Wednesday, October 12, 2016


A guide to the ancient art of herbal smoking, a touching conversation with plants through the Argentinian landscape, + lunar playlists à la Moon Minded Medicine . . .

 F A R M A C Y :  H E R B A L   S M O K I N G  W I T H   M O O N   M I N D E D   M E D I C I N E

Our linewas created by herbalist, Siena Perez del 
Campo & her partner and creative entrepreneur, Gabriel Vicente. Driven by her lifelong love of plants, people, and the stories that connect them, Siena founded this small herbal product business with the hope that her products would do just that. She is a graduate of the Roots of Herbalism program with her studies highlighting Herbal Therapeutics, Medicine Making, & Growing Plant Medicine.

When reflecting on how HOLY.SMOKES came to me (Siena), an encounter I had around six years ago stands out in my mind. I was working on a photo campaign with a production team in the rural areas of Argentina. In late July, we found ourselves in the depths of the jungle of Moconá, a lush region in Misiones, Argentina. Our van driver, Carlos, stopped us in the middle of a field of citronella, & he had all of us get out & smell the fresh scent by rubbing the leaves of this bright green plant. He told us how he used to grow citronella in his field at home, but that a big tobacco company had convinced him and his neighbours to grow tobacco instead. They enticed them with a premium insurance policy that would cover his family. Sadly, the toxicity of chemicals that he was asked to spray on his new crop affected his whole family, since they also ate food grown in the same soil. After only a year or so, his teenage son was battling cancer & his wife was dying. Carlos prayed for his youngest daughter to be married to a foreigner & move away, so that she wouldn’t have the same fate as that of her family.

This moment with Carlos in the citronella field deeply affected me & brought my awareness to the drastic effects our consumption and addictions can have on our global community. When I returned to the States, I found myself leading a more conscious, sustainable lifestyle, surrounded by people who cared for plants and used plants to care for others.

When a friend came to us for help with weaning himself off tobacco, I thought of Carlos and all that he put at stake to create a livelihood for himself as well as his family. We wanted to create an alternative to tobacco that had the stories of the plants & their caretakers in mind. HOLY.SMOKES was born from a desire to create a conversation around people & plants. which has been steadily expanding ever since. Here is a little bit more behind what MMM means to us.

Smoking is a practice that has been used by cultures around the world for many generations. The act of lighting rolled, dried plants & inhaling the smoke therapeutically or using aromatic plants as incense to perfume the air & purify a space for ritual is ancient. To the reluctant nonsmokers, we don’t recommend taking up smoking. To those who are tobacco smokers, however, we have received more & more testimonials from people who have ceased smoking entirely with HOLY.SMOKES as a smoke cessation aid. We are hoping to revitalise the sacred aspect of smoking, bringing it away from a ‘mindless consumption’ model & towards a ‘conscious collective’ mentality.

Here’s a little bit more about each blend for those who may be curious:
INKA.PINKA | sweet & uplifting. It nourishes the heart with its rosy cloud with each puff. Best for social situations.

DREAM.TIME | is relaxing & full of velveteen mystery. It incites a colorful conversation with the subconscious dream mind. Best for inner reflection, listening to music, or just before sleep.

FOCUS.POCUS | is a spritely blend that excites the mouth with minty freshness. Herbs are chosen to activate a meditative, focused mindstate. Best for writing, reading, or taking a break from studying, then getting back into it.

We wildcraft in the Santa Barbara foothills. There are certain secret spots we frequent that have an abundance of mugwort (Artemisia dougalsiana), when conditions are right. Once we decide to harvest, we sprinkle a pinch of organic tobacco & white sage around the plant as an offering for its medicine. If we don’t have tobacco with us, but come upon a stand that we’d like to harvest, we offer strands of our hair & a thank you.

We typically harvest on the new/full moon, our feeling being that there are nuanced, yet definite differences to the expression of the plants dependent upon the moon (hence ‘moon minded’). Just as the moon pulls on the waters of the planet, creating high & low tides, it pulls on the waters of our bodies, creating emotional tides as well as the infamous 'red tide'—so it pulls on the waters in the plants, creating subtle energetic differences in the plant's powers.

It has been our experience that blends with plants harvested on the full moon invoke a fuller expression of emotional &creative juices. The desire to share one's inner world with others is strong under the influence of our full moon smokes.

Our new moon blends have a velvety effect, one of introspection & solitude.. a time for self-discovery & deep meditation. Personal rituals are encouraged with new moon smokes. When time & space permit, I engage in the following rituals when smoking:

+ wearing white
full moon music+ moonrise/outside with moon in sight
+ small gathering of people
+ dancing always

INKA.PINKA, the fragrant smell attracts others to come together under the light of the full moon

+ wearing black
new moon music+ midnight // dark night
+ alone, or with one other
+ introspecting, musing about inner world, 
& the relationship with the outer
+ planting seeds, meditative state

FOCUS.POCUS, the minty mix incites thoughtfulness & refreshes my perspective on any drama in my life.

G | bake artisan bread, play the drums, practice woodworking, play soccer, watch inspiring films on the projector, travel, play cards with friends & family, eat, sleep!
S | photograph the world, go swimming, read fantasy novels, make meaningful gifts for people, collect bones & stones, thrift store shop, grow a garden, collage, dance!

G | Yerba Mate in my gourd, first thing in the morning. What keeps me going is a constant drive to want to do my own thing, not to have to answer to somebody higher up in some hierarchy of work, all the while creating products that add value to the human world by bringing it closer to the plant world. It’s a beautiful thing to be involved in.

S | Gabriel’s upbeat attitude really keeps me going when I feel overwhelmed. I feel truly grateful to have him as a partner in this business & in life. I also like to put affirmations in my phone that will alert me at random, like ‘I am electrically effervescent!’ or ‘There is enough time for everything.’ The right phrase seems to come up when I need it most, which reminds me of the magic of being human.

Yerba mate from the gourd with honey really keeps us going. Sometimes we’ll add a dash of one of our blends to mix it up a bit. Foodwise, we enjoy munching on seaweed snacks, slices of Gabriel’s homemade sourdough with olive oil, & the occasional piece of dark chocolate.

     G | Playing soccer, sleeping deeply, & making food at home.
  S | Dancing hard, laughing deep belly laughs & eating the darkest of chocolates.

G | An ideal day is a day in which I spring out of bed truly rested and ready to keep chipping away at my projects. Often times its rainy days that are my favorite because they make my world smaller, more approachable and direct. There’s something about the rain that is really inspiring to me.. it’s hard to explain. An ideal day contains home-made nourishing meals, inspiring music, and lots of hard, rewarding work! And at the end of the day a smoke around a fire with my loved ones nearby… contemplating our place in this mysterious existence.
S | An ideal day is any day that I feel truly alive..which to me is that tingling feeling of ‘oh wow, all of my cells are cooperating to create this body that I move through space with.’ A good day is when there’s an instance of synchronicity, a moment where I notice two very different paths cross, or the integration of a teaching.

Coconut oil always. Organic lavender essential oil. A smattering of homemade tonics & oils I’ve made: Trauma Tamer (arnica oil with an assortment of essential oils), Blood Moon Cream (organic lotion infused with aragonite gemstones for increased blood flow), Tame the Yeast (yoni oil for the occasional imbalance ;) ), & more!

We’d love to have a line of products for women of all stages: maidens, mothers, & grandmothers. We also hope to offer classes this year on all sorts of medicine making, from fire cider to tinctures, as well as lifestyle medicine, like finding your plant ally or understanding the body’s signals.