Rewilding in the City, by Sia Mensah

What does it mean to “rewild,” to tap into ancestral ways of knowing, to recover a sense of right relationship and interconnectedness with the living Earth?

What does it mean to do so even from within a cultural framework that – at times – obscures our true dependence on the natural world?

These are questions that I have been pondering for the entirety of my life.

I am a quintessential city woman, born and bred in New York City and existing alongside tall buildings, train stations, apartment complexes, grid systems, concrete.

But I also exist with tree-lined blocks, urban agriculture, fruiting Gingko trees, native flora, Prospect Park, fields of Queen Anne’s Lace near sandy Queens beaches, Manhattan schist.

As a city dweller who finds wholeness in nature, I am fascinated by the pockets of wildness that express themselves in the built environment – especially the wild plants that pop up in the unlikeliest of places (including sidewalk cracks). With regularity, ancient herbal allies like Mugwort and Dandelion appear out of “nowhere,” interrupting straight lines, city plans, asphalt, and grids. Interrupting centuries of conditioning against our own indigeneity. I call this sidewalk medicine.

photo from Spontaneous Urban Plants (SUP Project)

The lesson in these interruptions is that Earth persists no matter what; she is Primary and Foundational. She is always there, offering us opportunities to connect – even beneath physical and metaphorical concrete. She is Source.

To me, “rewilding” is a process of remembering, reintergrating, and reconnecting with ancestral wisdom (including the wisdom of non-human ancestors). It is heeding the lessons of Poison Ivy growing reliably near its antidote, Jewelweed. It is taking some time each day to feel our wild cores.

I am on a path of rewilding, as I believe that there are many ancestral practices that are worth remembering. Working with plant medicine to support our best health is just one of these. To this end, I am happy to announce that I will be teaching an introduction to herbal medicine course with Sacred Warrior this spring. The class will include fresh organic herbs from Sawmill Herb Farm for medicine making. More details are available here.

I am also hosting a monthly book club here in New York City. Late last year, we decided to read and discuss one chapter each month from A New Path by Arthur Haines. We will be discussing chapter 3 on February 23rd from 4:30-6:30pm; we are open to all interested persons. (Sign up on our Goodreads site for details on where we will meet each month.)

I look forward to sharing a bit more about these projects with the Sacred Warrior community in the coming weeks and months.

 

 

AUTHOR & SACRED WARRIOR TEACHER:

Herbalist, Sia Mensah has had a lifelong love affair with wild plants as food and medicine. She understands “rewilding” as the process of tapping into ancestral wisdom about living harmoniously with nature and sees herbalism as an essential part of that process. She is teaching our Saturday session of Herbalism School in Brooklyn and will be sharing more of her wisdom and insights on Sacred Warrior social media and upcoming blogs.

Posted on February 2, 2020 in Earth Connection, Herbal Medicine, Rewildling

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