My name is Brandon Weston and I’m a spiritual healer, native plant herbalist, folklorist, and writer living in the beautiful Arkansas Ozarks.
Some of the folk terms I like to use for myself include Yarb Doctor and Power Doctor. These are titles that come from within the old Ozark folk healing tradition. Yarb Doctor comes from the Ozark word "yarb" meaning a healing plant. A Yarb Doctor is someone who trains as an herbalist and works with the hundreds of native medicinal and edible plants of the hills and hollers. A Power Doctor is someone who knows how to use that other healing, or their gift as it's often called. These healers hold knowledge of healing prayers, charms, rites and rituals, as well as the use of countless household items, repurposed for powerful healing.
My work is a living tradition. It's the work that Ozark healers have been doing for hundreds of years. You can see many different cultures and traditions represented in Ozark folkways. These beliefs and practices, much like the Ozark people who created them, are a mixture of many places, religions, and ways of life. Specific folk traditions that have had a great influence on Ozark folkways include the European cunning craft, Cajun/Creole folk medicine including the path of the traiteur, Pennsylvania German braucherei often called powwowing, Native American healing traditions, West African folk traditions by way of Southern rootwork, hoodoo, and conjure, and Central/South American curanderismo. Part of my work as a folklorist includes looking into all the traditions that have had such a great impact upon Ozark folkways. In looking at where these traditions intersect we can start to understand so much more about our past. While you can look at Ozark folkways and see the fingerprint of all these traditions, they remain unique to this specific area and should be approached with that mindset.
I’m an Ozarker through and through. This is the land where I was born, the land where my parents and my grandparents were born, as well as many more of my ancestors before that. In this way, my work is my own, the spirits I honor are my own, and while my work may be seen as a part of the larger tapestry of Southern folk healing, there are many practices that are unique to me as I have learned them. I hold true to all these traditions that I’ve been taught and those that have been Spirit led.