Musing on a day offering herbal relief to those displaced in Guatemala, by the eruption of the Volcan de Fuego.
by Sarah Wu
Zone 0, our heart center, the place we never leave, retreat to and hide from. From the heart we have the opportunity to care, first for ourselves, radiating out, to our closest people, our lovers, our partners, children and dear family. To our best friends, allies, colleagues, networks, greater community and the wide wild world.
The delicate balance of cultivating and tending Zone 0, sometimes can lead to imbalanced pride, masked as spiritual ascension, almost a hedonistic form of self care, where nothing but the self comes “first”. Different than the cultivation or nurturing of the self, is the insistent obsession with the self. Knowing what is good for yourself, but also knowing that sometimes, your problems are just bullshit, selfish stories, and though they may hurt and they may shape or existence, they can also become indulgent when they become all that we are.
Just beyond ourselves, lies the other... and from the other we look into the eyes of god (spirit, what-have-you), as we look through our own eyes, the eyes f god. We see another, looking through, beyond or straight at us. And from that place, we know love. The self dissolved just a bit, reaching with colorful light waves and magnetic pulses, with primal scent, with recognition and with awareness. Our lives intertwined. Traditional Permaculture teachings teach us to design beyond your borders, considering the neighbor and the wild. In my Permaculture teaching I say to design beyond our generation. And from there, beyond the border of yourself is everyone else, their lives no more or less sacred or important than yours.
As a group of six women, herbalists doing our small part in this relief effort, in various stages of our understanding and practice with plant based, natural therapeutics, in various spectrums of medical experience and literacy, decided to just do the best we can with the resources at hand. With what we could en mass, with the support of our extended community, to go and lend a hand. But what really happens, is you end up lending a heart. You step into a role, one that isn’t as elevated in the current paradigm as a “Dr” but as herbalist, carrying the medicine of the people. We have a long but wide open road ahead , and this road chose us to speak for the legitimacy of the plants. To alleviate some pain and suffering, to strive for wellness, vitality and quality of life through Right Livelihood.
Plants too are a part of our Zone 0. We have never known life without them, nor will we. The medicine they offer of deeply familiar. Herbalism is the people’s medicine, herbalists are bridges, weavers and channels between the ancient, sacred, resilient, improvised, modern and scientific, typically versed in a broad spectrum of modalities. Each time we treat someone with plant and mushroom medicines, working with humility, connecting with people, eye to eye, listening to their stories, seeing their reactions and reception, knowing our limitations. We are regaining respect from our tribes. The once demonized, medicine of the campo, medicine of the poor, medicine of the empowered, medicine of woman is revitalized and reaching out. Reach back!
For the people we treat, to come and ask for help, open to trust to share a piece of your intimate self, is brave. People don’t like to ask, are ashamed to open up. But they do, and to receive them is also brave. We all need to be brave.
Sometimes the hardest part is reflecting on our impact, how long can these tinctures last, what do they have access to here in the long term, especially for so many chronic conditions... looking at our stocked Apothecary and wondering how much can I stretch this, how many people can we help... and is it actually about how many? Or perhaps more about how deep the quality we can offer to a person. Time sitting, listening, being present. I think some of the most powerful medicine we can offer, is the medicine of being witness, holding space as some may say, offering my sincerest and most focused attention. Being heard, seen, held, is central to our humanity. It needs no diagnosis or specific training.
Beyond ourselves, giving back, being open to receiving, learning and challenging ourselves while keeping all borders and boundaries down between yourself and the other, existing together in the ecotone of experience and recognition. This is the work of the herbalist.
Mother Nature’s borders are like rivers, fluid and changeable.
Season by season, they alter, erode, condense, the shifting of light, variable activity with each sunrise and sunset, environments change throughout the day. Animals move through them, migratory and territorial, boundless. Even territories are fluid, dependent on weather patterns, availability of food and shelter, competition and predation. Geological formations seem to be the closest thing to a border that nature creates, but as you observe a river, blocking the movement of a land based animal, all you need to do is look to the canopy above, the corona of trees creating the bridge, uniting one side to the other.
For some reason human beings love this concept of borders. We can study Neo-Lithic peoples and what we can understand from what is left of them is that they didn’t have the concept of land ownership. We romanticize who they were. Goddess worshiping peacekeepers… But we, and in our current world paradigm, we exist within boundaries and borders.
What is a border? Linear, land borders, political borders, socio-economic borders, fences, walls. Our creation of borders has shaped the face of the world. 12,000 years ago, humans shifted from being predominantly hunter-gather, nomadic communities to land based agricultural ones. The great domestication of plants and animals, the breeding and selecting of traits that benefit our idea of borders, gave us food security, in that we believed we owned our food. When in fact we became more food insecure than ever (to read about this theory check out Sapiens: A Brief History of Human Kind by Yuval Noah Harari). We bred the spirit out of wild animals, kept the docile ones, killed the aggravators. We beat and bred them to submission so they wouldn’t jump the fence, so they wouldn’t escape the border. By placing animals in confined spaces we removed their wild self, compare a domestic dog to a wolf, or a bred turkey to a wild one, a potbelly pig to a boar. The primal instinct is present in wild animals, in their quest for food, shelter, pack and mate, their survival depends on their ability to adapt. Whereas domestic animals, some bred for thousands of years, no longer have the survival instinct, no longer know how to find their own food aside from garbage in alleys and the crunchy nibbles we buy in pet stores given to them three times daily. Let your chickens run completely free and see how long they last. Set your dog free and watch it become a parasite ridden street beggar, set your cat free… well cats are a different example, they are elevated beings brought to us by the Egyptian Gods of old, who would become the dominant species if humans disappeared (check out The World Without Us by Alan Weisman for his perspective on that). Plants, fit tightly into productive rows, those who escape the garden bed, plucked out, weeded away, out of line. Millions upon millions of rows of plants, in industrialized systems are supposed to feed the world, yet all they have done is provide semi-nutritious calorie sources void of resistance and resilience, produced for ease of harvest and immediate processing. How do we keep them in line? With self terminating genetically modified seeds, and with agrochemicals: fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and pesticides. Borders have made our plants and animals weak, susceptible to disease, flood and drought, unable to defend themselves and unable to adapt quick enough to changing conditions.
“Bring down the Wall! Bring down the Wall!”
