Weed Wanderings Herbal Ezine with Susun Weed: Wise Woman Wisdom
August 2003
Volume 3 Number 8

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What's Inside Weed Wanderings this Month...


Wise Woman Wisdom...
Smoke Plants of North America
by M.R.Ross
The Song Still Sings in Our Hearts
by Phyllis Crawford (Whisper)

Smoke Plants of North America
by M.R.Ross

An excerpt from Chapter One, "Personal Smoke"

Spinning Coyote Smoke Mix

Damiana—a sweet-smelling, gentle nervine. Helps keep the heart open during difficult times.

Mullein—helps soothe inflamed lungs. It is the base of many smoke mixes. It is a very gentle herb and has no known toxic effect.

Passionflower— soothes the mind. A nervine and a sedative, it is especially helpful for nerves that have been stressed by worrying and overthinking.

Manzanita—one of the most frequently used herbs in smoke mixes by First Nation people. It’s an astringent, grounding element in a smoke mix.

Skullcap— relaxes rigid muscles. Helps stop obsessive thinking and grounds the mind in the body. Good for insomnia.

Fennel (or anise) seed—a wonderful aroma, lifts the heart.

Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation—When I was living in Tahlequah, my friend Dawn Caldwell (Sauk & Fox/Quapaw) gave me a copy of a Cheyenne story titled Coyote Who Wanted to Dance with the Stars. Dawn is a scholar of Native American Studies who grew up dancing on PowWow Highway, the partly mythical, mostly real string of PowWows that winds through Indian Country. I learned a lot from her generous sharing of Indian Way.

The way I remember the story is:

Coyote sat down on Earth and watched the stars spinning across the night sky. He wanted to be up high with the stars, spinning and dancing. So Coyote flew up to the stars, spinning across the sky higher and higher, faster and faster, until he went so fast that his arms and legs flew off and he crashed to the ground. Coyote’s desire for that high, fast, spinning star dance was so great he didn’t learn the first time he crashed, or the second time. The third time he went so fast, and so high, that his head flew off, all his arms and legs fell off, and his whole body flew to pieces and he was scattered all over the Earth. It took him a long, long time to find all the pieces of himself and put himself back together again.

I didn’t get it the first time I read it. About a week later, it hit me. This was my story. I think this is the story for a lot of us.When we want to be something we aren’t, when we go too fast, too high, try to achieve an ideal life, or an ideal relationship, or an ideal career that is humanly impossible, sooner or later our bodies fall apart, our identities crash, and it takes a long time to find all the pieces and put ourselves back together.

That’s why sometimes I think of my smoke mix as the Spinning Coyote Smoke Mix. It reminds me to slow down and enjoy myself as a mere mortal here on Earth.

Excerpt from
Smoke Plants of North America, A Journey of Discovery by M.R.Ross

182 pp.
5 1/4 X 7 1/4
published by MultiCultural Educational Publishing Co.
P.O.Box 1054, Jerome, AZ 86331


* Excerpt from A City Herbal by Maida Silverman


Pour I cup of boiling water over I heaping tablespoon of Mullein flowers. Let steep10 minutes, strain, and sweeten with honey if desired.


This is a pleasant, nutritious drink that, taken at bedtime, soothes irritated bronchial passages and relieves coughing. Modern herbalists also recommend this drink to relieve diarrhea in adults.

Combine 2 tablespoons of mullein flowers (or you may substitute chopped fresh mullen leaves if you wish) with 1 pint of milk. Heat to the scalding point and let stand until warm. Strain and sweeten with honey.

Note: Mullein drinks should be strained through coffee filter paper, to remove the fine hairs that cover the entire plant. These are irritating to the mouth and throat.

* Excerpt from A City Herbal by Maida Silverman

The Song Still Sings in Our Hearts

by Phyllis Crawford (Whisper)

I come here into this life grandchild of those who have lost it all
you raise me in another's world where my heart's song whimpers
I walk their road like a traveler and not a true countryman
their life is not mine, their ways are not mine, I am isolated

once in a while I hear the echos of the old ones songs
sometimes I hear the truth from voices of those brave ones
ones with courage in their hearts - I call them the planters
they walk through this world to plant a memory seed

the love song of the ancient ones who dreamed and knew
their song whispers across my heart from time to time
and yes the joy of their dance sometimes comes to me
in a remembering of those who knew no fear nor doubt

I see the many hoops shape into the ancient love storeis
they show me it all, the Earth Mother, the Bear, the others
the Butterfly, the Eagle and so many more who taught
their spirits come alive with the rhythms of the drums

they rise up and dance with the hoops and dancers
I laugh as I see them return to dance and share
they call out in their spirit song "listen and watch"
we will recall our songs for you as you dream awake

the tears begin to flow and I begin to know it is me
a grandchild of the ones for whom this land was created
I know now it is me who is the countryman of this walk
and they, the strangers I live among, are but travelers

they come for a short while what seems like in time
they have taken what seems all that once was to us
yet they have taken nothing, we are still here in this walk
and the song of our people still sings in our hearts



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