The Soul Garden

Archeus 10 Years On - My relationship with Nature

December 08, 2023 Georgina Langdale Episode 36
The Soul Garden
Archeus 10 Years On - My relationship with Nature
Show Notes Transcript

In this week’s episode of The Soul Garden podcast, I reflect on my own connection with nature and ways I have worked with it over the past ten years of Archeus.

For me, stepping away from my previous career, to step fully into this realm of working with nature, with plants to create offerings to support health and wellbeing at a physical, emotional and spiritual level has been so rewarding, so life-enriching. So in this episode I share some of my thoughts on my approach to formulation, the rules I gave myself when starting Archeus, and the different ways I have explored the healing power of nature over the past decade.

I hope you find this informative and maybe even just a little inspiring!!!

If you are interested in a Plant Essences & Energetics Guidance Session you can book that here.

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Hello, and welcome to the soul garden. My name is Georgina Langdale. I'm your host, and I'm the founder of Archeus. And I'm absolutely delighted to have you here. At the moment, I am celebrating 10 years since my artisanal apothecary Archeus came into being first of December 2013 was the day that my trembling hand pushed the button that said, publish, and my website went live. And what a 10 years it's been. Over the past 10 years, I've been really focusing on working with the healing power of plants and nature. And in this week's episode of the soul garden, I'm going to talk about that connection with nature a bit more about my connection with nature and, and what inspires me. I'm going to look at the craft and the hidden world of botanical names, and why I think that developing a closer relationship with nature is really essential to helping us navigate life in today's world. So I hope you enjoy this episode, make a cup of tea, get yourself comfy and, and here we go. I think that it can be really helpful to hear candid reflections on somebody's passion and love for their craft or their art form. So I hope that this episode will, will show you a little bit of mine. So I'm going to start briefly at the beginning, my connection to nature started at a really, really early age, I was growing up on a farm in the Cotswolds and England was my parents, I'm an only child. And so I always went out into nature anyway to play you know, the animals and everything. They were all my kind of playground as an as an only child. But when I was seven, something happened to me and wasn't very nice. And in that experience, I left my body. And while I was still in my body, I can still see everything and feel everything that was happening. But also I was up there somewhere else formless. I was the formlessness beyond form. And it was kind of peaceful up there. And I felt absolutely connected to everything. Then I came back into my body and I had to bike home down a country lane. And as I was biking back down that lane, aged seven, the sound of bicycle tires on the road, I felt like was saw energy just just shining out of all the plants and things like along the along this little country lay in by the stone walls that Hawthorne and the meadowsweet in bits and pieces. And it felt like nature was saying to me, we can help you heal. It was very profound. And kind of weird, as well, I have to say. But anyway, I paid attention to that. And where humans didn't step forward to help nature did I started to really connect, see and connect or feel and connect to the energy of plants, that kind of energy that moves through everything, but also, you know, like people, each type of plant had its own, feel its own energy, its own own sense of Bing and I was able to start to tap into that. And I'm so so glad I did amazing. Or in fact, in July I went back to that lane. And I thanked the plants, you know half a century later. Oh my goodness. But I thanked them for giving me this gift for showing up for me when I needed them when I needed help And then giving me I think now, half a century later this gift of being able to work with the healing nature of plants. Anyway, this set up a really a lifelong passion in exploring the ways that we connect with nature for healing and for our emotional well being at a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. And I think the first course I did, and all of this was back in 1992, and it was with the London School of Aromatherapy. And that was pretty neat. And then over the years, oh my god, you know, apart from doing training and things like naturopath in herbalism, and plant essences with about flower Institute. Just so many things. I also explored the energetic side of stuff, Reiki, shamanic medicine. And I explored my own cultural roots back into the landscape. So for me, that was the earth based traditions of the British Isles, druidry and things like that. So it's been lovely and rich and beautiful. I was kind of like a closet healer, though, you know, I didn't want to step out of that. cupboard, that closet. But my work gradually over time started taking me more and more towards the environment. I worked in media and the arts. But then I felt like I wanted to be a voice for nature. And so that led me to doing PR for a big environmental prize, the University of St. Andrews prize for the environment. I worked for Kew Gardens. Amazing. And then I went on to work for the UN Environment Program. But when I came back to New Zealand in 2011, it was an opportunity to do something different. And so establishing Archeus was a way for me to really embrace this relationship I had with