Bookmark and Share

Becoming a Herbalist

by Susun S. Weed


"Susun's story is a powerful and moving tribute to the truth in the ancient adage that tells us to be true to ourselves. I have long felt drawn to Susun Weed but was never quite sure why. Reading her autobiography I am beginning to know and understand the why of it. My heartfelt thanks to Susun for putting into print such private and deeply emotional aspects of her life and to you, Justine, for making these writings available to those of us who need to read them." Lindy


Part One

I didn't grow up wanting to be an herbalist. As a child I lived a few short blocks from the Dallas City Zoo. At night, as the stars came out and I laid in my bed waiting for sleep, the trumpeting of the elephants and the roar of the lions and the hoots of the monkeys were my lullaby. And my dreams were filled with spirits, urgings, feelings. READ MORE

Part Two

What a relief to leave behind the bustle of New York City and settle into the rhythms of Nature. In the city the parks were paved and nature was something we had to seek out and visit. Now my toddler daughter and I had a green lawn and an herb garden. We could spend as much time outdoors as we wanted. We were part of Nature and She was surely part of us. READ MORE

Part Three

From Ohio to Texas to California to New York to the open road and back again to the
Catskills, my path may have seemed meandering, but it was as purposeful as any river,
carrying me closer and closer to the sea, though I little comprehended where I was headed. READ MORE

Part Four

"Me teach a class in herbal medicine? Unthinkable! Impossible! Absurd!" READ MORE

Part Five

What causes change? What moves through a life and changes it? Astrologers look at the
transits of the planets to explain the change. My mentor Elizabeth Kubler-Ross lays it to the
ever- changing chaos of the ever-lovin' universe. Followers of the Dao would say that since I
had it all, the next step was to lose it all. Whatever the answer, I can only speak for the
results: One week I was a teacher at a college, living with my daughter in the home we built
ourselves, by hand, on an organic farm in the Catskills, the next week I had neither job nor

Part Six

"You definitely don't want to buy that place," the realtor said. "It has a mile-long driveway that
goes straight up. It's all right for a summer house, but not much else." READ MORE

Part Seven

It was a beautiful autumn day: the purple asters were in full bloom, five-finger ivy leaves flamed red from above, the maple leaves had just begun to turn yellow and orange, and scores of mushrooms of every variety -- from delicious black death caps to lurid sulphur shelves that taste like chicken -- were peeking through the moss and forest floor litter. But I couldn't see the beauty. I was too upset about the prospect of losing the land I had just moved on to. READ MORE

Part Eight

With the taxes paid, and the tax burden reduced, it seemed that my dream of women's land in the country had finally come true. It had taken a lot of hard work to make it happen, but it wasn't time rest and congratulate myself. This was just the beginning. The hardest work was in front of me. Now I had to care for my dream, to tend it faithfully, to see to it that it grew and prospered. READ MORE

Part Nine

"You must learn to smile even if you don't feel it," she said, sternly but gently. I certainly didn't feel like smiling, but I knew I had to do something different. I was in so much emotional pain I felt like I was drowning. I felt weighed down, heavy, victimized, ostracized, villanized, powerless, unhappy, bitter. I knew what herbs to use: motherwort tincture gave me a warm lap to snuggle into; skullcap tincture helped me lose my pain in sleep; comfrey infusions comforted me and eased my tears. But all the herbs in the world didn't seem enough to lighten my outlook. READ MORE

Part Ten

Grief and loss, outrage and despair continued to accompany me on my journey of becoming an herbalist, but they no longer threatened to overwhelm me. Strange though it seems, smiling made me feel better. The more I smiled, the more I felt like smiling. The more I smiled, the more energy I had. READ MORE

Part Eleven

What was I doing standing in the snow on a cold February night surrounded by candles? I was in the midst of a ceremony of commitment. It was just before my birthday and a few days past Candlemas, and it seemed to me to be an auspicious time to make a commitment. READ MORE

note: close this window to get back to where you were.

Healing Wise

by Susun S. Weed
Introduction by Jean Houston.
Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity. Seven herbs -- burdock, chickweed, dandelion, nettle, oatstraw, seaweed, and violet -- are explored in depth.
A Special Tenth Anniversary edition of this classic herbal, profusely illustrated. 312 pages.

Retails for $21.95
Read a Review

Order HEALING WISE in our Bookshop

I just started reading your book, Healing Wise. Your humor and approach to life seem so "down-to-earth", just like your favorite powerful weeds. Thank you for sharing and nourishing! ~ Diane