a note from the untamed alchemist

Herbalism

I was first introduced to herbs as a child when Danish my grandmother and aunt would employ them in everything from easing my jet lag to dying hand-spun wool; I’ve leveraged herbs for joy, food, and wellness my whole life! My herbal work began with particular interest in the folklore, associations, and therapeutic properties of local herbs and plants that are conscientiously and sustainably wild-crafted.

As my ability to collect and grow herbs has expanded, so, too, have my garden, my daily engagement with herbs, my skills, and my commitment to ongoing learning.

Fresh Herbs

Aromatherapy

I’ve been working with essential oils ever since I discovered my first bottle of real Ylang Ylang over 25 years ago. I began a more formal engagement with essential oils a year later after I began working with a woman who sold aromatherapy bath salts at fairs and markets around California.

essential oils & herbsToday, I’m an aromatherapist with hundreds of hours of ongoing education in both esoteric and clinical aromatherapy; I also have eight years experience working directly with clients in my private practice. I continue to seek out learning opportunities, workshops, classes, and conferences that can provide still more breadth and depth to my work.

In addition to my fundamental and continuing education in essential oils, I’ve also trained as an aromatherapy educator through the Aromahead Institute’s teacher training program; I teach aromatherapy workshops in my Untamed Workshop. I’m a professional member of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) and a clinical member (CMAIA) of the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA). (Some day, I may even get around to taking the ARC exam!)

A Few Words About Credentials & Qualifications

While there are programs that provide certifications in aromatherapy and herbalism in the United States, there is no single authority or governing body that regulates those certifications. Unlike massage therapy, there is no state licensing that empowers a scope of practice for aromatherapists or herbalists. To wit, “certification”  merely means that an individual has successfully completed a program as outlined by the program’s owner or designer–and those programs sometimes vary greatly in their quality, depth, and breadth.

Since my passion for aromatherapy and herbalism is in the learning, not just the doing, I seek out programs that are considered to have exceptional reputations and challenging course platforms. I continue to rigorously pursue the highest standards and keep raising the bar for myself as my experience grows.

I am constantly adding new courses and new elements to my learning, but the scope of my knowledge and engagement will always have both limitations and new opportunities for growth.

I take great pride in knowing as much I do, but I am equally passionate about faithfully representing myself and honoring what I don’t know. I am also keenly aware I am not perfect–you need to be aware that I’m not perfect, too!

I choose to maintain active curiosity, deep reverence, powerful awe, eager exploration, healthy boundaries, and continuing education to ground and elevate my work. My personal experience of various practitioners, teachers, mentors, and colleagues suggests that’s the path to yields authenticity, grace, and good judgment.

back massageMassage

I added massage therapy to my resumé in 2012 because I wanted to engage with my private practice clients in more meaningful ways. I attended the Santa Fe School of Massage (SFSoM) because they had a reputation for creating exceptional students–all of my favorite massage therapists were graduates of the SFSoM. 

My studies at the Santa Fe School of Massage deepened my understanding of anatomy, physiology, Qi, and energetics, and vastly empowered the quality of my touch.

While massage is not the main focus of my practice or business, I do offer massage to individuals interested in leveraging aromatherapy and herbs in the context of their massage or body work experience. Today, I only offer massages in the context of my broader

I began my massage practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2012; I’m now a licensed massage therapist (LMT) in Idaho.

Cooking, Crafts, & Curiosity

In addition to my work with aromatics, I’m an avid gardener, inspired cook, and passionate craftsperson…

If it involves my hands and some kind of transformation (soil to sustenance, wool to wearable, bead to bracelet) don’t be surprised if I spend some of my time doing it (and some of this space writing about it)!

Words, Wisdom, & Whimsy

I consider myself a witch and a storyteller.  I am deeply invested and interested in the power of folklore, mythology, archetypes, poetry, and oral history. I also have a wicked sense of humor. To wit, you’re as apt to find poems, creative nonfiction, and whimsical thoughts among my posts as you are recipes. It’s my nature. I’m powerless to stop it.

Other Truths

I am not a doctor. None of the recipes provided, articles shared, or resources discussed on this blog are intended to diagnose, prevent, cure, or treat any disease or medical issue.

Please, take active responsibility for your wellness and consult a qualified medical professional before incorporating herbs and essential oils in your life to address a health concern. Many factors—including age, medical history, medications, supplements, preexisting conditions, and allergies to name but a few—inform whether or not a given essential oil, herbal decoction, or blended recipe is safe for use by an individual. It is not in the scope of this blog to provide comprehensive safety information: not all safety concerns or specific contraindications are listed here. You are responsible for checking every recipe for unique safety concerns relevant to you, your circumstances, and/or your intended blend recipient, ideally in partnership with a qualified health practitioner.

I encourage you to look to safe, thoughtful use of essential oils and herbs, a deliberate relationship with food, and active engagement with nature and the divine to enrich and enchant your life.

Most importantly, I urge you to remain actively engaged with your attitude, your community, your practice, and your world.

Bless and blessed be,

The Untamed Alchemist

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