the healing power of nature, I decided I absolutely had to do something with it, because I wanted to share it. So when I started making Archeus skincare was from it was making skincare, but it was from a herbal wisdom perspective. And I set some rules for myself. First up, everything in the formulas I created, had a job to do it had to be there for a purpose. There were no fillers just filling up volume that went into the jar, everything had some sort of therapeutic beneficial offering that it gave to the formulas. And I worked in creating these formulas in quite traditional ways. Almost it was like a for me, when I create herbal formulations. I liken it to composing music, what are the notes that go together? What augments or diminishes, what is the state of being of the person do they need more major chord or or minor chord? Or sometimes I see it as a as an art work, you know the balance of different colors, and form and shape and perspective. Everything in the formulation becomes multi dimensional, what is the primary healing force I want to bring in? What are the other ingredients that may support and augment that healing action. So I loved working with it. And I draw on a rich, rich lineage to do that through great healers and medicinal herbal minds of our times and times beyond. So, I was very drawn to people like Paracelsus in the 16th century Marsilio Ficino in the 15th century, Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th century. And Hippocrates, in ancient Greece and I will probably talk more about them in another episode because there is really rich content there and I don't want to overwhelm you all in one go. So I'm going to stick with the plants the other aspect of working with plants that I love is also then seeing how These plants have been used in contemporary contexts. And so I really love finding information and studies on the efficacy of plants in a contemporary context. And so that also plays a big role within my approach to formulation. It's not just looking at traditional knowledge and traditional ways of working with plants. It is also that hand in hand with contemporary context. And doing that due diligence for me is really part of the process of formulation. The other thing I felt when I was setting up Archeus was not only about working with the benefits of plants, but also doing it in a way that was sustainable. So if you think back 10 years ago, 2013 I, my observation was in the natural skincare, and organic skincare kind of industry arena, there was this kind of race for finding the next exotic ingredient one would put in your formulations. You know, the marketing spin was all around this amazing, you know, ingredient that had been found in the middle of the Amazon jungle or something that absolutely went against what I personally believed in. Nicholas Culpeper was a British herbalist in the 17th century. And he's had this great line he said something like the medicine we need can be found, by the paths at our feet, by our doorways, we just need to know how to see it. When you think of hedge witches and herbalists, the, the wise woman in the village, you know, that people would go to for healing, she was working with the plants that were growing around her. She wasn't going off to, you know, the Amazon for some exotic plant, I guess unless you lived in the Amazon. And then also, I wanted the products that I created to give back to nature. So everything I made, I put a little bit in a little piggy bank to give to ecological restoration projects and the Kew Millennium seed bank and Rob McGowan's to a walker project here in New Zealand. And that's been really important for me when I make products for Archeus I really like to use traditional processes to really get the most out of the ingredients. It's a bit like that, you know that slow food movement of slow cooking produce, working with the seasons, all of that. I take that same approach to the way I create the products. Now this is kept Archeus small, Schumacher said Small is beautiful. It's enabled me I mean still 10 years on, I still do all the bass processing and what does that mean? That means things like infusing oils like certified organic sunflower oil with different healing herbs. I've used things like calendula and silverbirch that grows in the garden and Melissa balm or going blank now plantain or rose or lavender or popular butts a whole range of things. But let them slowly slowly infusing the oils to then make the products from that earlier on in Archeus history. I did a lot of distillations I made my own hydrosols and I loved that alchemical approach. I made tinctures from plants growing in the garden like mother watch, and mug watch and various other things. A huge part of the way I create products is by creating plant essences or flower remedies from many plants growing in the garden i I actually love working with plant essences and flower remedies because they're really tapping into those plant energetics that step forward for me. When I was so young, I sometimes describe flower remedies as a hug in a bottle. When you make essential oils you use A lot of plant material to make a very small amount of finished essential oil or absolute and it's very, very potent. And, and you need lots and lots and lots of plant material, creating plant essences and flower remedies, you flip that whole ratio on its head, you use time, you can use tiny amounts of plant material to make very large amounts of plant essence. Because you're working at a at a different level, you're not working at it, what I call the course aspect, a physical level of plant you're working with energetics. And so with plant essences A little goes a long way and oh