A wise woman of my acquaintance, a tiny and intense strega, peers into
the murkiness of the immediate future and announces with operatic bravado
that we humans have, at most, fifteen years to create the big turnaround
of healing and wholing ourselves and our planet. That's the time frame,
she swears, and unless we make the massive changes of mind and body,
brain and spirit, to enact the required transitions from disaster and
devastation to nurturing and balance, this beautiful planet, her human
children and perhaps all living things as we know them, will be lost.
And physicist Max Bjorn's painful assessment will have proven true:
that Nature's attempt to evolve a thinking creature on this planet has
On a more positive note, however, possibilities, plans, and hopes for
making the necessary changes in person and in our personal relationships
to our earth are vigorously alive. In fact, the planet herself feels
more and more alive, molding us into skillful partners of her processes,
willing us to relearn her ancient mysteries and share them through the
gracing of those whom she claims most deeply as her daughters and sons.
One such Earth Daughter, perhaps the most vivid and original of my acquaintance,
is Susun Weed. The secrets she is willing to share, through her role
as keeper of the Wise Woman tradition, are among those which can awaken
us to a new understanding of health and earth/body wisdom.
Susun frankly and provocatively offers the Wise Woman way of life as
a healing alternative to the body-alienating, body-objectifying methods
she describes as the Scientific and Heroic traditions.
Inviting us to nestle into her sense of union with the earth, Susun
engages us in learning to perceive health and wholeness as the essence
of any condition and teaches the questions of "how" and "what"
instead of "why" as the real issues to ponder when we seek
She gives us a renewed sense of the power of true enabling, working,
as she says the wise woman does, from the center of the void, which
she feels is the place of female energy. In fact, her entire description
of the Way of the Wise Woman is refreshing, courageous, and clear. One
feels after reading it that one has raced through tall meadow grasses
to the top of a high hill and been wrestled to the ground by three happy
But Susun saves her wildest whimsy and most extensive explorations-dare
I say her most scientific understanding?-for her detailed discussions
of the Mother's gifts, in the form of the plants with which she works.
The plants talk to us, sing to us, tell us stories. We are treated to
rich descriptions of the powers each plant embodies, if we are thoughtful
and caring enough to harvest and work with them appropriately.
Susun offers us her understanding that the way to learn a plant fully
and deeply is to live with it for a year, in all weathers, in all variations
of daylight and starlight. Working with her books in the same manner
will also grant you the Yeargiftings of Nature's Way.
Jean Houston, PhD
Traditions of Healing
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