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
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
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
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.
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!
nourishing wholeness anywhere
more about Susun's Wise Woman workshops
of the Healer Beyond Shamanism:
How it is to work as a Traditional Healer,
being a Medical Person trained in contemporary Western Medicine.
Waynonaha Two Worlds
people ask me whether I am a "Shaman". I am not
a shaman - what I am and do is beyond shamanism. How to understand
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
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"
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
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
Thank You, Waynonaha
To find out more about Grandmother Waynonaha Two Worlds please
The paintings above are by Leonard