“Anima isn't just about inspiration and reward. It is part of the "great work," tools and insight for living our dreams and fulfilling our most meaningful purpose – a coming home to true self and welcoming place. It’s the literal fertile ground for a new journey.... the fullest expression of our whole beings and feeling hearts.”
-Jesse Wolf Hardin
Anima Approach & Practice
Anima is a perspective, a study, and above all a practice: actively applying what is learned or intuited, stepping beyond theory and ideas to actually take action, aid, remedy, improve or heal. And it’s a tradition intended to be shared, handed down, and continuously tested, developed and applied. Anima Herbal & Lifeways are closely enjoined, life-affirming paths that can fundamentally contribute to personal, community and planetary wholeness and well being.
The word Anima (pronounced ani-mah) is derived from the ancient Latin animus, meaning not only “breath” and “spirit” but also “courage.” The word has since been reinterpreted by everyone from Plato to Jung, but at its root it is simply the vital force connecting and animating all things, and the collective knowings (sometimes called “collective unconscious” or “collective conscious”) of life throughout time. The practice of Anima, then, is being – ever more consciously and courageously – an intentional, responsible participant in that unending process of healing and nourishing, awakening and enlivening, responding and creating.
Anima is not only a perspective and approach, but a cohesive teaching system and practice, an integrative way of being and doing predicated on a dynamic understanding of both bodily human and larger ecosystem ecologies, founded on the principles of personal choice and “response-ability.” Its vision and techniques are informed by a greatly deepened awareness of the natural world and our own inner natures, as well as the land-based wisdom of native peoples, folk healing traditions, and the decades of work of the school’s founders. Anima Herbal draw from the direct lessons of nature and plant life, and from those surviving traditions of Western Herbalism in the spirit of folk medicine and the self empowered village herbalist.
The practice of Anima can well serve any sensitive, deeply feeling individual, and can prove instrumental for those of you who are in your own individual ways healers and teachers, caretakers of the land, activists and artists... equipping you with the perceptual, conceptual, educational and developmental tools necessary to most efficiently and effectively manifest your particular needs and intentions, dreams and calling, practice and purpose.
For those of you wanting to make literal the healing of self and others through the skilled use of medicinal plants, we offer writings and in-depth courses to assist and equip you. Anima teaches a form of adaptable, regional and place-informed Folk Herbalism that is egalitarian and non-exclusive, multi-rooted and diverse, personally empowering and effective. Folk herbalism draws on a long history of traditional knowledge passed down and refined over the ages. Even where Western traditions have fractured and been partly forgotten, new knowledge and experiences are forever sprouting up with each new generation – the insistent call and craft of plant-based medicine consistently regrowing in spite of all attempts to cut it down. Learn to identify and prepare useful plants, diagnose and help treat ailments, and interface with your community and clients in the most beneficial ways.
Home Study Courses
Anima Lifeways & Herbal courses are an opportunity to learn vital concepts and skills from home, whether your calling is becoming the most empowered and effective herbalist, healer, teacher, activist, shamanic practitioner, author or artist that you can be... or you’re simply seeking the fullest aware experiencing of precious finite life. Click on the Home Study Page. (link)
Conference, Workshops & On-Site Programs
The Traditions In Western Herbalism Conference is Anima’s exciting and iconic flagship event for more than just herbalists... mid-September every year, at Mormon Lake Resort in the incredible Coconino Forest of Northern Arizona. For detailed info, go to the TWHC Website. (link). We also periodically host special workshop intensives on herbalism, as well as on-site learning programs in homesteading, deep ecology and rewilding at the wondrous Anima Sanctuary in the Gila bioregion of SW New Mexico, posted on the Events & Programs Page (link), and first announced on the Anima Blog. (link)
Counsel & Consultations
Personal Health Consultations with Kiva Rose and personal life Counsel and instruction with Jesse Wolf is available are sometimes available online, or in conjunction with a wildlands retreat at the Anima Sanctuary. For information and an application, go to the Counsel Page. (link)
Books & Music
We are in the process of releasing an increasing number of Anima, herbal, cooking and nature related books, most under the self publishing auspices of Sweet Medicine Press. Upcoming titles include Kiva’s volumes for herbalists, Loba’s cookbook series beginning with “Wild Foods” and more. Available now or shortly is the full color compilation “The Art Of Plant Healer”, Wolf’s book of empowerment and herbalism for children “I’m A Medicine Woman Too!“, and his historic novel about a frontier herbalist, personal healing and undying love, “The Medicine Bear”. To order from the currently available titles, go to the: Books & Recordings Page. (link) Also available there now is the Anima world music, Gaian spirit album “The Enchantment,” and in the future may will find recorded educational classes as well.