my god, so beautiful. So I love working with plant essences. And I love working with I love the whole process of harvesting plants, preparing them for tinctures, drying them, infusing them into oils, filtering the oils, putting them into bottles, making the products the whole thing for me is a is a spiritual practice to be honest. Because when I'm working with these different plant ingredients, I am really connecting with them I am focusing on their healing properties I'm focusing on how they grow and when and where they grow. I love to work with seasons and and the whole cosmos mapping of old you know, the astrological transits and things and people go oh my god really watch. But you know Hippocrates, and all doctors, Medic sign up to the Hippocratic Oath. When you read writings attributed to Hippocrates, one of the things you will see is the quote for the to truly heal. A physician must first know the stars. So this idea of medicine are methods of helping support health and well being has for millennia, being closely closely intricately. entwined with our awareness of links between nature ourselves, spirit and Cosmos. And along the way, certain people many people have written largely in at length about these things. So I'm thinking of, you know, Paracelsus and Hildegard of Bingen, and Ficino again and so many others. So, I met the plants, they introduce me to Spirit, they introduce me to them medicinal qualities. I kind of found and absorbed this knowledge and then I got curious, was I alone in this kind of weird way of being with plants? Was this relationship unique? No, it wasn't. Because then I started tugging on this thread of knowledge and I remember it took me to Culpeper, then to Paracelsus and then Paracelsus took me to Ficino meanwhile, I had experienced the exquisite music of Hildegard of Bingen. And that led me to her writings on medicine Causa et Curae her book, and her visions and her medicine wheel and really her truly shamanic way of working. I went back to Hippocrates. I looked at Asclepius in the temples of healing. I looked at how plants were used and ritual and ceremony and and how the plants used for and resins used an incense and spiritual worship are all actually amazingly antibacterial. And they were helping frankincense and rosemary and all of these things. They're actually helping keep the people congregating together safe from disease and things and everything became so rich for me so intimately and exquisitely connected. Archeus started off as an apothecary making skincare from a from this herbal herbalist, herbal medicine perspective. But over time, I felt more confident to open the door a little bit into my more energetic and spiritual and emotional relationship with plants. So I make plant essences. And so people can come to me now for a consultation that can simply we can figure out, you'd like you'd come to me, you'd book it on my Georgina website, we'd set up a time for half an hour. And you'd present me with the problem or the wish that you're wanting help with or the state of being you're wanting to address, and we'd explore that together. And then we would start to look at who the plant allies that might step up for you in the form of plant essences. And we would work on that and then I would make you plant elixir essence elixir and send it to you, the you are emotional medicine beautiful. We can also go deeper into this through my Unlocking Potential Renaissance reading work, where it's kind of mapping you as a client of mine against Cosmos at all levels, including your plant allies, including the aromatics, that spirit medicine for you, and maybe some of the herbs that would help you at a more physiological level, you know, in diet and, and things like that. So my work has really deepened, it's moved beyond the physical. The other thing that's happened during the during the 10 years of Archeus, is almost at exactly the same time as Archeus went live. My mother got a cancer diagnosis and a prognosis of only having six months to live. And both my parents died during the first few years of Archeus. And this led me on a deep dive into how what happens when we bring nature into the room for compassionate care, through illness, life transitions, and death and dying. And I'm going to speak about that more next week. But wow, seen some incredible things working with nature in that way. And you'll actually find on my Georgina website, there in the shop area, I have a range of products that I've created from nature, to support, connection, spirit, emotion, being together, farewells, all of these sorts of things with plants. And again, as I say, I'll talk about that more next week. Marsilio Ficino, the Renaissance physician and priest and healer who described himself as a physician of the soul. He saw our healing in a very multi dimensional way. So he would look at plant remedies, herbal medicine, diet exercise, he would look at who your aromatic allies are for your constitution. So I do this in my Unlocking Potential work. It's like Being Ficino, but he also talked about the colors that you look at the art that you see on your walls, the paintings, everything has the power almost to become an amulet to draw down the energy you need for your physical, emotional and spiritual well being. What I'm finding now 10 years on with Archeus is that is really deepening in me in the way I work with nature. I had a friend who had cancer and I wanted to wrap her up and goodness. So I dyed beautiful natural fabrics with healing herbs, and I dyed the embroidery thread to stitch into these herbs or dye the embroidery thread with other healing herbs. So the different colors, different herbs, and I created this