Profile: Healer, J. Mark Taylor, Medical Herbalist
Unlike many people who may call themselves healer I did not come to the vocation through any malady or illness of my own. Instead, I rather fell into the healing art through a long string of fateful occurrences.
For me, life before healing, which I refer to as my past life, was one marked by orthodoxy and conformity. I was too successful, made too much money, and was way too irresponsible. Life was all work, toys, and entertainment. Certainly no worldly contribution was being made that I would consider beneficial toward humanity.
Then one day, in an epiphany, I just up and quit. I sold everything and moved to a tiny acreage in Nova Scotia to lead a minimalist lifestyle and to reconnect with the earth’s humble values. I lived as much as possible from the land growing most of my food; I was a registered farmer, a part-time fisherman, and a certified organic food inspector.
To make a dollar I parlayed my self-sufficient lifestyle habits of growing herbs for health and making soaps into a small business. To answer the questions of my customers I obtained training in herbs from Dominion Herbal College. And, a little later, to participate more effectively in the herb wars 1 against governmental idiocies I obtained the highest possible herbal designations available in the English-speaking world.
Armed with a wealth of herbal education and training, and knowing the efficacy of herbs and other natural treatments I opened a full-time natural health and healing clinic. The immediate effect of practicing full-time taught me two things: first, chronic illness responds well to nature-cure treatment; and second, that the Standard medical system was fully out of touch with reality and was not deserving of my respect.
The first is self evident. Not only is seeing believing but so too were the convictions of my patients. They chose to seek out my help based upon their belief in nature-cure treatment.
The second result of practicing full-time was the evident commonality of failure of modern medicine and its unwillingness to care about a patient’s success through alternative means. Medicine’s greater concern was conformity of practice which invariably out weighed the health of the patient. That is neither deserving of respect nor support. Few health health-oriented charities get my donations because of such irrational, straight-jacketed thinking inherent in the positions they convey to their clients.
The present finds me in Alberta, not Nova Scotia. After some twenty-five years learning the value of earth, nature, and humanity I pulled up stakes and moved back to Alberta.
I work in a busy toxin elimination clinic, Arcady Holistic, restoring health to those maimed by the consequences of modern society and its medicine. Very successfully I might add although that, as most of you well know, is irrelevant to the powers that be. I find it ironic that people choose to pay out-of-pocket for natural health care services rather submit to free Standard care procedures. And it saddens me to see the poor excluded from nature-cure care, and the near-poor struggling to remain empowered of choice in health care.
Still, the very success of applied Alternative health practices has turned me into a staunch advocate of the Alternative Health paradigm. Leave the Standard paradigm to live or die by its practices but recognize a parallel, Alternative Health Association to compete head-on in health care – breaking the medico monopoly. Then empower people with health dollars and let truth in health care be determined by vote of the health-care consumer. Monopolistic, supplier-driven health care is betraying Canadians every day with bad, often feckless medicine and its heavy costs. Consumer-driven health care is the way to go.
In the last federal election I ran as the candidate in Calgary East for the Green Party of Canada. I received 7.41% of the vote. Not too shabby for a lowly medical herbalist. Medicine will be reformed, ultimately, through the political process and not by medicine itself. You never know, the third way in Alberta may end up being a new freedom for all Albertans to choose the health care they desire rather than the one paternally dictated by the elitist suppliers of health services.
I’m getting old and long in the tooth now. Still, I’d like to treat those who need to be removed from the pressures of their environs, the ones who need more support than a simple, in-patient clinic can offer. Some people just need to get away in order to begin their healing. And I’m working on that. Words like off-grid, net metering, eco-village, intentional community, and cottage hospital 2 all jangle about in my mind. Hopefully they will spill out and result in a tangible healing enterprise.
I predict that twenty years from now when 70% of the Canadian population will get cancer; with sky-rocketing rates of ADHD, asthma, and auto-immune disease; when dementias and new syndromes predominate; the quirky reluctance of people in healthy, eco-oriented intentional communities to contract disease will mark the demise of yet another go-round of modern medicine and its so-called miracle drugs (the last go-round being the heroic age and its miracle of mercury). These medicos, mere apologists for rampant growth and development, deserve no honoured place in history.
And lastly I’d like to express my deepest debt of gratitude to Keith Stelling, MNIMH. At what was probably the most poverty-entrenched point in my life Keith extended boundless time and energies in support of a significant portion of my clinical training as befits the fine tradition of herbalism. And it is fully my intention to pass on this favour in the preservation of traditional herbalism to yet another earth-aware, budding, preserver of the time tested nature-cure faith.
1 Government of Canada Expert Advisory Committees of 1989, 1993, 1997.
2 A term first taught to me by the visionary Keith Stelling, MNIMH.
5, 1922 - 9 Avenue SE.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 0V2