My Journey To Herbalism: Brandon Scott
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a curious person. Growing up, I was often labeled, with much chagrin, the black sheep or was called a modern hippie by family members. Perhaps… But what I know to be true is my journey was a very unlikely one. I grew up in a conservative waspish family, and was raised by a single mother who struggled with stability and mental illness. I became very independent, finding solace in computers and technology, and camaraderie from people I met online, eventually growing to become an accomplished designer, writer and photographer.
Even though I knew what I was good at, I never felt a sense of belonging. I felt lost, not knowing who I was. I wandered through my 20’s, in and out of the music and party scenes, and I owned a photography studio for many years before losing my passion for portraiture. I ended up as a bar manager at a popular venue in Columbus, until I had had enough. I couldn’t take another blurry night behind the bar. After much soul searching, I sold off every belonging I owned. I began a career as a travel writer and ended up traveling the world alone for long periods of time. I strived to figure out where I came from, where I was meant to be, and where I belonged. I knew there was more out there, and more to life. There had to be a truth I hadn’t quite come to grasp.
As life threw everything it had at me, the mosaic of truth and understanding began to come into focus, and my direction started to take shape. I found a love I never knew in Nature, spending time in the wilder places, unspoiled by civilization, where no sight or sound could take me back to modern day. Those are the sacred places where the mind quiets down and the heart bridges with a deeper meaning, where connection grows from within. In my travels, I often found myself in those untouched places, usually in countries where I didn’t speak the language, left to face the hard truth of who I was. A lost soul in search of where I was meant to be. In those intimate moments, exploring and photographing the astounding beauty of Nature, I was taught who I was, who I was not, and those experiences guided me on who I was to become.
I am still on that journey, but over the past seven years, for once in my life, I’ve come to discover exactly who I am to become. I am a herbalist. In my travels, I found myself being drawn to all flora and fauna. I sought out to rid myself of the harmful chemicals and non-food products found in most processed foods, toiletries, and cleaners. Those choices led me to experiencing a variety of natural avenues to better health and wellness. But that was only the beginning.
Ten years ago, I met my wife Leah, who introduced me to her family of amazingly talented and spiritually-connected people. They were kind and funny, and they accepted me as their own, and instantly, I felt like I had found where I was meant to be. Through the years, they all have taught me so much, about life and spirit, and have opened my eyes further to the beauty of Nature, and the sacred. My mother-in-law Jennifer Parsons saw in me something that I never knew I possessed, a fire inside to help others. Perhaps that’s why my family judged me as they did, because I was not like them. I’ve always had a heart for those who need. With her encouragement, I dove deeply into herbal medicines, making remedies for myself, family members, and people in our community, and she often took me on walks where we would identify and harvest wild plants.
As the years went on, I found I could not stop thinking about the plants. They were becoming apart of me, with each touch and smell, and each sip of tea or slather of salve, the plants were guiding me along my path. Calling to me. They inspired a fire, a passion I’d never known. I tinkered and made recipe after recipe, testing and playing, and sometimes failing and learning, yet I was ever evolving. One day, we felt it was so important for us to offer our knowledge to our community that we began setting up at farmers markets and we even taught a herbalism workshop, and eventually we grew into setting up at artisan fairs and large craft events. Jenni often took the lead when we were approached by folks who were in need of something to help what ailed them, and I learned a lifetime worth of knowledge from her. She is so very wise. It wasn’t long before I began taking the lead and working in a sort of shotgun style approach to helping those in need; and my oh my, we learned there are so many who need this. Through this experience, I grew tremendously as a healer, and as I helped others, I found healing for the broken pieces in me. The first time someone exclaimed that I had changed their life for the better, I was hooked. Ever since, our family business of Woodland Herbal has grown by leaps and bounds, evolving from being practically shut down due to the pandemic, to thriving as we adapted to practicing online.
Herbalism means everything to me. It’s given me so much. Ever since I saw it work to heal and guide, I’ve believed in magic. Perhaps, it’s not the glitzy magic of Harry Potter, nor is it the feared magic of old. These medicinal plants are far more than dried leaves and stems, they are sacred plant allies, and these allies have become my dearest of friends. Ever since, I’ve taken my studies even further on my own, evolving into a more well-rounded healer. But the learning never ends, as a single lifetime is nowhere near long enough to master all of plant wisdom. For as long as I have wind in my lungs, and blood in my veins, I will help those who ask for it. That is the central pillar that guides our family of herbalists on this amazing path. Thank you for joining me on my journey to herbalism.