• Wicklow
  • Ireland

Reconnecting to our Ancestry through Nature, An Herbalist’s Adventure: Rewilding our Spirit through Intimacy with the Land

with herbalist & forager, John Slattery


County Wicklow, Ireland

October 6-7, 2018


Workshop fee for entire weekend - $245   

**Workshop CANCELLED**


Are you excited to learn more about the healing and edible plants in your area?

Do you feel called to reconnect to your ancestry, and the wisdom that lies therein?

Looking to feel restored through time spent in Nature? or develop a deeper connection to the natural world around you?

Seeking a truly unique and immersive experience in nature on the Emerald Isle this autumn? 

In this workshop led by herbalist and forager, John Slattery, we will explore the fundamental aspects of bioregional herbalism: developing relationship with place and the plants within it. This endeavor leads us to the study of field botany, respectful wildcrafting and stewardship of the land, plant energetics, landscape observation, developing and exercising the senses (particularly the feeling sense), herbal medicine making, and applying these medicines for well-being and healing utilizing our knowledge of our homeland and plant energetics.


Becoming bioregional in our approach is something akin to how our ancestors lived, in how their relationship with the local landscape nourished them, healed them, and the natural world around them was seen as living and fluid. The native Irish language reflected this and was in intimate marriage with the land recounting through song and phrase the dance of the elements along the way-points of the year.   


Despite centuries of persecution and the attempted annihilation of this language, all is not lost. To listen to the land once again, to hear her song, is to rediscover the wisdom latent within the everliving spirit of Mother Earth... and that which resides within each of us. When we step out onto the land and engage our receptivity the land speaks to us, and our ancestors speak to us through the land, through the seasons, as well as the plants themselves.

...and that’s just what we’ll do. We’ll begin each day with very simple yet powerful exercises to begin to connect to the flow of life force (chi) all around and within us. Throughout the weekend we’ll be exploring the richness and diversity of the wild plants of the mountains, wooded glens, and river bottoms of county Wicklow while learning to re-develop our senses through engaging with Mother Nature. Through group exercises, John shares knowledge about the uses of plants we see, and how to develop deep relationship with the place we’re in and the plants within it. This form of experiential learning brings the learner in deep, intimate contact with the content which fosters a sense of everlasting learning. 


If the participant has attended the previous weekend's workshop with John, you'll be provided an opportunity to delve deeper as concepts and principles are reviewed and built upon throughout the weekend. If this is your first workshop with John, you'll have the benefit of the opportunity to approach the entire weekend's content with a true beginner's mind. 

Learning about plants which naturally grow and thrive around you by developing relationship with the place in which you live is part of who we are, each and every one of us. The time is ripe to reawaken to this and embrace it as there is an open conduit to receive much healing and knowledge from our interactions with Mother Earth at this time.

John guides you to deepen your understanding and relationship to plants and ultimately yourself. He starts from the outside and goes in. First you get to know the plant, how it looks, how it feels, smell, its texture near and far, how it fits into the landscape, how it tastes, what movement it creates in your body, what awareness it brings to the mind, what it means to you, and ultimately what you mean to each other.
— feedback from a participant of a previous intensive workshop with John


Deep connection through continued observation while listening with an open mind, is the foundation for a bioregional herbalist. This approach is conducted gently, with an openness to receive while relieving ourselves of our preconceived ideas. Knowledge is then derived through experience, and wisdom through continued practice and authentic, heart-centered observation of Nature (people, place, and plants). Learning about the plants found naturally occurring around us, in their natural habitat, begins to deepen our relationship to place. Little by little, patterns begin to emerge which inform us as to how we can use plants for medicine. in an unlimited ways.  


If you are called to develop relationship with the plants around you for food and medicine, but unsure how to begin, then this workshop is just for you.

If you have a longing to follow the path of your ancestors, and reconnect with the power of Nature, then this workshop is also for you.


Plant identification is only the beginning - or, is it an afterthought? We’ll explore applications of plants based through their energetics, or the Nature of the plant. What are plant energetics? This will be discovered and explored through spending thoughtful time with plants, and by tasting simple plant preparations (teas, tinctures) as a group and observing and discussing what we feel upon ingesting them. John’s skill in coalescing these group explorations into a tapestry of teachings enables each participant to gain the knowledge, and the healing, that’s available to them at that moment. 

The exercises in this workshop will introduce the participant to a method of learning which is empowering, distinctly individualized, unusually contextual, and highly experiential. It has the potential to bring upon transformative experiences through the deep, life-affirming healing ways of the plants delivering healing to the mind as well as the body.



Bringing together concepts which are deeply familiar, yet widely applicable serves to uplift the participant to a new level of growth and learning. 



Ogham: Ancient Language of the Trees

John will also be sharing from his experience of working with Ogham, the ancient language of the trees, a universal cosmology. We’ll explore the ancient Irish language of Ogham and how it may relate not only to the trees and plants in our midst, but also our ancestors, where we come from, how we learn from Nature, how her mystery is communicated to and through us, and applicable wisdom for every moment of our existence. When the language is interwoven with the expression of nature there is inherent wisdom in the sound and meaning. The teachings simply unfold before us.

Ogham script, from the 14th century Book of Ballymote

Ogham script, from the 14th century Book of Ballymote

Although ancient Ogham script persists primarily in stone carvings it can nonetheless be put to paper as well. But it is more than simply a system of writing, it's a complex cosmology, as well as a mnemonic device to recall vast amounts of lore, genealogy, law, as well as the creation, order, and renewal of life itself. Additionally, Ogham can be used as a divination tool, similar to the I Ching, or Nordic Runes. This will also be explored during this weekend workshop. 

Based upon my explorations, it is my belief, that the ancient Irish, or people of Éire, lived by a foundational understanding of their intrinsic intimacy with Mother Nature herself, and that this energy imbued the entirety of their lives, and was manifest in a divine goddess religion as well as the underpinnings of what later became known as Christianity. To access our connection to Mother Nature, once again, is to connect to this stream of knowledge and wisdom which once informed our ancestors' lives and is now calling us back.  


A list of what to bring and local available accommodations will be sent upon registration.