Accepting Applications for 2016!

Accepting Applications for Apprenticeship Programs with Serendipity Plant Lore School of Ethnobotanical Studies for 2016!

Serendipity Plant Lore is accepting applications for 2016 Planting Love, Red Cedar Love, and Black Poplar Love Programs!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Interviews will be scheduled from September until December, 2015. Serendipity Plant Lore’s Programs start in February and March, 2016!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our first year program “Planting Love” and our second year program “Red Cedar Love” cover the fundamentals of Wild Foraging, Plant Healing, Biological Systems, Botany, and Anatomy, for the Home Herbalist and for the Professional Community Herbalist. These programs are geared towards healers learning and having first hand experiences of Plant/Human Relationship, Stewardship, Biology, Wild Foraging and Plant Identification, Ecosystem Awareness, Field Training, Healing Autism and Other Neurological Diseases, Intestinal Health, Emergency Medicine, Immunity, Degenerative Diseases, Spirituality, Working with the Psycho Spiritual Aspects of Plants, Midwifery Herbs and Deathwifery Herbs, Nutrition and the Olde Ways of Unlocking Plant Knowledge handed down through my families own Healing Tradition. There are further clinical apprenticeships available for Community Herbalists, such as Black Poplar Love and Community Herbalist Love Programs, please send an email for details!DSC_0364

These programs will FUN from March through November 2016.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Email to receive details, dates, and registration information!

(c) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Serendipity Plant Lore School of Ethnobotanical StudiesDSC_0386

All rights reserved.


More Musings on Walking the Path of Ethical Herbalism

Walking among wild things, we come to find we have aspects of all the wild beings, and we bring this all in service to the help of healing ourselves and others. While the ancient healing system seems to be out of the conscious sphere of so many caught in the cycle of living in modern society, traditional healing itself, never went anywhere. Nor is it in conflict with any other healing system or service, as in Traditional Healing, all modes of healing are considered sacred medicines…including, but not limited to animals, plants, tools, techniques, science, with a large focus on spiritual healing intertwined in all medicines that are brought forth, and carried, in the Heart.


At times, underground, but still here. Our Western Herbalism, often a mix of European and Native American, and in which I am very blessed in the continuance of from both my Magyar and Cherokee Family, has always been an intact tradition of healing and connection with a variety of beings, plant, animal and human. With the newly found popularity again of this ancient tradition (I am so happy for the new-found love of herbal healing from so much of the public), it is also important to remind enthusiasts that this is a very in-depth tradition with a very real science of matching relationships between Beings. That is, what we do as Herbalists…we are catalysts in the relationships which we spend a lifetime to understand. This is a lifetime work. This is not fast food.


In our instant internet age, a lifetime can seem to some, ten minutes. For those who come from families with no healing traditions, they *believe* they are reinventing the wheel and Western Healing Tradition is brand new, created by themselves. For those of us who are, at most, two generations ago from the Healer Peoples who healed with hands and all the blessings and gifts of Creation, such pronouncements can seem like an industrialized slapped in the face.

While many Herbalists make a living on practicing these arts, it is ever a life path, and a path of service for all life. It is not a business perse, and never was or is supposed to be “a business”. It is a way of living and helping and being. A way of protecting life around us. A way of understanding, and being in tune with what surrounds us. It is a way to spread love, especially to those who have lost hope. It is a way of breathing and talking, loving and reaching out to the life around us. Out of respect, and in order to sustain ourselves, we make a “living”. That is the sacred life being lived in full view.


It takes a lifetime to learn even one plant fully, and still, we will lie on our deathbeds learning more of one plant. This is definitely, not a reductionist view of life, of living, of creation. Ethical Herbalism is a deep calling to relationship with the world, of connection, of love, of God.

I can understand how immensely frightening that is to some, who didn’t grow up with the peoples who worked with their hands, prayed with their hands, healed with their hands, and knew their communities of peoples and non-peoples in-depthly. Modern society has been here but for a blip, and has not canceled out the sum total of knowledge existing in the world. It has often fought against Spirit, or Love, but nevertheless, life is fully present as always, even in these strange times.

