Becoming a Bioregional Herbalist
Developing Relationship with Place
with herbalist, John Slattery
Parc Naturel Régional Haute Vallée de Chevreuse
October 2, 2019
In this workshop sponsored by the Parc Naturel Régional Haute Vallée de Chevreuse (Regional Nature Park of the Upper Chevreuse Valley) near Paris, France, led by American herbalist and forager, John Slattery, we will explore the fundamental aspects of bioregional herbalism: developing relationship with place and the plants within it.
Bioregional herbalism is about getting to know the plants within your home environment. But not just by name. The sensorial relationship of knowing a plant within its natural home landscape carries with it a rich fabric of information and inter-relatedness that hard data does not possess. The intimacy experienced through this type of relationship is what strengthens our connection to all of Nature and informs us about our place in it and what is happening all around us. This includes how to heal ourselves.
Becoming bioregional in our approach is something akin to how our ancestors lived in relationship with the local landscape which nourished them and healed them. Pre-industrial language reflected this deep relationship with the landscape. When we take time to listen to the land once again, to hear her song, we 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.
Finding healing for ourselves within Nature is all about relationship. As we begin to listen and observe what is right before us more clearly we open ourselves to a field of healing energy that is meant to keep us healthy (physically, mentally, and emotionally) and preserve us and all of life.
In our busy lives we lose sight of this. In fact, we are trained to not see it but to otherwise distract ourselves with matters of less importance. Our own individual health is primary, even as parents to young children. For if we aren’t healthy, then who can mind our children?
This is the healing power present within Nature, and the plants are there to guide each of us. Their intelligence is beyond measure and they are available to listen to us and reflect back to us what we may need at any given time.
Learning about what plants “do” can be an exciting and fascinating subject for many people. However, there is more to the story. Plants simply “are”. This being-ness is present within all life around us, including ourselves. Allowing ourselves to “be” in Nature is a profoundly transformative practice that can open us up to truly unlimited possibilities. With patience, we can begin to transform the things in our lives which we see as inherently limiting, and begin moving towards those things (experiences, self-awareness, personal achievements) our hearts truly desire.
Deep connection through continued observation is the foundation for a bioregional herbalist. Knowledge is derived from experience, and wisdom through continued practice and 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.
The exercises in this workshop will introduce the participant to a method of learning which is empowering, distinctly individualized, unusually contextual, and highly experiential.
Bringing together concepts which are deeply familiar, yet widely applicable serves to uplift the participant to a new level of growth and learning.
The study of bioregional herbalism covers many subjects including the study of field botany, ethnobotany (how people have used plants), respectful wildcrafting, plant energetics, landscape observation, developing and exercising the senses (particularly the feeling sense), herbal medicine making, herbal formulation, as well as developing deep relationship with plants, a knowledge of the seasons and all the elements. Working to apply these medicines for well-being and healing of oneself and the community is the primary goal. Through respectful relationship our ever-expanding knowledge of our homeland can be utilized to uphold balance and harmony within our communities.
Join bioregional herbalist, John Slattery for this experiential herbalism workshop to begin to transform your approach to working with plants.
Registration Link Coming Soon!