Human beings believe borders offer them security, a mark stating this side me, that side you. And what have borders done to humanity? Fortified towns, walls, East-West, more walls, The Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall, Trump’s Wall, refugee camps, work camps, us, them, mine, yours, keep in, keep out. “This land is my land, this land is your land, From California to the New York island; From the Red Wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters, this land was made for you and me.” only if you have the right documentation. Mine and Yours. Border patrol, do you belong here? Where are your papers? Illegal immigrants, terrorism, trafficking, smuggling, laundering, escaping, borders closed, borders open, gated communities, security fences, visas, property lines. Where are your papers!? You don’t have permission to be here. I find that borders and boundaries make us want more and more to be on one side or the other, to taste what we are not supposed to have. It makes us chose allegiances and identities. Tells us which language to speak and which way to think. What sports team you represent, what zip code you reside in, what taxes you pay, what school you go to. The borders tell us who our people are, tell us where we belong. Borders cause war and conflict, fights for ownership and “rights”. In school, keep your colors within the lines and the bubbles on your state tests neat. Check the box: Caucasian, African-American, Asian/South Pacific, Latino, American Indian, OTHER. Maybe, it is because I always checked the OTHER box, that I feel boundary-less, if I didn’t have a border stating my ethnic background, delineating me from the other kids, then who needed a border anyways. My grandpa broke his family rules and married a white woman, what that meant for us? No Chinese heritage growing up, disowned, diluted the genetics, crossing boundaries. Pure breeds, mixed breeds, this race and that race. Borders, limitations, what have they done to us? They have made us completely and utterly crazy.
Aren’t we all from ONE planet Earth?
I want to pose the question and the possibility, of what if human beings, the dominant species on the planet decided that we were going to take down all borders and really, like we declare in Permaculture philosophy, mimic the perfection of Mother Nature, where there is no linear time or spaces, only cycles and fuzzy edges and ecotones.
Ecotone... Many of you may have never heard of this word. It isn’t a word we were taught in Social Studies, Biology or Geography class, not that I heard of, and I am studious. It wasn’t until the study of Permaculture that the concept was brought to the forefront of my consciousness. An ecotone is where two ecosystems meet, merging two diverse biological regions, the ecotone has flora, fauna and cultural specifics from each bioregion while also embodying its own unique diversity. They are the areas that are a little less comfortable. Take a plant for example, living in the center of the field, where the conditions are just perfect, the right amount of sun, the right amount of rain, soil with the perfect amount of nutrients. That plant doesn’t have to increase or decrease its chemical makeup to adapt to change, it has everything perfect. The same species, living along the edge, by a large tree, perhaps in a boggy area of soil, constantly being nibbled at, reaching for sunlight, coping with flooding, has to adapt to its conditions, by perhaps increasing bitter alkaloids to prevent bugs from eating it, has had to stretch a bit higher to find the sun. That plant is adaptable, ready for change to its conditions, ready for something a bit easier. One season, the rains wont stop falling, the plant in the middle of the field, unaccustomed to such inundation becomes waterlogged and rots. Climate change has set in, each summer is rainier and rainier. The plant on the edge, survives, it drops its seeds, adapted, they take over the now changed landscape.
Ecotones exist on the edge, the margin.
The greatest diversity is found on the edge, in the ecotone. Take Costa Rica for example, this beautiful country I call home, exists on the Isthmus of Panama, a land bridge formed around 3 million years ago by the movement of the Caribbean tectonic plate and volcanic activity, linked the massive North and South American continents, opening up the way for the Great American Biotic interchange. Due to the formation of this land bridge, species, including Hominids (that’s us) began migrating North and South. Some species along these exploratory and migratory routes found the spaces in between to be more than suitable for permanent habitation, settling, species adapted and evolved within the newly created territory. In response to changeable geology, plants also adapted to their conditions. Today, Costa Rica, an ecotone is home to 6% of the world’s biodiversity on just 0.03% of the global landmass, we can find species from both mega continents as well as species only found here, in this peaceful little country. An example, only 990 species of birds can be found in the United States and Canada, Costa Rica has 918, 650 of which are endemic. Compare this number to landmass, 12.2% v 0.03%... and this is only considering birds!
Ecotones also apply to human populations, think about the spaces between neighborhoods, towns, suburbs and cities. I lived in Philadelphia throughout my 20’s. A diverse city like many others, has its abundant neighborhoods. Fishtown, Old City, Center City, the Gayborhood, South Philly, North Philly, Manayunk, China Town, Germantown, University City, and many more. Homes to various waves of immigrants from Italy, Poland, Ireland, Vietnam, China, Laos, Cambodia, Pakistan, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Liberia, Ivory Coast, descendants from the African slave diaspora, Palestine, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, to name just the majority.… I remember in college looking around campus at how beautiful everyone was, how language and background didn’t seem to matter that much, that the ecotone of Temple University was offering a breeding ground for relationships to blossom, ideas to be exchanged. Located in North Philadelphia, an area of the city where the majority of the households live below the poverty line, there is the air of change. Fuzzy edges between privilege and drive, between desire and expectation. In the margin, the uncomfortable places, the diverse places are were we find the ability to cope, to be resilient, is where we can find humanity at it’s rawest and ready. In most cities you can cross from one street to the next, experiencing different vibes, different languages, different scents and shops. Different sounds, different wall art, different style. Beautiful people everywhere. Gentrification and hipster take over has had some profound influences on our cities, making housing unaffordable and coffee shops more abundant. I can’t say I know a solution for that, besides maybe suggesting that developers take into consideration context and need of the neighborhood they see as “up and coming”, allowing for people to integrate and have a say. Check out the Permaculture Action Network for perspectives on Social Justice and City Repair Project for regenerative urban development.
Permaculture Principle #8 Integrate Rather than Segregate
We teach and practice in permaculture to design beyond our borders, allowing for plants, animals and humans to interact with each other in ways that are harmonious. Planting enough food for the animal, for the neighbor, for the thief and for yourself. Always knowing that on the interconnected web of life, everything influences and effects everything else. There are no borders in nature, it is through symbiosis, collaboration, cooperation, competition, predation and parasitism that the forest stays healthy, and forever changing. We can be like the forest.