The person, with hands full of fire, laid over a person, is still a happening phenomenon. Not a “new” thing. A very old thing. A very old way, of living and loving with hands, with heart, with mind and a Spirit whirling large with love.

And as we walk this way, it unfolds into a deeper walking and a deeper love. And there is no happier or joyful life than that if you’re willing to put the real work in!

(c) 2015, Summer Farkas Takács-Michaelson, CH

April Azure Order, Herbal Apprenticeships, Duck and Chicken Eggs, Share Shelter Donation, Wild Mushrooms and Wild Teas!!!

Happy April! Happy Easter! Happy Love!
April Azure order cut-off is THIS Friday, April 3rd at 4 PM with pickup the following Wednesday, April 8th, pickup between 2-6 PM.
If you are new to Azure and want to place an order, contact me for the drop point info!
A quick note…THANK YOU TO ALL who picked up old orders and stuffs! The rest has been sent along to the Shelter. 
It’s not time yet, but start thinking ahead for our 2015 Red Salmon Fish Bliss Order! Deposits will need to be in my hands by Monday, May 25th. The group prices should be the same as it was for last year, with the more orders, the greater the discount! Please look for the salmon ordering information in an email soon. Please do not send questions yet, because I wait until I get the word from our Fisher Couple with detail verification!
Duck and Chicken Eggs! Duck Eggs from the Urban Snail Farm. Preorder now!  $6 a dozen, $3 a half dozen. Benjamin’s Organic Egg Shoppe will have extra eggs this Azure Delivery Day! Preorder now so we have an idea who wants them and how many we can fill!
Serendipity Plant Lore School of Ethnobotanical Studies next Forest Hike is now scheduled for Saturday, April 18th! Cost is $40. To register, send an email to Please dress for the weather, bring a sack lunch, snacks, water and an open heart! We’ll meet at 9 AM, and carpool/and follow each other down to our hiking spot, and plan to wrap up at the cars around 1 PM’ish.
Book for Sale!”The Song of Increase, Returning to our Sacred Partnership with Honeybees” by our friend and Azure member Jacqueline Freeman. Let me know if you would like a copy, and come pick it up THIS Wednesday! Cost is $15 a signed copy!!!
Our Planting Love Apprenticeships are in progress. We are no longer accepting students for the 2015 year, but are accepting students for the 2016 Apprenticeship Year for Planting Love, Red Cedar Love and Community Herbalist Love Apprenticeships! For the 2017 year, we are working on a plan to offer partial apprenticeship scholarships for those in need, and an additional fourth program offering…so stay tuned!
Serendipity Plant Lore School of Ethnobotanical Studies Herbal and Wild Foods Apprenticeships interviews are happening NOW for the 2016 year! These 9 and 10 month programs cover wild foods foraging, ecosystem stewardship, survival skills, mushroom foraging, making herbal medicines, with programs moving into deeper levels of healing processes, working with various conditions, prevention, mid-wifery herbs and death-wifery herbs. Working within a very old folk tradition of my family, coupled with observation and science, we learn to weave our own healing tapestries, expanding them with our work with others. Learning and having hands on experiences along side me, a practicing Community Herbalist, we have experiences together with the healing processes and transitions of life. To be added to the Apprenticeship email list and/or to set up an interview, send an email to If you feel inspired, please share with your families and communities. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Share Shelter Donation!!!
THANK YOU all who donated to Share Shelter AGAIN!!! Let’s go for a new donation round!!! We’ve been keeping this shelter love going for a few years, let’s light some more fires and clean our homes! Ordering an extra can of decent food for the Shelter is an idea that Erin H. came up with a little while ago. Other things we can collect are gently used items for kitchen, clothes, backpacks, hotel samples of hygiene supplies, books and magazines!
Garden Delights Bulk Organically Grown Herbs! Supporting local Herbalists and local Herbal Farms helps to keep money in our communities, provide fresher and stronger herbs than commercially available, and helps to keep local and bio-regional Herbalism alive! Here we have some amazing bulk herbs from Garden Delights, a farm that I highly recommend for ethics and care in the arts of growing and processing. Prices range from $.50 to $2.00. Choose from: Parsley, Chives, German Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Sage, Lemon Balm, Yarrow, Plantain, Peppermint and Thyme.
Serendipity Plant Lore’s Tea Listing! 

