Longing For Our Wild Beginnings: A Conversation with Rachel Corby About the Complexities of Unconscious Human Harm [Episode 20]

Whether it’s a seashell collection that sits on your toilet, silky feathers tucked into your car’s dashboard, or rocks lining your kitchen windowsill, it is our human tendency to collect and extract everything around us. In this latest episode of Woman Who Rubs the Mountain, author and plant spirit medicine teacher, Rachel Corby, and I wonder about the ways and reasons we pile up nature all around us. How can we be in the natural world and not turn it into yet another consumeristic activity, stress management plan, or means to fill some deep human neediness within?

Here are the highlights from our conversation:

  • Mugwort, Rachel’s plant spirit mentor, had an unexpected message for her when they first connected: Rachel would not work as a plant spirit medicine practitioner but instead would teach others about plant spirit medicine, bridging the gap in human-plant relations. Mugwort is still an essential teacher for Rachel, even helping her write an extra couple hundred pages of her last book.


  • In the plant medicine world there seems to be a particular fascination and overemphasis on foreign, exotic, or entheogenic plants. Rachel feels like an important aspect of her work is to bring humans back into relationship with their native plant kin and to be in ceremony with the elder plants that are right in front of them that they may “no longer see.” 


  • Rachel and I have a little laugh at the “seashells in a basket in the bathroom” phenomenon or our human desire to collect everything we see. When we have been brought up with a human “takey-takey” attitude this translates to everything and everyone around us. If you want it, you can have it. Perhaps our domesticated selves are missing our wild inheritance, trying to pile up nature within and around us.


  • We explore some of the complexities of how we create harm without meaning to, often following our curiosities too far. Rachel tells a story of revelation and irony, being in the northern lands of Norway on a snowmobile in search of disappearing polar bears.


  • Without realizing it, we can bring a cloying neediness to the beings near us, only reaching out when our hearts are broken or it’s been a stressful day. Learning to express gratitude and extending ourselves on-goingly (instead of just when we are in dire straights) is the bridge to true connection.


More About Rachel Corby:

Rachel Corby- Wild Gaian Soul website

Facebook/Instagram @mugwortdreamer

Plant Spirit Mentorship


Rachel’s Books:

Rewilding and the Art of Plant Whispering

Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature

The Medicine Garden

20 Amazing Plants and Their Practical Uses



Plant Spirit Medicine: A Journey into the Healing Wisdom of Plants by Eliot Cowan

The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature by Stephen Buhner

Plant Spirit Healing: A Guide to Working with Plant Consciousness by Pam Montgomery

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

My Name is Chellis and I'm In Recovery From Western Civilization by Chellis Glendinning