Juliette de Bairacli Levy in her book on herbs, Common Herbs for Natural Health writes of the puffball, clavatia species, when the mushrooms are crushed and applied to wounds, they check excessive bleeding and promote healing. Use when ripe, with clouds of black or brown spores for these are the active part. She learned this from the Manouche Gypsies of Alsace-Lorraine, a former French territory usurped by Germany in the early 1900s. Levy spent many years of her life as a gypsy herbalist traveling the world. One of the head people at Mountain Rose Herbs recently died who also traveled as an herbalist, getting to know plants all over the world and how they have been used in relationship with humans over time. I think I’d like to do this, too.
Scott Nearing, in his later years in response to a young graduating girl describing herself in a letter as “free at last” wrote to her,
“‘Free’ in this connection is rhetorical- nothing more. After graduation you will be at the mercy of
1. Your physical hungers, your undisciplined mind, your vague aspirations and hopes. Above all, of your deeply embodied habit patterns which are yours and yours alone, and very tyrannical.
2. The frantic, hysterical pressures and counter-pressures of a social order in its death agonies.
3. The embracing and unfolding forces and influences of nature- of the universe of which you are a part.
Unless you can be at peace with yourself, adjusted to the community and in balance with nature you will have a rough, unhappy and unrewarding life. You are free within physical limits: you can raise or not raise your own arm. But where others are concerned, once involved in relationships with others, your every act affects them and their actions affect you. Realize you are part of all that goes on around you.” (From Loving and Leaving the Good Life, Helen Nearing.)
Scott was a truly remarkable thinker and acting idealist, and lives on through his writing. Sometimes his words are so stark, pointed and true I must laugh out loud. At one point early on in the aforementioned book, Helen is going on about how Scott was pinning her down from her reckless and naive life choices, pinning her down to her own spoken grounded desires that she was in fact not living but only professing on the surface.
The note to the young girl above really halted me this evening. I see myself and some very near statement I made in the past reflected there and his advice speaks to me pointedly. I think the past few months of committed meditation, reflection, time spent in nature, reading and study have significantly altered a lot of what he addresses in #1, yet how loudly these tyrannical habits call! It is amazing in the sweep of society and its pressures, in the mainstream so to say, how one organism, an individual human, can set a course for oneself and follow it, against all externalities.
I need to remind myself of the healing powers in puffball spores to continually return myself to the wonders of earth, to the wonders of true connection with real, living, worthwhile phenomena. It is so easy to get swept up in things outside of our mission, yet it is the steps taken toward fulfillment of our mission and alignment with the whole which brings deep satisfaction.