life I became very sick. Last year I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, painful uterine fibroids in my and pre-cancerous cells in my colon which I've concluded after many research studies is/was the result of over 25 years of racial and centuries of generational trauma which caused/causes my nervous system to be in a constant state of inflammation response while always operating in a fight or flight mode for survival. Which has resulted in my diagnosis of what is called POTS. POTS stands for ( Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome which is a form of Dysautonomia and affects my every day life). I have chronic pain, fatigue and a slew of other autonomic dysfunction symptoms. Currently I am in relationship with a medical device called a PICC Line (her name is Plantain). Plantain is a cathether that goes into a vein in my arm up to my heart enabling me to receive life saving saline infusions. I was on the verge of death before this treatment and felt my body between realms  and starting to leave its physical form which I found pretty frightening and yet it made me respect, honor and be humbled by death in a pretty radical way. 

The medical device I have in my body today helps tremendously with managing my severe symptoms that come along with Dysautonomia. Which is why I believe in the "Both And" with healing. I believe in both holistic herbal treatment as well as western medical technologies. I believe they both can compliment and support each other really well. Which is also why I feel it is so important that Black, Brown, Queer, Trans and Non-Binary folks have access to and with plant kin medicine for our own well being and ways to support our bodies before, in the midst of and after dealing with Covid19 and its deep impacts on the mind, body and spirit. 

My hope is that this apothecary empowers and remind you of your sovereign roots and reconnecting you back to the mycelium networks of this earth. 

With Fierce Love & Grace

-Ash

 

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