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54. Herd Immunity and Hurdles. August 20, 2020

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Herd Immunity and Hurdles. (If you already saw my video on Herd Immunity, go ahead and skip to the Art updates below:) There’s a lot of chatter in the news lately regarding Herd Immunity, which is the idea that at some point enough of the population will have antibodies against Covid19 and the spread of the virus will slow or stop. Arriving at that magical number requires a vaccine or that enough people are infected and survive. The buzz is happening because epidemiologists expected NYC to have a resurgence of the virus by now and it hasn’t. Now scientists are thinking that instead 70% of the community needing antibodies, maybe only 50% is needed. Maybe less. That’s an interesting THEORY. Here’s another one. NYC saw the worst of the virus. 800 people a day died. Sirens could be heard, literally, 24 hours a day for months. We endured months of lockdown, months of businesses being shut, months of worrying about our family and friends becoming ill, that they might die, that we might die, alone, because no one could visit. It’s also possible that we haven’t seen a resurgence because none of us wants to go back to that hell on earth. So let’s forget theories for now and stick with what we know. Masks, social distancing, handwashing, caring about our community, caring whether we infect someone else… stopped the virus. It took us a while to get on board but once we did, people stopped dying. Let’s stay focused on a strategy that works. When theories are more than just theory, we can change our behavior. Hang in there. Let’s keep it up until it’s safe to stop. To honor keeping the virus in check, I’m offering a 10% discount on any orders from Spiral Herbal Remedies, from now through August 28th, with the code VIGILANT. Spiral Herbal Remedies offers Organic, Plant-Based, Herbal Alternatives to Big Pharma, and Big Brands. I trained as an Herbalist for 3 years, worked as a Registered Nurse for 13, and make everything myself in Brooklyn. On the Art front: I’ve been participating in a Virtual Residency with Michael David of M. David and Company Gallery, in Brooklyn, in collaboration with the Truro Center For The Arts at Castle Hill. I've made a lot of art over the last two years while starting up my shop. Any quiet time became studio time. But I wasn’t researching or doing much reading. That has all changed. In addition to learning more about my Irish Herbalism Heritage, I’ve been reading about the erased history of women in ceremonial traditions such as Shamanism. While attending a residency in Ireland in 2016, I discovered that both sides of my family descend from Herbalism families dating back to the early Middle Ages. Since Herbalism was passed through family lines, it stands to reason that our legacy started earlier, maybe even much earlier. I recently discovered that my parents have a higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA than 68 and 88% of the rest of the world. That means we’re old, old Irish, and that some of our family may have been on the island for millennia. Neanderthal, an intelligent hominid, co-evolved in Northern Europe. Like their Homo Sapien cousins, they made art and held ceremonies before burying their dead. They stood about 5’ 8” tall and weighed in at around 150 pounds. They had lighter skin with freckles and some had red hair. The Neanderthal as a species became extinct within 1000 years of coming in contact with Homo Sapien but every human being living today has about 2% Neanderthal DNA because interbreeding happened before they were killed off. Since it’s possible that my ancestors were amongst the first settlers of Ireland, perhaps some of them were herbalists and healers when the Stone Alignments, Tombs, and Circles were made. These ancient monuments, scattered all over Ireland, align with stars and solstices. They pre-date the Egyptian Pyramids and like the Pyramids, were probably sites of worship and communal healing. While in Ireland, I was obsessed and visited about 5 of these sites. I used google maps to find longitudes and latitudes found in an article. They still stand 5000 years later - in back yards, along the sea, on the edge of fields, in the middle of valleys. Most are unmarked, their function displaced, but they have been left undisturbed and still maintain their sense of awe. The Celts came to Ireland in 800 BCE bringing with them a class of Druids - the Academics, Artists, and Healers of their tribes. Perhaps Druids are part of my ancestry as well. Unfortunately, Christianity and British Colonization intentionally eradicated much of early Irish Pagan history. However, research is currently underway to bring these ancient cultures back into the light. Although most people think of Druids and Shamans as men, anthropological evidence points to quite the opposite. Not only do most stories from Indigenous tribes mention female progenitors, but Roman accounts of the Druids speak of the powerful women in their league. As I dive deeper into these almost mythical beings who recognized and honored their interdependence with both visible and metaphysical forces in the landscape, I start to understand the pull of my ancestry on my art and herbalism practice. At a time when we need to re-establish a healthy relationship with the planet, it’s exciting to site my work in this rich history. Check out how I’ve been doing that in some of my recent sculptures, here. More art news - coming in October - I’ve been awarded a residency at The Textile Art Center. It was supposed to be for the month of June but… you know… Covid. I’ll be spending my days-off from the shop in their storefront making, thinking, researching, and talking about my sculptures, performances, and videos. More on this soon …

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