Plant Medicine Retreat
Reconnecting to Nature through the Senses
with herbalist & forager, John Slattery
White Mountains, Arizona
August 15-18, 2019
Workshop fee: $325
Early Bird Discount until July 10 - $250
(scroll to the bottom of the page to register)
This unique intensive allows for a deep and expansive exploration of our relationship with the wild world of plants. Discovering our own medicine through deep, contemplative relationship with Nature as our ancestors have done before us is the foundation for developing our knowledge as human beings.
The plant kingdom is interwoven with all of Nature, the elements and the seasons. By placing our awareness on the plants with an intention towards open receptivity, the plants may reflect back to us who we truly are, clarifying our place within the whole, affirming our role, our purpose.
As a bioregional herbalist I gather information from my local environment through opening my senses receptively and participating with the flow of seasons and the dance of the elements. I do this by listening, walking, climbing, tasting, gathering plants, nourishing myself from the landscape and reflecting on what it is I feel as I’m touched by the world around me.
Bringing our experiences together in a cohesive reflection becomes our cosmology, or a unified set of ideas, principles, and concepts which guide us through this subtle work of seeking harmony with plants, and within our own minds, through the cycle of changes. This is the ancient practice of bioregional herbalism.
Learning to become a bioregional herbalist is as simple as going for a walk… again, and again. 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 one’s environment. Learning about the plants found naturally occurring around us 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.
Expanding our model to include a variety of information sources, while imbuing each perspective with our own unique experiences cradled from within the landscape, a model of contextual awareness emerges which, when viewed and practiced authentically, can reflect the natural ebb and flow of life around us.
This intensive workshop is for those called to develop relationship with the plants around them for food and medicine. It’s also for those who have experience, but are seeking to go deeper to unlock the hidden “mysteries” embedded in the world around them. Further, this is a workshop to empower the individual to create lively relationship with the plants, and all the elements, in their local landscape.
In this 4-day workshop we’ll explore the fundamental aspects of becoming a bioregional herbalist: developing relationship with place and the plants within it. This leads to an exploration of field botany, respectful wildcrafting and participation with our environment, plant energetics, landscape observation, developing and exercising the senses (especially, the feeling sense) particularly in relation to place and plants, herbal medicine making, and applying these medicines for well-being and healing utilizing our knowledge of the elements, landscape, and plant energetics.
Our bodies are essential instruments - guided by our hearts and minds - which respond to and interact with our immediate surroundings in very sophisticated ways. Tuning in to how energy moves through our bodies (or isn’t, for that matter) enables us to feel a deeper language inherent within our being, the language of Nature.
We’ll be integrating various subtle and intensive movement exercises each day which will serve to open up our instruments of observation and feeling while bringing us into a place of receptivity with the natural world. These exercises that integrate the mind, breath, and body can be profoundly healing for some. These exercises will be attainable for anyone who is able to walk/stand unassisted and move their limbs freely.
John’s approach to herbs and healing is diverse and varied, and is continually being rearranged and informed by the natural world. Mother Nature is our teacher and her creation our classroom, replete with all the course material we could ever imagine.
Unlike many other herbalism courses this is not geared toward digesting tremendous amounts of information for the sake of memorization. Through exercising our prime sensory organ of intelligence, the heart, we seek to arrive at the “heart of the matter” making for the most efficient information gathering possible. The ultimate learning environment for humans is through participatory experience. When the heart is enlivened and inspired, our senses open to deeper levels of understanding as well as retention of the material.
Plant identification will be covered so as to introduce the participants to new plants in a way that enhances retention of the names and qualities that are learned. Through this we’ll be exploring plant energetics throughout our time together as we meet new plants, discuss them, and ingest herbal preparations to better understand their qualities.
Following are select comments from a previous participant in John’s workshops:
“John is breathing new life into an ancient way of engaging with plants. What seemingly begins as an outward exploration of the local bioregion, quickly becomes a profound study of the internal landscape, of one’s own capacity to be in dialogue with the intelligent, living medicines of the green world. John reawakens in each of us, our own ability to receive wisdom directly from the source- from the plants themselves- through his invitation into stillness, an open heart, the body’s felt sense, and other subtle impressions.”
"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."
This retreat is a full immersion camping experience. In addition to the information shared by the instructor, there is a tremendous amount of relevant information available to us from the local landscape. The mountain, the flowing waters, the movements of the animals, the birds, the winds that pass through the valley, the sun, the moon, the stars above.
All of our class time with be outdoors in a natural, wild setting. The atmosphere is quite comfortable at higher elevation (@7500 feet) right beside a mountain stream.
Campsites are dispersed across the soft floor of a pine forest adjacent to the stream. There is shade throughout the day and ample space to put up a tent within close proximity to a vehicle. Many people may chose to sleep in their vehicle.
Meals, and transportation to and from the workshop, are each participant’s responsibility.
Reconnecting to Nature reconnects us to our source within. Re-harmonizing to the rhythms and frequencies of Nature enables us to reach deeper levels of understanding of how plants heal. This is the backdrop for an enriching scenario that is healing and nurturing.
Join bioregional herbalist, John Slattery for this experiential herbalism workshop and healing retreat to bring harmony and healing back into your life.
John J Slattery LLC