April 19, 2004

Intermediate Herbalists Wanted We, the

Intermediate Herbalists Wanted

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” can’t stand it when we get wind of an event we would like to attend, only to discover that the occurrence in question has already taken place. Accordingly, we were going to forgo mention of today’s topic, under the pretense that its time, this past Saturday afternoon, has sadly already come and gone.

But then it collectively struck us: No one in his or her right mind would want to show up to this affair in the first place.

And what, you ask, is the gathering to which we are referring? Well, a correspondent from our Boston (M.A.) office recently sent us a flyer from the dubiously titled “ Boston School of Herbal Studies.” Apparently, this veritable Vegetable University sponsored a fete called “ Shamanic Plant Journeying,” which was under the careful tutelage of one Tommy Priester, professional herbalist.

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: How can you tell that this Tommy Priester fellow is actually a professional herbalist, and not just some garden-variety dabbler? How can you tell that this man has dedicated his entire life—nay, his entire essence—to oregano and kindred plants, perhaps of more suspect applications?

Well, because the exorbitant cost of the event—$35 American—made it crystal clear that we are dealing with a connoisseur of cumin, a master of mace. It must have been with perfervid anticipation (and a dab of parsley), then, that the greater New England area awaited this Professor of Paprika’s party. And the event was advertised thus:

This is an afternoon of drumming and guided meditation to deepen our connections to a particular medicinal plant and to earth energies. Participants will experience how the physical and spiritual energies of a plant affect all levels of being. We will meet the actual physical plant, experience the tincture and open to the energies of the flower essence. Though [sic] this process, we will make contact with plant wisdom for our own personal healing and the healing of the earth. This is a workshop for beginning and intermediate herbalists as well as for those who want to learn more about shamanic journeying.

Oh, dear. Where do we begin? First, we suppose we should note that, for a seminar so focused on the earth, this advertisement isn’t particularly grounded.

But, in his own way, the Good Doctor Priester (or the marketing division of the “Boston School of Herbal Studies”) has come up with an ingenious flyer. Notice that our clever Captain Herbalist has deftly omitted the name of the “particular medicinal plant” to which his pupils will be so diligently attending! Really pulls you in, doesn’t it? And we’re glad to find out that students will “experience” this mysterious herb on “all levels of being.” The last time we went to a $35 shamanic journey, we only experienced our plant on two or three levels of being, and it was, as they say, a real drag. And thank God Dr. Priester’s fellow journeyers will “meet the actual physical plant”! Showing up to the event and never even being introduced can be, as they say, a major downer.

A careful reader of the flyer can also note that our sage of sage, if you will, presented some grandiose claims for his seminar on shrubbery. It will, after all, make headway toward “the healing of the earth.” And to think, our country is fighting a benighted War on Terrorism, when it could be doing bushels more for the earth by being “open to the energies of the flower essence.” Talk about stopping to smell the roses!

But the flyer did leave us, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” confused about one element of Professor Priester’s time with thyme. What, we collectively asked ourselves, do you have to snort to become an “intermediate herbalist”? We suppose this is a question best left to the experts.

Posted at April 19, 2004 12:19 AM | TrackBack