Weed Wanderings Herbal Ezine with Susun Weed: Book Review
August 2003
Volume 3 Number 8

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What's Inside Weed Wanderings this Month...


Healing Wise...
Talking With Plants class testimonial by Karen Joy
plus...Beyond Shamanism with Grandmother Waynonaha


Talking With Plants, a one-day herbal medicine class with Susun Weed

This class I attended on Sunday, June 15, 2003 with Susun at her home near Woodstock, NY was incredible. It was actually the first class I took with her almost three years ago in California. I took it again that summer after we moved cross country to New York. Now again this weekend. I could take this every summer and go deeper each time.

Before this I loved studying about plants -- how to identify, harvest, use, etc. This class opened a whole new world for me, a world in which I was empowered, which is what I have learned Susun and the Wise Woman Tradition is all about.

We use our senses to learn about plants, rather than the books, on this day. We look at the plants, noticing shape, nuances, color. We smell parts of the plant by rubbing it between our fingers and and inhaling its odors into us. What's important is we learn to listen to our own innate survival wisdom. When we smell what is our reaction? Do we want to toss it, put it in our mouth? For the purpose of this class we listen and acknowledge this wisdom then move to the next part: taste.

We put some leaf in our mouth and chew and swoosh it around our mouth. Again we listen to our wisdom. Do we want to spit it out immediately, keep chewing, swallow? No matter the knowledge, for this exercise we spit it out. We do not swallow.

I remember taking this in California and we came to a castor plant which many of us know well there. We were encouraged by Susun to try this with the leaf. Many cringed, some would not even do it. We had heard warnings of poison. I did. I smelled and knew it was not to eat. I tasted and definitly knew not to eat. No poison, pain, or ill effect, just knowing by taste. None of us got sick or felt weird after. I trust Susun and what she is teaching. How are we going to learn to re-recognize hese tastes if we only experiment with salad herbs?

The first part of the class we learned of ways of understanding plants, like Susun's medicine wheel of tastes, to help us know where to place what we experience. Included here are the 4 moving questions. (There is a wonderful link for this on the websites -- "The Medicine Wheel of Plant Uses" .) They go together because when encountering a new plant we want to learn not only where and how to use it but in what quantities and in what menstruum.

We also talked briefy about psycho-active herbs and their ability to help us talk with plants. This I am cautiously fascinated by and plan to learn more of when taking "Magical Plants" later this year.

We learned of chakras. Of course there are many systems of thought regarding this. We learned of colors associated with each chakra and the areas they represent. We then can look at a plant and its colors and the place where that color lies on our chakra if we were to sit on the ground next to it imagining our root chakra in the ground a bit. For example, our root chakra is red. A plant with red in its root would be more powerful for affecting this chakra than a tall one with a red flower. (It was also stressed to understand this AFFECTS rather than simply helps or harms.)

We learned Susun's version of the doctrine of signatures which is too conceptual for me to try to write in words here. Simply, understand that plants were around a lot longer than humans, then apply that knowledge to the doctrine of signatures.

After an incredible lunch, we were led by Susun, in pairs or singly as we chose, to a plant that we could not identify. We were then left there to experiment as we were shown and use the knowledge of the day and the sience of the moment to commune with the plant and see what we learned and believed to be true of the plant. We were so accurate when compared with herbals later, sometimes eerily so, and sometimes only vaguely. Susun stressed that if we hear from the plant to use it in a way different from an herbal, the plant is right.

Of course, some of us, myself, doubt our ability and knowledge. At the Wise Woman Center, we are taught to trust oursleves, and I am slowly getting there. This class is a wonderful support for that. It is fun now to visit plants that I have even identified and heard other people's words for, and learn my own.
If someone only took one class with Susun Weed I would highly recommend this one!

karen joy
nourishing wholeness anywhere

Learn more about Susun's Wise Woman workshops

An Explaination of the Healer Beyond Shamanism:
How it is to work as a Traditional Healer,
being a Medical Person trained in contemporary Western Medicine.
by Grandmother Waynonaha Two Worlds

Ghost Dance Leader by Leonard PeltierSometimes people ask me whether I am a "Shaman". I am not a shaman - what I am and do is beyond shamanism. How to understand that?

