A Fervent Orison to Dale Pendell, Saint Of Botanarchy

The Illustrious Dale Pendell

The Illustrious Dale Pendell

I recently gave my love a book from Dale Pendell’s ‘Pharmako/Poeia’ trilogy to take on a wild sojourn to the hinterlands of the American southwest, a land that I remember Dale calling - in his effortlessly apropos patois - The Realm Of Coarse and Dry Things. In handing over the book, I was overcome with glee, and I might have even audibly yelped (though for certain I visibly swooned), for I longed to hollow out a tiny hovel in his heart and crawl in, such that I could relive the magic of being an enraptured audience to Dale’s genius for the first time.

To read Dale Pendell is to walk a blustery, brackish coastline with your hands stashed away in the coat pockets of the numinous. Dale was a fugitive of beyondness, the Poet Of Plants, the Patron Saint of the Poison Path and of trespassing psychonauts the world over, a modern day Paracelsus with oodles more panache and peyote and infinitely more charm. A poet, DIY pharmacologist, living exemplar of ethnobotany, and anarchist, his work is a compendium of mythology, pharmacology, neuroscience, poetry, and anthropology, and his books on psychoactive plants are sweeping prayers to the arcane, mythopoetic field guides to navigating plant medicines like an alchemist bandit. A true chaos magician, he taught that the only way to understand plants is through becoming a living steward of their ecstasies, venoms, and medicines, gnostic Botanarchy at its most and least refined. I doubt I would be doing this work were it not for him, because prior to reading his books, I thought that practicing medicine meant that I would have to let the poet inside of me die forever, a viking funeral on a flaming canoe. Dale taught me that there is absolutely no reason I can’t mix molecular biology with beat poetry, orphic hymns with Ipomoea seeds, irreverence with the dead serious and austere. His work and legacy is a fertile valley, the dankest of crescents. 

Dale Pendell passed away on Saturday. The evening before he ascended, we were ruminating on how it felt as if Dale were presiding over our courtship like the psychonaut grandpa we never had, prodding us to go deeper, be flagrant, grandiose, unabashedly experimental, genre-bending, wild… reminding us that life is but a living mythopoesis, so be MYTHIC, for crying out loud. We fell in love in cahoots with the cadence of his voice, his words were our field guide in traversing the badlands of boundarylessness… transgress, make it up, surrender fully to sensation with utter contempt for context or categorization. Go to that tangled place in the creosote, eat the dangerous seeds, see the face of God in your lover, learn why the Christian mystics say there are three amens. And write it all down. Always write it down and give it to the one you love the most. 

“Time to close the  books. Time to open the library of the world.”

Will do, Dale, will do. May my work be a perpetual hymn to you, my most cherished teacher. 

Drinkable Skin Care: Mung Bean Milk

Mung Bean Milk

Have you found yourself a hotsy totsy mess these dog days of endless summer, perched upon a porch whilst fanning yourself feverishly like a woebegone Southern Belle, misplaced teen angst smoldering across your face in blazing embers of pimply muck & mire?! Perhaps you feel that the wistfully winsome 1990’s renaissance happening with your footwear & Spotify playlist should stop short of a nostalgic bout of adult acne. For those kindred spirits that find themselves a sticky heap of hot & bothered ire in this oppressive swelter, here’s a quick and easy food cure to clean up your complexion, soothe the Mean Reds, and clear toxic heat from the body.

Ruled by Yang and the element Earth, late summer is marked by the union offire and damp, the sweltry dynamics of the two alembics stewing like sultry prunes in the cauldron of Earth’s atmosphere. As above so below, our ‘body cauldron’ mirrors the dank doldrums of our soggy terrain, and if our inner equilibrium is thwarted, we will internalize the pathological essence of our environment. Hot and humid climates force our pores open, weakening the body’s defensive Qi and depleting our internal Yin, making us vulnerable to pernicious pathogens. Excess heat and damp can act like a vector for disease to root in the body, and we are left with a coterie of flu-like symptoms ranging from restlessness, hot flashes, headaches, copious sweating, nausea, sluggishness, vomiting, dry mouth and throat, profuse thirst, constipation or diarrhea, muscle aches, sore joints, turbid discharge, skin eruptions, dizziness, palpitations, and fatigue.

Mung Beans, humble verdigris pellets of puissance, have been used by the Chinese for ages to battle summer heat and damp heat conditions. They reduce pathological heat lodged in the body, and dissolve accumulated toxins, leaving us with a lustrous, clear complexion. Skin care from the inside out, Mung Beans address the internal environment that engenders breakouts, gently coaxing the body to a state of balanced bravado. Li Shizhen, the Grandpappy of Chinese Herbalism, wrote of them in his cherished herbal materia medica Ben Cao Gang Mu, proclaiming that “Mung Beans are highly recommended not only as a rich source of nutrients, but also as medication.“

Whether plaguing the skin in a pestilence of pimples & purulent eruptions, or cursing the innards with turbid discharge from the respiratory, genitourinary, or digestive system, damp heat is a lingering, loathsome pest. However, with a daily dose of the right food medicine, dynamic equilibrium is maintained within the body cauldron, letting the body heal itself. Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen: Recipes from the East for Health, Healing, and Long Life has a slew of inspired recipes featuring the cooling mojo of Mung Beans. However, my favorite is a simple, egalitarian milk made from the boiled beans, drunk daily as a skin tonic.

MUNG BEAN MILK INGREDIENTS

2 Handfuls of Dried Mung Beans/Lu Dou
4 Cups of Purified Water

Mung Beans

METHOD

Rinse your Mung Beans in a jacuzzi, holy well, or kitchen sink, removing any grit & grizzle. Boil the beans in four cups of water for roughly three minutes, remove from heat, and cover with a snug-fitting lid.  Let the beans stew for thirty minutes, strain, and chill your brew in a sacred vessel in the ice box until needed. Repeat the whole rigamarole once over with fresh water, to milk the most mojo from your batch of beans.

To clear up break-outs, drink one cup of milk daily for DIY skin care. Also suitable for porch-sippin’ like a Whiskey Cordial during Indian Summer in the City, for those days when all around, people looking half dead, walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head!