Within the ecotone we can hold onto our personal identities if we want to, but also celebrate the identity of others and let them walk and reside in our spaces. There is strength in diversity. There is no monoculture in nature. The more we share our cultural heritage, our food, our language, our art, our music, our ideas, our love, our style, our dreams, perspectives and ideas, more resilient we will be as a species. We need this. Human beings have caused our planetary systems to fall into a state of crisis, with eroding coast lines, warming oceans, increase intensity in weather, we are watching collapse happen before our eyes. We caused and are causing this. We have the ability to allow our internal and external walls to disintegrate. As we follow the flow of each hour in each day, being flexible to variable conditions, sometimes predictable, forever changeable, we erase our borders, and allow them to be fluid, like the flight of birds over state lines and maybe within those fuzzy, diverse spaces, we can find peace and fall deeply in love with life.
by Sarah Wu
For a temporary moment, in my life I was living in Garza, a small beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. Cow pastures and animal farms surrounded by jungle could describe a little the location, but unfortunately the one thing I would need to outline the most about the place was the amount of dust that we had to handle during the dry season.
When I first arrived, I remember picking up from the ground leaf I´ve seen before. It always caught my attention how the shape looked like a human hand wide and open, and then shrinking her “fingers” to its core when drying. The old lady that was there to check me in, was laughing at me because I was drowned into this wild plant that grows every where here in the tropics, specially close to natural bodies of water. With a smile, she remembered that her mother boiled the leaves when someone had a flu to prepare infusions.
So, I went online and checked for the plant and it figured to be linked to the healing of the respiratory system. I washed all the dirt from the dry leaves and I made a drink with other ingredients like Ginger and Guanabana leaves to nourish myself after riding the dusty roads on a quad.
The bottle lasted the entire month without fermenting or loosing it´s flavor and definitely generated a soothing sensation on the morning when I had it before going to bed. But, the real magic of this amazing plant called Cecropia, (Cecropia obtusifolia) or locally known as Guarumo came to me when I was taking my Permaculture Design Course for the Herbalist Path.
Oh my Goddess. For months I planned and worked to take this course and for years I wanted to live that experience but, I got sick with a flu that even though it was being handled and I could feel recovery in that aspect, I could also feel that sensation of swallowing an animal who got stuck in my chest. I knew I was about to go back to a pattern of getting either a bronquitis or another asthmatic scenario as I had in the past.
Very worried about maybe needing to leave the course, I reached out to one of my teachers, the amazing Lala Palmeri and she handed to me a tincture made of Guarumo. The tinctures are very powerful because through alcohol one channels to extract all the medicine spirits of the plant.
El guarumo leaves are rich in flavonoids and other chemical compounds that turn out to be very medicinal to animals & the humans. Flavonoids, in specific, are known to aid the human body with antibacterial & anti-inflammatory mechanisms, as well as providers of balance and among other beneficial effects in cardiovascular diseases.
The medicine Lala prepared just using the leaves and the alcohol was the best expectorant I´ve ever tried. I started having it in a big dose in the afternoon and had more during the night because I was feeling very affected. By the next morning I woke up with decompressed sensation and after the 3rd day I started decreasing the amount and the frequency of the medicine. On the fifth day I felt recovered and finished the treatment.
This was the first time in my life, that the medicine didn't help me cope with a bonquitis, but actually help me stop it just before it got to point from which only with aggressive allopathic treatments I could ease. And whats not to love about the fact of knowing that the main ingredient of this great, miraculous medicine lays on the edges and wild grasses of my hometown.
By Mariella Fuster
During my stay at Punta Mona I was allotted the opportunity to work with a highly controversial plant that has an outstanding history, paired with a variety of highly medicinal properties. Prior to the moment when I first saw this tree in the flesh, I had only interacted with its dried and powdered green leaves twice. Once was in a class with Sarah Wu, while discussing the properties of stimulating and analgesic herbs, and the other was in a tea prepared by a friend in celebration of another’s birthday party. Both of these interactions provided me with a very relaxing, calm state of mind, with clear focus and quite honestly a rather good mood.
I was highly aware of the controversy, distaste and what seemed to be rumors circulating around the tree, even though I myself had had very minimal experience. I had not yet began researching this tree or its history, yet I was quite certain that the social objection of this plant must be the result of misinformation and assumption, per usual. I can now say, with confidence, that with the work I have personally done with the tree, followed up by intensely researching its history and properties, my assumptions about the controversy and perversion of this beautiful tree were correct.
Kratom, scientifically known as Mitragyna speciose, is a tropical evergreen in the Rubiaceae family, related to the well-known plants, coffee and gardenias. Being a water loving tree, it is known to be a river pioneer that grows well in swamps and deep valley areas. Which is a core reason as to why the tree is growing so magnificently at Punta Mona, where they have transformed what would be a very swamp-like area into a bio-diverse garden, home to many medicinal and edible plants, through permaculture tactics including the digging of chinampas and trenches which allow rain water to filtrate through the soil and out into the river and ocean.
Kratom is said to take up to twenty years to mature, growing between thirteen and fifty-two feet tall, with a trunk at two to three feet in diameter. In its life-time, the tree can grow into quite a large spread, taking up to fifteen feet in space. The bark of Kratom is smooth and light gray, with a pinkish undertone to its inner bark. The ovular shaped leaves grow opposite to one another in three different colors, at different stages in their growth. The colors, light red, yellowish-green, and dark green, have either a red or whitish, green vein depending on the strain, maturity and the condition surrounding the cultivation of the tree. These colors are also a good indicator of alkaloidal components present and their potency. The Kratom flower grows in yellow clusters, that later develop into small round fruits with flat seeds.
Kratom is native to several countries in Southeast Asia, with a long-standing history and cultivation in southern Thailand. For hundreds of years Kratom has been used in both traditional medicine, and by the working class. The leaf was traditionally chewed throughout the day to provide an ease to the fatigue and aches associated with the long hours of a common work day. Aside from this, Kratom has been traditionally used brewed in a tea, with the addition of lemon to help extract its medicinal alkaloids, and also a sweetener to help with the bitter flavor of the leaf. It has been known to be medicinally used at low dosages as a stimulant analgesic and at higher doses as a sedative analgesic. The Kratom leaf is also known to be used to treat anxiety, diarrhea, hypertension, fever, diabetes, depression, dysfunctional sexual performance, and for increased physical endurance. In recent years, there have also been testimonies of Kratom having a positive impact on PTSD and management of Lyme Disease symptoms, as well as an impact on pain associated conditions such as fibromyalgia.
