There is somthing about the alchemy of distilling, of extraction that has always fascinated me as well. My contemplations have always gone from macro to micro, and the interconnectedness of all things from those levels is always so fascinnating! But the notion of essence, and of liberating an essence from a plant for example to make a perfume or oil is incredible. Even extracting a chemical from a plant whether its useing hot water to make a tea or some more advanced method is intriging and some what of a taboo subject among animists I know. But I often think chemistry just confuses people, and that its peoples intentions with chemistry that really bothers them. That aside the simplicity of distilling has really become a love of my life as of late.
This has been a real passion of mine for years now as you can tell! But ive been really wishing to levae my current proffession and move into wildcrafting natural products and selling Hydrosols and Oils from local plants. How does one do somthing such as this as an animist? Holding to our values. Well from the start, the ethical wildcrafting of plants is very important, asking permission of the plants and the land, giving offerings of humble gratitude is important. Working with pure water from a good place is important as well. But how do we work with this notion of product, of selling a product? What is a product any way?
1. Something produced by human or mechanical effort or by a natural process.
2. A direct result; a consequence: "Is history the product of impersonal social and economic forces?" (Anthony Lewis).
3. Chemistry A substance resulting from a chemical reaction.
a. The number or quantity obtained by multiplying two or more numbers together.
b. A scalar product.
c. A vector product.
In this respect I can understand working with the word product, but as an animist I cannot help looking at the word suspiciously...
I was produced or the product of human effort and a natural proccess. Human people are thus products? Yes they are... But they are not products in the orther use and defintion of the word.
1. Commodities offered for sale; "good business depends on having good merchandise"; "that store offers a variety of products"
Its hard to sell and buy people. Just as its hard to use people, as Ive always mention in regards to the concept of a tool. Human beings have for some time now looked rather pourly on the idea of buy and selling people, human people that is, and do not see people as commodities, ( though this could change in todays economic climate I'm sure) as a matter of fact seeing someone as a product that you could buy and sell some what unethical, and would be considered nearly patholigically anti-social and abherent behavior by todays ethical standards. Yet as an animist, we look at Salmon, and we look at Pine, at lemon, and Cabbage, and we see that we buy and sell people constantly. People are products, both litterally and in the sense of them being a commodity, but they are not human people.
How traditional animists worked out this detail when it came to hunting, gathering, farming, herding, and trading is always extremely complex and unique and it tends to revolve around reciprocity and respect as being the priorities to observe in the dynamic and exchange.
My challenge is how do I design a way of living in this society that adhears to my ethics and way of life as an animist?
For one What I want to do, is get people to unstand the importance of bioregional economies, to see the relationship between ecology and economy. I want to show people how much they can love what is local so that they will strive to protect it and work with it in a way that inspires pride in place and care in how we work with place and people of place. Bioregional economies or "domestic" "products" build strength in communities, where as globalized economies weaken local communities. When we see the value a local tree has to us, we appriciate it, protect it and develope a relationship of intimacy with it.
I would put a picture of each plant and eco-region I harvested from including the GPS coordinates for each plant so that people could go there, and meet the spirit of the place. I would NEVER focus on consitancy of "product" but focus on the uniqueness of each extraction, the place, the time of year, the phase of the moon, the weather that day the reason for this, being that each scent will be unique and an expression of the personality of a plant, place, and community, driving the notion of other than human person of place home. I would not take the plant material from the eco-region but distill the plants there allowing them to re-enter the food chain of that place, once they had been distilled, reducing the carbon foot print. All of these things I take care of and care for because that is reciprocity and respect and working in an animist way.
It is possible to work as an animist. You do not have to sell out or drop out to be or not to be an animist in this soceity, and your efforts as an animist will create some of the changes we need to see in this world today.
Hopfully I can get this off the ground, and help the genii loci get their voice heard over greater distances!
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