thing to wrap her up in and This then led to me working with some handloom Weaver's in Kerala and India and some Ayurvedic doctors and we created these textiles as healing fabric. And I made bedlinen to help with different She states of being and that was really beautiful and I have now shrouds woven the fabric woven by these handling Weaver's in Kerala, but it's infused with all of these symbolic herbs for remembrance and peace and things for natural burial shrouds I started working also with painting I'm now starting to paint amulets in this way that Ficino wrote about, but I'm, I'm doing them in watercolors and I'm actually putting plant essences of the plant allies I wish to draw into this as these artworks, these amulets and putting the plant essence into the water I dip my brushes in so that this becomes another form of healing as well. And in 2024, I'll be starting to make these more available for for clients botanical names I was going to mention this earlier, but I'll come to it now. I really recommend way if you want to sit out and learn more about the plants growing around you and that you could work with for healing, that you learn both their common name and their Latin botanical name. Because between these two things, you will learn so much about the plants. You'll learn about their legends, their uses, their history, their genesis. So now I'm going to have to think of some examples sage. The botanical name for sage is salvia. Salvia means to heal salvation. So you already are getting a clue as to how they work. Motherwort another favorite of mine, the mother watch so waters weed, Mother weed, so it already tells you that it's like women's woman's herb. The botanical name is Leonurus cardiaca, which basically translates as The Lion hearted Motherwort is used a great medicine in menopause. And I make drops and tinctures and things for it remedies are on my website. But also it's been long used as a heart remedy as well. And I think energetically the plant helps us find courage be lionhearted. And that's why I love making plant essences with it. When you start to really know not just see shapes and forms and passing around you as you walk through a landscape, but start to really see individual species of plants, trees and things, your whole flowers in a garden, your whole way of viewing the world around you changes, it truly becomes multi dimensional, it is so rich. And it comes to a point when once you you start learning the ways these different planets have been used in medicine, in ritual and ceremony and in different marking different moments in our own life cycles. Even just looking at them becomes a form of medicine itself. I love teaching this stuff. I've run a lot of workshops over the years and making natural skincare people come to my apothecary in working with plant essences, you know, and COVID and everything all got in the way. We moved, moved to a new property. My father was dying. All of these things kind of there was an interruption in programming for a while. But in 2024 I really look forward to doing these workshops again and they will be small. And they will be intimate because my apothecary building here in this new property we moved to in 2019 There's really only room for maybe six people and me small, intimate, surrounded by gardens. I'm really looking forward to it. And I'm going to be putting material online for you as well. So you can, you know, kind of do it in your own way. But you know, 10 years As of doing Archeus, I've seen how this plant medicine can help people physically and emotionally. I've seen how working with nature can help with our own resilience through these really difficult times we're in challenging, you know, I've seen how the deeper we know nature, the more we work to care for it, that whole idea of stewardship, so important. And that sense of stewardship grows, when we start to deeply understand plants as individual beings and characters, rather than just a kind of green mess. There's a kind of play on words there, green mess, could be a spiritual experience. For me, stepping away from my corporate career, to step fully into this realm of working with natural products, with nature with plants and things for health and well being at a physical, emotional and spiritual level. You know, the products they make, to support women through menopause, the natural perfumes and the work products they make to support people in compassionate and end of life care. I didn't know how, really how truly enriching this would be. If you have a curiosity about the natural world, about the healing power of nature, if you have a sense of those energetic connections, if you want to pick up a herbal and learn more about the power of plants, do it. Do it, do it. I absolutely love working with healing power of nature. And in coming episodes of the soul garden, I really look forward to sharing more of this passion with you. And next week, I'm going to talk more about working with nature and compassionate and end of life care. I'm going to leave you with a quote from Einstein, who basically I think is a shaman, he said, look deep into nature, and you will understand everything better. I'm Georgina Langdale and you've been listening to another episode of the soul garden. Thank you so much for joining me here. If you're interested in looking at some of my products, you can find your way through to them at my website, Georgina And if you just want to head straight to the product, supporting women through menopause, and midlife transitions, you can find all of that at Archeus dot N Zed, that's ARCHEUS.NZ and those links will be in the program notes. Okay, go well and may your garden grow beautifully bye