I am so dreaming of ‘going to camp’ – Healing Camp with the PLANT SPIRIT MEDICINE folks.  It is way beyond my current means, but magic happens!  They are doing in April, July, and October.  I am so loving doing this work they asked me to write a short piece for their newsletter so here it is:

When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer a little over a year ago, I refused chemotherapy and instead set off on my own healing journey. The first leg of the journey―before I knew much about Plant Spirit Medicine―focused on ingesting plants for their physical healing properties. Words like curcumin, quercetin and phytonutrients dominated my vocabulary. A bit later in my journey, I realized healing is more about things like green leafies and turmeric, whereas Healing is about what happens on the level of Spirit. When I finally began to understand the depth and breadth of PSM, I knew I had tapped in to a vast new terrain of Healing! The more I read Eliot Cowan’s words, the more I feel I have found my healing/Healing home. Illness―even cancer―is surely a gift. I don’t need to fear it or hate it or ‘combat’ it. It is simply my call to step “into a dream of wholeness.”

With my diagnosis, my (holistic, integrative) primary care doctor had advised me to focus first and foremost on connecting with community. I made that connection a priority in my life; after some years of isolating, the Sacred Fire gatherings were among my first forays into the world.

When I learned about the loving, generous offerings of the spirits of plants, I added Plant Spirit Medicine to my healing journey. With the advent of the Book Club, connecting with community and Plant Spirit Medicine came together. Yes! I feel so moved to be in the company a group of women and men who see far beyond the medical model while feeling a deep connection with the plant world and with Spirit. Some are PSM practitioners, and some, like me, are receiving treatment themselves, while others are just learning now about this world. What a gift to read together Cowan’s book, to explore this sacred realm in community! Each member of the group brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and perspective to the table, making the experience of reading the book that much richer.

A few months ago I started a support group for people wanting to heal their cancer naturally, without Western medical intervention and with a full-on Mind/Body/Spirit approach. I was working on how I might best share what I have learned as well as hold the space for group members to share what they have learned when I had an a-HA moment – I realized that the PSM Book Club could also beautifully serve the people in my group. I invited them to join me and they, too, are loving it. When dancing with cancer, it is a time when both healing and Healing are front and center in our lives. With this book and this knowledge and yes, this group of people, I feel deeply that healing is all around me in abundance. I still appreciate the plants for green tea, turmeric, etc.―their physical gifts for the body―but their gifts of spirit have brought me to my knees in gratitude.

I so look forward to a whole year of this Book Club. Perhaps we, those of us with a cancer diagnosis, can move en masse from a dream of strife into a dream of wholeness, leaving the imbalances of our bodies behind!


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Julie Parker

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