These teas and herbs are highly medicinal, and are extras from my own organic garden and wild forages. All ethically harvested, the exceptions to the herbs that I’ve grown or foraged myself are those like Cinnamon, All Spice, and Red, Black and Green, and Olive Tea Leaves. These are ethically obtained from other Herbalists who have the same great care and ethic. These Tea Herb extras help to support the consultation work for those those in need of receiving free services. I thank you for your support, and hope, in return, you are tantalized with amazing Earth Medicine for your own health care and lovely, compost-able gifts! Some NEW offerings too! Limited Quantities. 🙂

Serendipity Plant Lore has beautiful hand grown, hand sourced, sustainable and ethically wild-crafted herbal teas for $7 a box/sack. Each of the tea offerings has been used by this herbalist for many decades to aid health, enjoyment and vitality, recovery from many health problems. They have “lived” with me for so long, they have become part of me, and I am excited to have these offerings which truly support our family and the work as I continue my ongoing education and offering sliding scale consultations for those in need.Choose from:

~Lovin’ Liver Tea (your liver will be happy!)
~Summer Time Afternoon Tea (relaxing and sweet)
~Great Grandmother Gertrude’s Memory Lovin’ Tea (brain cell oxygenating crew!)
~Green Tonic Tune (tuning cells and soul together!)
~Vanilla Coffee Substitute (nourishing and coffee like)
~Cinnamon Coffee Substitute (nourishing and coffee like)
~Great Gert’s Cold Hand and Foot Tea (circulatory warming tea for the cold)
~Galloping Gertrude’s Tea (relaxing and locally nutritious)
~Flu Flummox Tea (just befuddle your flu bugs in style!)
~Arabian Summer Tea (a tea to remind you of the smells of an Arabian Love Garden, with plants that touch our center, build up the immune system, and sweep away what needs to be swept away.)
~Shepherd’s Tea! When you want to corral those irksome viral beings and nondescript inflammatory triggers, what you need is a Shepherd to round ‘em up and over the bluff!
~Olive Leaf Tea, an anti-viral, anti-oxidant tea to ward off the minions of Mordor!
~Delicious Radheish Chai!
~Spicy Radheish Chai (inspired by my great friend, Radhe G.)
~Mother’s Milk Tea…to help Mother nourishes Baby Ones.
~Comfrey Leaf
~Dandelion Leaf
~Elder Flowers
~Pineapple Sage
~Garden Sage
~Rue (only to practitioners)
~Shitake Mushrooms
~Chanterelle Mushrooms
~Lobster Mushrooms (seasonal offering)
~More offerings, please inquire and I will check the Apothecary.
(c) 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Summer Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

Gulyás Blessings! 
Summer Farkas Takács-Michaelson, CH
Serendipity Plant Lore School of Ethnobotanical Studies​

A föld művelési. Cultivating the Earth.

Hungarian language is stunning. It is so beautiful, how words and meanings grow out of one another.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What’s even more beautiful, are the ancient traditions that the words sprung up and spun around to describe, in essence, a way to live, a way to eat, a way to cure, a way to heal, a way to bless,  a way to be.

One of my beautiful teachers, Adina, gave me this to work on, to think on, as a description for what I enjoy, cultivation of the soil.

A földművelési. Talajművelés a szív. Just this. Explains it all. The relationship to this beautiful world.

Cultivating the Land, cultivating the Soil, cultivating the Ground, cultivating the Heart. One devotes ones life to this, to this craft, to these skills. One lives this, as a way to be. One lives this way to be a Healer.

I still smell the dirt on my Grandfathers hands. On  humid mornings, the smell of soil, wafting in the windows of our very old house. I feel the warmth in ground well insulated, when my Grandfathers had me check the base of plants in mornings before sun appeared, then again, out to the workings of making more compost.

To the Olde World Traditional Farmers, compost was the focus of everyday, at least once a day there was tending it in many ways. Many Ways.

The Olde World Herbalists tended the compost for wild and homely herbs alike. We bring gifts like bombs to the forests, in nourishment of wild plants we care-take.

If this sounds odd, then one must become acquainted with how the Cherokee nourished their wild plants. Everything in life is an exchange, of love, character, and nourishment, before the final eating. We all, eventually, get eaten.

(c) 2014, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

Ethical Herbalists…Healing In Relationship, Right Walking In Community Herbalism.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUp close photo of Heracleum maximum, Cow Parsnip. A plant in the carrot family that is easily misidentified with some very poisonous brothers and sisters, and sometimes confused with other medicinal’s!

This is a huge discussion, so this may end up as a series over time, as differing issues come up, and things occur as I watch myself in practice, and others in practice. This is too large a subject to tackle all at once! This is a common discussion that I’ve had with many Herbalists over the years. The Authentic Practicing Herbalists that I know and work in tandem with, value a core set of Ethics to their practice. Those who do not embody a core ethical practice are not Herbalists or Healers I will work with. If I am not popular for such decisions, I’m just fine with that. Community Herbalist Healers that I respect and admire and practice with, generally feel the same way about the ethics of our craft.

I firmly believe that Herbalism is OUR medicine, a people’s medicine. Always has been, always will be. There are, however, some guidelines that one may wish to contemplate if a student would like to eventually become a Community Herbalist or work in some capacity with people as a Healer. Some of the skill sets required may be applicable to other branches of healing, some spoken about will apply to Herbalism in its own right.

In my own experience with many teachers, some of the highest healing codes sit with Herbalists. We are life loving, life supporting bunch, with a penchant for caring for plants, people, animals, and the earth, and not necessarily in that order! We believe that the natural world contains our medicine. We’re happy to augment other forms of medicine and medical strategies, or simply to nourish, tone, stimulate the bodies own repair mechanisms as a solo strategy. Most of us believe all medicine, and all strategies are tailored to the individual.

I love my role as teacher, to light, and fan the flame of herb and plant curiosity with my students. I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for it! It is an ARM of my own Community Herbal Healing Practice of over a decade. However, it’s always important to mind our excitement (we’re not talking lessening here) and move it in ways that mutually support our own health, our families, and our communities, in ways that do not harm ourselves or others, and provide for the deepening experience necessary if we want to eventually practice in the wider community.

The light in student’s eyes, new vistas of knowledge opening up and visions of great health are extremely fun to participate with! A student takes these home and works with them! Homework involves working on oneself, one’s health, one’s life(style) and love. Learn about plants, learn about oneself! This is not a stage to be looking up “answers” in books and passing out protocols from second hand sources and second hand strangers problems not based on experience or hands on knowledge with verification. If the Herbal World is opening up for you, allow it to OPEN for you! As a student learns things, and can check these with experience, that is a beautiful opening, a field to start tending and planting. Don’t rush this stage, it is beautiful and full of enthusiasm, full of love. A great ground to grow from! Prepare the ground, so you may first Do No Harm, and have a great foundation.

Take these things learned, in healthy, preventative ways, and work with them with others, for FREE. Yes, if anyone thought they were going to get rich being an Ethical Herbalist, the truth is, putting time in, and real time in is necessary. Most practicing Ethical Herbalists involved in Community Healing have thousands of hours of volunteer clinical time behind them, and lots of shaping in apprenticeships. For example, one learns how to work with a diaper rash effectively, repeatedly, and then goes out into the world working with more, and different kinds of rashes. This is a great learning method. One learns skill first, then moves out in ones household in greater waves. That takes time, effort. That is not profitable. Often, considerable self sacrifice in time and energy, many times there is no acknowledgement, yet the reward is in watching people heal, lifting a bit of misery, guiding someone to the next step.

An Herbalist builds small, but if the aim is to be a Healer, one does end up working on anatomy, biology, botany, psychology, Allopathic Medicine, Holistic Medicine, Spiritual Aspects. When one becomes serious about a way of study, one looks for teachers. After learning basics, one looks to apprenticeship. Apprenticeship is olde. A very olde way of learning from a teacher at a deeper, experiential level. It is not the same relationship as a teacher/student in class, it goes beyond.  Apprenticeship is the equivalent of what colleges deem as internship. Thinking about that a minute here, the very idea of internship came from the practice of apprenticeship!

Staying humble, as one comes to learn, there is no such thing as learning it all, or being an expert on every possible healing way. No matter how many decades we have behind us, we are always learning. Herbalists love learning. Respect and support your teachers, you might just find you’re working with them one day! They may point out something about your approach you wish they had not, and that can be humbling too, but it is these experiences that allow growth to occur, and truth and honesty to always prevail!

Connection with Nature…we become responsible for our relationships with Nature, the health of stands, and learn not only about plants, but about their community and their sisters and brothers. As one of my wonderful Teachers, Gradey Proctor has taught me, he says “if you’re wanting to identify plants for a hike, it’s all great to generally identify plants” but “if you’re identifying plants for food and medicine, you need to chuck your ego”. It means, you take the time to learn, and learn properly. You do not harvest and prepare medicine you are not 100% sure about, and if you do not know the plant community, the brothers and sisters, you many not be 100%. Wild harvesting for food and medicine, especially medicine, is contingent on many factors of ecosystem health, something one learns from those experienced. Heck of a lot of it isn’t in books, or field guides, its passed on by apprenticed craft. And for sure, if you’re harvesting medicine without knowing the community you’re taking it from, you might be creating great harm.

Think about the next generation of plants, the next generation of animals, the next generation of people. Are you removing something that keeps another plant family contained? Are you impacting generations of seed development? What are you going to do when you become AWARE of this relationship?

When we take, we give back. Pure and simple, otherwise, plant communities are not sustained. Here is a blog entry I made a little bit ago about “The Myth of the Brutal Savage”. Herbalists work for and with, and out of abundance, period.

If you do not know the plant ways of abundance in wild places, you will need to take the time to learn them! Farming like Natives, Harming NO Natives. Get it? That just rolled out of my fingertips like honey dripping from a piece of comb. Sometimes all we need to do is listen to our Heart Spirit for direction!

Being an Herbalist Healer, or even an Herbalist Grower, we do not deal in commodities. Health is not a commodity. We learn processes of life, of biology. It’s not a production/profit mindset, we have plenty of supplement companies that are over-harvesting life beings to extinction with fancy labels indicating something extra special to blindside the greed. If I’ve offended anyone by now, good. You’re not in it for the healing of self/others, you are going to need to look at that within yourself, contemplate, investigate your motives and what you feel called to do.

Be Honest about ones skill level, ALWAYS. An example, if you haven’t worked in a certain area, or with a specific organ before, or illness/disease process, it is your duty to tell the truth about the level of ones skill. We only work from our skill level, but with each new skill learned, experienced in relationship, we expand outwards with our healing abilities.

Each Herbalist, like myself, has a myriad of special training and learning behind them. There is no one preferred mix, each Ethical Herbalist practices with their own unique gifts and experience, and many of us have made specific choices to work in the branch we work in for many reasons. In my own history, I was not only born into a family healing legacy, I studied in Allopathic Medicine, Biology and Psychology for many years, coming back home to marry that with Traditional Shamanic Herbalism and real life experiences or working through family healing. I’ve been training in Herbal Medicine for 23 years (and still training, always and forever!) and longer than that in Allopathic Medicine (little fact about me, I was studying to be a Forensic Scientist!) To each his or her own, as long we bring a set of Ethics with us to navigate the path we’re working on, and our relationship to healing, a knowledge of our skill level, talents and weaknesses, and a way to move forward, together, in relationship with healing people, animals, plants and the earth. If you find you’re of best service this way, take a moment to consider some of the above!

I’m thinking this is a very good topic to write on periodically, as it is something that is very important in my work, this work. I have now created a new category on this blog called “Ethics of Community Herbalists” to continue in this vein! There is too much to talk about in single writings!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA beautiful Scrophularia californica, Figwort. She is part of a protocol for treating Tuberculosis and reducing inflammation in Arthritis.

(c) 2013, 2014, 2015 Summer Farkas Takács-Michaelson, CH