Welcome to another Student Feature interview! For this installment, we spoke with Jovan Sage (@jovansage) of Sage’s Circle where she works as an earth and plant tender, healing facilitator, teacher, and doula. Her work includes one on one with clients, small group programs, and herbal research and consulting. Jovan has completed the Entrepreneur Course and Herbal Aphrodisiacs Intensive.
HA: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started your path into herbalism.
Jovan Sage: As a little kid working in my grandfather’s shop at the city market, I got to explore the different food stalls, food trucks, and farmers’ stands. Touching, seeing, and tasting food from all over the world as well as local farms. It was there that I discovered the intoxicating allure of rich coffees, fresh herbs, international spices, and teas – lavenders, mints, curries, fenugreek, cumin, peppers, ginger, and turmeric. As an 8-year-old working the counter, I learned to count up change, mix essential and fragrance oils, and interact with people from all over the world. This foundation has shaped my palate, my desire to travel, and my spice and herbalist cabinet. My own health challenges pushed me to dive deeper into learning to work in relationship with food, plants, and flowers.
HA: Why did you choose to pursue your herbal education with the Herbal Academy?
Jovan Sage: It was important for me to have a depth of knowledge when it comes to taking your herbal business from theoretical to practical. The Entrepreneur Course brought together the history and stories that would help me navigate building an herbal business.
HA: Do you own an herbal business or brand?
Jovan Sage: My previous company, Sage’s Larder, was born of a desire to change my relationship with food, plants, and healing. This company focused on making nourishing herbal products and fermented foods. With COVID-19 there was a huge demand, but my heart missed working intimately with folks on their journey. Sage’s Larder will continue to focus on specialty and seasonal herbal product releases and Sage’s Circle has come to the forefront of my work.
Sage’s Circle embodies my deeper service-based heart work including breath & energy cultivation, flower & plant healing, and land & ancestral connection. This allows me to bring together my work as an earth and plant tender, healing facilitator, teacher, and doula. This iteration allows me space to work one on one with clients, in small group programs, and perform herbal research and consulting.
HA: Did your Herbal Academy courses help you avoid any potential mistakes while launching your business?
Jovan Sage: The history and stories gave me a wide view of how folks have approached building an herbal business. It showed me that it didn’t have to look like anyone else’s business and that it needed to have a foundation that included connecting to the language and history of herbalism as well as your local laws.
HA: Tell us, what’s next for you in your herbal journey?
Jovan Sage: Group facilitation and teaching are a core part of my professional background so I am looking forward to expanding my digital library and online classes for my community. My next group program, Self Alchemy: Magical Living for Women, Femmes, and Thems, is focused on daily integration of meditation, breath and energy work, and weaving in the nourishment of plants, flowers, and food. It’s this beautiful rainbow of my education and experience.
HA: What were you looking for when you enrolled in your Herbal Academy course that you were not able to find elsewhere?
Jovan Sage: For me, the biggest challenge was finding support around being an entrepreneur working with herbs and herbal medicine. There were a lot of people willing to hand out recipes and label templates, but not the breakdown of the components of building a business. Now, I’m looking to revisit the refreshed Business Course.
HA: If you were to recommend an Herbal Academy course to your best friend, what would you say?
Jovan Sage: I think the Herbal Academy Courses are so accessible to different learners and the student dashboard is great for keeping your journey’s progress in order. From the videos and handouts to the community of folks on different levels of experience, I love that there are super practical courses like Foraging to super fun courses like Herbal Aphrodisiacs.
HA: How has your herbal education deepened your connection with nature and the seasons?
Jovan Sage: Being an herbalist and living on a farm brought me so many experiences of working in kinship with nature and the seasons. Having the joy of watching surprise flowers show up, the overlap from one herb growing next to another. My herbal learning gave me a better understanding of how to work with the plants showing up. That connection deepened my own herbal learning as I witnessed herbs in real life that I had only seen in a glass jar on a shelf.
HA: Have you learned more about your ancestral roots and traditions through your herbalism studies?
Jovan Sage: The knowledge of the plants and how they can heal has only been passed down through fragments of letters and stories – the matriarchs of my lineage were the keepers and builders of wisdom. They were the community gardeners and kitchen alchemists. The aim of my work is to rekindle that knowledge of the plants, those that we grow for food and healing.
HA: Has your herbalism experience encouraged you to learn and explore other related niches, like botanical crafts, gardening, natural dying, aromatherapy, etc?
Jovan Sage: My herbalism experience really expanded my understanding of the energetics of people and plants. It gave me permission to work with modalities such as flower essence and energy healing. In my practice, I work with reiki and other energy healing modalities and flower essences. Most of the flower essences I work with are ones that I have personally collected and partnered with over the years.
HA: Do you have any rituals or traditions surrounding herbalism that you would like to share? These can be long-standing traditions or new ones that you’ve integrated into your life since taking our course.
Jovan Sage: For me, it’s been important to reclaim my home as a sacred space, as an altar in itself. I connect to the energetics of plants, herbs, colors, sounds, and energy for cultivating that sacred space. I work with the herbs and flowers from my garden and neighborhood to create my own incense for cleansing my home, brightening my altar, or incorporating them into candles.
HA: How do you find yourself incorporating herbalism into your daily life?
Jovan Sage: My days are steeped in transforming seeds into plants and plants into enriching teas, hearty medicine, and delicious dishes. I’ve had beautiful opportunities to work as an herbalist, farmer, chef, and healing facilitator – herbs are at the center of my life. Working with herbs has taken me on this journey of deepening my relationship with myself, my life, and the world around me.
HA: How has herbalism sparked your creativity?
I find that herbalism sparks my creativity daily by shifting how I look at my life and the world. It creates space to be curious. I’ll find myself running out of something that I buy, and I’ll stop to ask myself, “How can I recreate this?” Or if I run out of one herb for a recipe, “What’s another herb that has the same energetics or flavor profile?” Herbalism stretches your idea of what’s possible.
Stay tuned for the next installment of our Student Feature Series with Suzy Frigo (@thecupidcolonial).
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Inspired by Jovan’s herbal journey? Further your own journey today by perusing our online herbal courses.