Sarah, Herbs from the Labyrinth, & Radiance
For more than 20 years I have been making herbal products as Herbs from the Labyrinth, named after the labyrinth at the center of my gardens. All of my herbal body-care products, wellness products, and ceremonial products are made by hand and in small batches, with an awareness of lunar and seasonal cycles. I am happy to custom blend teas and tinctures, even smoking blends, to your needs. I also dye clothing and silk pillowcases using the traditional vat method with colors I extract from a variety of plant materials.
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 who understood that it was her responsibility to be our family’s primary healthcare provider. We had both an allopathic doctor and a homeopathic physician, but she assumed responsibility for our basic health.
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 a lifelong forester 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 always feel that I can breathe easier whenever I’m in the shade of a forest.
Having a pair of cultural anthropologists for parents also played an important part in my spiritual development. While I was growing up, we spent our summers near the Arctic Circle, in the First Nations community of Waskaganish, 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, Deb Soule, Matthew Wood, and many others. I consider myself a Community Herbalist, 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 take great care to use only organic ingredients. The only “preservatives” you will find in any of my products are things like Vitamin E oil, vegetable glycerine, distilled alcohol, and occasionally a few drops of pure essential oil.
In 2007 my daughter Kara, a therapeutic massage therapist, and I decided to pool our resources, skills and individual needs for workspace. We opened Radiance in a sprawling old building in downtown Lancaster, just across the brick walkway from the historic Central Market. Opening Radiance has allowed us to expand our vision of how we offer wellness support to our community and to the wider world. We have a retail shop offering a wide range of herbal products, as well as many complementary handmade and Fair Trade items including African market baskets, Tibetan singing bowls, Vietnamese silk shawls, kantha blankets from India, organic cotton and bamboo clothing, jewelry, books, oracle decks, and so much more.
We offer classes on herbs, Reiki, earth-based spirituality, yoga, meditation, shamanism, collage, journaling…
We regularly host tarot readers, sound therapy sessions, cacao ceremonies, small concerts, and art shows…
Radiance also houses an eco-feminist lending library which belongs to Full Circle Susquehanna, Inc. as local non-profit organization dedicated to earth-centered empowerment of women and girls.