The Green Path of Plant Knowledge: Illuminating Ourselves, Illuminating the Beings of the Forest
The School of Forest Medicine provides many ways for you to deepen your relationships with the plants of the Pacific Northwest and to find your way on the green path of plant knowledge. Our classes and courses interweave direct spiritual experience with practical, hands-on participatory work. We offer you the opportunity to find and connect with your plant allies and to remember your living bond with the elemental forces of nature. Through meditation, ritual, and song you will learn to work with the spirits of the plants and with the spirits and ancestors of this land, learning to be a vessel of healing and a messenger for the teachings of the forest.
We call upon these divine beings to remind us how to find our way here on earth and to guide us on our long term, multigenerational goal of establishing a center of learning and healing in the forests of Cascadia where we can remember how to live harmoniously with all beings. By working to restore authentic initiatory rites we will offer ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren the opportunity to live in an intact culture—fully attuned to the cultural and spiritual matrix of the earth, recognizing who we are, and knowing what we are here to do.
Classes and courses range from long-term initiatory journeys to evening Plant Teacher Ceremonies.
Plant Teacher IMmersion Trips
Remembrance—Finding your Plant Allies
- Awaken your true gifts and find a deeper meaning to life
- Renew your connection with nature and find your plant allies and guides
- Find real and deep community with others who share your passion for the wild
- Remember who you are as you explore the mysteries of the forest
- Learn through direct experience and awaken your heart’s true perception
The Practice of Psycho-spiritual Plant Medicine
- Psycho-spiritual materia medica of Cascadia
- Elemental energetics
- Trauma as initiation
- Working from the heart and holding space
- The practice of listening
- The healing power of song and ceremony
- Clearing, protection, and grounding
- Helping others identify and deepen relationships with their plant allies and guides
- Pulse testing
If one believes that there is an underlying force or energy that gives shape and form to the universe, it is easy to see that there would be correlations between things that have been shaped by similar permutations of this universal force. This force creates patterns that are found throughout nature in forms that include the Golden Ratio, the Golden Rectangle, Fibonacci Sequence patterns, Overbeck Jets, and Toroids.
Merging with the Plant—There are certain challenges inherent in this work. At some point, we will all come up against that part of ourselves that questions the reality of our own experience, but in order to do this work we must accept that there are many layers to reality other than that which can be measured and experienced with the senses on which we normally rely. We must also come to terms with the fact that intelligence exists outside of the human psyche.
The forest is a great repository of wisdom that remains alive and intact. It is here in the wild places that we can remember how to live in harmony with each other, the planet, and ourselves. The “teachings” of the forest don’t always come in words but alter us on an energetic level and allow us to receive the imprint of life that is our birthright as children of this creation. Here we can remember who we are and remember our connection to the center and source of all being. From this place and the journey that leads to and from it, we can birth and nurture the gifts that we have been entrusted to share with the world.
I am sitting in a room with a male forest being. He is brown with strips of bark hanging from his clothes. He looks at me with a glimmer in his eye, "You know Cascara is good for stubborn blockages."
"Yes, I know"
"No, I mean stubborn blockages." As he emphasizes "blockages" I understand that he means mental, spiritual, and emotional blockages.
A familiar cough that comes when my heart unable to receive arising as I put first drops in my mouth; the taste, a wave of bitterness with white-capped apple skin sweetness. The medicine washes down through my chest smoothly pushing cough aside, dissipating and erasing its energy. Memories of a family, friends of my family, with two boys younger than me who tortured animals and a father who had to leave because he was abusive.
I walk through the woods searching for a good place to harvest Devil’s Club, Oplopanax horridum. I investigate the root connections looking for a spot where the stems have grown tall and fallen over making new root junctions. If you can find a mature root in between two well-rooted nodes, you can take the central piece while doing minimal harm to the above-ground portions of the plant. I make prayers and offerings and ask for permission to harvest. As I am cleaning and clipping the roots I’ve removed from the stand, I have a sense that something is not right.
During the plant meditation last night I experienced the presence of Cottonwood as an unshakeable, deeply grounded, completely firm, and noble being. I was immersed in a holy silence far removed from any thought or concern. I was aware of my body in that I felt my entire being becoming more and more solid--a heaviness that tuned me into the feeling of being a very large tree.
Working with plants on a spiritual level is a revolutionary act. In my mind and heart I perceive the fundamental disharmony of Western society to be the disconnect from the spiritual aspects of life. Many of us feel like we don’t belong on this planet or don’t deserve to be alive. As if we were parasites on the earth; taking but not giving back. Perhaps we feel guilty about the way this land was stolen or the way the original inhabitants of the land were treated.
The Cascadia bio-region in the Northwestern part of the United States is blessed with a wide variety of medicinal plants growing in many diverse habitats. Huge stands of Oregon Grape cover the deep forest floor. Juniper dots the high desert lands where Sagebrush dominates. Sea Watch Angelica clings to coastal bluffs.
On this night we will call upon one of our deepest Plant Teachers: the shapeshifting, wolf calling, master of the ashes, death, and underworld root known variously as Spreading Dogbane, Werewolf Root, Medicine Lodge Root, and/or Apocynum androsaemifolium.
Explore and learn the physical and psycho-spiritual properties of 21 of the Northwest’s most important medicines