THE ROOTS OF PLANT RITUAL: RESPECTFULLY WEAVING THE PERSONAL, ARCHETYPAL AND CULTURAL
We all engage in ritual daily, much of it unconscious, as part of balancing modern life. Whether it involves foods, herbs, walks in nature, or seeking visions with powerful plants or mushrooms, these rituals fit into an ancient and global pattern. But honest, effective ritual depends on a genuine awareness of what is being borrowed, what is copied, what is inspired by one’s own deep history. How do we find and follow our own paths through symbolic actions? Cultivating respect and reciprocity for indigenous knowledge, we can look at the principles of ritual, and try to be more real to our own roots.
Kathleen Harrison, M.A., is an ethnobotanist who has been working among indigenous cultures and bohemian subcultures of the Western Hemisphere for 50 years. She has studied the roles and uses of many plants and fungi, focused especially on healing practices, ritual, animism, and stories that carry nature awareness. Kathleen co-founded and runs Botanical Dimensions, a nonprofit organization since 1985. BD has sponsored fieldwork and other projects in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Ecuador, and Hawaii. BD is based in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco, where their unique Ethnobotany Library is located. Kat teaches weekend classes there in global patterns of ethnobotany, psychedelic species and practices, traditional patterns of ritual, history of foods and spices, and botanical illustration. Botanical Dimensions’ motto is: “Collect, protect, propagate, and understand.”