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Sound as Color Muse: Miranda Aponte
crystal eye mask naturally dyed silk floor cushion

Sound as Color Muse: Miranda Aponte

Miranda came into my life about 2 years ago, and it didn’t take us long to realize we were cut from the same cloth. Both of us come from a background in the fashion industry and have a deep love for nature, leading us towards a more sustainable and renewable career path. We bond deeply over the power of plants, always sharing stories of growth, play and experimentation with our most humbling teacher: mother earth. Miranda’s intuitive use of herbs and deep seeded wisdom always excite and inspire me, read on to learn more about her journey and insights.

In your own words, how do you describe the work you do with plant medicine?
The work I do with plant medicine is really just an extension of my devotion to Mother Earth and my ancestral lineage. It’s born out of love as a commitment to what we come from and what we are made of. I am a boriqua part of the Puerto Rican diaspora and my grandmother was a medicine woman so it’s just en mi sangre (in my blood). At the core of it all, I really just hope to remind others of the innate wisdom that lives within our bones: our stewardship to this land, our intrinsic abilities to heal in tandem with the land, that is in so much need of healing.

 

I love the name Mariposa, it implies that there are many phases that brought you to where you are now. Could you share one or two milestones of your journey that led you here?
Thank you so much. I think we spoke before about the kismet ways this word and actual butterflies kept showing up for me in preparation for the birth of Mariposa. The week that I shared it there were about 3-4 butterflies cocooned outside of my apartment. It’s hard to choose milestones because it really was an evolutionary process, a metamorphosis one could say. Pun intended. If I had to trace back the origins, one important piece of it would be falling in love and seeing the miracles I’d witnessed with people using plants topically. I was working in the natural skincare industry and I saw the drastic effects of a calendula and arnica oil supporting skin conditions like acne and psoriasis.

Another big piece of it was finally gaining the confidence and courage within myself to share from my soul. When my Grandmother passed I truly felt a surge of courage run through me. As I mentioned, she was a medicine woman so this is my ancestral wisdom. The feedback I’d heard from others about the small things I shared (like a specific herb or making your own tea) and the impact they made, specifically around that time, really lit a fire under my Aries butt.

 

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The definition of success is something I am craving to re-define after the last year. As we took a collective pause many people realized the pressures our society places on us and what it means to be “productive”. How do you define success?
This is such an excellent question and I’m so glad you asked. I want to preface by saying that I believe everyone has their very own, unique definition of success. My personal definition of success is being wealthy – meaning having financial prosperity, being well resourced and having the means to support myself, my loved ones and having more than enough to pour into my community, targeted and underserved communities. It’s doing what the world needs of me and creating what I feel I need to bring into the world. Success is also having one of the most invaluable things in the world – time. Time to spend in nature, with my plants, with my loved ones, in the community, with myself. My version of success divests from white patriarchal capitalism. It’s why I created Mariposa, to redefine what owning a business means on my own terms.

 

Discussing the power of plants with you is one of my favorite things. What impact have herbs played in your healing journey?
Oh, it’s such a joy to talk plants with you! The herbs are just e v e r y t h i n g to me. There was always an inner knowing I had about the power of plants.

I have an insatiable curiosity and it really came through even stronger with the plants when I lived at an ecological center. I would ask what was this plant’s name, why was it here, what does it do and on and on. There, the plants just kept speaking to me in the way that they do. There were so many synchronicities like the aloe farm they had paralleled my grandmother’s love for aloe and her aloe garden.

They mean so much to me and I’m dedicating my life to them because of it. Their greatest impact on me has to be simply learning from their essence. When you spend time with an herb, whether that be planting it, growing it, harvesting it, drying it, making tea with them, drinking them, they teach you so many lessons and they always show up exactly when you need them. They are a kindred spirit and medicine so they’ve healed me in more ways than one and continue to do so. I feel like it’s my honor and responsibility to share their healing powers with others because of that.

 

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Working with natural dyes, I find there is a constant dialogue between myself and the plants. Do plants speak to you, if so how?
ABSOLUTELY! That’s a resounding yes. I think as humans we have to humble ourselves and remember that language does not make us smarter. In fact the innate ability plants, animals and the natural world have to communicate without language is immensely more sophisticated than anything we’ve ever created. They speak to me in the most subtle, gentle and effective ways.

An example I can think of is in preparation for The Plant Series, where I teach a class on an herb and then we plant it in community. I was sleeping with lavender, smelling it, drinking it, etc. There was so much the lavender taught me in our energetic exchange during that time. It’s very mercurial and can give so much clarity. I had a deep, sharp connection tapping into the divine and my intuition during that time. I find that the plants will reach you in so many ways even through technology. And then the question becomes, will you receive how they want to show up for you and how will you continue a relationship of reciprocity with them? If you find that you keep seeing a plant show up in multiple realms, it wants to work with you.

The truth of the matter is that we are nature so we, too, have an innate ability to commune with the plants. We just need to remember.

 

Favorite herb to work with and why?
Ha! This is such an unfair question to ask an herbalist. One of my favorites that just works with my constitution so well is Tulsi (Holy Basil). The flavor, the taste, the effect on my body – it just does so much for me. It grounds me and it’s a nervine so it helps to calm the nervous system, which like many, has been in overdrive over the last year. It’s cooling for my pitta self. It’s renowned in the thousands year old science of life, Ayurveda and revered in Hinduism. It is known as the “incomparable one.” Tulsi is known to be an earthly manifestation of a goddess but I’m not too well versed on that so I won’t speak further on it. Some believe a home is not complete without a Tulsi plant which brings luck and prosperity. I consider it to be a plant medicine for expansion and abundance which makes sense since it is ruled by Jupiter.

 

Herb that has most surprised you?
Herbs like Calendula, Comfrey, St. John’s Wort and their all healing properties just leave me in awe. For example, many know that St. John’s Wort is nature’s “antidepressant,” regulating the mood but it is also extremely soothing and healing to the skin. Calendula and Comfrey are incredible as well for the skin but the effectiveness in which they heal always astounds me. Comfrey contains a substance called allantoin which helps with the growth of new skin cells so when we’re talking about wounds and scarring, it’s a real treasure. And also it is so supportive to joint pain and injuries. Calendula is cleansing, supports the digestive system, can regulate the menstrual cycle due to estrogenic properties, and can even treat chronic infections. It’s also antispasmodic. They all surprise me! Their incredible ability to work with us and provide us with their healing, they are just so damn powerful! As I mentioned before, they are kindred spirits.

 

I love how you open sacred space by giving reverence to the land on which you reside- how can people find information on the native land they live on?
Oh, yes! You can go to https://native-land.ca/. I think it’s so important to acknowledge the original caretakers and stewards of this land. They are still here and there are a myriad of ways we can support as settlers. I’d encourage everyone to find the name of the tribe of the native land you live on, research their history, and find ways you can support them now. There are so many movements like landback, rematriation and food sovereignty that we can support as stewards of the Earth and allies to the Indigenous people of Turtle Island (United States).

A couple of leaders and groups I like to follow are: @sogoreatelandtrust based in the Bay area, Huichin, Ohlone territory. They are, “an Urban Indigenous women-led land trust that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people.” Another one is @movementrights, “aligning human laws with the laws of Nature-Climate & BIPOC justice, Indigenous & Nature’s rights.” @ndncollective “is an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power. Through organizing, activism, philanthropy, grantmaking, capacity-building and narrative change, we are creating sustainable solutions on Indigenous terms.”

We have so much to learn from Indigenous people and giving reverence is just an important first step.

 

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We love to empower people to create sacred spaces. How do you create space for spiritual practice in your home or wherever you may find yourself?
We sure do! I have a couple of altars in my apartment. One is for my ancestors and one is for my adornments and an inspiration board. I have a small space so I really think it was important for me to realize that I can create a sacred space whenever I want, wherever I want. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, just be intentional. There is a space I’ve been working on that has a few plants and my yoga mats, I’m wanting to add some meditation cushions too.

The most sacred of all spaces, I think, are of course in nature. I live close to the beach and the bay so I go and worship the water often and that is a sacred space to me. I think no matter where you live you can find a way to create a sacred space, sometimes I’ll catch the light of the Full Moon through my window and in that moment, that’s my sacred space. I know many live in cities and so just spending time observing a tree or a weed growing through concrete can be a sacred space.

 

How can people incorporate herbs into their daily lives and rituals?
Oh, there are so many ways! This is why I started Mariposa Journal to really bring these ancient wisdoms and sacred medicine into our modern, daily lives. One of the easiest and simplest ways I’ve found is making my own herbal tea blends, drinking teas and infusions. (I’m actually launching my favorites for sleep, rest and ease soon – sign up for Mariposa’s newsletter if you want to hear more about that.) I also sleep with herbs in a satchel under my pillow and there are some in my custom Sound as Color Eye Mask. There’s dried lavender in a vase next to my bed.

Infusions are beautiful if you want a more medicinal dose than a tea might give you. Right now, I’m at the point in my life where I like to keep it simple so I just reach for something easy like an oxymel or a flower essence. I’m taking Maryam Hasnaa’s Tulsi Flower Essence right now. Flower essences are definitely one of my favorite ways to work with plant medicine, although it is not made from herbs but the live plant. It works with the subtle energy body and is such powerful medicine. I will share more on these in a podcast episode on The Healer Series soon.

My one piece of advice would be to explore! Explore the herbal world and the many ways you can work with them and you’ll know what’s right for you. Then, it’ll change and you’ll find another way a new season of your life wants you to work with them. I saw a post recently that Herbalism is a Birthright and ya damn right it is. A great starting point to incorporate it into your daily life could be tracing back your lineage, how did your ancestors work with herbs?

 

 

Meet the Muse!
EYE PILLOWS + PLANT MEDICINE

Join Miranda and I for a workshop Create your own custom blend for your Sound as Color Herbal Eye Pillow. Miranda from Mariposa will be bringing an array of high quality organic herbs and teaching us the properties and benefits of each. You will have the opportunity to learn and interact with these plants before you create your own, unique blend for your eye pillow. 
Saturday, April 17th 11:30AM
In Person Only – Encinitas, CA