I have known my wife since 5th grade, where we fell in love in our Hollywood Hills elementary school, Valley View. In college we back-packed through Europe. She was well into her passion for the healing properties of plants at that time and packed baggy after baggy of herbal medicines for our trip. Almost every border crossing was an education for the customs agents. With good reason, they were all very interested in the loose shake of herb that was in those bags. I credit those herbal blends with keeping us healthy while on a diet of brie, baguette, café, and wine.
When I turned 40 my joints and bones began to ache. I chalked it up to years of running without stretching and the general wear and tear that comes from a youth of playing sports. My wife, on the other hand, told me I was too young to feel so old. She promptly put me on a regimen of Simples. Simples are pioneer plant infusions made from the weeds we discard and poison today with Round Up. In the wise woman tradition, these plants are highly revered because they pass on their resilience to whatever creatures are consuming them. Think of the dandelion growing through a cement sidewalk. According to Michael Pollan, Lambs Quarters, a common weed, is the most nutritious plant on the planet. In my case, Nettle, Horsetail, and Burdock infusions became the magical elixirs that restored my aching joints and allowed me to be part of a generation claiming that 50 is the new 40, only better. At 53, I am pain free and still lifting and exercising with more abandon than I should at my age.
I’m certain my wife’s love is a key ingredient in her Simples, and a big reason why I feel as good as I do. But love is the secret ingredient of every good witch practicing her wares through medicines, classes, potions, and lotions. Love is something the pharmaceutical companies cannot claim. Love is never the active ingredient in mass produced drugs, and yet, love is the most powerful force in the universe.
The problem with love in the modern age is that it is invisible to the naked eye. We feel it. We see evidence of it. But there is no microscope that can measure its waveform and no mathematical equation that can quantify it. Healers work with the seen and unseen forces. They are the guardians of nature and her healing power. They love with the abiding nurturance of the divine mother. Their wish is for the healing of all humanity. In my wife’s case, her crucible contains plants and herbs, always mixed with care and love into whatever medicine she is making. As an empiricist, I know it works. As a capitalist I am trying to get her to go bigger. And as a healer, she just smiles at me and keeps making her brews, one magical, hand made, batch at a time.