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


Medicine of Roses

This past week, Herbal Apprentices made Medicine of Roses, collected from their own home gardens and wild, on a forest path. The teachings of Roses are many and varied, and the same with the various parts and aspects of Rose.

One of the aspects that come most to my mind, was a thorough looking at the whole plant. What beautiful flowers we commune with and dance with! What amazing medicine for the heart! But, sometimes, when we look deeper, we see a deeper aspect shared by the Rose.

The Rose shares the story of its whole being with us. Sometimes, after a beautiful flowering, the branches may brown. We may wish for this flower to grow again, but it will not. And so we stare, at the branch turning brown, in a touching despair.

And then the hope, the Light of the Divine shines forth! We trim the branches that do not look so hot, their time being done, their dance already played. For the quiet death of a Rose Plant can happen by holding onto these branches too long.


Overtime, if left unattended, the plant grows large and wiley, with many dead and dying branches, with no new growth allowed through for a chance in the sun. It may be a beautiful discovery on some old forest path, but a deep shame can pervade the air, of flowers that never had a chance to be because the Rose Tender, or the Forest Spirit, would not let those branches go.

Looking at the plant in such a whole fashion, we can see what needs to go, that is dying off a bit, and let the new ones grow! It is the Divine Rebirth of such possibility! Do you see the Faith of the Rose? Does the Rose Tender have such Faith?

And the Rose Blossoms make medicines, that heal that Divine Tear or Eye Tear, mending the Heart so Fine, so capable of new love, of loving with a different branch, the old branch fertilizing the root of the Rose Being again.

And such is the dance of a heart so fine, for if it never loved, the Rose would not put forth blossoms, it would prefer to skip to the browning before the blooming, and life would be but a withered mess with no possibility.

But, as ever, where there is Faith, there is Hope. Where Hope is Conscience and Charity. Where there is Charity, there are brown branches renewing the roots, in an act of Love so great. And the green tips grow, producing more branches, and more Roses. No two the same, but one delightful Being.


And such, Love is Renewed, and the Heart mended!

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

All Rights Reserved.

Hungarian and Cherokee Native Dances With Herbs

Dances with Herbs. The Herbalist’s Path. Eyes are opened up to beauty, in such a way, that the world instructs in a way of natural service. I believe, it is a service to Love.

This last summer, I was sharing an herbal remedy that my family has used, and passed down for generations. I was asked by some Herbalists, and some of my Teachers, if this was Hungarian Tradition or Cherokee Medicine Tradition. Aye, ya eye! Which, and where did it come from?

I scratched my head. I started picking mushrooms at age 3, and that did not come from either one, that came from both medicine streams in my family…for, it is the medicine stream of life, living, survival, healing, health and consciousness. The idea of pure medicine, when plants and animals, and those in inbetween and betwixt, intermixed over mountain ranges, starts swirling and spiraling in my head. The Medicine Drum beats with the Medicine that we find at our doorstep, in our hands, the Medicine that we work with. Each Medicine Tradition has its own way of working with the Medicine that arrives on the doorstep, the Medicine that we work with.

Those who read my musings, know the drumbeat of my own voice as I joke that Peppers are controlling us humans, using us so they can move around and experience different thrills of working with different cultures, in an ethnic thrill to their etheric bodies. A dash of each human, of each culture has made Thai peppers what they are, and Hungarian Paprika what it is…each Pepper of a wholly distinct difference in the same bloodline. The Peppers delight in this. So do the Mushrooms, the Chickweed, and Oak.DSC_0565

In fact, in such journeys of wholeness, I do wonder if the plants, the animals, and those inbetween and betwixt think it is fun when we get sick, so as to play with us to make us well, show us the Medicine that exists and grows with us every day. Well in body, as well as well in soul. Harmony, change, resistance, difference, unity, personality, all notes to each plant, to each life form. Well in love, and well in death. Well, in the centerpoint of depth. They, the plant world and other worlds, love us so! Giving and giving so much to us, and YET, they play with us to get something for themselves. Movement, Planting, Successive Generations, Spicy Trips and Happy Laden Smacking Lips. They love us and need us as much as we love and need them IN OUR LIVES.

So the questions I was receiving about which side of what Healing Tradition a certain Medicine originated from, and my short answer, was both healing streams. Plants playing across cultures for thousands of years. Watermelons rolling around Carpathian Mountains and Plains, and eventually, Appalachian Alpines and my Grandfather’s Pacific Northwest Farm.

