Wise Woman Ezine with herbalist Susun Weed
April 2007
Volume 7 Number 4

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What's Inside Wise Woman Herbal Ezine this Month...


Healing Wise ...
Learning Herbs Interview 1.2
with Susun Weed & John Gallagher

Learning Herbs Interview 1.2
with Susun Weed & John Gallagher

The following is a written transcript from John Gallagher's interview with Susun Weed on November 30, 2006. The interview was part of The Herbal Teleconference Series, which was an event celebrating the release of Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game

John: Since we're a little past the hour here everyone's probably on the call right now, and I'd like to say Good Evening everyone, this is John Gallager, from learningherbs.com, the ART of Liz Welchand this is the fourth teleconference in our series, and once again, if anyone accidentally gets kicked off, just call back, you can't disturb anything.
The purpose of these calls is to talk about how we approach learning about herbs and, so far in the series, we have just learned we've been keeping it simple, learning that it's about relationships with the plant, learning one at a time, having experiences it's all about having experiences, not about, as we were just saying, the dry knowledge in the book, what not.

So, tonight, we have our owned renowned herbalist,Susun Weed, who has written loads of books and published and re published some great herbal...And I can tell you from my own experience and I know that healing wines have touched my soul and brought me to who I am now as an herbalist and a health care provider. I'm an acupuncturist and I approach it from...I'm a five element acupuncturist and I approach it from a 'wise woman' perspective. I always keep that in mind. When we were pregnant with both of our kids, "Childbearing Year" was the only book we used. You know, everyone wants to give you advice when you're pregnant. Everyone. Everyone has the book; everyone has the piece of information. We just found everything we needed in that little pink book [Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year]. Thanks for helping us keep it simple there, Susun.

Susun Weed: Oh, thank you so much, John. That really makes me smile from heart right out.

John: Oh, good...

Susun: It's so lovely. I have young women coming up to me, clutching the book and saying," My mother used this book when she gave birth to me and now she gave me a copy."
Susun: So it's very nice to see that wheel turning and going on.

John: Gosh, you must have published that a while ago then, huh?

Susun: Indeed! About twenty years ago.

John: Twenty years ago. You just had 200 people clap when we announced, when we introduced you, but you couldn't hear any of them.

Susun: Oh, well...

John: [laughing]

Susun: I can just be here on this warm Catskills night, unseasonably warm. It's in the 60's today. In the 60's, yes, 60's Fahrenheit at the end of November. In the Catskills Mountains, sometimes we've had feet of snow by this time.

John: I think we've traded weather because we've got it now.

Susun: Oh, I see. [laughs]

John: We've got.. gosh, now, another story...[laughs] You know we were just talking about, you mentioned things when we were talking about women... You said you had your premises ' Pick an Ally.' Now this whole thing, and what I'm doing here, is how to learn about and connect with plants, and I tell you, Susun, with the first time I ever got into plants was with my Peterson's Medicinal Guide. [laughs]

And I'm going around and it's "This plant is good for this, this, this, this, and this. And the native Americans would use it for this, this..." Not thinking that anyone would actually use them now...

Susun: Right, right, right.

John: I think there are some great references. There are some great herbal books out there, but as great as the references are, I think they're a little intimidating for people. If I'm wanting to know how to learn about herbs, I think if you could tell everyone about how to pick an herbal ally, that would be great.

Susun: Oh, well, I'm not sure that anyone could tell you that picking an herbal ally; as a matter of fact, many of the apprentices feel that their herbal ally picked them.

John: Ah!

Susun: But I can tell you what to do once you're either picked or been picked by a green ally and, of course, if you want to be picked by then you simply set that as your intention that you would like some plant to be in touch with you to trip you up outside or to come into your dreams and say," Hey! I want to be your ally."

But once you have made that decision, and you can choose a different ally every year, so you don't to panic about "Oh, my goodness, there's so many plants." Just one will be a lot for a year. We want to breathe with that in a way that sounds almost too simple; but when we think deeply and experience deeply, the fact that what we breathe in, the plant has breathed out. And what we breathe out, the plant is going to breathe in. I'm not talking 'theoretical stuff' here, am I? We're talking actual molecules of carbon and oxygen are being traded between you and the plant. We know that it takes seven years to replace every cell in our body, but most of us don't know that every atom in our body is replaced every four days.

John: Hmmm...

