Anne and Amanita goofing

We are pleased to welcome to the East West family Áine Amanita Rose McCormack, born to East West graduate Anne de Courtenay and her husband, the musician Martin McCormack. Áine came into the world on a snowy Tuesday, January 14, in Anne’s home town of Chicago. (She is three weeks old in the photo at right.)

Áine is the Gaelic form of “Anne.” The name of a famous Irish goddess, it also means “splendor” or “radiance.”

“It’s pronounced AHN-yeh, or OHN-yeh, if you’re really Irish,” Anne says. “But mostly we call her Amanita.”

Yes, there is a sacred magic mushroom with the same name.

When I found out the baby’s name, naturally as an herbalist I asked Anne why she would name her daughter after a poisonous mushroom! “We named her for the magic of the mushroom, not the poison,” Anne said. She explained to me that they named her after the famous red and white spotted toadstool Amanita muscaria, which frequently appears in fairy tale art. This pet name was chosen because of its magical and folkloric associations with Christmas, which was when her parents expected her to be born (babies of course are on their own clock, and Amanita came late).

Anne and Amanita goofing

Anne and Amanita goofing

Anne has been part of our school for several years. She edits the new revisions of the East West Herb Course, our blogs and e-news, and she is the editor of the Journal of the American Herbalists Guild. She maintains an herbal and bodywork practice at her clinic, Imagine Health, in Chicago. As with all our graduates, we are proud and supportive of her path. If you are in her area, you can contact her for a phone, online or in-person consultation by visiting her website.

Marty is a professional singer who performs as part of a duo called Switchback throughout the country and Europe. He’s got the most heavenly voice and you can bet he’s singing especially sweet these days! The proud papa wrote about the birth of his daughter on his blog. If you want to help bestow good luck on the new family, consider picking up a copy of one of Marty’s great albums.

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