Kat Sanchez was born and raised in Whittier, California (Kizh land). A gardener for 20 years, she honors her three ancestral bloodlines and the ancestors of the land by writing, seed keeping; growing edible, medicinal, and native plants; and through her approach to herbalism that reclaims and celebrates traditional remedies and practices. Rooted in this ancestral wisdom and guided by nature, her work helps foster connection, community, and care.
Katalín, as her mother called her, first experienced herbalism through her Mexícan *immigrant mother who grew up on plantations, ranchos, gardens, and before she passed away, the suburbs. One of the first herbs Kat grew as a teen was Epazote. Her mother was so proud and surprised when Kat harvested the herb and added some to a pot of beans. She also learned a lot about mysticism from her tío Daniel during her family’s regular visits and stays to El Rancho.
From a very young age, Kat also spent a lot of time with her South Slavic immigrant grandmother. A gardener who loved tomatoes, apricots, lilies, and roses, she guided Kat on how to take care of the local elders’ gardens and how to properly visit a graveyard.
Kat traces her Celtic ancestry all the way back to a 17th-century Druidic priestess, Eileen O’Dower. Traditional stories recount that Eileen casted spells from a nearby castle during battles against English colonizers. Her people then ascended into the hills until it was safer to descend a century later. Perhaps Eileen’s spells still guide in some way today. Kat’s Irish ancestry comes from her father, Robert.
Having experienced grief and loss as a teen, Kat tried to learn as much as she could about the spiritual world in relation to her cultural backgrounds. During this journey, she was reminded about the healing power of ancestral knowledge. Her practices deepened through plant spirit medicine guides like the plants themselves, traditional foods, flower essences, ritual oils, candle dressing, and incense burning.
In her 20s, Kat found herself back in the garden, healing while tending the soil, growing heirloom seeds that resonated with the local land and her cultures, and making traditional herbal remedies. She completed outdoor biology and health classes at her local community college and served as a Los Angeles County Master Gardener for 10 years. She took a Wild Gardening Course Series with Arborist Darren C. Butler at The Huntington Botanical Garden’s Ranch and also had the opportunity to take a soil and composting workshop series with Nance Khelm. She has attended several western herbalism classes on Actions & Energetics with herbalist jim mcdonald, and Lymph System and Humoral Temperament classes with herbalist Rebecca Altman. Following a series of herbalism classes Kat attended a memorable Alchemy Panel Discussion with Cathy Skipper, Dr. Florian Birkmayer, John Steele, and Roxana Villa, whom she also learned about the magical history of natural perfumery from. Kat continues to learn through independent research and most importantly from direct experience in working and connecting with nature. Those early educational experiences guided her towards the wisdom that she was already carrying. Kat takes the opportunity to learn from local Indigenous stewards of the land by attending and sharing their workshops and through supporting their work in various capacities. Kat believes in holding safe and accessible spaces for LGBTQIA+, BIPOC and multi-cultured allies to be guided and held while remembering our ancestors’ herbal, gardening, and spiritual practices.
Kat has led several gardening and herbalism workshops in the past; from the local nursery, to the local arboretum, and local community gardens. She hopes to provide more knowledge share opportunities in the future as she works on building the space needed for Guided Botanicals’ vision.
As her gardens have evolved, so have her methods. While delving deeper into alchemy and aromatherapy, Kat observed a need to shift the myths and popularity of essential oils — an industry that practices severe extractive methods — back towards more ethical aromatic healing practices. Kat crafts with plants from her garden and other local gardens/small farms. She also sources all her carriers from local ethical suppliers. From hydrosols to oils, essences, and candles, each offering she makes tells the story of the plant that offered their guidance.
Energetic medicine and alchemy have also led Kat to paths of transformative healing and justice. Every day she continues to learn how her garden and herbal knowledge can help serve and guide community healing. We learn the best when we are in community with each other and with nature as our guide. Kat is grateful to you for gracing this space, and looks forward to growing together.
Outside of herbalism and gardening Kat is also a College Communications Specialist for a Cal State University, she carries over 15 years of experience in the field and is currently continuing her education to expand her career opportunities. She enjoys producing accessible effective content and guiding project strategies. This website is created by Kat through her project she likes to call, Guided Creative.
* Kat’s mother was born in Mexíco City and migrated to > Veracruz > Tijuana > Whittier, with earlier matriarchs, records date past the 1800s, from Tabasco, MX (land of the Olmec).