Without the question from my Plant Teachers, I would have never made the journey to understand how the two tribal cultures of my Family worked with a specific plant, and how they are joined. Just something passed down, there IS no such thing. The Oral Tradition contains relationship to the other and within, that has a story that teaches the way of working with the plant, where working with Medicine, we receive Medicine. Working with Healing, we receive Healing. Medicine, to cure, live through, and prevent illness. With plants, illness is not separate from the medicine. The very ways of a couple generations back may be brought back to life, and honored, with an ongoing adventure. I’m walking that road of bringing forth the Wisdom of my Grandparents through the haze of commercial forgetting and blandness that exists, that thwarts the carrying on of the deepest of humanity’s continuation, the erasure of the interdependent relationship between beings that leads to dependence instead of Belonging and Blessing.

Harvesting plants with care, with Prayer and Blessing, we tend to the Stewardship of the World in a way in which we are part of the beautiful painting, working directly with life, so that the coming generations of all the Beings, come into Blessing. That is a work, a responsibility, that IS bringing Love and Abundance to the world. It puts us into the position of joy, of learning from other beings directly, what they have to teach and to share in a dance of mutuality (community). The ethnicity of each Herb, is like the ethnicity of each Human, distinct, personal and variable, and where we, in the art of life, discover the possibility. This is both a Carpathian Basin Teaching and a B.R. Cherokee Teaching, a Uniting of Medicine Ways.

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

Taltos, A Large Healing Tradition with Many Branches in the Tree of Life

There are many Traditions of Healing in Hungary and the Greater Carpathian Basin. Most of them, throughout the ages, have only been taught in one way. Apprenticeship, transmittal to the next generation. Families were and are STILL dedicated to this tradition.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Most of us have marks. The possibility of the soul speaking before birth is forgotten by modern society. It is an uncomfortable truth to realize people may have had the ability to birth a baby without a book, or heal a sickness, or nourish a death.

Furthermore, many practitioners have had to keep quiet, as cultures moved too far from its connection to life, for their own protection. The misunderstanding and misappropriation of healing techniques, without a clear path of ethics is, undeniably, harmful and scary. Without the appropriate initiations, the deeper work is hollow as words on a page.

Many scholars still do not know much, if anything AT ALL about these types of healing traditions because they are not written down, and because, as is the case with many scholars, they believe that the wheel must be reinvented with written proof in each school semester and are not at the point of life where there is the ability to actually observe people and what is going on as a practice. For many scholars, theories come and theories go, all without understanding or observing the stream of life running under them. For those, one can never offer enough proof about and for anything.

I consider myself a scholar too, walking in more than one world, and understanding the ties of both. That is where my work sets out in front of me. As, with the farseeing of the Turul, we do our work, we listen, we play by the arbitrary lines of society while swimming in the deep-set pools. Without this work, how can one sit by those whose turn is to swim in those pools? Where can the eyes be guided? Where does the light glimmer in the dark? What is a wound saying, where is its medicine to be found for the healing? We listen to the answers, to the responses. I can fully understand how frightening The Taltos Tradition may be to those who have been disconnected, through wars, heartache, grief, political structure and domination to the simplest way of being. When the world quits speaking and one is on their own, needing to buy back bits of identity and understanding from other sources continually, the idea that the world is always speaking to us can be very scary, especially if there are arbitrary consequences to it within national boundaries, political laws and etc. For some others, it is a spark of coming home, to a continuity of a living world.

Taltos is a Living Healing Tradition from the Carpathian Basin. Whenever I speak of Carpathian Basin Teachings, I am speaking of the underlying wisdom of this Tradition, and how it expresses itself in our Family with the way it was handed down, by experience, generation after generation. If it were such a simple subject that can be summed up, every college textbook would have cause to get a description of it in their religious and anthropology courses. Only, much of that has no meaning against a backdrop of unpracticed experience without a deep path of guidance, whether that guidance be internal or external.

The Carpathian Basin Teachings themselves are held in many Families, not just ours. I keep coming across scholarly websites that say this healing tradition is lost, this farming tradition is lost, etc. and then theories….and no one thinks to just go ask the peasants in the world who are STILL farming traditionally how they do it for their environment, or those who are STILL healing traditionally, how they do it and came by their information. For, as history has shown, time and again, the history of people, of arts, of crafts, of human survival, spiritual matters are never written by or for the benefit of the peasants, the masses, but for the manipulation of forming society along the points of political power. Nothing is lost in this world, remember that!

