Weed Wanderings herbal eZine with Susun Weed

November 2003
Herbal Medicine Chest ...
Interview with Susun Weed
New Dimensions Radio

This interview was aired worldwide April 7 - 13, 2003 but the information is timeless.
by Justine Willis Toms

Justine: Susun, welcome.

Susun: Green blessings. I’m so glad to be with you today.

Justine: Thank you so much. I want to go back to some of the beginning. I know that you left high school when you were in your junior year, and went onto college.

Susun: UCLA.

Justine: To UCLA and you stuck it out till your junior year, and then you went out to let life teach you. So tell us-- There’s a story behind that. Tell us about that, Susun.

Susun: I was a mathematics major at UCLA and my primary focus was in artificial intelligence. I often laugh and say, “You see without me they haven’t really had much success in the past quarter century” <laughing>. And basically I interacted in some very significant ways with natural intelligence and began to realize that I was far more interested in the intelligence of nature than in creating any artificial intelligence. This was somewhat aided and abetted by the fact that I got pregnant while taking birth control pills. The doctors denied that I was pregnant for five months until my baby was kicking so hard they couldn’t deny it.

Justine: Now what year was that?

Susun: This was 1965.

Justine: Now, they were still very strong pills at that time.

Susun: I was one of the very first groups of American women given birth control pills. There were no sonograms. We had no idea what I was gonna give birth to and the papers of course were filled with pictures of Thalidomide babies. It was a very scary time for me.

Justine: Very scary.

Susun: And that pushed me into herbal medicine ‘cause I wasn’t going to put so much as an Aspirin in my body.

Justine: How was the birth?

Susun: Easy and fine. I’m a bit of an exhibitionist but even for me having prenatal exams with 30 interns crowded into the room looking between my legs at UCLA Medical Center was a little much. So we decided to move to Manhattan, my husband and I where we could be completely anonymous. And we of course completely anonymous and completely broke. And so I went for my prenatals at Bellevue and I made friends with a nurse there and told her I wanted a natural birth. And she said, “There is no such thing as a natural birth in a hospital”. So what I did was I simply waited until I was virtually ready to push the baby out before I took the bus to the hospital. That was kind of a funny scene too you know, I’m standing up on the bus. There’s no way I could’ve sat down. And everybody wants to let this obviously hugely pregnant woman sit down and I’m going “Uh-uh, no. No I’m not sitting down. It’s OK”. And of course because they never expected that a prima – that’s somebody who’d never had a baby before – would wait so long before I came into the hospital. And they put me in a labor room, and when they came for the first check and saw that the baby was crowning they swung into action, but they were really too late to drug me or do much of anything.

Justine: And they left you in that labor room?

Susun: No, they did. They took me into the delivery room. And they actually strapped me down with big leather straps because I wanted to – I didn’t want to labor on my back ‘cause it was uncomfortable.

Justine: Of course not. I mean they’ve discovered now it’s not natural.

Susun: Exactly. And then when my baby was born I actually broke the straps to sit up and touch her. And they threatened to tranquillize me if I didn’t stop being disruptive in trying to touch my baby. Yeah, 1965 was not a great time to have a baby out. I wanted to nurse her and they told me that she would die, that breast milk wasn’t adequate for children. And to really reinforce that it wouldn’t work they would give her a bottle of sugar water before they brought her to me to nurse. When I discovered what they were doing I of course checked my baby and myself out of the hospital against doctor’s orders.

Justine: That’s an amazing story and one not unfamiliar to many women in that era.

Susun: Not unfamiliar. And you know what it is, was my natural intelligence that in a way had to then compete against their artificial intelligence.

Justine: Now tell me so many of us succumb to it but you had this voyeur attitude. Where did that come from Susun?

