Appalachian Tea Ceremony
What exactly is an Appalachian Tea Ceremony and why might you want to come?
Tea ceremonies have been around for thousands of years, honoring the plant Camellia sinensis, better known as Tea.
In the Appalachian Tea Ceremony, we take the idea of tea time to another realm. An herbal infusion is the liquid that we imbibe, and each ceremony honors a different plant, depending on the time of year.
This idea of an Appalachian Tea Ceremony came to my friend and mentor, Jessie Wilder, in 2016, who then invited me to co-create one with her at an annual summer gathering, and in 2019, I got the inspiration to host them regularly.
Due to the logistics of making an herbal infusion, I make the brews before the ceremony. We drink a single highlighted plant infusion first, and then later in the ceremony, I serve a blend which includes the highlighted plant. I use fresh plants, grown right here on this land.
A more adequate name would be an Appalachian Herbal Infusion or Tisane Ceremony, but that doesn’t sound as catchy;-) An infusion is placing the plant material in water that has just been boiled and allowing it to steep for hours; herbal tea or tisane is when the plant material is steeped only for a few minutes.
The tea ceremony is a local, medicinal, caffeine-free, open-hearted, plant-based opportunity for acknowledging the sacred in everyday. A time for slowing down, giving thanks and being present with whatever is bubbling up inside of you that day.
It is as much an infusion of the people who attend as it is of the plants themselves. I keep them small so that we can have an intimate setting. Each ceremony makes its own flavor.
- Depending on the weather, we offer the ceremony in the gazebo or on the grounds/gardens of this beautiful farm. If too cold or wet, we meet indoors. I make a centerpiece honoring the four elements.
- We sit on backjacks on the ground, although there are chairs for anyone who would prefer them – the most important thing is to feel comfortable.
- We take a few moments to be still and quiet and feel our breath moving in and out of us while receiving a sound bath.
- We choose our mug, bow and acknowledge our ancestors.
- We practice deep listening while drinking our allies. We go deeper with the plants. Sometimes a song comes forth.
- We share tea. We share story. We share. And you can always choose to be silent and not speak a word.
In closing, I offer a salutation, we give back any remaining tea to Earth Mother, and we move into the next layer of our day, hopefully with a more calm, peaceful way of being.
I offer these ceremonies regularly so we may steep ourselves in plant wisdom year round. I call them Appalachian Tea Ceremonies because that is where I live and draw my inspiration for a sense of place.
Please do come and find out for yourself! And check out this interview of the ceremony in the EatWeeds Podcast or on our local radio station or you could read a wonderful description of it in the second edition of Steve Lorch’s book “How to Make and Grow Tea in the United States” or Nina’s Blue Ridge Botanic piece about her own experience at an Appalachian Tea Ceremony!