Last week, as the waves emerged around the coastal village of Garraf, I found myself attending a very pleasant aloe vera plant medicine workshop.
A lady called Silvia was hosting it and she introduced herself as a botanist. As keen as I was to learn more about the spirit of aloe vera, I was equally as keen to learn about Silvia herself, so after the workshop I asked her if I could interview her.
She delighted and there we were the following day talking about her journey.
“So how did it all start, your journey with plant medicine?” I asked her.
“My grandmother used to teach me a lot about the uses of the local plants when I was a child. She was from the mountains of Tarragona and even now when she’s dead, she comes to me in dreams as a plant healer. I’ve always felt called to work with plants so I eventually studied biochemistry at university, worked at Hospital Sant Pau in Barcelona and then opened a herbal shop. These days I work in various ways with plants.” She began.
I sensed she had a strong relationship to the spirit of nature and wondered why. “You live in Garraf nowadays.” I mentioned. “Do you work with the plant medicine of this region?” I asked.
“Yes of course. Garraf is a special place for plant medicine, it has over 150 varieties of medicinal plants. In fact I’ve written a book about them which I’m hoping to publish next year.” Silvia told me.
I hadn’t imagined such power to come from Garraf, but now she mentions it, it does seem to have a very particular energy field, I recalled. “So how did you learn all about this in Garraf?” I earnestly enticed.
“I did a lot of field work with people living in the area so I could acquire the knowledge. We call it ethnobotany when we learn about the plants from living close to them. You can’t understand the plants from reading a book. You need to acquire it from living with them, like the way we learn a language.” She told me which intrigued me.
Her work seemed incredibly interesting and invaluable so I asked her what she enjoyed the most about it.
“I loved talking to the people of the area about how they used the plants. They hold so much ancestral knowledge. For example, I really enjoyed learning about the plants from an old illiterate lady called Josephine. She showed me 86 different plants and how to use them. Then there was a funny man in his 80’s who used to put a particular plant inside his trousers to help him go to the toilet. Being close to the plant is enough to gain the benefits from the energy.” Silvia told me.
This was a very cool thing to do, I thought to myself. “So why is Garraf such a magic place?” I asked her.
“I feel especially connected to Garraf and Sant Pere de Ribes, just below the mountain. The mountains are known to be very healing because they contain strong masculine and feminine energies between the nature and the rocks. You know, Garraf is made of quartz which can help to take the negative energies away from people? It seems as though an ancient civilisation was there and there are stories that the area attracts energies from other planets because of its energies. I always have profound dreams when I’m there. I even go as far as dreaming of the period 2000BC. There are also stories of Mary Magdalena having visited Sant Pere de Ribes and the area is known to hold very strong mother energies.” She told me while she curled her hands around a cup of fresh mint tea.
“What sorts of healing do you do these days?” I asked with sincere interest.
“I don’t use one particular method. I know plants very well and people naturally come to me. I fuse many techniques but all in a natural way. When you live with the elements you become it and then you can channel it and share it. I work with plants individually, I host various ceremonies like the aloe vera plant ceremony you met me at and I also work with Chinese plants that work on magnetic points in the ear. It’s very integral and wholesome. I also collaborate with my husband at times. He’s a musician and is well regarded for playing the flute.” Silvia said.
“That’s very sweet.” I remarked out loud in adoration. “How did you meet?”
“In fact that’s a good question. I met him while I went through a huge transformation in my life after receiving some healing myself. It was many years ago and I was married to my first husband. During that time my left shoulder was stuck and I couldn’t move my hand. The healer that I worked with healed my shoulder and warned me that I’d be going through some heavy life changes. And she was right. Soon after that, I got divorced, become less materialistic and more connected to the universe and to myself. In the past I had no confidence to even help people understand plants. Then I changed and opened up to my life purpose. That’s when I met my current partner.” Silvia shared with me.
“You seem to have a very unique and personal journey that you’ve followed.” I nudged.
“Yes, I feel as though these days I’m doing what I came here to do. It’s my karma to help people and use the knowledge and experience I acquired in my life. In some way I feel forced in this direction and I don’t feel comfortable going in any other direction.” She said again with what felt like real passion.
She seemed very aligned to her spirit and I felt incredibly honoured to meet it.
“Silvia.” I said as I saw her finishing the remainder of her tea. “Do you think you can get that book published for us? I can’t wait to learn about the plants and spirits of Garraf.” I asked.
She laughed. “Yes Anneka. It’s my mission for next year.” She duly added.
After that hopeful news, I thank her, hugged her and said goodbye.
Until the book emerges, you can find Silvia on Instagram.