There is also no tradition of healing divorced from a path of increasing wisdom sought and lived, facts are secondary to the core process and ways. Facts are useful and important when built on a foundation that is strong and deep. Together, these provide a way for enlightening synthesis. When people ask me about the Taltos Tradition of my Family, I cannot give a quick, three point summary. There is not a description.

Or maybe there is. Know yourself. Know your environment. Know other beings (not just human). Connect with Love, and that is a good backbone to begin to understand and make a conscious choice to work on this type of path. In integrity, to learn about such a path is a lifetimes work, it is experience, it is living it. “How to” techniques cannot be sold. Ancestral Teachings aren’t something just way back, to be reconstructed. It is alive, in what one has been taught by their parents, or hasn’t been taught by their parents. What is passed down. What’s died, what hasn’t died. There is no Tradition that exists outside of the land it is formed in or the families that carry it…how could that be? Each land speaks to its peoples. The soul speaks.

Taltos is alive and well and vitally important. Teachings from the Hungarian Tree Of Life.

Continued with Part 2:

(c) 2013-2014, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

A Story of Szeged, Hungary and Ukraine, Strangers Uniting Over Food

Just on the heels of my precious friend (Heatherlynn Lehman) speaking about the importance of rituals to human beings, opening up the Sacred Dimension of life that we are breathing in, as well as transmittal of cultural values, came a very auspicious encounter with a new friend tonight.

Today, was a beautiful day. In addition to having a marvelous tea date with a Friend and Herbal Apprentice, I went on the journey today to visit with other precious friends, including another colleague. From there, I visited another favorite haunt, to pick up fermented sausage from Hungary.

In the midst of sharing many Merry Christmas’s, Krumpusz tidings, and birch branch bargains, I made a new friend. He sees my pure excitement and enthusiasm as I pick up some sausage from Szeged, Hungary. He asks if I am Hungarian. I say IGEN! (Yes!) My family is Hungarian, and it is the way I was raised (American too). My friend tells me he is from the Ukraine (also in the Carpathian Basin) and tells me that one of his relatives is from Szeged, and fought in a battle there. As we are speaking, and crossing in languages of the Ukraine, Hungary, and American, we are instantly bonded in the way that can be hard, for many to understand. Food, soil, place, animal, people, history, events, blood, culture, and thus, a connection between two strangers and a sausage. Laugh if you will, but the cultural importance of food, and the place it comes from, and the historical events, and the people connected in a period of time, is very much alive in Traditional Central and Eastern European Culture. Same as for the Native Americans, the Mongolians and the Szekely Peoples and the Sami Peoples. I cannot fully communicate to a person what is lost when meaning and significance of food, its place, its farmers, its people is lost. I cannot fully communicate to a person what is lost when the meaning and significance of herbs is lost, forgotten. I cannot fully communicate the feeling of instant bonding to strangers over food, over a piece of land, over a shared culture, a shared medicine. When our family celebrates its traditions, starting from December 6th (Szent Miklos) onward, the meaning of Merry is very deep, indeed. It is inclusive of a deep tradition, a bond of understanding, throughout a season, a place on Earth, Tidings and a Blessing.

The deep stories of Cultures, the Peoples, the Lands, when not honored, are forgotten. The bonds unravel, the next generation does not understand. Energy is lost as a person forgets their birthing into the world. This forgetfulness passes onward to the generations. When breaking the story of the world, it is easy to thus be sold a new history, new ways, ways not necessarily suitable to humanity or to life on this planet. Ways that indoctrinate into a conformity of nothingness.

I thank God that the past and present meets in me. I thank my lucky stars that I fully understand how olde and new ways can coincide and exist next to each other. I do not buy into ideas and thought forms that make people more dependent on a corporations. Progress always resides inside of us, human beings, not outside of us, in technology that strips people of their story of birth into this world, and strips the outer environment of every usable thing, including human energy. I hold fast to the bonding of strangers over land, even far away. I hold fast to understanding a peoples history, and honoring it.

