We want to heal ourselves and we want to heal the world. The Terra Sylva School sees the radical potential of herbal medicine to do both. Each of us has our own woes and wounds which lead us to seek healing. All too often, this journey begins and ends with the self, an endless gazing inward, striving for more and more distant goals of optimal health. When we begin to see our health as tied to that of our families, communities, society and the more-than-human world, we start on a path to more lasting healing—healing for ourselves and healing that extends past our skins to encompass the rest of life on Earth.
The first step is Reconnection. As a society, we have largely forgotten our place in Nature. We see ourselves outside the web of life. At Terra Sylva, we share the medicine of Reconnection, both through immersion in the wilds and through training our students to see life everywhere it erupts, in abandoned lots and sidewalk cracks, in drainage canals and ditches. Each student who experiences the transformative medicine of Reconnection becomes a person who knows how much is at stake, who will speak and fight for life on Earth.
As we continue on the path of healing we see the ways individual health connects to the health of our society. The sickness of our system manifests in the many forms of oppression which in turn affect the health of communities and individuals. Truly holistic medicine incorporates all these connections. As healers we must identify obstacles to health that are systemic, and work in solidarity with those who are fighting disease on the larger level. This too is Reconnection medicine: reconnecting to other humans, to other communities, to those who work for societal healing.
Finally, we must reclaim plant medicine as a tradition. While herbal traditions still exist in, for example, indigenous, immigrant and rural Southern populations, many of us have lost this connection. No matter our lineage, all of us descend from people who used plant medicine only a few generations ago. These are our roots. Herbalism reconnects us with the lives of our ancestors who relied on herbs for food and healing. Plant medicine is and always has been the medicine of the people. The Terra Sylva School is part of the movement to reclaim and preserve this tradition.
The medicine of Reconnection is the antidote to the modern malady of disconnection and alienation. Through connecting to our own bodies, to the more-than-human world, to community and to our ancestors, we carry out the Great Work of healing. This is a decisive moment for humans and the rest of life on Earth. At the Terra Sylva School, we see the power of herbal medicine to address the crisis at every level.