This last weekend I participated in the 3rd annual Chesapeake Herb Gathering at the Mellwood Recreation Center. It was a wonderful weekend of herbal workshops, a bonfire, camping & art put on by local herbal farm Centro Ashe and Molly Meehan.
It all started on Saturday morning as a group of Ecohermanas meet at founder Angela Adrar’s house and all road the hour trip it took from her house. Then when we got there we unloaded our stuff and then fellow Ecohermana Lia Totty & I went and helped with registration with one of the participants there named Dallas. Lia & I did registration for about an hour & a half and once we were finished the opening blessing with Natali Procter and her daughter Cryz Procter from the Piscataway First Nation tribe the only federally recognized tribe in Maryland as well as a panel featuring Angela, Molly and local herbalist Ayo Ngozi. During this time my mom Rabiah Nur made a beautiful alter with collaborations from different participants. Then once that was over the first round of workshops started. Most of Ecohermanas that came took the plant walk with Eric Joseph Lewis who is the bomb plant expert and was actually in my Permaculture Design Course that I took at the Accokee Foundation in Southern Maryland with Mr. Wane Wismen. This was a super informative plant walk learning about elder berry, sassafras and other amazing plants. Once the plant walk was over I took a little snack brake and checked out the cool venders here this year. The one I thought was the coolest was the queer herbalism stand that I meant to get back too.
After that the second workshops started then it was dinner time which was provided by Tarrance who helps at the Accokee Foundation as their chef. He made a really amazing meal of mash potatoes, vinacen and flower salad. Once dinner was over and everyone had eaten we all went to the bonfire and started dancing and playing drums and other instruments and then we started telling stories started by my mom Rabiah Nur. It started as some funny or heartfelt personal stories and then turned into a one person starts a story and then the next person continues it. It end up a story about a group of women who go to do ritual every year at the same place under the full moon and while they are doing their ritual their nephew is trying to climb to the moon and ends where the ladies end up in Mexico drinking many drinks and having a really great time and then they tell their nephew to get a group of friends together to help him by drinking many drinks and having a great time and by the time they are done they will reach the moon. It was very fun story. After the bonfire Caryl Henry Alexander the artist of Ecohermanas, my mom, myself and few other participants came and did some late night painting. It was a lot of fun. After that we all went to sleep in our cabins.
In the morning breakfast was served Oatmeal and then the third workshop happened. Caryl, my mom and I went to Cryz’s workshop on Living the Native American Experience. I learned a whole lot about the Piscataway tribe like how they are the only tribe left out of the Piscataway Confederacy as that to them a small dog was a delicacy back in ancient times. Also their tribe knew the importance of taking care of the land and not over working the land. The best part of her workshop was learning the Robin dance where you walk in a circle while someone is playing a Native Drum and then when they stop you duck down or when they go a little faster you turn around and go the opposite way. After that workshop was the last workshop and I did the one on basic garding and what to plant. I learned 5 plants to grow for medicine: holy basil, nettles, calenda & mint. As well as 5 veggies to plant: leafy greens, garlic, tomatoes, cucumber/watermelon & beats. Once that workshop was over the met up with Angela and our friend Sarah Damian who went to the class Sarah was teaching where she took different herbs and music and made dances to them. I hear it was a big hit with the kids but was fun for the adults too. It was now time to clean up and pack up everything and get going. After our two days learning and having fun the Ecohermanas crew went out to lunch at Sliver Dinner before going home. Over all this was a really fun, knowledgeable weekend.
Till Next Time…