WE ARE BECOMING — ALYSON MORGAN

At this time of transition in the year, we often notice the symptoms of the season on our bodies and hearts before we can connect the effects with causality. Though we can just start to feel the days starting to stretch their legs and it occasionally really truly seems like warm breezes and green shoots are right around the corner...there is still the weight of short-day darkness on our bones and a misplaced feeling like we haven't quite gotten in step with the year. 


Thinking about this potent time of shifting and how best to care for our precious bodies and hearts, we decided to check in with Alyson Morgan, a writer, photographer, folk herbalist + mother who gracefully navigates the winds of these changing seasons like a hawk rising on a thermal current. Alyson filters her beautiful sensibility and rich connectivity to the natural world through her background in Climate Studies, Natural Resource, and Global Health and she had some radically pragmatic and generously gentle wisdom to share about care, presence, and finding goodness, peace, and joy amidst chaos.

 

Alyson wears the Sloan Cardigan, Standard Overalls, and 1930's Bandana in Ash  

  

  

  





We often think of "being present" as paying attention to existing in this one current moment, but we love the shift of considering presentness as a habitual act, of connecting ritually across seasons, like a constellation of presence or maybe a quilt. What have you learned from maintaining a cycle of awareness?

Present in this definition means our attention, our consciousness  and awareness woven into our reality. With the distractions of modern life, it has to be a habitual practice to come back to our witness and connect into this living world we are a part of. Paying attention to the phases of the moon, the shifts in the seasons, of light and nature, allowing myself to be fully immersed in the wonder that is existence is a gift. We can begin to see the patterns we partake in, the cyclical nature of time and it can help us grow and change. There is a freedom in knowing we are a part of it all. I believe it’s a downside to capitalism that makes us feel alone, self reliant and that we are the only ones that experience darkness, but if we look around we can see how the nuances of humanity we experience is mirrored in the natural world, in kinship and in the past. We aren’t a singular experience. We are the embodiment of our ancestors, of the cycles of the earth.

Whether you mark by the solstice or the calendar, this is a time of transitional shift. How do you prepare and are there tools you can share for charting a resonant path through and forward?

Midwinter is one of the most challenging times of year for me. It wasn’t until I moved from California to the Midwest did I understand the importance of marking the shift in season and in time. Slowing down to really embody the shift, shedding expectations and listening deeply to my experience helps navigate a way through. I turn to plants harvested at the height of the sun's season in the darkness of winter as allies and support. Lemon balm, St. John’s wort, tulsi, rose are all plants I turn to for ease, clarity and warmth as balm in the winter months. I turn to the light found in close friendships and personal relationships, and find peace in inner solitude and quiet, knowing spring inevitably will return.

What does "folk herbalism" mean to you and for you? What seeds were sown for your passion and tradition to grow well and wild?

Folk herbalism really means traditions rooted in the kinship of people and plants. It’s amazing that science is coming to support the relationship that humans and plants have had since the beginning of our time. I was given the unique opportunity of inheriting a garden of plants and cared for by an herbalist. It was there I began to listen to the story and song of plants and understanding the meaning they hold for me. Sitting in awareness, learning about plants, it unlocked a knowing for me that my experience was not unique but in fact the basis for our health, wellness and that of the Earth. It is imperative we listen more deeply to the Earth to care for it, and choosing to be in relationship with plants is a way we can lean in.

 


  

  

 

 





 

 

Alyson wears the Sloan Cardigan and Claudia Dress.

  

  

  

 

  





How do you want to feel in your clothes?

I want to feel comfort, ease, sensual, but I also want to know the folks who made my clothes were also taken care of, nourished, fed and comfortable. It’s not always easy or possible, but I don’t want to compromise my ethics or other humans' quality of life for style.

How does that inform your personal style?

It was really a shift in mindset that happened in college, the shift from fast fashion to a more ethical, personal aesthetic and process. That has meant I choose classic, earthy and sustainable pieces when I can and can afford to. I choose secondhand to extend the life cycle of more trendy pieces. I select style, materials, patterns and colors that have resonated for me throughout time so I can return to those pieces again and again. Classic, timeless pieces are sustainable and heirloom.

What rituals ground you in this moment and how do those shift as the great world spins?

Sunset winter walks, lighting a candle, burning herbal bundles, pulling a tarot card for clarity and guidance, sipping a nourishing, heart opening tea blend in the winter, stopping to pick aromatic herbs in the summer, growing cut flowers from seed, are all little acts to remind me of what it means to be alive as chaos swirls. A beacon of hope and fortitude, goodness, peace, and joy can coexist with life’s difficulties and challenges.

 

 

Follow Alyson on Instagram here, and learn more on her website here. Photos by Karlee Mikkelson.

Shop Alyson's OZMA picks here.

 

Alyson's first book, Our Kindred Home, a heartfelt collection of the recipes, rituals, and plants Alyson and her family turn to in their quest to live in greater kinship with the natural world debuts in March and is available for preorder here.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

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