About the *Apothecary.
White Owl Medicinals is an herbal medicine clinic and apothecary located in Victoria BC.
The apothecary offers private health consultations, personalized herbal remedies, workshops, medicinal and edible plant walks, loose leaf tea, simple herb tinctures, art, and various wares. For more information on what the apothecary offers, go to the Apothecary and Consultations, sections of the website.
White Owl Medicinals is the answer to a long envisioned desire to connect science, medicine, and magic.
The feeling you get when you see old and mysterious things, walk into sacred places like forest groves or antique book stores. There is a touch of reverence and excitement and somehow a mix of seriousness and playfulness. I wanted to capture this feeling in my art and my medicine.
To me, medicine and magic are finding the will to carry on and heal yourself. To hold onto something and believe it can help you. To know that you have everything you need to get through the storm, but sometimes it feels good to put a little of that energy into a stone, a feather, a cup of tea, and allow that object to remind you of what you’re capable of.
Sometimes the apothecary will help with a stubborn cough by using garlic because it is a scientifically researched mucolytic (breaks up mucus), and respiratory disinfectant. I’ll site research, and use more clinical terms.
On the other hand, sometimes the situation is not as cut and dry. Sometimes someone can be dealing with something as ephemeral as fear… or collective sadness. In these cases, sometimes someone needs to be handed a small warm river stone to rub in their pocket and remind them of the earth, and sip a tea with things that wrap the heart in a sense of safety, and a little vial of tincture that can calm nightmares or dark daydreams. Things like this call upon an older and deeper side of ourselves, and can give us just what we need to help pull ourselves back up again.
If someone wants to speak scientifically and clinically, I will speak this language, and if someone is open to something that is a mix of science and magic, then I am all too happy to reveal the energetic side of herbal medicine. There is room for both at White Owl Medicinals.
The story behind the name of the apothecary developed over the year in which I was searching for my herbal education. Every decision I have made in regards to herbal medicine has been answered by an owl. When I first started the Rosemary Gladstar course back in 2010, I saw my first wild owl while kayaking solo on an inland lake. When I choose to go to England in search of education in 2012, I found my first owl feather resting gently on my deck. When I choose to go to Pacific Rim College, I found another owl feather while hiking, and then I found a whole owl wing down by my favorite beach in Tahoe. Since then, the feathers have kept coming, and when I see one, I know I’m on the right track.
I find connection with a lot of different animals, but accepting the owl as a mascot and ally feels particularly appropriate for me considering I have a special interest in sleep and dreaming, and I always felt that the owls watched over me while I slept, keeping me safe while I dream.
*Please see the FAQ section if you’re unfamiliar with the word “apothecary”.
About the Herbalist
Before I dive into what I am, I would first like to make a statement to what I am not…
I, Sky Richarde RH (AHG), am not a doctor, and as such, I am not going to diagnose, treat, or cure any conditions. I am here to assist in the healing process and I will not hesitate to refer to other practitioners and doctors if and when it seems appropriate.
Just because I am in the natural health care field, does not mean that I am against modern medicine in any way. On the contrary, I believe in complimentary medicine, and strive to work with doctors to do what is best for each individual. Many herbs can work alongside modern medicine, and can even make certain treatments more effective. I would like to help bridge the divide between herbal medicine and modern medicine, being trained in herb/drug interaction has helped make this possible among other things.
I have met good doctors and bad doctors, just as I have met good herbalists and bad herbalists. Finding the individual who fits your needs is the key, and everyone of us is a complex and unique lock.
The short story…
I have a special interest in sleeping and dreaming, because here is something which is fundamentally more important to our health than food and water, and yet the most brilliant scientists of our time have no idea WHY. Sleep or the lack there of, effects every single aspect of our lives, and in turn, every single aspect of our lives effects it. There is so much healing to be done here on a cultural level, I am impassioned by the prospect of facilitating some of that healing. Sleep is a realm in which the two worlds of science and magic overlap the most. Where one can see the interplay of brainwaves and hormones along with the plants that can assist these systems, while at the same time observing the archetypal, metaphorical, sometimes literal, and sometimes prophetic world of dreaming, and how herbs can influence this. I favor herbal medicine that picks up where modern medicine leaves off or cannot really help much… and the world of nightmares, sleepwalking, night terrors and other troubles of the sleeping mind/body is a perfect example.
Beyond this interest I am an herbalist, artist, crafter, cook, adventurer, wild water swimmer, circus person, explorer, writer, singer, and vivid dreamer… among other things.
Training and Credentials
American Herbalist Guild Registered Herbalist (2018).
Without regulation, American herbalists are held to the standard of the American Herbalists Guild, which has strict educational, ethical, and continuing education expectations for its professional members. There are other herbal professional associations throughout North America which also have high standards and wonderful practitioners within them, but since I travel between the US and Canada the AHG was the most appropriate choice for me.
Diploma of Phytotherapy, issued by Pacific Rim College, 2017.
3 years of classroom training and clinical experience which included:
- 510 hours of Clinical Practice (within the school clinic as well as the Victoria Native Friendship Center)
- 510 hours of Biomedical/biological sciences (includes physical examinations, western pharmacology, physiology, pathophysiology, biochemistry, phytochemistry, etc)
- 810 hours of Western Herbal Sciences (includes materia medica of over 200 plants, nutrition, physiology of plants in the body, specific therapeutics for various conditions, and advanced medicine making.)
- 90 hours of Nutrition and Supplement training (not including 6 months of intensive supplement seminars for my time working in the health industry)
- 225 hours of professional development
This is the most comprehensive course in Western Herbal Medicine offered in North America, held to the standards of England’s regulations regarding Phytotherapists.
Other courses and certificates:
With Rosemary Gladstar and Sage Mountain. (2012)
With Slipstream (2016)
Issued by Victoria BC (2016)
With Thriving Roots (2015)
Offered by LearningHerbs.com Herb Mentor program (2012)
Continuing Education Weekend Workshops: (15+ hours each)
- A Holistic Approach to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 2016: Where we dove more deeply into states of PTSD and what herbal support may look like.
- Inclusiveness in the Clinical Setting with Bryn Eliot 2016: Where I was mentored on how to create a safe, welcoming, and professional environment for people within the LGBTQA++ community.
- Medicinal Mushrooms with Robert Rogers 2014: Where I was introduced to the variety of local mushrooms on Vancouver Island, and taught safe practices for harvesting, and using them medicinally.
- Healing the Emotional and Spiritual Aspects of Dis-ease with Robert Rogers 2014: Where I was trained in the use of flower essences, and good patient communication, with an emphasis on emotional needs.
- Reading the Body with Margi Flint 2014: A course focused on observing patients in the clinic and knowing how to spot physical markers for deeper states of disease or distress.
- Materia Medica of Local Plants with Robert Rogers 2014: An extended course on local plant medicine.
- The Art of Distillation 2014: A course on distilling plant hydrosols, what to look for when purchasing quality and medicinal hydrosols, and how to spot good professional practices.
I want to acknowledge that so many people in life have not gotten the same privileges, freedoms, and support as me. Whoever you are, know that you have my support in reinventing yourself, following your dreams and goals, and getting through and surviving in this wild world. I hope to use my privileges to be the change I want to see in the world, and to support others who may not have been as lucky. Keep on living and letting your being make the world a better place!