To finish this writing, this long thought form of tradition, of ritual, of family, of land, of  food, of strangers and hearts that know one another, is a funny twist of sharing for the week. Our family has been making Traditional Hungarian Gingerbread, made in our family for CENTURIES. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe haven’t made it for two years, and I was determined this year to make it again, and make it for gifts. I was going to blog about it too (blog post with recipes coming as soon as I have the time!). A funny tribute to Krampusz, our Hungarian Hound Elwood snuck and ate all our finished Traditional Hungarian Ornaments. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYes, they are food before decoration, but not after! So, in the spirit of more Family Memories Made, we shamed our dog publicly on Facebook. 🙂 Another batch will be ready after Christmas. Perhaps a blog post following that, for now, I am holding fast to family and strangers who are family, in a true celebration (not consumer based stress).

Apparently, Hungarian Herbalists come even in dog form, Traditional Hungarian Gingerbread is a wonderful Herbal Medicine in its own right (before decoration, of course!).

Merry Christmas to all and thank you for your support as Readers of my articles that come from my Heart, as Students who attend my workshops, and as Herbal Apprentices who are keeping this very ancient craft alive. Thank you all, for everything, and supporting this way of life, which I do my best to support for you too!

Gulyas Blessings!

Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH

The Ancient Clan Of Roots and Flowers, Leaf and Stem Beats

In Hungary, especially in the Mountains of Hungary, the Carpathian Basin Peoples, Families have been living together in Clans for thousands of years, divided into different Tribes.

Over two thousand years ago, my Family immigrated from the Ural Mountains down into the Carpathian Basin. The peoples living in the Carpathian Basin, one of the oldest Celtic races in Europe, melted and merged with Central Asian Peoples, where East meets West. I was given these stories as an inheritance, as all my Ancestors before me. Passing the weaving on, is how, throughout time and space groups of people preserved their culture, even with massive changes and massive new assimilation’s. Preserved the threads of Love, Wisdom, Truth and Place Being.

For something all indigenous people know, the roots do not get left behind, the flowers are root in air. This is seen, repeatedly in Hungarian Tapestries and OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWeavings on the loom. A very olde knowledge passed down, despite land re-settlements, wars, death. My Grandfather Ivan spent an amazing amount of time passing down stories of his present and past life, and life of the Family, Our Family.

In the Life of the Family, is the Life of the Tribe. Within the Life of the Tribe, is the Life of the Clan. Within the Life of the Clan is the Life of the Womb of the Land that encircles. Roots upon roots, flowers upon flowers, stembeats of love, leafbeats of love, the Rocking Universe that nurtures and protects all in the weaving. The weaving we live, we are part of. Study the motifs, a very olde religion is woven in them, very olde histories.

Unfortunately, as many indigenous peoples have been reminded of time and again, the world fell in love with flowers, with progress, leaving the roots behind. The severed flower wilts and dies without  nourishment. Perhaps this is a time of reawakening of all, to find their roots.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the meantime, for the Tribal Groups of Peoples that are left, it is harder than ever before. For the ways of one keeping everything open and alive, are not the ways of others who have forgotten. So remember!

Hungarian Transylvania is a beautiful and cohesive FAMILY, continuing with beautiful Traditions, as all of Hungary and each of Her Regions. Family Weavings of Centuries, the Olde Religion EVER ALIVE!

The Herbs. The Plants. The Animals. The People. The Land. All of one beautiful spirit. I carry Erdely and all of Hungary in my HEART, in my HEART of HEARTS. The healing traditions, the planting traditions, the Planting Love Herbal Circle. Above, is a link to another blog post about weaving and the ancient song “Fly Bird”.

Sharing one of my favorite Hungarian folk bands, preserving the olde songs, and the olde style, the olde words, the olde language, the olde religion, the olde way for the NEXT generation with zip. Sharing love. Sharing culture. Sharing REMEMBRANCE of home. Here is “Fly Bird” again, in beautiful Erdely. Erdely Love.

(c) 2013, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH


Hungarian Forest Weavings

More beauty, the Weavings of Life. Always Sacred, always Holy, always Amazing. What LOVE everywhere!

It’s a pleasure to share this beautiful folk song, and weavings, sewings of love, of history, and of place.011

Everywhere my family has lived in the Carpathian Basin, they have incorporated the pattern of the LAND into the weaving. Family history, not by book, but by cloth. The woven cloth of life, how much love do we put into our own piece?



(c) 2013, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH