Spirit Healing Skills workshop with Susun Weed
By Karen Joy
This class is a little less tangible to describe than the others.It was more of an experience that led topersonal learning than being taught something.
We began in circle with the talking stick passed to share whatever we wanted, perhaps why we were here. I was here because I plan to take ALL of Susun's one-day classes this year AND ---- While I've gone deeper in my studies of plants, identification, preparation, use, etc., I feel a bit lacking in the spirit of what I am studying and want to explore this more. This was a magical, beautiful class. I am so glad I took it.
We ventured out right away into the woods that are the 55 acres of the Wise Woman Center. We journeyed along, one after another, in age order, eldest first. When we reached a place I had never been to before, I saw Susun and the oldest of us facing each other, hand in hand, with one set of arms raised to allow the next youngest to go between. She entered and the two women chanted "From a woman you were born. From woman you are welcomed into this circle." (I am not sure of the exact wording).
The procession continued. This simple sounding exercise was so powerful for me, and I know for others as well. How starved I, and many, must be for rituals with women, to be moved to tears before I really even knew what was happening! I want more. I want daily rituals like this. Then I want my daily life to be a reflection of my heritage from women. I want to always be aware of the power of those I come from and of where I am going.
We then sat (amongst happy goats) in this magical place as Susun, beating her drum told us stories. I can't tell you from memory what the stories were, but I can tell you listening to them I felt like a beautiful powerful woman!
We laid on the rocks, eyes closed, and were led by Susun to explore our senses and find power animals for them. At some point the goats milled around us and she let us know we were safe and she and Micki (goat-keep for the day) were watching out for us. I felt so surrendered (as seems capable for me these days) and cared for.
Our senses heightened we wandered or sat or laid in silence for some time, brought back by the sound of gentle drumming. Reflecting on our experiences I found some of my sense enjoyable and others, particularly hearing, numb. I also found a flower that I am longing to know and still think of daily, yet don't know where else to find it. Perhaps I will have to know her in other ways for now.
Before we knew it, it was time for lunch.
Back down we went, singing. Those of us who wanted to helped gather wild salad greens. We gathered the same as the day before, but added cronewort tops (with all my years of studying I had never added this to salad! -- always something new) and a few periwinkle flowers (the plant is poisonous, but a small amount of flowers is okay). The soup was a borscht recipe I think from the first printing of the Moosewood cookbook (before it was redone with much of the fats taken out). It was delicious, and for the first time I got to try the yogurt made there from raw goat's milk! I put it in the soup - yum!
The vinegars this day were cronewort and mint. Salad, soup, bread, butter, vinegar, olive oil, salt, yogurt, and cheese. A feast!
One thing I enjoy learning is how these soups are prepared at least a day before for time to infuse (in a cool room I think) for the best nutrition. The borscht I think I heard could be kept out of the fridge for a week or two? The lunch is a class in itself!
A question I have after hearing discussion at lunch is: What is the difference between raw fruit juice, pasteurized fruit juice, and cooked fruit juice? Does anyone know the answer? (I may post it in the "real foods" section if no reply here). From the bits I heard I thought Susun said the first two were like sugar water, the worst kind of sugar, and the last the best way to prepare. One thing I do remember was her asking us if a bowl of apples were put out to eat, or a bowl of applesauce made from the same amount of apples, which would be gone sooner? The sauce of course. Perhaps this is proof that cooking them makes them more easily assimilated, so we can eat more. Could someone else argue that it means we get less from the cooked apples so we need more?
After lunch we headed back to the woods. We found a spot next to a cliff where columbines lived. We explored our healing powers through our hands. I love taking the time to find what is in us and how to share with others.
It is at this point I had to run down to the road to meet my hubbie who dropped our son off on the way to his work. I am so thrilled we had more class left I could share with Ari.
We climbed the rocks and sat on the edge of the cliff and learned of chakras and "ka". I would love to explain all these more thoroughly, but as I said the learning was more experiential than tangible and to describe step by step what we did would leave soul out of it.
Near the end of class we got to watch a momma owl feed her young-un and listen to all their coos and caws and shrieks. The joys of class outside!
Was I able to convey what can't be said literally in words? The learning I know in my body now, though not always in my head? The strength I found and carry with me? Maybe I should color a picture or sing a song or dance? Or maybe you can join us next year!
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Introduction by Jean Houston.
Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity. Seven herbs -- burdock, chickweed, dandelion, nettle,
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