After a brief explanation of the tree’s prolific and strong growth patterns, and it’s many traditional, medicinal uses, one might ask what the controversy could possibly be about. The answer to this question is seemingly complex, but also quite simple. Being a tree that has been used in practice in SE Asia for hundreds of years, where opium has also been a cultural practice and issue for quite some time, it is easy to find the connection between the two plants. Not only is Kratom a multi-purpose medicinal plant in all the ways stated, it is also a wonderful opioid substitute that assists those who have developed an opioid dependency with the withdrawal process. This very relationship is where the misinformation, the rumors and the historical battle of Kratom begins.
Kratom has been rather popular in Thailand since at least the early 1800’s, again mostly used by peasants, labor workers and farmers, but also used as an alcohol and opium substitute in both the Thai and Muslim communities of Southern Thailand. It wasn’t until the 1940’s that Kratom began to acquire increased attention and stigma, which came as a result of the opium taxation that took place in 1943. Due to increased prices of opium, many users switched to Kratom for its affordability and its assistance with the withdrawal process. This switch from opium to Kratom was rather obvious due to the noticeable impact it had on governmental income, being that Kratom, at that time, grew prolifically in SE Asia. Subsequently, Kratom was scheduled as a narcotic making the tree subject to heavy regulation and potential banning. However, the tree remained a large part of Thai culture and was tolerated in moderation. Still maintaining its popularity, Kratom was listed as one of the least restricted and punitive scheduled drugs in the Thai Narcotics Act in 1979.
It was in the 1990’s when Kratom truly began to be increasingly regulated and banned in SE Asia, with a few other countries in Europe following suit. However, it wasn’t until the early 2,000’s that the Thai government began to really adhere to the regulations in place, making Kratom a highly noticeable subject to arrests and seizures, so much so that even the trees themselves were vastly cut down throughout the southern regions of Thailand. This act is believed to be highly associated with a Kratom cocktail, known as “4x100”, that had begun to surface amongst the younger generation. The cocktail consisted of a Kratom tea mixed with either codeine or a diphenhydramine (a strong anti-histamine) cough syrup, paired with a soft drink. Though there have been concerning reports of harsh chemicals and benzodiazepines (strong, sedative anti-anxiety medications) added to the cocktails to increase its effects, there has been little to no attempts at increasing the regulation of these products, leaving Kratom at the forefront of the accusations and attacks.
As Kratom began to be known as an illegal substance used for an elevated sense of euphoria, rather than as a work aid and medicine, perversion around the plant became increasingly high to those who were less informed and familiar with the tree’s components and history. However, the bans, regulations, and distaste for Kratom has had little to no impact on its popularity or use amongst the working class and opium addicts. With Kratom being native to Thailand, and other countries in South Eastern Asia where regulation was slowly taking place, there was a vast impact on the quality and purity of Kratom that was now rising in popularity on the black market. Kratom products have continuously been found to contain additives that prove to be potentially harmful to those who use them, particularly in conjunction with the Kratom leaf.
I am a believer that each plant exists with purpose, and if used appropriately, they are all of great medicine, whether it be preventative or regenerative. With that being said, research on Kratom has proved its components to be highly medicinal, specifically with the ways in which it works with the opioid receptors and nociception within the brain. The two main alkaloids found in Kratom that have proven to work in this way are Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragnin, MG and 7-OH-MG. At this time, these two alkaloids are only known to exist in Kratom, both producing effects similar to those of morphine. 7-OH-MG is said to be 50x more potent than MG, and 10x more potent than morphine. This increased potency is believed to be a result of its fat solubility, and because its ability to move through the blood brain barrier faster than that of morphine and other known opioids.
Here is where I now lead you into where the perversion of this beautiful tree began. Once discovering its similar properties to opium and morphine, Kratom began to fall under the broad term opioid, a combination of the words opium, and oid: meaning like or resembling. It is used to classify substances that have a binding affinity to one or more opioid receptors in the brain, with morphine like effects including, but not limited to, excessive restriction of the pupil, respiratory depression, tolerance build up to the substance or a cross-tolerance with other known opioids, the potential development of dependency, and a similar chemical structure.
Opioids are classified as agonists, a substance that mimics the effect of neurotransmitters, or other molecules in the brain. Naturally, our body interacts with the opioid system of our brain throughout each day. This system in made up of the Mu, Delta and Kappa opioid receptors as well as the Nociception. The functionality of this system contributes to a sense of motivation, emotional regulation, attachment behavior, stress response, and food intake, as well as pain reaction and regulation.
The activation of the Mu-opioid receptor, also known as MOR, causes a sense of euphoria, sedation and respiratory depression, meaning it slows breathing, decreasing the amount of oxygen making its way to the brain. The MOR is known to work heavily with the nociception, which is the area of the nervous system that alerts the brain when the body is at risk of physical harm through irritating or painful sensations, making it the main target of synthetic opioid drugs. The main issue with these drugs is the respiratory depression, which
can lead to brain damage or fatality, when taken in high dosages. Considering the rapid tolerance build up that can take place, this can be quite easy to do.
Molecules that bind to the Delta-opioid receptor, DOR, have shown to have antidepressant effects and to also increase BDNF, one of the most active chemicals that help the brain to form neural connections by supporting existing neurons through encouraged growth and regeneration, as well as encouraging the creation of new neurons and synapses. BDNF has been found to aid neuroplasticity, allowing the brains nerve cells to compensate for injury, new situations and changes in an existing environment. BDNF is also important for long-term learning because not only does it help with learning, but also memory retention and higher thinking. DOR activation has proven to protect the heart against damage from strokes, serve as a neuroprotective, and to assist with pain regulation and relief.
Activation of the Kappa-opioid receptors, KOR, is known to assist with rain relief, but sequentially has been found to produce bad moods, have diuretic effects and in high dosages has been known to produce hallucinations. However, activation of the KOR has also been known to oppose many of the effects of the MOR and can also prevent addiction to morphine, alcohol and cocaine. KOR is naturally activated by stress and plays an important role in learning, neuronal plasticity and the formation of myelination, a protective layer essential for proper functioning of the nervous system.
Naturally the brain works with these receptors to manage the condition of the heart, pain recognition, regulation and release, sleep regulation, diet regulation, stress response, motivation, emotional regulation, and feelings of emotional connection and support. Increasing these receptors and the molecules that bind to them are what create an opium like high, which can cause a severe mental and physical dependency, and potentially fatality due to respiratory depression, increased tolerance, lack of knowledge and the ever-increasing presence of impurities on the black market.
