Book Review - You Are the Medicine: 13 Moons of Indigenous Wisdom, Ancestral Connection, and Animal Spirit Guidance by Asha Frost

Book Review Author: Dr. Kourtney Sims MD, FACOG, NCMP, DABOM, Clinical Herbalist

This month’s spotlight features the work of Asha Frost who has walked the path of Indigenous Healer and Medicine woman for over 20 years. She is also the author of several works including You Are the Medicine: 13 Moons of Indigenous Wisdom, Ancestral Connection, and Animal Spirit Guidance, Sacred Moon Teachings and Meditations, Indigenous Teaching and Meditations for Energy Healing, and has an upcoming oracle deck called the Sacred Medicine Oracle that is set to be released February 28, 2023. In this spotlight I will be reviewing her bestselling book You are the Medicine.

*Please note that some words in this article are presented in Asha’s native Ojibwe language, Anishiinabemowin that she shares in her book out of respect for reclamation*

Book Title: You Are the Medicine: 13 Moons of Indigenous Wisdom, Ancestral Connection, and Animal Spirit Guidance

Author: Asha Frost

About the Author: Asha grew up and currently resides on Anishinaabe, Huron-Wendat and Haudenosaunee land. She has been an Indigenous healer and Medicine Woman for over 20 years and was pulled towards this path ever since she was a young child. As a teenager Asha was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic auto-immune disease, and as she learned to fight and battle this condition she was called to rediscover her own direct ancestral healing traditions and path. While working with clients one on one as an Indigenous Healer, Medicine Woman and homeopath Asha has walked the path of the healer as her spirit name Nenaandawi Nagweyaab Kwe – Healing Rainbow Woman reflects. As she has evolved she has been gifted with a new spirit name Wiida’adoon Aanimkikaa – She who walks the path with the Thunderbirds. This new name is reflective of a new path for Asha as she expands her teachings globally.

Book review: I recently had the pleasure and privilege of speaking with Asha Frost, who currently resides on and draws energy from her ancestors on Anishinaabe, Huron-Wendat and Haudenosaunee land, on a lovely Friday afternoon about her book You Are the Medicine: 13 Moons of Indigenous Wisdom, Ancestral Connection, and Animal Spirit Guidance. In her book Asha stresses the importance of each healer reaching back to learn and rediscover their own ancestral healing traditions by stressing the principle of “You are the medicine”. One specific way that she notes the importance of intentional healing is by incorporating the practice of land acknowledgments as a bridge to healing with the land and the spirit of the original inhabitants of this land that we call North America. This practice helps to recognize all of the spirit and energy that is held within the land, all the trauma and bloodshed that the land has had to carry and absorb and how that acknowledgement honors the kinship of our indigenous peoples to the land that we now all inhabit. This type of acknowledgement is called for to bring forth healing and reverberates healing energy through, as she says, “the past, present, and future”.

As Asha explains in the book, in large part, it was during her own healing journey with lupus that she was called to harness and rediscover her own healing medicines and rituals from the the past by doing the work to uncover those healing practices and traditions that had been lost to her because of the practices of colonization, residential schools and the attempted (and is some cases complete) eradication of her ancestors' healing knowledge. Many other cultures have experienced the collective trauma of this kind of ancestral experience with colonization in terms of the eradication of knowledge and broken ancestral links to our past. This experienced trauma that is revisited generation after generation is something that Asha has experienced personally as she has progressed through her own healing journey and she reminds readers that as they discover their own healing medicine that they may have a similar experience. Modern science is also starting to acknowledge the existence of the reverberation of this type of trauma with the emergency of the field of epigenetics. Part of the beauty of You Are The Medicine is that it offers practical rituals, affirmations and practices to help the reader to do their own work in managing this type of intergenerational trauma as Asha stresses this is a pathway that must be individualized to each person.

With each chapter of You Are The Medicine Asha works her way through the 13 moon lunar cycles, offering the wisdom of specific ways to use Plant, Smoke, Animal and Spirit medicines for healing in each cycle. Starting from the beginning she generously shares her indigenous creation stories of animals and plants that are represented with each lunar cycle as taught and learned through different Anishinaabe teachers including the work of Arlene Berry. You Are The Medicine also dives into the topic of cultural appropriation of indigenous practices, the personal and collective harm that it causes and offers practical and honest reflections on trauma that such practices can have as well as how to honor the use of indigenous practices without appropriating them. She offers teaching on the responsibilities of using Animal Medicine as well as the trauma that can be reflected back on the indigenous community through the casual and non respectful references to this medicine. She shares how you can respectfully incorporate the use of Smoke medicines during the cycle of the Namebine Giizis or Suckerfish Moon and with each cycle how the reader can use invocations, moon affirmations and other tools to bring forth healing. Each chapter offers its own medicine journey for healing while also offering food for thought about the respectful acknowledgment of the practices that are being shared throughout the book.

You Are The Medicine is a book that every healer should have in their library as it reminds the reader of the powerful healing energy that all of us hold within. Each chapter offers a framework in which to do the work to help the reader discover intuitively what pathways to follow in your own healing, reminds the reader of the importance of balancing and protecting your own energy and offers a greater understanding of how to use these healing practices for your own healing while respecting not only the traditions where these practices originate but also the people as well. Asha reminds us all of the importance of seeing and standing in your own healing power without comparing yourself to anyone else. You are the medicine.