class recordings • the forbidden fruits :: Ethnobotany of Enchanted Foods • 3 part series
The shiny red apple in Snow White, the pomegranate and Persephone's journey to the underworld, entheogenic fungi, the serpent, and the woman... What do all of these botanical beacons have in common?
Age-old stories of enchanted red fruits remain with us as fairy tale and fantasy, seemingly hovering only in the mythic, untouchable realms. But what of the culinary, medicinal, and historical implications therein? How can the mundane inform the lore, the lore vivify the mundane, and the forbidden become the remedy?
We bring apples as a gift of appreciation to the teacher, yet shun the apple that grows from the tree of knowledge. We savor juicy pomegranates as humble provisions, yet myth glorifies them as ambassador of both fertility & the world of the dead. We uplift the fly agaric mushroom in storybooks and greeting cards, and even on cathedral walls, yet many dare not touch it for fear of its “poisons”.
In step with Ash’s research on flying ointment traditions & sacred fungi, we have here an assemblage of beautiful paradoxes that asks of us to curiously peek beyond the veil of polarity. An observation on historical inversions implemented by warfare - physical and spiritual... And deeper still, an exercise in pluralism and alchemical ways-of-being to weave with the frays of this time.
You are welcomed to this three part series- a deep dive deep into the realms of practical herbalism, ethnobotany, folk magic, art, and symbolism as we inquire with head and heart, why have these been dubbed 'the forbidden fruits'?
Seed 1 ✬ Apple as Saint, Apple as Sinner
• A rose by any other name: Energetics of apple & it's rose family cousins
• A tale of poison & medicine: An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but apple seeds contain cyanide! What's an alchemist to do?
• The marriage of form & function: How apple symbolism runs deeper than the Adam & Eve story
• What of the serpent? : Venom, venus, the thorn apple, and veneficium
• Apple preparations for cardiovascular & digestive health
Seed 2 ✬ Pomegranate & The Sacred Feminine
• Pomegranate in ancient texts : From the Bible to Homeric myths
• Birthing, Dyeing, and Dying : Women as guardians of fertility - women as guardians of the ancestral realms - women as weavers of the worlds
• The medium is the message: How symbolism informs folk medicine
• Therapeutics of juice, kernel, and pith : Pomegranate as bittersweet panacea
Seed 3 ✬ Fungi & the Taboo
• Mother mycelium & organic darkness tech : What happens underground happens in all the worlds
• Amanita muscaria in religious art: A fresh look at Fly Agaric and the great "tree of knowledge" debate
• Toads & Toadstools: Fables, history and chemistry of interspecies potions
• Working with entheogens: Dreaming as an exercise in liberation
• Fungi in Midwifery: From grain stores to the laboratory. Which witch?
• Intimacy, connection, and responsibility : kinship as the antidote
Receive 3 pre-recorded video sessions (over 6 hours of material!) and access to an ongoing class cohort discussion board, alongside a recommended reading list curated for the finest of plant nerds!
Originally recorded November 2023
P.s. Get ready for another class offering this winter, Merry Mushroom: Ethnomycology of Amanita muscaria 3.0 !! New info galore!! If you're not already on the BSB instagram + email list, now would be a good time to join ;)