Now, before we dive into what this means in relation to Kratom, lets first acknowledge that the term opiate strictly refers to the natural alkaloids found in the opium poppy, Paver smoniferum, including morphine and codeine, and to clarify, opioid classifies non-opiates, with similar properties to that of opium and morphine. Being that Kratom works with these receptors, specifically the MOR and the nociception, having analgesic affects similar to morphine, it has been shoved into this broad category of opioids. However, what is not being openly discussed is its lack of relation to the potentially fatal symptoms of the drugs that fall into this category, such as diuretic like properties, respiratory depression, constipation and a high potential of increased tolerance, resulting in inevitable dependency. In these symptoms we find over doses as a result of dehydration, toxin build up in the digestion track and a lack of oxygen making its way to the brain, as a result we are in what is known as the Opioid Crisis.
In the U.S. alone, there are over 115 deaths due to opioid over dose each passing day. On average 25% of patients prescribed to these drugs misuse them, 9% develop an opioid use disorder, 5% of those who misuse these prescriptions transition into heroin use. Research has shown that around 80% of heroin users began misusing prescription opioids. Opioid related over doses increased 30% in 52 areas of 45 states between July 2016 and September 2017, with a 54% increase in large cities within 16 states. As a result of the transition to heroin, there has been an increase in intravenous administration, causing a contribution to the spread of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C.
As of February 2018, only 50 deaths in the U.S. have been claimed to be a result of the use of Kratom, and none of these claims have been found to be true. Most, if not all, of these individuals were also under the influence of morphine, other opioids, or other drugs that are strictly advised to not be consumed when under the influence of opioids. The main defense on Kratom’s behalf is that Kratom does not cause respiratory depression, which is the leading cause of opioid related deaths. Additionally, in a low gram dosage, one can experience Kratoms analgesic effects paired with subtle stimulation, motivation and mood regulation. It is at higher dosages, between 10-15 grams, in which Kratom becomes more of a euphoric sedative, with increased adulterated symptoms. It is at this time when the consumer normally experiences intense nausea that inhibits them from taking more, or induces vomiting, making it increasingly difficult to build a high tolerance to Kratom which could potentially lead to an overdose on the tree’s leaves.
Thus far, most of the regulations around this tree have proven to be more of a matter of corporate and governmental financial gain, rather than health concerns. To my surprise, it was during Kratom’s review in the U.S. that the potential dangers of Kratom that were surfacing through vague, misleading statistics and studies were discussed. Also, during this time many individuals from mom’s, veterans, recovering addicts, and people suffering from chronic pain testified to the impact the tree has had on their life, how it has had no noticeable negative side effects, and that it keeps them away from synthetic prescriptions that have proven to be more harmful than not, as well as addictive and life threatening. In fact, there have been so many individuals speaking out in favor of this tree that even members of the Republican party took defense, asking congress to please not go into heavy regulation that would incite incriminating laws, or the banning of the proven to be safe, and useful tree, with high hopes of aiding the opioid crisis.
Though an abundance of information testifying to the safety and affectability of Kratom has surfaced through research and testimony, proving the unnecessariness of such harsh banning and regulation, Kratom is still being treated as a narcotic in many countries. It is currently illegal in 8 states in the U.S., with Oregon being the only listed state as having an ongoing study on the tree’s properties and side effects. Kratom is also currently banned in the following countries: Thailand, Australia, Burma, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Malaysia, Romania, Sweden, Myanmar and Vietnam. In Thailand, where Kratom has deep, historical roots within the culture, being used and known as traditional medicine for 100’s of years, Kratom is classed in the same group as cocaine and heroin, and possession of one ounce of extract is punishable by death.
Kratom, a beautiful tree with leaves that grow with a variety of present alkaloids, known to aid in multiple ailments, treat fatigue, assist in pain management and promote mood regulation, remains under the strict eye of judgement and perversion, while people around the world cripple at the hands of FDA approved drugs, which are known to have demobilizing side effects and potentially fatal symptoms. It is a tree of lore, wonder and beauty that is being slowly stripped away from nature, cultures and history, as a means of protecting the ever-increasing pharmaceutical industry and its relationship with governmental and corporate wealth.
I personally am grateful for the opportunity to sit with such a glorious plant, learn its history and get to know its truth. I can only hope that someone, somewhere, has a voice loud enough to ease the misinformed, controversial sensation revolving around the beautiful opiate like properties of these delicate leaves, and that the world I see crumbling beneath addiction has a chance to know the beauty behind this prolific, alkaloidal tree. Though I am sure it goes without saying, if you truly are curious I highly suggest finding a pure source of Kratom and giving it a try. At least then, when you state your own opinion, you also have experienced the way in which these complex leaves are capable of working with your body in the least debilitating way.
Cohen, J. (2017, December 07). 30 Natural Ways To Improve Mood By Increasing Our Opioids and Endorphins. Retrieved from https://www.selfhacked.com/blog/why-the-ice-bucket-challenge-is-so-popular-it-functions-like-heroin/
Cohen, J. (2018, February 09). All You Need to Know About BDNF and Natural Ways to Increase It. Retrieved May 8, 2018, from https://www.selfhacked.com/blog/a-comprehensive-list-of-natural-ways-to-increase-bdnf/
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) drug profile. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2018, from http://www.emcdda.europa.eu/publications/drug-profiles/kratom
Kratom Strains and their different colors, Red, White or Green? (2017). Retrieved May 9, 2018, from https://www.kratomgardens.com/en/kratom-strains
Legal Status of Kratom. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2018, from http://www.mitragyna.com/legality
Lohman, R., Harrison, R. S., Ruiz-Gomez, G., Hoang, H. N., Shepperd, N. E., Chow, S., . . . Fairlie, D. P. (2015, January 14). Nociception. Retrieved May 7, 2018, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/nociception
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, March 06). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved May 9, 2018, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis
Melendez, S. (2018, February 09). Scientists Warn Trump: FDA's War On A Plant Could Worsen Opioid Crisis. Retrieved May 10, 2018, from https://www.fastcompany.com/40529201/scientists-warn-trump-fdas-war-on-kratom-plant-could-worsen-opioid-crisis
Yearsley, C. (2016, November). Kratom, Medicine or Menace? HerbalGram, (112), 46-57.
Katryna Bell is an herbalist, Punta Monian, Village Witch, Chocolatier and Writer from Atlanta, Georgia...
Sacred Pain, intentional pain, on the subtle edge of masochism. Craving the tingling, raw skin scalding from a hot hot shower, wishing you could get the water just a bit hotter... exercise sessions that burn the lungs and muscles, push the heart to the point of explosion, the place where pain is on the edge of severe, but you ...breath... into the intention of it and all melts away into a form of bliss. The depth of love from a relationship that you know wont work, knowing the separation will be traumatic, but the love is so sweet. That little animal you brought home, knowing you will one day say goodbye to that innocent love. Walking across hot coals, being suspended by the skin, scarification, rites of passage through starvation and ritual venomous ant bites. Childbirth. Making love for the last time. Receiving permanent marking on your skin.
Sacred Pain, knowing that you could withstand what you intentionally put yourself through.
The spiritual ecstasy of receiving tattoo has been a part of my heroine's journey for near 20 years. The fascination of marking the body with a timeline, an outward expression of individual insight and reflection. A memory forever tagged. A turning point never to be forgotten. Archetypes, impressions of loved ones come and gone, wishes and reflections, adornment. Intentions for healing, magical spells, and incantations to our personal gods. Enhancing personal power, amplifying Telling the world of expectation and conformity that "no actually, this is who I am." Animals are born with fur, feathers and scales that tell the world who they are and what they are about. How do humans do it, in our nakedness, we just blend with the landscape, hues of creams to tans to browns. Blue eyes, green eyes, brown eyes... grey hazel eyes. Brown, yellow, grey, white, black, red hair... we aren't that spectacular when you compare us to Resplendent Quetzals, Bengal Tigers, Octopi, Cuddle Fish, Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, Bald Eagles, Blue Morpho Butterflies, Eyelash Vipers and all the like. We distinguish ourselves with clothing, hairstyles, jewelry, makeup...piercings. Wash it away, comb it out, let it close, in our nakedness, we aren't all that different. The lifelines of scars, the lumps of time, the sagging of repetition... the intentional holes and marks we place, tell the world, "I am unique. Look at me. Read me. This is my story to tell."
So many silly trends I am so glad I never jumped onto, 90's/early 00's neo"tribal" designs and Chinese characters... well, I did jump on the latter trend, though it felt appropriate, last name being Wu and all... and those lines, now blurred, nearly illegible, still have meaning. Luck, Love, Pleasure, Patience, Strength, Success, Will, Wisdom. All the things I wanted to cultivate in my 19 year old life, and still do. "Live With Intent", some butterflies, astrological symbols and Runes, greek letters, a handpoked Sak Yant, vulture, bee, hummingbird, snake, spider, botanicals, initials, "Libertad." What happens to those prayers when the lines start to blur and the color disappears, do the intentions fade away? New desires manifest, not being the same person, as the skin gradually sheds, a new being becoming out from under the old outward material expression.
There is no going back, well not really, not without more pain, from lasers of course, but in the removal is also the pain of regret and who wants that? Even that one I got on my stomach senior year in high school, the one that everyone is like "what is that?", no regrets, it was who I was... "who is that?"
Meditating on certain forms, certain places, sometimes knowing that a tattoo will eventually be there, waiting for the right life moment to manifest itself. Almost a self fulfilling prophecy. Like pining over Bob Dylan songs wishing you were who they were about, but then again maybe you don't because they are just such sad stories. The romanticism of it all. Saying... one day, when the time is right, The Death Card, one day a Bat, one day if this, then that. That will be on my personal world map, the pin points of where I have been.
...and the day comes... after days, weeks, months, years... ready to emerge. Perhaps like Michelangelo, when he said that the form spoke to him from the stone, maybe the image spoke from under the skin.
...those moments leading up to the initial puncturing of the skin, the racing heart, the thought... I am ready, wait no I am not... yes I am... blood drawn, bring it on, the intentional pain, mark the skin for life... who will I be after, will this actually help me to be... more me? The trance, those moments of surrender to the pain, feeling it form you, letting it wash you, ritual blood letting, ritual sacrifice. The scabs and discomfort, the new you in the mirror... you. The healing process, that you came out just fine and now you are different, the reminder indelible. The landmark of time and experience.
It is only in the most recent centuries that human beings have travelled long and far across vast oceans. Before then, we remained close to our homes, exploring the flora and fauna the bioregion had to offer us as food, clothing, tools, and shelter. Humans would venture slowly from their homes in search of goods they could not find nearby. They traded shells, textiles, seeds, and animals and met with potential mates at seasonal gatherings. The spice trade between Asia, Middle East, North Africa, and Europe began with Arab traders nearly 4,000 years ago, strategically situated between two major continents. The ancient movement of spices ranged from as far away as Malay, Moluccas, and Sri Lanka all the way to the Northern most reaches of Rome. In 80 BCE, Alexandria, Egypt became the center hub for spice trading through the fall of the Roman Empire in the fourth century CE. The spice market once again was held in Arabia through the Middle Ages. Then, relocated a third time to Venice and Genoa at the turn of the tenth century CE, where it was held through the Renaissance. Spices were, and still are, currency. Now, spices are labeled by modern economics as commodities.
Spices, or aromatic plants, those containing Essential Oils, also known as Volatile Oils, are what give plants their aroma. These scents are used to attract pollinators and deter herbivores and disease. Medicinally, this category of flavor, Spice, not spicy as in, it burns my mouth and makes my eyes water pungency, but as in the colors and scents that grace your spice cabinet. Spices dissipate gas in the upper and lower digestive tract, benefit and clear the lungs from excessive mucus, increase digestive juices, and kill bacteria and fungi, essentially preserving the quality of the food while helping the nutrients to assimilate more efficiently. In aromatherapy, Essential Oils are generally used to lighten the mood, relieve depression, effect the mood and thought patterns, and dissipate negative energy while protecting the human using the medicine.
This ability to preserve and protect food is one of the reasons spices where so valued, as well as for their exotic and enticing scent. Spices tend to thrive around the equatorial belt and into Mediterranean climates, where the bioregions are hotter and, in some cases, more humid. In cooler, more temperate climates, foods would be preserved by smoking, drying, and storing in cool, underground caves or cellars. All peoples fermented or salted foods for preservation.
Spices, in the macro view of human history, moved people around the globe. Dissipating and assimilating, driving people to each other. Spices brought Western Europeans to the Americas and have shaped cultural traditions. Clove and Cinnamon for the Winter Holidays, Cardamom in Turkish coffee, Caraway in Jewish Rye, Patchouli scented silks, Ginger Bread Cookies, and Salt and Pepper on red calico tablecloths. Spices have integrated humanity, under a common love for flavor and aroma.
One of the most common spices is Black Pepper, Piper nigrum. Native to India, this perennial, woody vine, fills the understory, preferring partial sun and abundant water. Cultivated by ground layer, it is the perfect low hanging vine in a perennial polyculture tropical Food Forest. Black Pepper is grown along with Vanilla and Patchouli as a ground cover, on Cinnamon, Cacao, and Coffee trees, surrounded by a canopy of Rambutan, Breadfruit, and Jackfruit! In gardening, it is an effectiveinsecticidespray.
With a long medicinal use historically, it is noted in Greek herbals as early as the 5th century BCE and has been an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine for over 5,000 years. The fruit is hot and slightly bitter. It is used to clear toxins from the gut, is antimicrobial, rejuvenates the eyes by stimulating circulation, eliminates parasites, is a diuretic, refreshes the lungs, clears congestion, and relieves stomach pain and spasm. A therapeutic nervine, expectorant, and analgesic indicated for weak digestion, poor appetite, colic, poor circulation with cold hands and feet, arthritis, and amenorrhea. It is an excellent herb to add as a small part to any formula to potentiate other herbs and effectively absorb vital nutrients.
It is contraindicated for sensitive people who are easily overly stimulated and who have temperamental stomachs as it may irritate gastric mucosa. Also contraindicated for those who are hyper active and/or tend to run very hot and dry. Consumer must be aware that even small doses will increase absorption and expedite the reaction of medication, which can be very dangerous depending on the intent of the pharmaceutical.
In Thailand, the herbalists only use the riper red peppercorns and prefer the seeds which have passed though the digestive tract of wild birds.
It is interesting to consider the practice of using a predigested seed medicinally found in animal dung. Who first decided to pick through the bird poop in search of seeds and second, why did they decide to eat those seeds? It tells of a fascinating and deeply connected relationship between humans, animals, and plants. Animals are the bridge between us and the plant and fungi kingdom, as they speak a language that is most similar to all. Humans struggle to hear the words of the plants, whereas the animals of sea, water, and sky can hear plant’s echoes through the pads of their feet, with the broad spectrum of their eyes, and with the scent on the breeze. The plants tell the animals stories relating to their bioregion. In many ways animals rely on plants more than we do. We use plants for our clothing, furnishings, and shelters. Animals only slightly manipulate the plant matter. I am watching a pair of tiny banana quicks make a nest as I write, diligently collecting plant material for near a week. Animals live among the trees and roots and in the leaves and branches. Their relationship is more exposed, intimate, and in many ways plants and animals share the same fate, their threads more tightly woven together on the web of life. Perhaps then, the Thai healers had patients suffering from the ailments healed by black pepper, and the birds, in response to human need, pooped nearby, alerting the healers to their own personal black gold contained. All herbalists have a relationship with excrement, as it tells a detailed story of a person’s life, but it takes a special kind of healer to discover this potent medicine.
In plant spirit medicine, black peppercorns placed on your altar, the oil anointing your candles, or a few seeds offered to the fire will open you up to exploration and disperse your energies in positive directions.
Black Pepper Essential Oil, in aroma therapeutic practices includes, dilution in coconut oil as indicated as a spot treatment or oil pull fortoothaches, gargled for laryngitis, inhaled as a steam or with an atomizer for chronicbronchitis, and as a perfume or body oil for sexual debility along with Ginger and Vetiver. A pain-relieving analgesic, it makes a lovely muscle rub.
So much to say and so much to read… why don’t I tell the story from a personal point of view instead of aping repeated lists upon lists of uses… My personal panacea, from the flowers, to the essential oil, to the Tarot des Fleurs, lavender is an ally.
I remember my earliest interactions with plants began in the backyards of both my grandparents, specifically in the gardens of my grandmothers. Now, neither of them were herbalists, I don’t come from a long line of healers, but they were plant lovers and through them I inherited that adoration. My grandmothers had greatly diverse styles and tastes. My father’s mother loved that old English Enclosure look, with manicured topiary, Pachysandra neatly clipped and Columbine in rows. Potted colorful geraniums and Blue Ageratum flowers, when I see Dusty Miller’s (Senecio cineraria) I will always think if her, Mary Theresa MacAnallen Moore Wu. She loved colors and form and organization. While my mother’s mother, has a different style, a bit more country, a bit wilder, and elegant, with Tree Roses, Tiger Lilies, Sweet Peas lining a quarter of a mile-long driveway, wild Black Raspberries and horse pastures. At her house, things were a bit more tactile, with pelts of exotic animals, gifts from one of my grandfather’s clients, wild flowers hanging in bunches and rows of books upon books upon books… Grandma Yvonne has Lemon and Rose Geraniums, not known for their vibrant colors but for their strong aroma. And she always has had patches of lavender, which I see in my 9-year-old mind’s eye covered in bees, feasting on their pollen. How romantic the sights and sounds of rolling alfalfa hills of Upstate New York. I remember vividly the feeling of pinching Lavender flowers and stems, the stickiness of each leaf, the burst of flora. The color purple.
Lavender for me has and will always be associated with Grandmother… and did you know, that you existed inside of your grandmother? When she carried your mother, your mother had already developed all the eggs she would ever have, all the potential for her to give life, and one of those eggs was you. You lived in the womb of your grandmother as she lived within hers, and the chain is never broken. We can forget their names and stories, but the resonant beating of their heart we hear from inside the endometrial sack, the rhythm to which we step and breathe. Lavender, it offers us a way to connect deeply with our ancestors, especially those who walked the female line. We live in a modern time, where the majority of people take their father’s name, yet for millennia, many children did not know who their fathers were, as women were free unto themselves, embodied archetypal Maiden’s, who knew men, but were not their property. Children could only be certain who their mothers were, and through these women, children received nourishment and the means to survive. When we give thanks for these precious human lives, we thank our mother for carrying us, for baring us, for being whoever she was and is, in all her humanity, the Magna Mater, the Matrix, Creatrix, lover her or hate her, she’s the only one you got.
