Sajah Popham is an herbalist from Bellingham, WA. He is the founder and herbalist behind Organic Unity, an herbal company specializing in Spaygric Essences. In 2012, he will begin teaching 3-module series: Evolutionary Herbalism and Botanical Consciousness. We met up with Sajah at the recent Portland Plant Conference and finally got the chance to hear more about his path to herbalism and the powerful process of alchemical formulation.
Tell us a little about your background and where you learned about herbal medicine.
Allow me to first introduce myself to the Poppy Swap community and the herbal community at large. My name is Sajah Derek Popham. I am an herbalist, alchemist, student of plant intelligence. I have a B.S. in Herbal Science from Bastyr University and in have been a long term student of herbalist Matthew Wood, Pam Montgomery and alchemist Robert Bartlett. I have also studied various traditions of the indigenous Lakota, Navaho, Kofan and Shipibo-Conibo people. I like to consider myself one of the many “herbal bridge builders.”
How did you end up on such an interesting path?
I was first introduced to Alchemical Spagyrics in Italy while I was there studying with herbalists and naturopaths. Upon my return, I found my teacher Robert Bartlett here in Washington. Alchemy is said to be a universal science, universal medicine and universal spirituality that bridges all cultures and traditions into a cohesive pattern. Spagyrics amazed me because of its highly advanced alchemical methods and the shocking integration of Ayuverdic, Tibetan and Chinese Medicines within its systems. Alchemy truly is a spiritual science, an alignment of the mind and heart, but it also offers an intellectual framework. It is a system that is born out of direct experience of the heart and light of nature.
What are Alchemical Herbal Extracts?
Alchemy is the process of ”turning lead to gold.” Alchemical medicine, provides the opportunity to transform. Spargyrics is a branch of the western alchemical tradition that involves the preparation of botanical medicines. Whereas Alchemy is the philosophy of the process of transformation, Spagyrics is the practical application of that philosophy. The word Spagyric, was initiated by Paracelsus, and means to “separate and recombine.”
How is what you do at Organic Unity considered alchemy?
When making a Spagyric preparation, the herb, mineral or metal, is separated into its principle parts, purified, and the recombined into what is considered a new and more evolved state. When this living medicine comes into contact with the human organism, it takes it through that same process of separation, purification and recombining. It is a process that assists us to shed past patterns and conditions and, therefore, reveal a greater truth. This process of transformation can be considered an evolution from an ego identified consciousness to a spiritual consciousness.
What makes Alchemical Herbal Extracts so special?
Anytime we take a plant and prepare it into a medicine (be it a salve, tincture, essential oil etc.) we are taking it through a process of transformation, a rite of passage so to speak. It is of great importance to not only extract physiologically active components of the plant for physical healing, but also to tend to the spiritual and energetic aspects of the plant. In the alchemical tradition, this is done by properly timing the harvesting and preparation of a plant. Alignment with its astrological and planetary influences are always taken into consideration. Through this energetically sensitive method of preparation and timing, the vital force of a plant is preserved and delivered in subtle yet concentrated ways.
The impact that this process has on the medicine is that the healing action of the plant, while it is working on a physiological level, also becomes attuned to our astral body. The subtle reflections of the person’s physical being (the mental and emotional levels) receive healing. In this way, spagyrics are used to heal no only our bodies, hearts and minds, but also assist in our evolution of consciousness; and the path to becoming more understanding , loving and developed human beings.
If you are new to Spagyrics and curious to learn more, Organic Unity is offering 15% off their entire line AND free shipping for the rest of this month. You can also hop onto Organic Unity’s Facebook page and read about how to win a Elemental Spagyrics Kit! Today’s the last day to enter so do it now if you want the chance to try some of these mysterious elixirs.