Susun: So I asked my apprentices to spend ten minutes a day sitting right next to their green ally and breathing with it. [pause] Imagining, envisioning, pretending, visualizing... however you can do it to understand that the connection between people and plants is a giveaway dance. That we're dancing together with that breath.[pause]

John: Well, that is... And so then so when you have an ally chosen and you connect with the plant that you want to work with for however amount of time you're working together, you can explore, right? Different ways of learning about that plant and bringing it into your life. I think a great example of healing wines is where you just take all these different herbs, very common and great herbs, and you just have this multifaceted way of relating, whether it be food or medicine, healthcare, I mean, health and beauty, use it whatever.

Susun: Yes. the ART of Liz WelchThere's a wonderful book called "Planting the Future" which was done to separate the United Plant Savers, and I was one of the thirty herbalists who was asked to write a monograph on a particular plant for that book. And we were assigned our plants, and the plant I was assigned was Mechelen repens. I said, "First of all, this is such a common plants. It's all over." And they said, "Well, actually through much of its range, it's not anymore; and that's why we assigned it you, because its common where you live, in the Catskills." I found it's a very low growing plant, repens means creeping, right? and I found that sitting low in a meditative posture and breathing with that plant wasn't close enough. I had to really lay down on the earth, either on my belly or on my back, in order to get close enough for that plant, to be able to write the monograph for that book.

One of my apprentices a couple of years ago, chose that as her green ally and after the first week she said to me," I don't know. You know, I'm breathing with the plant, but I don't seem to be getting anywhere." And I looked at her and I said, "Are you breathing in the plant's airspace?" She looked at me and I said, "It's a very low growing plant. You've got to get your head Down there." And she came back the next day and said, "Oh, my gosh, I never would have imagined! It just makes all the difference in the world!" I said, "Yea it sounds like a theoretical thing. It sounds like a thing out of some new age book "You Are One With Plants., : breathe with the plant, you will be one." But no, No! We're talking "Susun with Taurus moon and Taurus rising here," who's into what's real! And what's real is that the atoms of you are being made by the exhalation of the plant.

John: I've taught classes where I've said nothing about the plant we're going to learn about, and I have them go and sit with the plant for an hour. When I get everyone back together again and we go around in a circle and they tell me everything they got from that experience. Usually, they've told me everything that's in the book, so...[laughs]

Susun: [laughing] That's beautiful.

John: So they speak before me. I have people come to classes and have the plant teach for me. [laughs]

Green Blessings.
Susun Weed

Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure GameWildcraft Herbal Adventure Game


A cooperative board game that teaches edible & medicinal plants.

Wildcraft! includes a 20x20 inch game board, instructions, 4 player pieces, 52 plant cards, 52 trouble cards, 25 cooperative cards, and a spinner. It also comes with a downloadable story to enhance the story of the game.



Introduction to Herbalism DVD
1 hour and 48 minute DVD packed with herbal wisdom

Matthew takes you out into the fields to see the herbs in their natural habitat and explain the magical wisdom of nature in giving the plants to us. He teaches the wisdom of our ancestors about the healing power of these plants that informs our use today. Herbs covered: Bergamot, Boneset, Elder, Elecampane, Goldenrod, Lobelia, Mullein, Peach leaf, Peppermint, Plantain, Rose, Sumac, White pine, Wild cherry, Yarrow.

"Introduction to Herbalism" is a 1 hour and 48 minute DVD packed with herbal wisdom. Price: $19.95


Study with Susun Weed via Correspondence Course

Green Witch focuses on personal and spiritual development. You'll create rituals, prepare an herbal first-aid kit, encounter your Goddess archetype, discover the magic of menstrual & menopausal changes, and develop wise woman ways of living and healing. Learn more ...

Green Allies explores herbal medicine through direct experiences with plants, plant spirits (fairies, devas), and plant medicines. For those who want to deepen, rather than broaden, their knowledge of plants: a year's worth of investigation and experimentation with one plant ally. Learn more ...

Spirit & Practice of the Wise Woman Tradition focuses on understanding, internalizing, and using the Three Traditions of Healing (Wise Woman, Heroic, and Scientific) and the Six Steps of Healing. Health-care practitioners find this course exceptionally helpful, but anyone who cares for the health of others (even family members) will benefit. Learn more ...

ABC of Herbalism!! This is a special course for the aspiring herbalist who'd like to have me "by your side" teaching you how to harvest, prepare, and use 52 healing herbs. Your studies will be both experiential and intellectual and you will make and use herbal remedies as well as reading about them in a variety of sources. Learn more ...


Wise Woman Herbal Ezine is sponsored by: www.susunweed.com and www.wisewomanbookshop.com

Ash Tree Publishing: Herbal Medicine Books for Women's Health

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