I’d like people to get as much out of the Introduction to Intuitive Herbalism as possible. For this reason I’ve given some guidance below to help you check if you might need some advance preparation. I also send out some meditations in advance to support this.
My experience of teaching suggests that: – If you are on any regular psycho-active medication, the course may not be suitable for you without doing a series of 1:1 tutorials in advance. I advise caution against couples/family members come as pairs unless familiar with inner / process work.
In the introductory course we cover a wide variety of themes related to the plant work including: – Emotional awareness and communication – Bodyscanning and bodywisdom (individual relationship with the body) – Drum Journeying, Lucid dreaming, Conscious imagination – Use of toning and sound – Pair work using simple, listening touch – Stillness meditation – Healing as witnessing – Intuition and it’s relationship to self-knowledge / self-awareness – Working consciously with projection – Awareness of subtle energies.
Psychic and emotional wellness Most people find this work and the group a safe space to grow intuitive awareness. However, it is important to recognise that developing intuition requires quite deep self-examination and increasing self-awareness. It asks for the development of emotional intelligence and the willingness to grow and confront oneself with one’s own sabotage mechanisms. For this reason, it is important that you are both physically and emotionally in reasonably robust health – or if not that you have a adequate support system in place.
For the year courses it is important to be able to engage with bodywork (working on the floor), wild camping and some excursions to different places in nature (sometimes with difficult access) and an autumn sweat/sauna ritual. These are not necessarily exlusive but we would need to talk them through if you felt you would have difficulty. –
Emotionally able to stay reasonably focused for three days. It is not unusual for the herbs to bring up painful feelings within us. If this happens it is important that you are willing to own these feelings, and willing to try and be aware of any tendency to project! Easier said than done, but as long as the will is there that is all that matters. For the year course its imporant we talk through any history of psychological disorder (depression/psychosis/anxiety) or any history of recreational drug use in advance since these might mean I recommend individual sessions or other healing work before going into the group work. It is not unusual for me to recommend a process of 1:1 session in advance of the Foundation year class, sometimes with myself or sometimes (through discussion with you) with another form of therapy/healing/bodywork. If I do suggest this it is very much for your benefit, having seen over the years the different therapeutic spaces group work and 1:1 work open up.
Honouring the space: From the start of each course we create a sacred circle for the work that we do here. The work can only be as deep as the circle is strong. Another way to say this is that if someone does not feel comfortable, they are unlikely to open up the parts of themselves that will be the most potent for the work! For this reason I keep numbers small and really encourage you to speak to me if there’s anything you need that is not being recognised. Everything that is said within this space remains confidential, and as members of a group we must respect this. It is common for the work to unlock some quite profound healing processes in people, and we honour this by witnessing with an open heart and maintaining the confidentiality of the space. I expect every person to hold the space for every other person – we are all holding the space together.
Checking in with me: I encourage everyone as much as possible to share their experiences within the group or with each other (in pair work exercises). However, if for any reason you feel unable to do this, ask me for a moment at a break or lunch (or after class) to speak 1:1. It is important for me that you know I am available to support you as much as I am able through any emotions that may arise. If you need a de-brief after the class, we can check in on the phone or in person, though if you want further support after this it would be on a normal client attending sessions basis.
Assumption of self-responsibility: As a starting point I assume that people attending are well and self-aware enough to be able to ask for and find any support they may need working on their inner process. The vast majority of the time, the level of unfolding and increasing awareness/sensitivity that happens in classes is within most people’s capacity to work with by themselves afterwards. Sometimes you may need some additional support in the form of counselling or bodywork etc if the work touches issues you find difficult to navigate. Though some of that may sound quite intense and heavy – 90% of the time people experience a fairly steady deepening of awareness, and the richness and joy that goes with that. Overall we actually have loads of fun!
I highly recommend that you have some familiarity with somatic / embodied trauma as the plants are potent allies in integrating this within ourselves. There are several good books on this but ‘The Body Keeps the Score‘ is particularly clearly written and exhaustive. I recommend listening to it as an audiobook whilst walking, as movement helps with the somatic and emotional processing that is likely to be touched whilst listening!