In 2011, at the Annapurna Bookshop by Lake Phewa in Pokara, Ron pointed out a book sitting on the top shelf to me & I bought it.
“Horses Like Lightning,” by Sienna Craig documented an American veterinarian’s journey & spiritual growth as she cared for horses in Mustang.
The making of a Juniper smoke offering by local Mustangi people to complete each animal treatment struck a chord in me. I think that was the specific moment that sealed my understanding of medicines & healing having a spiritual dimension.
When we got back to Kathmandu, I couldn’t put the book down. Each night by the window of Hotel Harati in Thamel I would read the words slowly, dreading the time when I would arrive at the last page. I also started wondering what Juniper incense smell like since it was mentioned frequently in the book.
Finally at Boudha Stupa, I came face to face with Juniper in its raw & incense powder form. When lit, it released a scent that was both foreign and yet strangely familiar to me.
While some find Juniper incense smoke dense & yeasty smelling, I find it comforting. It always reminds me of forest & yogurt. (Ikr, I’m never far from food. 😄)
It’s been 10 years since my fascination with Juniper started. Last month my friend, Sharonne and her husband, Khorn, visited Nepal to begin her 60th birthday celebration.
In the midst of visiting sacred sites and shelter & street animals of the Himalayas, the couple found time to replenish my Juniper incense supply from the same shop facing the Stupa.
Moving onto higher grounds, Sharonne picked a sprig of Juniper from a tree that grew in the temple compound of Muktinath in Mustang, a faraway location that is difficult for me to reach but has benevolently decided to visit me. 🙏
“I got us some wild flowers from this monastery! Breathtakingly beautiful views. I could sit here all day breathing it all in!” says my friend of 40 years as she approaches her superb 60th year. ❤️😊