Being an herbalist is a natural extension of my love of plants, trees and wild places, and my interest in natural healing, which was instilled in me by my mother, Sarah Jane Capps Preston. Some of my earliest memories are of being allowed to play alone in the pine forest just outside my grandparents house in North Carolina. It was an incredible gift for me as a child to be alone with the trees, the faeries and my imagination. My grandfather was the forester, Richard Preston, and he gave me an early love of trees. He was author of the book North American Trees, which is still used as a textbook in many college forestry courses. I still feel that I can breathe easier whenever I'm in a forest shade.
Having Richard & Sarah Preston, a pair of cultural anthropologists, for parents also played an important part in my development. While I was growing up, we spent all of our summers near the Arctic Circle, in the First Nations community of Wasgakanish, on the eastern shores of James Bay in northern Quebec. Living part-time in a shamanic culture as an impressionable child gave me the lasting gift of understanding that there are many realities, some seen and some unseen, all very real.
Herbalists I have studied with and been influenced by include Rosemary Gladstar, Susun Weed, Deb Soule, Matthew Wood, and many others. My practice is in what is often called the Wise Woman Tradition, harkening back to the times when each village healer apprenticed with an older healer in her tribe. I see my herbal practice as a lifelong learning process, and am deeply grateful to all of the teachers, human, spirit and plant, who are my partners in this work.
My wellness philosophy is based on the idea of "food as medicine", and I deeply believe that our health can be greatly strengthened by simply eating pure, real foods. Herbs are part of that food, and each one can help us with specific health issues. I view my body care products as a way of feeding and nourishing the body through the skin. I would never use any synthetic preservatives or parabens. I take great care to use only organic ingredients that are very stable in their own right. In fact, the only "preservatives" you will find in any of my products are things like pure essential oils, Vitamin E oil, vegetable glycerine and distilled alcohol, which are all natural.
Celiac disease has been my personal health challenge, and I have been following a strict gluten-free diet for more than 30 years. I view this experience as a spiritual challenge & an opportunity to develop personal discipline, very much like a shaman's illness. It also means that ALL of the herbal products I make are gluten-free, and safe for others with that challenge.
My spirituality deeply informs my work with herbs, just as my work with herbs deeply informs my spirituality. I practice and teach with Reclaiming, a goddess-centered spiritual tradition. My spiritual teachers include Starhawk, Pomegranate, Sage and others. I see the Earth as the living body of the Goddess, and all living beings are part of Her body. The Elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit are sacred, as are the cycles of the moon, the Wheel of the Year (solstices, equinoxes and cross-quarter days), and the cycles of life.
I am a trained Reiki Practitioner & Master Teacher, as well, and do both local and distance healing. Reiki is a specific form of energy healing, in which the practitioner allows universal healing energy to flow through them and into someone (or something) else. I use both Reiki and and other energy healing techniques that I've developed as a result of my energy work within Reclaiming. All of the tinctures and oils I make are "charged" with these energies while they are being infused with the herbs. My intention is always a general "healing for the good of all". If you would like me to give a more specific intention to any product you are purchasing, just let me know in the comments section of the order form.
I am also a founding board member of Full Circle Susquehanna, Inc. This is a small, non-profit, eco-feminist organization dedicated to the empowerment of women & girls. For the last 15 years, we have offered Sense of Wonder camp, an eco-feminist day camp for girls during the week of the Summer Solstice each June. We have a free lending library, the Molly Keen Memorial Library, located at Radiance in downtown Lancaster. We have periodic workshops and, over the years, we've brought Margot Adler, Starhawk and Anodea Judith to Lancaster. In 2006, we presented two workshops. The first workshop, Shame 101, was with Elizabeth Cunningham, author or The Passion of Mary Magdalen, and was held on October 20 - 21. For the second workshop, Song of the Siren, we again brought Starhawk to Lancaster! This workshop was held on November 17 - 19. Since then, we've taken a hiatus from sponsoring workshops so that we could focus our attentions on becoming an official 501c3 registered non-profit agency. We finally received our certification in 2009! If you'd like to know more about Full Circle Susquehanna, receive brochures for our workshops, or be added to the mailing list, email FullCircleSusq@aol.com
I am available for herbal consultations by appointment. A thorough consultation lasts about an hour and a half. A situation-specific consultation usually lasts about an hour. I will ask you about your diet, daily habits and health history, as well as any specific issues you wish to address. I can then suggest herbs you might want to use, and adjustments to your diet and daily practices. Cost is $60 per hour. Consultations can be done either in person or by telephone. If at all possible, an in-person consultation is preferable, but I understand that distance can make that impossible. You may phone between 9am and 5pm eastern time during the week, or email me to schedule an appointment.