It wasn’t part of my plan to find myself with the plants. Early in my twenties, after a rapid succession of trying times including an intense era of schooling and the unexpected death of my father, my health began to unspool into a collection of unsolved puzzles. As the days got more difficult, I left my industry research job and found myself working on a farm in rural Oregon. The woman who owned the land was similarly going through a personal crisis and so we exchanged few words, but when we did, we often talked of plants. On one particularly misty morning, she uncrumpled a paper bag and removed a handful of dried leaves. As she stuffed them into a teapot, she explained to me that they were stinging nettles. She had this feeling, she told me, that I needed them. That memory has since stayed vivid for me.

After some time out West, I returned to my home state of Indiana where things were not less confusing. I was working in research labs, playing drums in bands, and still struggling with my health. I moved to a one-room cob house out in the woods, and to my delight, troves of medicinal plants grew around the property. An herbalist once lived there, I had been told. I got to know many plants of the Midwest during that time and my health really improved. I found an herbalist to apprentice with in my community and completed her program in 2018.

Nearly all of my interests, including those in the botanical realm, are tethered to a fascination with the human mind and the sense of self. I hold a BS in Cognitive Science and a BA in Philosophy from Indiana University. In 2019 I went on to pursue my PhD in Psychology at the University of Chicago, where I studied self transcendent emotions and experiences. I focused my thesis research on children’s perceptions of awe experiences, and came to find – through the work – that my most burning questions were not as quantifiable as I thought. In a decision that was equal parts terrifying and freeing for me, I chose to leave my doctoral work and turn myself fully towards the arts – including the healing arts. I left the city and moved with my husband to a tiny mountain village in the high desert. Through herbalism, I learned more about Qi and appreciated how it is widely accepted as unquantifiable. I started the East West program in February 2022 and have focused my attention directly on it.

These days, I spend most of my time studying herbs and making things. I hold a small herbal practice online where I combine botanical study with my training in psychological research. The shape of my practice is undoubtedly changing as I deepen my understanding of energetics and plant synergies in the East West program. In addition, there are so many new plants to learn about in New Mexico, which I am only just beginning to understand experientially through interactions with shrubs and resins. I enjoy sharing herbal knowledge with my husband, a music producer, who in turn teaches me about composition and classic hip hop. Alongside herbalism, I like to play drums, make clothes, and write. A few goals I am working towards are: earning the Registered Herbalist designation through the American Herbalists Guild, creating a portfolio of botanical drawings, and learning to DJ.

Feel welcome to reach out to me through my website: artemisiadeluna.com

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