Brushing the dust off the ole sttw blog w/ a hodgepodge of visuals

Printing "Ghost Medicine II" Internal Panels

 When I light your darkened door


    Grandpa's ole 35mm, spirit lens - on.


At long last, a vision emerges...

Raven Messenger II

A slow drawing mapped from a photograph of a mysteriously curious raven encountered in the Painted Desert.

Reap As You Sow

The Painted Desert Raven:


Navajo Elder, Grandmother Mabel Little Speaks

Grandmother Mabel Little:

She is so adorable, remarkably knowledgeable, and an amazingly articulate story teller! So glad to have been able to sit in a circle and hear her speak to us about Navajo creation stories and their relation to how the "five-fingered ones" learned of plant medicines and the healing path from the "holies." She also told an interesting tale about the 4 witches: hunger, poverty, sickness, and old age. Hopefully I will be able to post a soundclip of some of her presentation in coming days. Mabel gave us her blessings to audio record the event and take photographs to share with others interested in learning the "right way" .....I think that means in the manner of maintaining the intuitive virtue of compassion for our fellow universe; we(humans) belong to it, not the other way around.

Peeping some Pinyon sap after Mabel explained how it can be used topically as an anti-microbial to rid infection, extract puss, and mend the wounded area. Her recommended application involved melting plenty of the sap over a fire until it became warm and runny, then use a thick piece of denim cloth to transfer the sap to the wound; bee stings and yucca impailings were two examples for which this treatment was diagnosed.

The Healing Circle:

Two of my favorite plant teachers that I've been blessed to learn from. I rejoice in life to have met folks like these! It was such a lovely day too...

My friend Jessa pointing out Comfrey to me, a veritable "heal-all" medicinal. It's leaves are huge and have a sort of reptilian texture. The leaves can be wrapped around broken bones and applied topically to affected areas to speed up cell repair due to the prevalence of allantoin, a cell proliferant. Comfrey is not recommended for internal use due to a high presence of alkaloids in its constituents that are toxic to the liver. Used appropriately, comfrey helps bodily systems fulfill their most crucial function and design: heal, replenish, and renew.

This is my good friend and fellow visual artist Sonny Greyeyes Clitso. He took me out to his parents home at Kayenta on the Navajo Rez. I partook in the intense sensory experience of watching some of his cousins corral a herd of wild horses for branding a few weeks ago. It was a bone-riveting adventure, at times painfully hard to watch, but I'm thankful to have been taken along for the bumpy ride. The horses had to be branded for practical reasons, and the whole event was actually conducted with much art and grace despite its inherent turbulence. Thanks Sonny for the wonderful times and help with the photo documentation!

He took these shots:

Ghost Medicine and Sedona community gardens

Tetradymia Canescens: "Ghost Medicine"

This a highly spiritual and very powerful plant that has been used for centuries by the Navajo and Hopi. A low lying desert shrub, tetradymia contains chemical properties that render it an emetic, meaning that it causes physical purging. When used in ceremony, this special medicine is said to relieve the living of unwanted visitations from the dead. Though I have never used this plant, it has somehow spoken to me and I immediately felt an intense connection to the plant as a sort of metaphor for dealing with the premature loss of loved ones. I loved finding this one in the field and just sitting with it for a while.

More Datura documentation:

The number 5

The sacred spiral

Spikey seed pods, so called thorny-apples

Photos from plant walk at Kelly Canyon:

That's Phyllis Hogan in the purple. She has been a most lovely plant teacher and endearing friend of mine for the last two summer's now. She and her assistant Jessa Fisher run Arizona Ethnobotanical Research Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to pursuit of herbalism and community outreach regarding personal and spiritual health. AERA not only aspires to inform the public of the importance of health, diet, and plant medicine in the ongoing complex life processes of healing, but also seeks to preserve the beautiful and ancient forms of indigenous culture, knowledge, and ritual passed on to her from the various Native medicine men that she has studied under in her lifetime. Phyllis runs an herbal trading store in downtown Flagstaff called WinterSun.

Community Garden tour in Sedona, AZ

My friend Jessa helping harvest enormous Zucchs!

Sunroot (Jerusalem arthichoke) edible root from a sunflower plant.

bee worker: