I recently met my medicine woman, Madera Gray down in Big Spring Texas. A land I came to know as a place of pump jacks, wind turbines, stray chihuahua dogs, and western winds, but came to love as the place of desert, desolation, and outlander camping. We communed at New Mexico to spend a day in the Lincoln National Forest. A vast woodland that is almost entirely hidden behind the hills and bluffs of this small Western town. Sleeping and living primitively for a night under the stars, with only a fire and each others heat to warm us through the dark night. It became quite an awe-filled experience, and a major transition in both of our trailways through life. On the return to Texas, we stopped in the one street ghost town where Billy the Kid was shot. We both got our tramping boots, and I think buying them has become steeped in some pretty thick metaphor for us both. Some unforeseen circumstances steered us towards staying at Moss Lake, where we encamped for about 10 days, eating buck almost nightly cooked in the fire, making homemade spears and carving tools, swimming in the seemingly lifeless lake, listening to outlaw country music, and generally doing things that would probably warrant us to be kicked out, but all in good spirits.
I had traveled from California to be with her, and became stranded in Arizona at a truckstop. A nice gypsy woman was kind to let me stay the night in her van, and sent me off with a couple dollars for my way. I met with a far met lady friend for a walk in the Arizona desert before heading off from the stop alas. I had come firstly to be in the company of my lover, my coyotess I referred to her. Our wyrd took its course from there, and during our time at the lake, Madera and I worked diligently to get her van, which is actually a repurposes ambulance, and transform it into her apothecary store/living space/gypsy wagon. We painted it black
Black Wing Apothecary is the creation of Madera Gray, a West Texas gypsy woman, who lives often out of her old ‘eighties ambulance medicine van. She met her medicine man (me, the author), in a forest in New Mexico, and she has taught some of her ways. We are now collaborating to give back some of our gifts to those with open hearts, and open minds. A statement about the apothecary from Madera:
“I first started this business three years ago in Phoenix Arizona while doing some work for the Arizona Cannabis Society. I had been studying the effects of herbs and whole foods on the body and had many friends coming up with hormone related health issues. They were all fed up with doctor visits raising fear and more questions than answers, and had decided to take responsibility for their own health and reclaim control of their own bodies. We shared information and used ourselves as “lab rats” until we all came to the same conclusion: our environment was the issue, not our health. I have since eliminated MANY unnecessary chemicals such as detergents, fluoride, plastics, petroleum byproducts, growth hormones, and processed foods. I have not needed a doctor for my chronic condition in three years and do not take any over-the-counter or prescription medicine. I live clean, free, organic, and would like to share my health with the world.
Black Wing Apothecary provides handmade, one of a kind costumes, accessories, ritual tools, and natural cosmetics geared towards free thinking individuals, and aims to reintroduce the lost knowledge of herbal lore, and to share in the art of handcrafting from natural, recycled, and repurposed materials in order to reclaim a free and organic life”
Amongst the materials and products that come from Black Wing are;
Laundry soap, air freshener, carpet freshener, dish soap, bathroom cleaner, bath minerals, bath oils, hair shine, perfume (oils and sprays) herbal tinctures, medicine pouches (usually from various pelts. I buy/trade local, naturally cured, ethically obtained pelts only. Some seasons I will have shortages, as it is not easy to obtain these things ethically sometimes and I don’t compromise morals for money), costumes, jewelry and various ritual tools- rattles, wind chimes, staffs, wands, incense burners etc, depending on acquired materials.
My role in the apothecary is as a medicine man or shaman. I have done some healing on different individuals over the past two years, and my first under the Black Wing moniker while living in a tree planting camp. My focus to begin will be on hand collected incense, magic tincture making, craft, and animal based art. This is a project worthy of support, we are both against mainstream pharmaceuticals, factory farming, fracking, and monoculture. Black Wing Apothecary carries a message of ATWA, and a truth preserved through indigenous tradition.