One of the partners that sustains herself on the land, and assists in nurturing Anima, is Kiva Rose… I find her to be wise, inspiring, inquisitive and kind…and surefooted, as she walks the land and learns from the green growing things. This woman lives off the land, and stokes the fires for living a life of passion and grace. She has a way of making you feel as if you sit right beside her, sipping a cup of delicious tea as she shares with you her understanding of herbs, her respect for the land she walks.
Kiva Rose is a clinical herbalist in the Anima Tradition of Herbalism, her practice is focused on a vitalist approach to local plants, sustainability, whole person/whole plant understandings and earthy, practical ways of teaching people to work with the plants themselves rather than being dependent on experts. Her focus is on accessible, grassroots herbalism that empowers the individual and serves the community, both the human component as well as the larger earthen community. She believes in restoring health at all levels and approaches healing from the understanding that the body is a diverse and intelligent ecology, integrally connected to the planet as a whole. As such, she frequently works in an integrative style, including herbal medicine, nutrition, counseling and other holistic therapies in her practice.
With a passion for the preservation and restoration of wild land, native plants and biodiversity, Kiva is actively involved in the healing and growth of the Animá Lifeways & Herbal School's 80 acre botanical sanctuary and wildlife refuge. Through the reintroduction of indigenous plant species, propagation of existing species and an ongoing biological survey of the land, she continues to fall ever deeper in love with the unique beauty of the Gila bioregion of New Mexico.
In addition to her teaching work and clinical practice, Kiva also organizes the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference with Jesse Wolf Hardin, an international event held each September near Santa Fe. TWHC is focused on providing a celebratory venue for bringing together the many and varied herbal traditions of the Western World while providing experience-based knowledge to students and pracitioners. She is also responsible for co-creating the curricula for the Animá correspondence courses and personally teaches all of the herbal courses as well as classes in ethnobotany, botany, foraging, edible wild plants, traditional lifeways and primal nutrition. Kiva has garnered international attention for her inspiring and informative Anima Healing Arts blog, and like Loba, has been praised for her quarterly column in SageWoman magazine.
She deserves additional acknowledgment for her artistic designing and regular maintenance of the Animá School and Clinic websites, taking many of the photographs as well as creating marketing materials, such as posters and display ads.
"Jesse inspires our passion to take us further seeing the world whole, even holy."
JESSE WOLF HARDIN is well known as a unique and powerful artist, musician, historian, writer and presenter, and more recently as the co-founder and co-director of the Animá Lifeways & Herbal School, Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference and Animá Healing Arts Health & Herbal Clinic. He is an impassioned healer of both land and humans, and was responsible for the purchase of the canyon property in 1981, its subsequent ecological restoration, and the 1987 founding of what has evolved into this School. His devotion to increasing biodiversity and love for the plant world has fueled his 30+ years of carefully tending the Animá Botanical Sanctuary, transforming a once overgrazed and nearly barren landscape into a lush riparian forest.
His many years experience in the field of counseling combined with his work in rewilding skills and ecology make him uniquely suited for the vital purpose of reconnecting individuals to their authentic natures, supporting them in living their dreams and guiding them into wholeness. He brings all of these elements together in his dynamic Lifeways Counseling, sharing his wisdom and insight with students and clients.
Hardin has served community and earth as an ecologist, activist, author, artist and musician since his teens, and continues to dedicate his life to the furthering of accessible earth-based education and healthcare. He currently teaches correspondence courses, leads classes on traditional lifeways, nature awareness, rewilding skills, practical shamanism and river restoration, among many other subjects. He also gives talks on the history and natural history of the Gila bioregion and the American West, drawing interest and acclaim from an incredible range of audiences.
He is the author of 7 books and over 500 published magazine articles on subjects from nature wisdom and personal growth to Western history and the pleasures of gathering, cooking and enjoying fine foods. Noted historian authors have recommended those examples of Jesse’s writings that combine stories of the American Frontier, the sporting tradition and insights into the human psyche. Likewise, luminaries and visionaries including Ed Abbey, Joanna Macy and the Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Snyder have lauded his work on the human/nature relationship, and his concert performances have been praised by musicians from Baba Olatungi to Paul Winter of the Paul Winter Consort. He additionally does all of the artwork and many of the photographs for this site, and occasionally accepts commissions to create hand drawn logos for different enterprises or projects that he believes in.
“Jesse Wolf Hardin addresses the need of human beings to search within themselves, and within their bioregions, and to make the connections that may save our sanity, and the planet too. I know of no-one more thoughtful or articulate or inspiring.”
“Loba is a light. She inspires us with profound wisdom gained from her deep listening to the natural world. While many of us are busy with crowded schedules and media mania, Loba and her partners live in the Gila wilderness where their lives are deeply blended in the dynamic cycles of nature. They are beacons to us; they remind us of the joy, ease, and, ecstatic wonder of being human. I am grateful for these Magic Canyon mysteries... and Loba, the sweet daughter of the Earth, performing her alchemy. I am blessed. I am blessed more. I am heaped with blessings from the canyon and those who love it, and those ancestors who loved it for thousands of years.”
LOBA has been a co-director of the Animá Lifeways & Herbal School for a decade and a half now. As a young woman she literally followed her dreams home to New Mexico, where she found her true self, her power and her calling. She’s widely known for the writing of Sweet Medicine Stories, a much cherished regular feature of the popular SageWoman magazine (see Loba’s writings page), and her beautiful voice and canyon-inspired melodies can be heard on the GaiaTribe album “The Enchantment”.
Dedicated to the furthering of traditional life and foodways, Loba teaches a variety of hands-on rewilding and homesteading skills as diverse as wild foods preservation, backwoods gourmet cuisine, firecraft, water collection and management as well as sensory immersion in the land. Her emphasis on personal, bodily connection to wild self and earth is an inspiration and lesson for all those who come in contact with her.
Loba’s amazing traditional foods recipes are featured on the Animá Lifeways & Herbal School Blog, along with her regularly updated tales describing her day-to-day, magical canyon life. Both elements can be found in her upcoming book of recipes and stories of personal growth and wilderness homesteading: The Enchanted Pantry. It is in person, however, that she has the greatest and deepest impact, her hard earned truths exceeded by her thorough engagement, expressive gratitude, compassion, empathy, sweetness, devotion, strength and joy... serving as a role model for everyone she meets. The wondrous feasts she creates for retreat guests and workshop participants inspire conscious engagement, connection and gratitude, and usually end up being a major component of their experience here. And her teachings as well as palpable caring often have a profound effect on the participants of the various Animá workshops. Letters continue to arrive years later from those who credit her guidance and example.
“I feel born of the Earth, born into self, born to live again. I’m feeling like an individual, a person with a core.... Awesome! Loba is a bright new, crisp, windy Fall day that is blowing away darkness from my soul and lifting me into the happiness of the universe beyond.”
RHIANNON greets visitors with the most sincere acceptance and love, but she also has some strong opinions and preferences she’s quick to share. At nine years old, she's already deeply involved in and skilled at harvesting, preserving and preparing wild foods and medicines. Everyone who comes here ends up affected by her sparkling energy, honesty and delight. Even at her young age, she inspires adults to let down their guard, ground and be present, engage the canyon, express their excitement, exceed and excel. She may continue this work on into adulthood, leave and then one day return to the canyon, or spend most of her time away once she’s grown... but she will no doubt carry with her the inspiration and self confidence this place affords no matter where she ever goes or what she ever chooses to do. You can read some of this empowered young girl’s early writing on the Animá Lifeways & Herbal blog.