The Chronicle

Q. and A.: Moon Minded Medicine

We're excited to introduce Holy Smokes, pre-rolled, filtered herbal smokes that — unusually for this category — look and smell beautiful. The hand-foraged blends of herbs and flowers — uplifting Inka Pinka and concentration-aiding Focus Pocus — are designed to benefit body and mind, while the reusable, travel-friendly tubes are also perfect for storing other smoking materials (or just about anything, really).

Holy Smokes are the brainchild of Siena Perez del Campo and Gabriel Vicente of Moon Minded Medicine, who forage for most of the herbs and flowers — and roll the smokes by hand — in the foothills of Santa Barbara, Calif. "Once we decide to harvest, we sprinkle a pinch of organic tobacco and white sage as an offering for the plant," Perez del Campo explains. "If we don’t have tobacco with us, but come upon a stand that we’d like to harvest, we offer strands of our hair and a thank you."

The idea for the line sparked, so to speak, when Perez del Campo met a tobacco farmer in Argentina whose family was suffering severe health problems from the pesticides the parent company required he spray on his crops; later, she talked to a friend trying to quit smoking cigarettes and dreamed up a healthier smoke that would encourage a slower, more ceremonial approach to the act. "Smoking is a practice that has been used by cultures around the world for many generations," she explains. "The act of lighting rolled, dried plants and inhaling the smoke therapeutically or using aromatic plants as incense to perfume the air and purify a space for ritual is ancient. We are hoping to revitalize the sacred aspect of smoking, bringing it away from a mindless consumption model and towards a conscious, collective mentality."

What have been your New Year's resolutions for 2016?

Siena: I hope to embrace the archetype of the high priestess, to open like a flower to pollination of abundance and growth, to make more medicine, to share ritual with community.

Gabriel: I don’t have a tendency to make deliberate resolutions. However, I do feel the beginning of the year can sort of set the tone for the rest of the year. Considering the abundance of rain we received in this long-parched Southern California as well as an equally abundant boom in our herbal business, I’m feeling pretty good about 2016!

What's inspiring you lately?

Siena: Ryan McGinley, Thinx (period underwear for women), ee cummings, Rumi, Pablo Neruda, Mary Oliver, and Shamballa Permaculture Property in Córdoba, Argentina.

What are you listening to?

Siena: Radiolab podcasts and the Spotify playlists linked below!

What's your smoking ritual?

Siena: When time and space permit, I engage in rituals for the full moon (wearing white, outside with the moon in sight, in a small gathering of people, and dancing, preferably with Inka Pinka and this Spotify playlist) and new moon (wearing black, at midnight, alone or with Gabriel, introspecting, planting seeds, preferably with Focus Pocus and this playlist).

Gabriel: I smoke almost exclusively at nighttime. There is something about bathing in the light of the moon and contemplating my day, week, year, or life. There is nothing like making my breath visible with smoke, indulging in my own breath with every one of my senses. That is my ritual. I may do it alone or I may share it, but the essence is the same. A moment in time, out of time. Often I listen to Argentine folklore, especially that of Atahualpa Yupanqui. I have a wooden ashtray that was turned by hand by a woodworker friend up in Washington. It is very special to me.

Photos: Winter Creative