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Helmut, the German medicine man

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Living in Teopatli Kalpulli has many advantages, and one of them is the constant stream of wise and interesting individuals who come our way.

Recently we enjoyed a workshop with Helmut, a German medicine man who comes to Teopantli Kalpulli every two years to participate in the Promesa del Sol ceremony. During his stay he offers a workshop on medicinal plants. This year he didn’t know what the topic would be so he decided to spend the night sleeping under a sage bush to see if he would get any clues about what the teaching should be. Here in the Kalpulli the sage grows up to eight feet tall, towering over us in its mature state. I have two of them standing guard outside my door.

As it turned out, the sagebrush showed up in his dream: as a queen, in full regalia. I imagined her decked out in a crown of soft purple flowers and a dress made of dusty silver-green.

Helmut realized at once what the teaching would be. He would teach us to communicate with the sage, and then to make a dream catcher from one of its boughs.

He shared his dream with us and interestingly, Rodolfo, one of the village elders, shared with us a bit of local lore: this hill where the Kalpulli is built was once called “El Salvial,” or Place Where the Sage Grows, because of its special abundance in these parts. In recent years it seems to have been in decline, according to another village elder, Beatriz.

Helmut then took us into the field to practice approaching the sage in a respectful way, stopping outside its aura or energy field with hands lowered and facing the plant. We were to stop the moment we felt the plant’s energy field.

I’m not sure whether it was the breeze, my imagination or the plant’s aura, but I definitely felt something as I inched toward my chosen plant. Once we were in communication, we were to share “beautiful words” with the plant, and then ask permission to harvest a bough to use for our dream catcher.

I struggled a bit, as my boughs kept breaking. I had to keep asking permission to take another one, to my chagrin. My sage plant didn’t seem to mind, and I ended up with a lot of sage for tea. My dream catcher came out a bit lopsided, and I haven’t yet found time to decorate it or hang it. But I do seem to be dreaming more. Now if I could just have a visit from the Queen…

Here are a few moments from our workshop.


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