Earth Medicine – Origins and FAQ’s

What is it?

Earth Medicine, or Earth Wisdom, are labels for a way of being that bring the individual back into meaningful relationship with both the Self and the natural world that we are a part of. Indigenous peoples world-wide, who lived in close connection with the Earth, drew wisdom and inspiration from their relationship with the natural world and hence the term Earth Wisdom came into being.

But why Earth Medicine – is it to do with healing?

Yes, but not necessarily in the Western medical sense we are used to. The term ‘Medicine’, in this context, came into being when the first European settlers of the North East coast of America contacted the indigenous peoples of that region. Medicine became associated with the native word ‘Medowyn’ which means wholeness, or to move towards wholeness. Well, Medicine means something similar – to heal, the origin of which being to make whole.

The important distinction between Medowyn and the contemporary western understanding of Medicine, is that the native perspective emphasises a need for our psyche/personality/Self to become more whole first, and as a result, our emotional and physical health is transformed (because they are related – one affects the other, and vice-versa). In the West we have tended to focus more on healing purely the physical symptoms – though this attitude is thankfully now changing.

“we are all related”

A foundational principal of Earth Medicine is that “we are all related” and We (the people, the trees, the tides and the air we breathe) are all unique and vital aspects of the wholeness of the Universe that we are a part of. This is why the earliest, and truest forms of democracy have originated from the Native American peoples and other Earth-based traditions around the world. It is the gradual corruption (and forgetting) of these core principles that have lead us to our current dog-eat-dog, power hungry political mentality – which is also, thankfully now showing signs of change.

Is Earth Medicine relevant in today’s society?

Yes, in fact it is needed now more than ever before. As mentioned above, we have been ‘forgetting’ this wisdom that each one of us carries inside of ourselves. When we forget that we are all related – often all that we see is the difference. Though difference and diversity are the natural order of the universe, if we forget the bigger picture we fall victim to our fears of the unknown (or the ‘other’) and conflict is often the result – from the most trivial of spats with a partner, to the horrors of war between rival factions or neighbouring countries.

Isn’t it all just ancient hocus-pocus – we have science now?

Earth Medicine is actually an ancient and holistic science which continues to evolve as it’s progression is not limited by purely brain-mind reasoning. It knows no dogma or limitations of personal ambition. It embraces the whole picture, not just slices of it as does the modern day scientific community. Professor James Lovelock would attest to this, and it is something that I have also experienced during my own time at university.

It is my fantasy that the brilliant minds of cutting-edge science, such as Einstein, Hawkins and those scientists who continue to push the boundaries of understanding, would embrace the intelligences at work in these ancient and natural systems of learning and growth.

Much of the teachings and tools of Earth Medicine, as I have mentioned above, address the Human Psyche or Self. There is an increasing volume of modern day comparisons between Earth Medicine principles and the findings of our contemporary psychological sciences.

I can’t vouch for the scientific validity of this next statement (but in my own experience I would say that this is probably the reality of it)… I heard recently that a quantum physicist stated to an Elder of the tradition of Earth Medicine that I study, that the Twenty Count Medicine Wheel is not only a precursor to quantum physics, but it goes beyond what quantum physics can currently describe.

Either way, as with all methods, tools and techniques, the ‘proof is in the pudding’. If it works and benefits your life (without being at the detriment to anyone/anything else), that is what matters.

How can it benefit me?

There are many benefits to be gained from practising Earth Medicine principles in your daily life. They can help us to find true inner peace, happiness, health and fulfilment in our lives. They help us to find purpose and move and act with purpose. We become more efficient and strategic Human beings and importantly, feel as though we ‘belong’ in, and that we are a valid part of, this life.

Sounds a bit too good to be true doesn’t it?

It probably does from our conditioned western perspective. The states described above may seem alien or unrealistic, but they are actually a natural state to be in. It is simply that we have forgotten how to be that way. With each generation that passes we lose a little bit more of the total picture, only to be replaced by what the status quo (not the band – might be fun though!) considers to be the ‘norm’.

How do I find out more?

If this is your first visit to Way of the Human, head over to our introduction of the 'Way of the Human'. We have a selection of training programmes that you can get involved with, each designed to reawaken the realisation of what it is to be a whole and fulfilled Human Being.

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