Please introduce yourself & give us a glimpse into your world. Where are you located? What are you currently creating?
My name is Emma Broadhurst, I am an herbalist currently tucked into the northeast corner of Connecticut, surrounded by forest of oak and white pine. Deer, turkey, fox and black bears have been known to visit. It never fails to lift my heart and ground my body to humbly remember my place with them in this world when I’m able to nest in a landscape like this. The chorus of woodpeckers drumming on the trees in the morning is a familiar, heart strumming sound that reminds me I’m on track when I land here. I’m dipping my hands into running brooks and making time to get my toes into the squidgy earth.
Over the course of winter and emerging into spring, I have been focusing on pruning; energetically clearing out what has had its season and tending to the roots of my business and being. This looks like strengthening existing structures and creating more effective channels for my offerings that honor the rhythms and cycles of my work. I write a newsletter to hold my monthly musings, share a shop of ephemeral herbal remedies, and offer services for which folks can engage with me 1:1.
I consider my studies a spiritual endeavor, nothing brings me more peace and sense of place than allowing myself to explore many different tributaries of thought and perspectives. I dive into the culinary realms, somatic psychology, bodywork, ecophilosophy, epigenetics, astrology, the voices of clinical and folk/traditional herbal teachers. I am hooked by observing patterns in all things; exploring physiological, spiritual, and emotional connections within the body and environment. My most loved lens is the one I look through as a poet. I see the symbolism and wisdom shown to us through plants, animals, and the elements. Remembering our form as a microcosm of earth. Wearing the hat of a herbalist has offered me a way to collaborate with others on their healing journeys that is expansive, eclectic, and deep. Reverence and respect for an individual’s energy and personal path is priority.
Can you tell us about a childhood experience that was profound or life changing? Or a memory that still resonates with you today?
In my childhood home, we had a beautiful little garden in the backyard that led up to a pine covered path that opened up into a meadow. I have distinct memories of sitting in the cool dirt of the raised beds, admiring the bouncing bleeding heart blooms, pinching aromatic herbs and bringing them to my nose. The feeling of that path through the woods to the field is set so deeply in my heart. Sunlight peeking onto the soft, toasted needles under foot, and coming up into this expansive place that felt like such mystery and adventure to me. The freedom to walk alone amongst the tall grasses, plenty of wildflower blooms, pigs and chickens of the neighbor’s next door. Cracking open milkweed pods and watching their shimmery, silken, feather-like seeds go with the wind. When I recall these memories through my child eyes, it’s like I was looking at the world through a magnifying glass; how close could I bring myself to it? How much could I make my body part of what I saw, felt, and loved?
What daily rituals or practices if any, connect you with the spiritual realms?
Morning is my most favorite time to connect. I love being up early with the sunrise and feeling the world still soft from the blanket of overnight. At minimum, I wake up and clear my space by burning some herbs, currently cedar leaf and bricks of piñon pine bark are my favorite. Aromatics are very centering and grounding for me; this practice taps into a certain kind of feeling and memory. The romanticism, relationship and memories involved with scent is wildly transportative and spiritual. I love these smells intertwining with my coffee brewing. I try to drink a quart of water or an overnight brewed nutritive herbal infusion before I caffeinate.
I find working with fire to be most resonant; whether through watching incense smoke curl or cooking outside or on the range, I have an affinity for the transformation and alchemy offered here. When cooking I feel my grandmothers with me. I also enjoy writing for these reasons. I feel into the many energies at large and use that practice as an opportunity to clarify and glean. I love any practice that brings me into my body and senses, and here is where I feel and hear my intuition most.
With home as the place I create and recalibrate, it’s efficiency and beauty are of priority to me. I find spiritual connection through acts of the mundane; sweeping, dusting, washing the floors, organizing and releasing items to make a space that reflects my present moment and how I want to feel. Making room for my guides to visit. I see our homes and natural landscapes as alive, and as one. If we tend to them, they love us back.
What parts of the world do your ancestors come from? What inspires you most about your ancestral cultural background?
From what I know, I am of English, German, and Irish ancestry. There is an energy of steadfastness, of unwavering tenacity and strength that I feel come through these lineages. Of making do, of making magic with what you have. I had the pleasure of experiencing this through my maternal grandmother’s soups and many stories of my paternal grandmother’s kitchen magic.
I had the privilege and pleasure of visiting my ancestral lands in 2011. I had an overwhelming sense of joy and electricity moving through my body, particularly on the west coast of Ireland. Expanses of the most vibrant green, my hands on stone walls and breathing in that salty air. I am moved by the ancient European traditions of myth making and storytelling as a way of enchanting the ordinary and enriching life with symbolism. Through this there was a means of feeling more woven into the world. I feel a great kinship with Ireland’s Celtic herbal medicine traditions and specifically their connection with trees.
How do you stay connected to your Ancestors?
I ask questions of family members to facilitate storytelling. I try to remember the birth and death days of my nearest ancestors. I have old photographs of family members 1-3 generations back, I set altar spaces, I call them in when I’m in need of support or guidance, I have come to be familiar with the ways of knowing when they’re around. I think about how even if I did not know many of my ancestors through their voice or physical presence, everything that I am by way of blood, bone, and spirit is of them, and of earth. If considering how water can be imprinted, like how we practice with flower essences and other energetic medicines, our blood/the rivers of our bodies hold the same potential for memory and information. This is a powerful and remarkable consideration, in this way, that if I would like to call on their wisdom and knowing-they’re all within and around me, all of the time.
Where do you seek inspiration / healing / refuge? In other words do you have a "spot" or an activity? Please describe.
It’s so hard for me to choose! Naturally, it depends where I am or what I have access to. In Connecticut, I go to the woods. I love being surrounded by tall trees and little streams of running water. By the coast, at the edge of the ocean is also a favorite. I have watched many full moons rise in this way, there’s nothing like it. I like rocky seasides, where I can perch on a cliff’s edge and be blessed by the sound and spray of the salt water waves. Where the reverberation can be felt in your body. If farther north, getting up on some elevation and looking out on a horizon line to mountains of any grandeur also brings me deeply into my heart and clears my mind. There is something so steadying about being by masses of stone.
What is the last good book you read?
“The Smell of Rain on Dust” by Martín Prechtel. I finished this book in 3 nights. It was like the most satisfying meal to my hungry heart, I wanted to stay wrapped up in the pages. His writings and teachings on beauty, space and time for pain and the alchemy thereafter, reach far into my spirit and share a way of life and relating to the world I hope for all beings to be able to access and experience. His lecture “On Grief and Praise” available online was of great resource to me this time last year.
Where can people find you & your work?
I can be found on instagram: @emma.ofreverence
My website: https://www.reverencewellness.com/
Featured portrait of Emma photographed by Mettie https://www.mettieostrowski.com