is just a beginner – Ronnie James Dio
A mixture of emotions swirled like a boiling pot of soup. The blend included joy, anticipation, hope, excitement, gratitude. As I stared at the computer screen, I paused a moment before I clicked send.
Emotions bubbling and swirling.
I had just sent off my final assignment for the herbalist certification program I had signed up for nearly three years ago in 2018. It was a two-part program, a master herbalist certification, and a course that connects one with the spiritual side of herbalism. In addition to all the other things that life throws at us, this course became a big part of my everyday life. I had been living the lessons and applying them to my daily life in every way possible.
If you have been following my blog, perhaps you may have read my previous posts about finding clarity and traveling the path I had been seeking. The truth is the path has always been there for me, and I had been walking it for some time. However, this course cleared the way for me. For twenty years now, I have focused on holistic wellness, including using plants medicinally. I had taken several herbal classes and read quite a few books in the past. However, I wanted to take an actual intensive study to fill in any gaps in my self-study. I am thankful that I chose to do that, as the path is much clearer now.
Staying true to how I operate, my decision is what some may view as backward. Some may opt to take a course and then go on to call themselves an herbalist. I chose to mostly self-study and then take a course. In the midst of all of that, I began to refer to myself as an herbalist. In my opinion, titles are just words; it is our knowledge, wisdom, and actions that define us. What really matters is who we are at our core. So with that, I will continue to use the title of herbalist rather than “Master Herbalist.”
Again, if you know me, you know that I come from a background in martial arts. Claiming a title like master herbalist is like claiming to be a master when you receive your black belt. The common view from traditional and authentic martial artists is that your training begins with black belt. Yes, begins. Black belt signifies you have learned and acquired the physical, mental and spiritual skills necessary to begin to perfect your practice. However, it is not the end-all, be-all. I view my certification in the same way. This is a culmination of years of study- self-study and a formal program. I am now ready to walk the path that I had been walking towards. However, as this is a path with no end, my studies will continue. The difference is that I have now gained clarity.
Herbalism is not regulated by a governing body or set of official standards here in the United States. Technically, certifications are just proof of completion of a program. So anyone can claim to be an herbalist or obtain an herbal certificate, regardless of the time invested in the course of study. The exception is the RH (Registered Herbalist) credential offered by the American Herbalists Guild. This is achieved by first completing a course of study that offers the required hours of study in various aspects of herbal medicine. Then, one must apply for the committee-reviewed certification process. The program I completed provided me with the required hours to apply for the certification, although I haven’t decided to pursue the certification. I want to add that many well-known, respected, and exceptionally knowledgeable herbalists have never attended any formal schooling. In fact, some of my favorite and most trusted herbalists I follow fall into this category. It boils down to that there are many paths to travel as a skilled herbalist, and I am thankful to see the stepping stones guiding me with a little more clarity now.
My soup of emotions is now gently simmering, as I expect it will be for some time. The ingredients have mellowed and melded to create a nourishing broth. My focus from preparing the soup now shifts to sharing the soup. Along with nourishment, there is significant gratitude to share. I’m grateful to those of you that have encouraged me along the way.
You can find the links to view my new certificates here. Scroll down to “Qualifications and Experience” and then click on the link.
Daughter of the Earth, Mother of her creations. Ivanna (Evie) doesn’t care for titles, but the ones that fit best are homeschool mom, herbalist, and blogger. Her greatest joy is guiding others to find true wellness within themselves and Mother Earth. When not spending time with her beloved family, she can be found researching everything related to holistic wellness, crafting herbal remedies, or visiting with the plants in the Magical Garden.