Some of my deepest lessons come from observing the ecosystem. I often muse upon human nature and how we are so corresponded to everything in “nature”, yet we behave as if we aren’t a part of it.

I have been engaging in a thought process for many years about forest model governance and human metaphorical niches that are represented in the forest. It helped me develop concepts for the Soul to Soil course I facilitate w my dear friend and teacher @eduardoterzidis and while I haven’t been able to come up yet w a governance structure that models the forest, I have a feeling one day, the AHA will land.

Until then, I m loving looking at forest succession in terms of metaphor corresponding to various human dynamics. Thank you to my student from Soul to Soil Permaculture for Personal Development course Ruby de Smet for introducing this to me via your own teachings from Permaqueer of Australia. I find this invaluable to my understanding and I love adopting it to my personal interest and influence sphere.

Causes of Illness and Disease:

  • Vectors – Mosquitos, Ticks, Flies, Parasites (as a part of the ecosystem and influenced by ecosystem degradation)
  • Modern diet is void of nutrients and vitality. Often loading us with empty calories and detaching us from the biorhythms of nature. Packaged, chemical diets are the leading cause of degenerative illness.
  • Natural Disaster, Accidents, Old Age, Genetic Predispositions
  • Human Influenced Disaster – Climate Change, Economic and Social Disparity, Violence and War effecting the body, mind, and spirit.
  • Extremism, Separation, Nationalism, and Division cause generational trauma that manifests in emotional, physical, mental and spiritual diseases.

Forest Correspondences:

  • Snags are dead trees standing, they hold the memory of the forest, contain nutrients, provide habitat and shelter and create a substrate for new life. These are the Ancestral Healers, holding the wisdom of the past, the story of the land and they provide structure for the future
  • Weeds and “Pioneer” Species come into a system when the trees have been removed either by natural causes or deforestation. These sun loving abundant plants are often medicinal for the land, creating a lot of biomass. They are advantageous and responsive to the ecosystem. When folks, either through desperation or privilege enter ecosystems they bring with them their healing traditions and often either integrate or corrupt the native perspectives on wellness.
  • Shrubs, Pioneer Trees and Invasive Species are opportunitstic and create a layer of the forest for certain species to thrive. They can feel very invasive as the system is typically damaged and is seeking balance. The solution here is to cover large areas and address short term problems. Allopathic Doctors treat diseases not patterns, the medicine is relevant but not holistic.
  • Monocrops take over huge areas of land to provide limited nutrients and lots of calories. The crops are owned by a few share holders and often put small farmers out of business. With genetic modification and single crop industrial methods, the only solution to growing food is to use excessive amounts of chemicals. The Modern Medical System is set up as an industrial model, limiting options as well as narrowing the scope of wellness over the long term. It does not foster resiliency nor adaptation. Monocrops also create borders which is a literal and metaphorical exclusion of life by creating standards of division, while devaluing that which is not readily exploitable.
  • Monocrop Organic Farming provides healthier food at premium prices, not accessible to all. The soil is less depleted and the food nutritious, yet it still relies on social disparity and mega-mono-cropping for it to be a success. The Wellness Influencer trend is based on concepts of biohacking, superfood fandom and celebrity beauty standards. Models of exploitation and inaccessibility help this standard to thrive.


  • Naturalized Species are those that come from other places and fill niches in analog ecosystems. These plants become a part of the food and medicine culture to the point where even the locals believe them to be native. Our Modern Herbalism Elders are those that have a deep connection to the plants, have studied and practiced with the land and have worked in community herbalism. They have helped to reignite the herbalism movement and have opened the way for following generations to learn to live with the Earth once again.
  • Native and Endangered Medicine Plants are critical for the survival of the ecosystem. They carry the knowledge of relationship with all creatures, soil and water conditions. Our BIPOC and Intersectional Healers are carrying the knowledge of their grannies, the struggles of their people, and their unique voice and advocacy of the land.
  • Pollinators make everything more beautiful and colorfully diverse. They support the adaptation of the species and create new ones. They feed and nourish species aside from themselves and are critical to the survival of the whole. Our LGBTQIA+ Healer Community is helping all of us to be kinder, and more compassionate in understanding to the needs of the marginalized, while helping us all get creative on how to adapt to the challenges we face.
  • Old Growth Forest takes centuries to emerge, and when it is established it is a self feeding, closed loop system of abundance and diversity, providing for countless species and for generations. As we evolve as an Integrated Wellness Community, we reestablish connections to the land and with each other, we become stronger and less reliant on outdated power over systems of harm and exclusion.
  • Emergent Species pop through the top of the canopy, stretching to reach the sun! They offer to us a New Cultural Cosmology set on the vision of the more beautiful world we know is possible, where all destinies can be fulfilled in an equitable and just way.
  • Mycelium connects all life, providing nutrients and matrix, while also participating in the necessary deconstruction of the old to transfer the life force over and over again. These are the threads that weave us together.