Within the first installment of our Pupil Characteristic Sequence, we chatted with Cat Seixas (@TheOliveTreesAndTheMoon) about how herbalism has impacted her life for the higher and empowered her to extra deeply perceive her household’s well being. Cat is an inspiration to us all. She and her accomplice have spent the final six years constructing their attractive off-grid house in Portugal the place they search to stay a life in concord with the seasons.

Cat is a scholar in our Intermediate Herbal Course, and we beloved listening to concerning the rituals she’s built-in into her life—and the vegetation she feels most drawn to—since increasing her training with the Natural Academy. Cat can be a mom, gardener, Land steward, and gifted knitter. We hope you get pleasure from this scholar interview with the ever-lovely Cat!

HA: How did your herbalism path start?

Cat: I began my herbalism journey studying from our native elders after we first moved into the countryside six years in the past. It was a means for me to change into extra in-tune with our bioregion, and to replicate that information into our household’s wellness. Herbalism ended up turning into an actual ardour, which I now use to assist my household and my shut group, though I don’t assume I’ll ever develop it exterior of my shut circle of oldsters.

HA: Why did you select to pursue your training with the Natural Academy?

Cat: I consider I got here throughout the Natural Academy via social media, and I all the time resonated with what you shared. 

My herbalism research had been largely carried out via elder information, books, or first-hand expertise, however I used to be feeling the necessity for one thing deeper and extra constant. 

Among the herbalists I comply with on Instagram had studied on the Natural Academy, which acquired me dreaming about doing the identical myself. After having a style of the programs with the Materia Medica Course (which was being provided free of charge on the time), I began saving up for a extra in depth natural course. (After which someday, one among my favourite herbalists posted a reduction code, and the remainder is historical past! )

Regardless that the programs are self-paced, I like that they require me to be organized with my time, which didn’t actually occur once I was finding out alone. The totally different items undergo the nitty-gritty of every matter, which I didn’t have when studying in particular person with native people, both.

I like how the programs mix the very best of ebook studying and folk-knowledge-learning with correct data, movies, and a check-in on the finish of every unit.

HA: What do you want most about your Natural Academy course?

Cat: I like the decision to exit and take a look at issues for your self with totally different enjoyable recipes, which is how issues actually get into your mind! 

I additionally actually get pleasure from that every unit might be printed out. I don’t like spending an excessive amount of time in entrance of a display, so I all the time print every unit out to review wherever is handy for me on that day.

herbal cookies and tea

HA: How has your natural training deepened your reference to nature and the seasons?

Working with herbs, particularly should you work with recent materials, is all concerning the seasons. The anticipation by the top of winter, ready for the primary inexperienced leaves to seem, it’s all so filled with chance. 

Greeting the totally different herbs of every season, and understanding they received’t final various weeks, makes you relate to the season another way.

Sure, seasons deliver temperature and humidity, drought and light-weight, however they’re additionally flora—and the best way your physique behaves in another way in every season, and the best way your native, season-specific herbs can assist you to find stability. It’s all related!

Cat Seixas' garden bounty

HA: Do you are feeling empowered by your natural observe? In that case, how?

Cat: I actually do. At the start, I really feel empowered as a result of I’ve learnt about plant constituents and actions, and the way these act upon the physique. Then, as a result of my research have additionally led to a deeper understanding of my very own physique’s structure (and my household’s too!). Having learnt these fundamentals, I really feel extra assured making natural decisions for particular conditions, which could be very empowering.

HA: Is there a particular herb that you simply really feel notably drawn to? 

Cat: Hawthorn is an herb that calls to me loudly. I had by no means met her till we began tending Land, and our hill has fairly a couple of of those rising wild—they’re additionally subsequent to the home and within the entrance of our backyard. 

I’m fascinated by thorny vegetation that will appear tough and unwelcoming at first, however then with time you begin getting near. 

You realise that the thorns aren’t an aggression, however as a substitute a protection, like a very good boundary setting. After which she fruits, and also you realise that you simply’re regarding a plant that’s truly very beneficiant, giving away to the creatures that stay near her. Her assist is straightforward, and delicate. Then, once I began readingall the folklore surrounding hawthorn, my fascination grew to become a real love affair.

A photo of a hawthorn tree's flowers

HA: In the event you had been an herb, which herb would you be?

Cat: If I had been an herb, I might in all probability be rosemary as a result of she’s resilient, tailored to heat and dry climates, low upkeep, and simply missed. However rosemary can be tender and fragrant, with a lot to provide. She’s pleasant and fixed and doesn’t ask for a lot.

HA: Do you might have any rituals or traditions surrounding herbalism? 

Cat: When attending to know a brand new herb, I wish to style it. Earlier than I do every other preparation, my first strategy is to nibble on it, after which to infuse it. Earlier than making a tincture, elixir, or salve out of it, —except in any other case suggested—I like to organize a tea first. 

I get pleasure from attending to know an herb via style and noticing the way it makes my physique really feel. It’s such a stunning approach to join with a herb! 

Cat Seixas sitting in her kitchen with herbs hanging behind her

HA: What’s your favourite herbalism useful resource (ebook, podcast, film) and why?

Cat: I’ve two favourite herbalism books. The primary one is David Hoffmann’s Holistic Herbal, which fits so concisely into the totally different physique techniques and has an holistic strategy to well being and wellbeing. 

And likewise Magic and Medicine of Plants, by Reader’s Digest, which I used to be fortunate sufficient to seek out in its Portuguese version at a neighborhood flea market. I like that this final one speaks of herbs most seen as weeds. It additionally contains folklore, and this version has specifics for the place every herb might be present in Portugal, the place I stay.

Herbal books on table, photo by Cat Seixas

HA: What ideas or encouragement would you provide those that are simply beginning their natural research?

Cat: Get a pair good bioregional plant guides, discover out which herbs are native to you, and don’t be afraid of asking questions! Your native elders maintain a lot information, so don’t miss the chance of studying from them, too!

HA: Inform us, what’s subsequent for you in your natural journey?

Cat: Enrolling within the Intermediate Herbal Course took away my worry of alcoholic tinctures and gave me extra confidence in making ready formulation with totally different herbs working collectively, in order that’s a venue I need to discover additional. I additionally need to create formulation extra commonly and in bigger portions, so I don’t run out after sharing a handful. 

My dream is to have a cupboard full of various natural helps, and sufficient information for my mates and neighbors to cease by once they want recommendation, understanding they’ll belief me.

Cat Seixas in her garden

Observe Cat’s herbalism journey (and absorb pictures of her stunning pure house, natural backyard, and unimaginable knitting initiatives!) by connecting together with her on Instagram @TheOliveTreesAndTheMoon. Keep tuned for the following installment of our Pupil Interview Sequence, that includes Ashley York (@WhimsyAndWhile). 

Impressed by Cat’s natural journey? Take step one immediately by perusing our online herbal courses.

Picture credit score: All photos on this publish are taken and shared by Cat Seixas.

Pinterest graphic for Cat Sexias' student interview

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