Herbal medicine is not apolitical — and practitioners have an opportunity to leverage that.

Many people who are familiar with my work publicly are most acquainted with what I’ve done in the realm of racial justice and white fragility, namely with my zine, A Letter to My White Friends. Those who know me through this lens might be surprised by this pivot towards plant medicine, since it’s not usually something I write about . …


A love letter, a manifesto, a reminder.

This poem was borne out of a time when, after hitting rock bottom from years of unaddressed abuse, trauma, and burnout, I finally found myself recovering and feeling some semblance of self-determination in my life. I decided to write a letter to myself to capture that feeling for when I needed it later. What came from that decision became something I wanted to share with others.

This poem is something to bring you out of the depths of despair and self-isolation, something to help you when you feel too weary to fight for…


Finding identity, community, and resistance in stillness.

photo by Val Vesa

It’s 2:36 P.M. I’m dehydrated. I lean weakly against a metal railing outside a Nevada gas station while I eat the rest of a breakfast burrito. I gaze wearily at my car, the silver paint flickering in the desert sun. Slowly, I mutter out loud to no one: “I miss my friends.”

Three days before, I left a community. People that I lived, worked, danced, sweat, and cried with all summer. They serenaded me with flutes and drums and a saxophone as I drove down the gravel driveway. I drove to the city: Columbia, Missouri. I visited a good friend…


We can shut down the machine by sharing.

Illustration by Phoebe Wahl

Many of us deal with these questions all our lives: How will I pay my rent? How will I buy food? We deal with them so regularly and deeply that answering them seems to become the very point of our existence. Capitalism is what puts us in a situation of scarcity, controlled conditions in which we need to work to survive, and that’s what most of us do. Get a job, work hard, pay rent, buy food, and repeat. This is survival.

Not exactly feeling excited about this rat race, I try…


Cultural appropriation is a sore spot for many people I know. No one likes to be told they can’t have something. However, that doesn’t mean that cultural appropriation isn’t a viable issue.

Until the people whose cultures are being appropriated by people who don’t belong to those ethnic groups, whose traditions are being turned into products for people outside of that culture to profit from, it will continue to be a major issue. I myself find it difficult to write eloquently on the nuances of why exactly cultural appropriation is an issue. …


Consider this your call-in.

Recently, I issued a call for my white friends to really examine our white identities, confront fragility, and help disrupt systemic racism. But the question remained, how do we go about smashing our fragility? To delve into the answer, let’s be thoughtful about what this entails. First, I want to say that the phrase “smashing white fragility” is something of a misnomer. While it sounds powerful (and it is!), it also conveys the idea that this is a one-time thing, a hump you get over, the spell that banishes your fragility forever. It doesn’t work that…


A letter to white people, from a white person, on white fragility and mustering the courage to overcome it.

Before I begin, let me say I am not writing this to police other white allies and anti-racists. My purpose in writing this series is to create dialogue around the white identity, in hopes of sharing what I know, and helping to further white people’s collective understanding of themselves, with the ultimate goal of promoting racial justice and prison abolition. I hope to spark discussions among/with fellow white activists so that we may better understand our place in this work. I…


Our feelings can bring us together — if we understand them.

Photo by Vonecia Carswell on Unsplash

Most of us involved are aware that social justice work is emotionally-intensive. I’ve written at length about the importance of acknowledging this emotional edge and taking steps to address it in our personal and organizational practices. I also realize that there is power in naming, and that my last piece on the emotionality of social justice work was unfortunately vague.

To remedy this, I’ve set out to name and dissect the various emotional impacts experienced by those in the social justice realm. I have experienced these and also observed them in the experiences of others. Though listed out separately, they…


House with a Confederate flag in the window. Photo taken by the author in rural Missouri.

There are problems in rural America that need addressing. I can name a few: white supremacy, crippling poverty, Evangelical fervor, and Trumpism. The 2016 election round made all of these issues painfully clear, and they continue to affect U.S. politics on a national and global scale.

Rural America’s issues are also self-perpetuating. I’ve watched the poorest county in Missouri strike down an initiative to increase funding for its already under-resourced public schools, some even lacking internet access. Lacking public resources, insular community dynamics, racial ignorance and intolerance, meth addiction, and government corruption are just a few of the factors at…


Image by Bobby Rodriguezz

I’ve been to series of sessions of individualized talk therapy four times. While the insights I’ve gained have always been helpful and moved me along my healing path, I’ve also always had strange underlying uneasiness with the process. It feels alienating to have to pay to talk about my feelings. Sometimes when I was in therapy, I felt like that meant I didn’t need to or couldn’t talk to anyone else about my feelings. I deal with some heavy things; I have a long abuse history and a lot of trauma to work through. I often feel like I don’t…

Madeleine Keller

Writer, community organizer, queerdo, and zine author on race, justice, emotional literacy, and magic. madeleinelkeller.com

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