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by Corinna Wood

I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since the founding of Red Moon Herbs!  Over these years, we have progressed in so many ways, within the larger Wise Woman Tradition movement and the organic, natural health movement. Certainly, it hasn’t happened overnight. Rather, it was (and still is) a lot like encouraging a wild, herbal garden – the result of many small, daily steps coming together to bear fruit.

Twenty years ago, Red Moon Herbs was founded with the guiding principles of the Wise Woman Tradition–wildcrafting “weeds” from organic farms and wild areas, creating herbal preparations using fresh, abundant, local plants.  We felt edgy bringing our herbal products to the Asheville Spring Herb Festival in 1997 — in a sea of basil starts, out of 100 vendors, we seemed to be the only one sharing tinctures and healing oils and salves. Today our booth at Asheville Herb Festival is surrounded with numerous medicinal vendors.

Our focus on fresh, local, abundant plant material continues to set Red Moon Herbs apart, and while we’ve always been local, today we are even more so. When Red Moon Herbs moved to Earthaven Ecovillage 12 years ago, we actively encouraged and cultivated those previously wildcrafted “weeds” at our back door. Today, thanks to those efforts, the vast majority of our herbal allies are regularly harvested on site. This is as local as local gets!

As I look back, I’m also struck by the profound progression of the women’s movement. When I was 21, I was blessed to apprentice extensively with Susun Weed, who has been holding the voice for the Wise Woman Tradition for decades. 

Through looking at the wisdom cultures of the past, Susun Weed recognized an ancient paradigm, one based on local plants and deep nourishment. The Wise Woman Tradition is earth and body centered–embracing the healing opportunities of living in our bodies, speaking our truths, loving ourselves. Today, many herbalists, naturopaths, nurses, midwives, mothers, and others embrace this Wise Woman approach focused on nourishment and self-love.

This paradigm is now largely shared by women at Herbal Conferences around the country. Twenty years ago many of these conferences were just seedlings, and, as the founder of Red Moon Herbs (a seedling itself), I loved attending some of these conferences. After years of running Red Moon Herbs and teaching about herbs and women’s health in the mountains of Western North Carolina, I envisioned a women’s herbal conference taking place right here in the ancient mountains of the Southeast. Magically, in 2006  the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference was born. Two hundred women came together, and now eight years later it has grown to a gathering of almost 1,000 women!

 The growth of herbal medicine and reclaiming of the Wise Woman Tradition is exciting and inspiring. Our small steps have borne abundant fruit. Here’s to the next 20 years of the Wise Woman Ways!

August 02, 2012 by Red Moon Herbs

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