ABOUT MEDICINE CYPHER
Medicine Cypher is a living record, a network of interviews with earthworkers* who root holistic health and earth stewardship through the knowledge-ways of the African diaspora.
Can you hear that? That’s the sound of people coming together from across the U.S. and beyond, following the roots of their African ancestors, carrying seeds, medicine, stories, and deep earth knowledge. They are coming to plant their gifts around a circle, a medicine cypher* that has been called to gather healing knowledge of the African diaspora. They are here to reimagine what it means to live sustainably in today’s dramatically shifting world.
Welcome to Medicine Cypher. We are Maya Blow and Bae Laurel, two earthworkers* from the SF Bay Area who have called this cypher together. Each episode we invite one guest earthworker to join our circle. Together we explore themes central to our guest’s stewardship work. These themes not only guide each hour long episode, but also create the arc of our first season : Returning to the Land, Returning to Ourselves. These aren’t just recorded conversations -- they are re(chord)ed worlds, woven together by inspiring conversations, bumping music, enveloping soundscapes, and featured medicinal plants whose properties epitomize the themes of the episode. We want to bring listeners into a world where Afroecology** is both understood and felt, where people not only hear stories, but learn practical tools. Our goal is to build resilient Afroecological networks across the diaspora. Each person we interview, every place we go is a node, a beacon of light and source of knowledge in this grid.
Over the course of 13 episodes, we bring together interviews with 7 herbalists, 4 farmers, 5 artists, 8 teachers of African descent. We are also traveling outside of the Bay Area to connect with earthworkers in the East Coast and the American South. We want to braid the essence of Afroecology across the U.S., especially in regions that survived the brutality of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Medicine Cypher is for people who are passionate about creating healthy communities through the art of sustainable living. It is for people who know that looking to the future means working in the rich soil-ways of the past, the ways that our African ancestors worked all over the world. Medicine Cypher is for folks who understand that our own health is directly connected to the health of the planet. Our ancestors called it the ART OF LIVING - a magic language developed between Art and Science. Medicine Cypher brings this language to life through interdisciplinary conversations of herbal medicine making, soil rotation, seed collection, bees, and more.
We must continue to practice this ancestral language
if we are to live in balance with ourselves and the planet.
*Cypher: In African American and Hip Hop culture in America, a cypher is a circle where we come together to share knowledge.
**Earthworker: a person who activates/embodies the regenerative, life giving cycles of the Earth through their creative being (i.e sustainable farmer, community herbalist, traditional healer, outdoor performance artist, elementary school garden teacher, etc)
***Afroecology: “A form of art, movement, practice, and process of social and ecological transformation that involves the re-evaluation of our sacred relationships with land, water, air, seeds, and food; (re)recognizes humans as co-creators that are an aspect of the planet’s life support systems; values the Afro-Indigenous experience of reality and ways of knowing; cherishes ancestral and communal forms of knowledge, experience, and lifeways that began in Africa and continue throughout the Diaspora; and is rooted in the agrarian traditions, legacies, and struggles of the Black experience in the Americas” https://soilfulcity.com/blog/