Plant Healer Magazine
For those interested in learning about and celebrating Folk Herbalism, we recommend a membership to Plant Healer Magazine, a lavish 200+ page full color PDF quarterly, and the hundreds of dollars worth of audio, video and text bonuses that come with your subscription. A huge, 700+ page b&W “Plant Healer Annual” book is also available, only to enrolled Plant Healer members. Full details and a 65 page Free Sample are found on the Plant Healer Website. (link)
The Anima Blogs
The Anima Lifeways & Herbal School blog offers instructive and inspiring tales of rural living and homesteading experiences and skills, nature awareness, herbal medicine and wild foods preparation, forays into the homesteading life, student stories, whole foods recipes, Anima School updates and much more. To get new posts sent to you automatically, go to the Anima Lifeways & Herbal School Blog (link) and enter your email address in the box in the right hand column.
The Medicine Woman’s Roots is Kiva’s exceedingly popular Anima Healing Arts blog, a complimentary source for personal stories, plant monographs, energetics and case studies related to medicinal plants and their uses... in her unguarded and attitude filled voice. Read and subscribe at: Medicine Woman’s Roots. (link)
To my new friends and teachers - My time here has been so necessary and fulfilling, and I'm thankful for each of you and this place of sacred power: Loba- for your kind and loving spirit, generous nurturing, magical food and warm hugs. Kiva - for your gift of understanding nad healing, conviction, commitment and laughter. Wolf - for your undying dedication to this land and years of healing its wounds, your wisdom, teaching and your gentle listening heart. Rhiannon - for being my tour guide, caretaker and fantastic teacher in the making. And this canyon, which touched my soul so deeply. You are all inspiring , whole-hearted, giving people and I feel blessed to have crossed your paths. With gratitude.
Anima Lifeways and Herbal studies will help inspire and equip you to:
1. Deepen presence and enjoy increased mindfulness
2. Clarify your personal direction or path such as healer, creator, teacher or activist
3. Develop and maintain a successful practice, regardless of whether it’s associated with income producing activities, or more simply a major shift in how you experience and act on the world in general
4. Develop the skills and learn what’s most needed to be a self directed and highly effective folk herbalist
5. Deepen your awareness and understanding of your natural authentic self, as well as of the conditions and processes of others
6. Awaken your bodily senses, in order to better sense the world you are a part of, to better taste and discern plants and their properties, to recognize more causative patterns and open to beauty, hear more exquisitely and savor even the mundane minutia of mortal life
7. Explore your so called “6th Sense,” including resonant empathy and innate intuition about events, clients’ conditions and so forth
8. Access whole-body knowing and primal instinct, in balance with mental inquiry and research
9. Deepen your sense of place... of family, home, land, ecosystem and bioregion, and gain familiarity with the medicinal, edible and endangered plants of your particular area
10. Expand your awareness of and active relationship to the natural, revelatory world
11. Recognize the intrinsic nature of and animating force in everything, and every thing’s intrinsic value apart from human use
12. Increase your sense of self worth and confidence, based on your true rather than imposed or imagined characteristics and gifts
13. Come to better understand your fears, use them to flag what requires your attention... and as fuel to act to change what needs changing
14. Realize that you are a co-creator of not only your reality but also your world, and commit to acting accordingly
15. Develop the mindset and skills to survive and thrive through difficult social and economic times
16. Determine how to give back to the earth that provides for wisdom, nourishment and medicine
17. Learn how to learn, strengthen and grow from every mistake or misdirection
18. Get beyond victimhood, detach from unhealthy habits, distractions and habitual distress, expectations and judgments, and other self limiting ways of thinking
19. Develop healthy attachments to life and spirit, nature and plants, values and missions
20. Make every moment a decisive moment, taking responsibility for both what you do... and what you opt not to
21. Reawaken or reaffirm a childlike sense of wonder and connection, mystery and import
22. Learn how to best utilize your gifts and skills for the good of yourself and the world
23. Discover new ways to actively fulfill your most meaningful purpose
24. Dare to act on, embody, and wholly live your dreams
25. And finally, learn to greater celebrate and more fully savor every step on your path... the intensely intentional path that you each and every day choose and manifest
Anima teaches no particular cultural tradition or bias, although it shares many “knowings” in common with the various ancient earth-based cultures who tapped the same source and wellspring, and with a number of both Western and Eastern lifeways and herbal traditions. It doesn’t promote any particular economic system, other than our active participation in the natural cycles of reciprocity. It recommends no political party, but rather, an ethos of committed awareness and courageous direct action, in which each person must find their own best ways of employing and making real their personal priorities, gifts and visions. And with Anima’s emphasis on engagement, personal choice and personal response-ability, it is clearly not indicative of what has come to be called “New Age.”
