Invasive Plant Medicine 2021

I’ve always been deeply interested in the unloved ones, in those who are cast aside. Those who are not valued by the society of any given moment in time and find themselves on the outs… Given that I’m generally not into most of the beliefs and implications of “the society of any given moment”, those who are pushed to the edges of society and mainstream acceptance have always been of interest to me and I’ve found a natural comradery there. Those who live on the edges are often the bearers of deep wisdom, authenticity, and various important teachings.

It was nearly a decade ago that I first started learning about the medicinal qualities of invasive plants. Soon after, I offered a class on the plants that I noticed living in these outcast margins. I called it “Villains and Vagabonds: The Beauty and Medicine of Misaligned Plants”. Since that initial deep dive I’ve found myself falling more and more in love with the plants that other humans tend to dislike and even passionately hate… especially those labelled as invasive. There’s something that shifts in people who are self-proclaimed naturalists, plant lovers, botany freaks, when you bring up the invasive plants. They get angry, they get quiet, sometimes they become judge and jury, proclaiming these plants as nothing but evil. Sometimes they’re willing to dump poison into the very gardens, the very ecosystem they most love.

Yes, we love and want to protect the habitats and lives of native plants, yes it feels vitally important, but are “invasive” plants really to blame? I find the narrative that any plant is an evil, predatory being to be utterly suspect. Especially when they also happen to offer the most appropriate medicines for some of the most common ailments of our time.

In light of all of this, I was absolutely delighted to learn a few years ago that my dear friend, teacher and herbalist Suzanne Stone, of Moon of Hyldemoer Herbals, shares a deep and passionate interest and honoring of these misaligned plants. How wonderful to find that we’ve both spent years deepening in with this material, have appreciated and devoured books like Tim Scott’s “Invasive Plant Medicine” and “The New Wild” by Fred Pearce. Together, we conspired to offer a longer class, a chance to really dive in together, to swim in the reflections and learnings and relationship-building with a group of people. And… this is that class!

This class is a two day intensive designed to hold space for deeper exploration, embodied practice, and conversation towards developing an understanding of the beauty, the medicine and the teachings of plants that are deemed to be invasive in this part of the world. We will explore concepts of good and bad that are applied to plants and review the histories and belief systems that influence this type of reductionist and divisive thinking. We will get outside with the plants to ask them about themselves, to listen deeply, to connect, and to learn to collect and prepare medicine with them. We will have space for grieving together the overwhelming confusion and violence of this culture as pertinent to the way these plants and many other beings are treated. We will drop in with the spirits of the plants to learn from them and we will listen to Earth to learn about their role in greater ecology as well. We will talk medicine and culinary uses of these allies and we will eat some of them. Together, we will build a body of understanding to bring forward into our lives, our kitchens and our apothecaries.

This class is heart and hand focused, with time divided between feeling, listening, talking and doing… and it is all about relationship. Together we will deepen our relationships with these wisdom keepers, these protectors, these friends, with the aim to understand their place in the world and to learn to receive and utilize their gifts.

Details:
September 4th & 5th from 9am-5pm at Suzanne’s home in Belfast, Maine
Cost: $160 paid upon registration
Limited to 14 participants
We will meet outdoors – with an open and airy barn option in the case of rain
BYO lunch but there will be some plant snacks and tea provided 🙂
On-site camping is available for Saturday

Scholarships are available. BIPOC, Queer & Trans folks are prioritized for scholarship allocation, reach out by email to apply.

Call (207.230.9526) or email (jilliantwisla@gmail.com) with inquiries and to register.