If I could bring one medicinal plant to the deserted island, it would be lavender. I typically engage Lavender as an essential oil, and there are many grades of lavender EO, from Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula officinalis to the lesser quality hybridized Lavandin and Lavandula latifolia also known as Spike Lavender. They all will stimulate similar effects, though I prefer organic, small batch crops from Bulgaria and France. The inhalation, immediately calming, reduces anxiety and tension associated with racing mind, overthinking, stress and annoyances. The anti-inflammatory action reduces bouts of anger, while lightening the mood and dissolving negativity. While most essential oils need to be diluted, Lavender is so gentle it can be dabbed directly onto the skin, avoiding the eyes. I put a dot under my nose, behind my ears, on my third eye and on my heart. Lavender EO also calms irritated skin and is my favorite acne treatment. Diluted in apple cider vinegar and water, it makes a refreshing hair and scalp rinse for mild itching and irritation. It can be used as a deodorant, as a refreshing spritz in a water bottle or as a toner in Witch Hazel. In clinic, we always have a bottle of Lavender in water and someone designated as the lavender fairy to ease the anxieties of the dis-eased. Cooling to the skin, it is an excellent remedy for sunburn alone or mixed with either black tea or oat water. In first aid, Lavender EO can be applied directly to a kitchen burn, to insect and animal bites, for scrapes and abrasions, bruises, sprains and strains. For some people, it can be mildly sedative, an inhalation or a dab below the nostrils before bed, helps ease people into deeper sleep. For those experiencing anxiety from overuse or misuse of Cannabis, Lavender inhalation is also a wonderful remedy. As an inhalation is it also effective for the relief of mild sinus headaches and as a steam inhalation for sinus infections. In the bathtub or as a body oil, it penetrates deeper into the muscles as an antispasmodic relaxant. The antispasmodic activity can also be applied in emergency medicine in place of an inhaler for milder to midgrade cases of an asthma attack. Some people are averse to the smell of Lavender, so you always ask before spritzing, dabbing, rubbing or huffing.
Lavender flowers can be smoked in floral blends with or without Tobacco for those who enjoy that form of medicine and burned in a sensor as an incense to clear the room of negative energy. Psycho-spiritually, Lavender is the 43rd card in the Tarot des Fleurs, my first deck. Without the Major and Minor Arcana correspondences and just a little book written in German, French and English, learning these cards was the most beautiful way to connect with the plant spirits. Lavender is for Spiritual Appeal, the seventh and final chakra, the crown, connecting us to the cosmos and the super consciousness of the universe. Spiritual appeal, Lavender can be employed to draw nature spirits in and keep the bad ones out. A gate keeper much like Elder Berry, stands of Lavender act like an invisible fence around your living space. People in our newer age community are increasingly interested and participating in entheogenic experiences with strongly purgative formulas like Ayahuasca. For some this medicine is deeply transformative, for some, a spiritual bypass, for others dark and demonic. I have been asked by students, “Are there other plants that are also as transformative and awakening? Do all plants have these profound messages like what I experienced with Ayahuasca?” … my answer is always YES! You do not need heavy purges, or many day long retreats into the Amazon or hipster houses in L.A. to experience the depth of plant spirit. All plants are connected by the roots to the heart of the world, they are the voices of the mystery, the givers, keepers and receivers of all life. Their bodies consume the sun, providing us with oxygen and food, that they then offer to the soil for more life to thrive. The best plants to connect deeply with spirit are those who have walked with us humans throughout history, Lavender, Rose, Elder, Rue, Ginseng, Sage, Artemisia, Blue Vervain, Bitter Melon, Willow and Oak. While the entheogenic plants and mushrooms of the rainforests, deserts and tundra are critical to our human awakening, we cannot forget to hear the subtler voices of our common friends. Lavender helps us tune in, quiet the mind and listen to the heart so we can listen to the cries and laughter of everything else around us.
Internally as a water infused tea of the flowers and leaves, Lavender moves stagnant womb blood as well as alleviate gas and cramping in the digestive system. Use along with Chamomile and Yarrow Tea for sluggish menstrual period with clotting and cramping. Use with Peppermint and Chamomile for a soothing after dinner tea.
From the Latin word Lavare, Lavender takes its name due to its highly antiseptic and aromatic qualities that made it a favorite for soaps and bathing oils to the ancient Romans. Lavender is native to the Mediterranean and Asia Minor, first noted in the 6th century BCE and on by famous physicians and scholars such as Theophrastus, Cato the Elder, Varro, Vergil and Pliny the Elder. Used throughout the Middle Ages in monastic and country gardens, it had a strong place in the Unani-Tibb (Greco-Arabic) medicine as an antiepileptic.
Widely cultivated around temperate regions of the globe, Lavender scent can be found in everything from body lotions, shampoos, household cleaners, decorative sachets, dream pillows and eye masks. Select only organically grown Lavender from reputable companies... I personally like Floracopea, Aroma Flor, Pangea Organics and Mountain Rose Herbs.
May all things move
and be moved in me
be known, within and outside me
May all creation dance
within me and through me.
Speckled Turkey Egg... Creamy white, pink and blue Chicken... perfectly round Gecko.
You hold the entire World within a fragile shell
Fallen through the cracks, miles above her mother, wet, naked, cold.
She could have been another tragedy, a soul given but a moment
Tucked under warm wings.
Have you ever seen babies be born from eggs? I have heard the cheeps of chicks behind that shell, pecking fiercely to be free... born wet and helpless. Sometimes they come out with the umbilical still attached, their insides out, and you know that you can't do anything except
let her die under her mother's warm body.
I have seen geckos born from the tiniest of eggs hidden in my laundry basket, no bigger than my pinky nail, they jump free, innate, knowing exactly what to do, their reptilian brain keeps them alive. Spiders bursting free from the egg sack, they cling to their mother's web and in days float away...
Tadpoles, eyes moving back and forth through translucent film, dangling from a leaf, did the mother hang it just right? Will it hit ground or fall as intended into the water, fate resting on a few inches.
The egg turns to water and the wiggly beings are set free,
nurtured by the microorganisms in the water,
not for 8-12 weeks will they develop froggy legs.
I have seen my own eggs, collected and fertilized outside of my own body. Multiplying like the flower of life, the cells replicate perfectly. All that potential right there in a petri dish,
a person, some beautiful soul... my body rejects.
This world is an egg, a membrane encasing us... we are born of the Earth and we die on this Earth,
to give life to more eggs.