( my mother mina, and my grandmother Ashraf compulsively dead heading, a habit she passed down to both my mother and I.)
since i was a child, i have felt my grandmothers presence flutter around me, always close to me. in important moments of my life, she has visited me as a hummingbird, arriving for the day i married my partner, the day i gave birth and so many other small yet profound passages i have endured. before i could even understand, i could hear her whispers. when i was four and begged by mom to teach me how to make soap. when i was five and followed my mom around as she planted Gol-e Maryam (tuberose) each spring, and as we loved and talked and witnessed the bulbs grow and bloom. when i was nine, and cradled my mothers wounded breasts, holding them in my hands for hours, trance-like, praying, draining mastectomy bags, and holding vigil for weeks until she was able to stand strong. when i was thirteen, and newly embarrassed by my mothers eager poaching of strangers land to gather the fruits of barberry, sumac, mulberry, sour cherry. when i was 19, and could finally comprehend my grandmothers whispers. go to the plants
but of course, this story isn't unique to me. like so many others our paths didn't come by way of schools or books. we aren't reclaiming or figuring out our identities, we have always known. it is the unbroken traditions, rituals, and stories of our grandmothers. this way isn't something that can be taught, read or sold.
on the day I was born, my mother wrapped me in silk cloth filled with flowers and pollen and tenderly rolled me in the scents, feelings, memories, and language of the plants, just as she was wrapped before me, and her mother before her.
we all have our unique name for it- for us it is attari. the plant people. not "masters" or "clinicians". like the stars, we are all connected to those who speak this language.
sometimes it can feel unbearable to witness such an eradication and silencing of this way, of traditions that haven't been broken, of knowledge shared and passed down for thousands of years. we deserve a seat at the table, and not to be glorified as presenters at conferences, or praised in books, or flown around as a token, but because this knowledge is as sacred as water. this knowledge can't be learned in Culpeper's texts. there aren't words in the english language that can express the feeling of sensing your ancestors hands inside your hands as you cradle a rose in your palms. those moments are infinite, non-linear, and as vivid and real as any herbal certification or degree. those stories deserved to be told.