Susun: Oh, I’m sure it came from my parents. ‘Cause my parents were always very clear that -- I mean my parents taught me to question authority. My parents said, “Just because somebody’s an authority doesn’t mean that they’re gonna tell you the truth. You have to go and look and discover and walk on your own. What you can really believe is what you really experience yourself.” And so they really helped me in a very dramatic way to know that my reference was first and foremost myself. And in my teachings that’s exactly the message that I try to give to women. Not what I say. I don’t want you to believe what I say. I want you to believe the messages of your own senses. If I give you an idea through something that I say and then you try it out and your senses say “Yeah!” then great.

Justine: So that’s really a very Buddhist principle because Buddhists say, “Don’t follow me because I say it. Try it out and if it works then that’s what informs you”. So that’s the way you teach as well.

Susun: Exactly. Exactly. You know I am very public about being a High Priestess of the Goddess, a Wise Woman -- and that means a witch. And the legal definition of a witch is a woman who heals without a license, and since I don’t even have a high school diploma we’d certainly have to say that’s true. And Justine, I don’t think that there’s been a two year period when I haven’t lost a job because of it.

Justine: Hmm. Even now?

Susun: Oh yes. As a matter of fact, I was supposed to teach for the La Leche League last week, and the National Board said that they couldn’t have me teach because I was a witch and I might say something about that while I was teaching. And I of course was quite outraged and said, “You mean, you wouldn’t allow, you know, a Rabbi or a Baptist or a Jehovah’s Witness to teach for you because they might say something about their spirituality?” I said, you know, “You’ve got a lot of ways that you can pick on me. My dad’s Jewish. You could be prejudiced against that. My mom’s Catholic, you might wanna be prejudiced against that. I have taken refuge as a Buddhist. You could be prejudiced against that.” And they said, “Well this has nothing to do with religion”. But of course, it does.

Justine: Right.

Susun: A witch is a powerful woman. It’s still a threatening word.

Justine: Right. And the images that we use in our culture to depict witches have not been very positive ones.

Susun: But if people were to take a picture of you and I right now they’d see witches, wouldn’t they? We even look like them.

Justine: We do actually!

Susun: She’s dressed up in this beautiful black scarf with this gorgeous silver pin, which looks kind of like a snake biting its tail just shining at me. Alright? And I have this like big beaded thing hanging down between my breasts that’s all glittery. So, we definitely look the pair of two old hags, my dear.

To be continued...

Audio tape , 1 hr.

Today, Susun Weed is one of America's foremost authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women's health. Susun engages in a fascinating, candid and controversial dialogue about women¹s health, natural healing and the "wise woman" tradition. Susun exposes the illusion about menopause and hormones, addresses the HRT/cancer connection and shares information about bone density. She reveals her knowledge about powerful anti-cancer herbs, and how to prepare herbal infusions with reverence. (Interview hosted by Justine Toms).

Susun Weed's complete interview is available from Ash Tree Publishing
Mail $12 to Susun Weed PO Box 64 Woodstock, NY 12498
or order online at http://www.wisewomanbookshop.com/

Greetings! I have been doing an herbal apprenticeship in my homeland of Michigan with a student of Susun's this year...Jackie Rushton. I have learned a lot...What an experience! Last night I watched her copy of Susun's video Weeds to the Wise! I have been reading Healing Wise as a bible of sorts for several years now and exploring the web-site...One thing that remains the greatest challenge is to change the way I think to that of the Wise Woman tradition...and then implement that into my life. In some ways, it is so simple...and that is what creates the problem...my mind is so in the habit of thinking heroicly and scientifically so my mind rejects the simple, natural and soooo right solutions. However, when I stop and rest in the Now, I see that my mind is not what is in charge and I make the Wise choice. Thanks for everything! 
Blessings, Amanda

Weed Wanderings herbal ezine is sponsored by
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Susun Weed is one of America's best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women's health. Her four best-selling books--recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians--are used and cherished by millions of women globally. Topics include childbearing, breast health, menopause, wellbeing, and more.

The Wise Woman Center exists to re-weave the healing cloak of the Ancients. This land is sacred, it is a safe space for women, and a place for the teachings of the Wise Woman Way. The Goddess lives here, as do goats, fairies, green witches, and elders. There are many classes, workshops and intensives that are offered at the Wise Woman Center.
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