ecodreaming ethnobotany

native dreaming and traditional food preparation

When discussing the traditional food preparation of acorns, bay nuts, and occassionally California buckeyes with a friend, I was asked a question that I have heard many times before: “How on earth did people (our ancestors) figure out these complex ways to render otherwise poisonous foods, edible?” I hadn’t thought about this question in a long time. This question is often answered “our ancestors were smart” or something to that affect — or with a cringing shrug and a comment about how awful it must have been for the people in those savage times. For me the answer seemed obvious for the first time, as if something in the morphic field had actually shifted. These solutions and ways of food preparation were given to the shamans in their divinations, through visions and most importantly, dreams. It is only in a culture so alienated from the natural world (and from our dreams) that this question even arises. A better question might be: “how can we use our native dreaming instincts to figure out what we should eat now in this time of ecololgical upheaval?”

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One thought on “native dreaming and traditional food preparation

  1. Hi Kevin,
    Thank you so much. You should DEFINITELY KEEP DOING THIS! I feel somewhat isolated in suburbia doing what I can on my land like planting and harvesting stinging nettles (the first plant that called me to teach about IT), and doing some gardening and trying to hook up with sustainability people in the area, and connecting virtually feels nourishing. So, THANK YOU!

    I live across the bridge where the Ohlone families had their harvesting grounds and Coyote puffed his pipe and brought misty waters from the ocean to the dry gold ground. I returned from a trip at the end of October and was also blown away by the acorns in my backyard, on the street. Everywhere! And I seemed to be the only one noticing. As if gold was raining down in buckets and people just walked by. “Night of the living dead” in the daytime. So, I’ve harvested the acorns, along with Manzanita berries, and bay nuts for the first time.
    I roasted my first bay nuts last night for a few hours on about 250-300. They are especially tasty. And, I’ve got some in the dehydrator now, as I’d love to see what I can do with them in a raw dehydrated form. I wonder what gives them the bite of an aftertaste, that roasting seems to tame a bit. And, I’d love to find out what their properties are. What have you tried with bay nuts?

    I leave you with a dream I had the other night. I was walking down the path, and I merged with my dog Puppy who was cuddled up next to me. (Apparently dogs travel/dream in packs) When I realized I was her, I was especially happy, because knew I then, that I could fly, as she could do this at will – more easily than I. So, I slowly took off. I flew over this incredible landscape of an earth, like our earth, but pristine. There was lots of light, and I could zoom in with my hawk-like eyes and see a fox close up, then the forest, the grassy plains, antelope. In this world, the wild animals, the forest, the plants were content, at peace. I was struck, by the enormity and completeness of the perfection, and complete lack of chaos/problems we have here. I feel like I was being shown some kind of reality and it is related to us, now. I woke up feeling hopeful. Peaceful. Warm.

    May we all experience this kind of harmony on earth, in dreams, and in between. May walking with plants take us there.

    Blessing Plantwalkers

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