By practicing presence, we not only take more in, but can also give more. By making every moment conscious and decisive, we take responsibility for our actions and effects. Learning to better understand, accept and even love the natural self, can help heal the feelings of inadequacy and insecurity that are a cause of most self destructiveness, escapism, depression, sexism, neighborhood violence, war, and global destruction. Learning to intimately reconnect with the natural world can lead not just to a more satisfying life, but to acting in our own individual ways to protect, restore, resacrament and celebrate that diversity and wildness. When we sense at the deepest levels that we are connected to all that is, we experience helping the world as aiding our own extended selves. While each person is unique, Anima takes us to our core, beneath the edifice and habit, and to a place of core agreements and values. In the state where we are most alive, we are also most connected, empathic, grateful, caring and able.
While informed by the natural world, the practice of Anima does not depend on our living in a wild or rural place, and is even more important for maintaining awareness, integrity and balance in an urban or suburban environment. Civilization and culture exist not apart from nature, but as overlays. Anima teaches us about maintaining contact with the vitality, the inspiration, the wisdom and sense of belonging that resides underneath the concrete and pavement, and outside of our walls and constructs. It likewise teaches the means for recognizing and staying in touch with our authentic, instinctual, inner selves that lie beneath the surface layer of busyness and intellection, projection, distraction, mask and fears... embodying our own true, unique, evolving natures, in what will forever be a changing, natural world.
Anima is an opportunity to be vitalized, and to make more vital the towns and cities we call home. To bring the arts of reconnection into our daily lives, our relationships, careers and communities. To positively affect, even in small ways, everyone we meet. To make our environs more healthy, beautiful and natural, as we heal, express and manifest our natural selves.
The ability to take care of our basic health needs, forage from the land and deal with challenges will be more essential than ever, as the economy, social regulation and inequality worsen. There may be no better investment of both our valuable time and limited resources. And Anima encourages the high degrees of self awareness and ultra-awareness, connection to nature and traditional healing knowledge, self-authority and local governance, regional self sufficiency and grassroots community, resilience and activism that can not only sustain and nourish us through any hard times... but that even in the best of times, can help us each to wholly thrive.
We who refuse to numb down – who insist on feeling the full measure of this miraculous world – are beckoned to step forward and embrace not just a new adventure but an ancient, essential, ultimately unique personal purpose.
We are called upon to embody a sensibility that in-cludes rather than pre-cludes the natural world, called to commit to a mission that contributes to the health of each other and the planet, as well as the health and wholeness of our sentient selves. Ours is a practice that promotes celebratory existence that deepens reverence for life, diversity, and that vital quality we call "wildness." We're called away from our loneliness, separation and distraction, and on to the communion of homemade food, the precious touch of family or lover, the ritual of planting a garden, the act of replanting a forest, the calling to be an agent of healing every day and hour... and the inspiration of a single flower.
This resource is immediate, always present, and available to us all no matter where we might live, work and play. We can find it in unfolding creation and our individual life's quest. In the kept promises of the rising sun, after the darkness of another introspective night. In a youngster, saddened by the sight of a butterfly bounced off a windshield onto the shoulder of some numbered road... and in an old woman finding reason to go on living in the playful antics of that same sensitive child. It finds expression in the sermon-scream of falcons tilting above our crowded streets, in the spontaneous prayers of outlaw dandelions erupting in the cracks of every aging sidewalk, in the spiraling reggae of the DNA helix and the twisting samba-line of ants ascending a gnarled cottonwood tree. Its testimony is written in stone, in granite and quartz, in demonstrations of authenticity and belonging, in the weight and substance of commitment to place. Its message soars on the lift of robins' wings, echoes off the moon when the coyote sings. It is carried forth from the ancient past to the uncertain future, in the hearts of everyone devoted to restoration, sacrament, and celebration of what is most crucial, beautiful and real.
We are called – to be authentic and true, to be intensely in present time, to inhabit our sensory bodies as in our bioregions and homes, to compromise less of what matters, to insist on lovers or mates that both recognize and encourage us, to seek work that serves our spirits as it helps us to best serve. We are called to nourish ourselves at least as much as we nourish and tend others, to follow our hearts, honor our needs, and live our dreams.
Anima welcomes us back to the fullest experience and expression of purposeful self and health, to a state of heightened awareness and the roots and lessons of place, to our gifts, our service, our calling...
...welcomes us home.