John Eichenseer (a.k.a. JHNO) is a musician and multi-instrumentalist nomad, currently watching the seasons turn near the coast of the Pacific Ocean. He wore black with garnet cufflinks playing with Carla Bozulich/Evangelista; flowing robes while recording SPOOL with John Ridenour. As an April Fish he prefers stripes. In his spare time he practices soaring through the air. The most valuable work to do on Earth involves - in the words of Thor and Friends - the subversive nature of kindness.
Originally appearing on Bob Marley's 1977 Exodus record, "Heathen" is reinterpreted here in collaboration with California Native Antonio M. The song speaks powerfully to the resilience of those who have been fighting for sovereignty and dignity in the face of centuries of colonization, who continue to stand and speak for those things that have no voice but are communicating loudly. These are the same people at the forefront of the movement to awaken the world to the imminent threats we face from the ways we live which have brought about the climate crisis we face today.
I was given my first braid of sweet grass by an Ojibwe elder who has become my son's loving granny. She taught me how the magic and medicine behind the braids and every time I collect the sweet grass, I meditate on her wisdom and how she teaches me so much about reintegrating what has been separated and making whole what has been broken--through awakened kindness.
Sweet grass is a perennial native grass and has been used for weaving, flavoring and as medicine. The vanilla-scented braids were burned as an offering. We sourced this seed from the World Seed Supply company out of New York.
Sweet grass is a frost-hardy perennial grass that spread by rhizomes. It usually prefers cool moist locations such as at the edge of a meadow. Seeds should be buried with 1/4” of soil and can be started in containers. By nature, it can be difficult to start from seeds, and seedlings tend to have low vigor. Better germination occurs when you cold stratify them, which can be done by placing them in the freezer for 6-8 weeks. Despite the challenges to grow these plants from seed, once established, plants quickly spread by rhizomes which can be divided to form new plants. Plants prefer full sun to partial shade. Sweet grass does well in containers or in the ground, but should not be exposed to extremely low temperatures. Plants will typically top out at about 2 feet in height.