Let me go back to a conversation I had with my "fellow brother", Thomas Pela, (Medicine man) Healer with the Hopi people on Second Mesa. As we are, we are born with this knowledge of how to heal, it lies hidden within us and we discover it along our path. We go from initiation to initiation and more and more knowledge comes through us. We do not have to put ourselves in a certain state of consciousness, to perceive the world behind the Maya, the Illusion, through the use of mind altering substances or chants, drumming or rituals. We are already there. We see the others around us "naked", in what and who they are and how they perceive the world. We see, what they carry as imprints on them. Emotional trauma, disease, psychic troubles, spiritual conflicts they are evident to us.

For us it takes to overcome our own troubles, to heal, what we have already brought into this world and what has left its traces on us, when we had to undergo socialization and inculturalization. Beyond this is clarity, is emptiness and the capacity to be 100 % empathetic in order to feel, see, hear and taste what our next (patient / client) needs in order to be rebalanced and healed, so to walk his way "in Beauty", which means in harmony within him and around him.

There is no space for Ego in this work, because ego keeps one Self from perceiving the other entirely and from being a conduct for the force of creator, which is the healing power that flows through us into the patient / client. Ego can make us sick, because ego holds on to negative energies that flow through us from the patient / client during a session.

So part of our work is work on ourselves to clear us and to stay in communion with the source. Only when this is clear, can we work in the manner we do.

What is this work?! We work "Hands on" on the physical body. Yet at the same time we work on all five bodies. We see the human being consisting of several bodies. Apart from the physical, we could see them as the emotional, the psychological, the metaphysical and the spiritual body. We see diseases as the shadows of the emotional and other bodies cast onto the physical where after a certain time of imbalance they eventually manifest as diseases.

To revive, release and heal these emotional traumas, we bring them back from the physical level into the emotional and/or higher energetic levels, so that either the patient can live through them and release them (cathartic work) or we help them to flow out of the body, by helping the patient to "breath them out", while we "pull" them out and help these energies to flow. This part of the work looks like a mix of cranio-sacral therapy, chiropractic, acupressure, Hatha-Yoga, reflexology, myofascial release therapy and other known "manual" therapy forms.

As the whole body is a body-mind unit and memory is to be found in every cell, we trigger the release of this memory. emotions, thought patterns, images, colors. and help it to be healed by the force of creator, a deep feeling of love for this life and this creation. Very often this is perceived as heat and / or a strong energy flow.

We do not apply a technique, though it might look like this. We let the body of the patient give us the information of what has to be done. Our body just functions as a conduct. Sometimes we have to "throw up", when the flow of "dark" energy is high, or we have to cough or sneeze or yawn or our body shakes off "dark" energy, when the original life energy, which flows through the spine has been compressed by trauma, which is released at that moment.We have to open and clear certain chakras, we have to remove objects or energy blocks, all of which can tell us a story. we see / feel bullets, arrows, cords, strings, liquids or matter in the body, which we remove by what is called "metaphysical surgery".

We see / feel the imbalance of parts of the bodies and / or afflictions of organs. We see / feel the imbalance between the right (male) and the left (female) side of the body and we rebalance it. We reactivate certain glands and stimulate the immune system by doing so. We stimulate the hormones involved in the biological aging process of the body and by doing so slow down the process of aging and altered cell growth.

We go back in the "record body" of the patient to heal past life afflictions and spiritual trouble the soul has undergone in lives before. Sometimes there are stories about abuse of power or stories where the patient has been abused and so we have to heal this in order to release the shadows that lie on the patient.

How should we call ourselves to be understood? Whatever term comes to my mind, not a single one is left, which has not yet been abused by people, who have only partial knowledge of this. People, who may have the best intentions.

So we call ourselves "Traditional Healer". The Ancient Egyptians worked like this in their temples and so did the Ancient Greek, before Hypocrites, the one our modern days' Medical Doctors, swear their oath to, left the Asklepeian traditions, in which priest and physician were one. Many old cultures had and still have their healers and healing traditions.

It is time for the Western civilization to understand, that if you do not heal the afflictions of the soul, you do nothing but repair work on the vessel, which carries the soul. You treat, but you will never heal and it is time, to bring this forgotten knowledge of how to do this back to the people.

All rights to this and other writing are now being copy written. My writings may not be republished or used in any way without my permission.

Thank You, Waynonaha

To find out more about Grandmother Waynonaha Two Worlds please go to

Grandmother by Leonard Peltier
The paintings above are by Leonard Peltier


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