Eliot Cowan Shares His Story

In 1969, when I was a graduate student in in Los Angeles, I expected to have a glamorous career in cinema. One time tiring of the pace and the pollution, I spent a night in a back country canyon, surrounded by silent trees and glowing stars. I was surprised to discover something that should have been perfectly obvious: I knew nothing about the world I lived in. I felt unrelated to plants, animals, sun, dirt, wind and rain, which I suddenly recognized were the support of my life.

Had you asked me then I couldn’t have even said what the season of year was for planting seeds, for I was ignorant of ordinary practical things. But this night the world whispered of a mysterious wisdom inside the ordinary and practical. Eventually I would find out that seeds were planted in the spring, but how could I know what seeds and springtime know? How did they bring forth the sprout from the soil, or my life from my mother’s womb?

Suddenly it felt urgent to discover the world, to find my place and my belonging, to find who I was, and where I was, and what there was to do. I left graduate school and the journey I took led me, in time, to re-discover and re-introduce an ancient path of healing I call Plant Spirit Medicine.

Since that time many have explored the Plant Spirit Medicine path. They learn to speak to the world and they learn to listen. The world, they find out, provides purpose, direction and healing just as it provides food and shelter. The explorers discover they belong to everyday wisdom and magic: the divine natural world.