I am writing to share about the deep value I have received from Susun Weed as her live-in apprentice for two 3-month periods in 2001 and 2002. I have so much gratitude for her teachings and the Wise Woman way has been one of the deepest, most important aspects of my life.
Points I would like to highlight in light of recent allegations-
- In the materials about being an apprentice and then also in the personal letter I received when I applied to be an apprentice, it was made very clear that the apprenticeship would be hard work physically and psychologically. Since I wanted this challenge in order to grow stronger, I signed up.
-Being at the Wise Woman Center was one of my favorite and most nourishing of food experiences. Susun NOURISHED us with an abundance of the best quality home made goat milk products, wild plant concoctions, local CSA veggies and eggs and organic grains and beans. I and other past apprentices often still (20 years later) fantasize about the food at the Wise Woman Center. In fact, I had been very under-weight when I went to live there and was finallyb able to return to a healthy weight due to the abundance of delicious food.
-The work was hard, it made my body strong and was an accurate reflection of what it is to live a home- stead life-style. The phycological work was also hard. Susun was asking us to take responsibility for ourselves and bring real awareness to our actions. Her teaching truly empowered me, and inspired the deepest sense of self-love and confidence based on my ability to face all that I am.
-We were given many tools to work with the psychological and spiritual challenges of living with awareness and self-responsibility through our classes with Susun and the weekend workshops taught by Susun and other visiting teachers, weekly tai chi and yoga. It was a great balance of intense work and deep and profound teachings.
My main message is that I have the upmost gratitude and love for Susun Weed and the Wise Woman Center. Her books and teachings have brought so much wisdom and healing to myself and so many others. If people want to learn from her, they should understand what it means to do so and find the way to learn from her that best suits where they are at. If someone wants some herbal knowledge, there are many offerings that are not very intensive. If someone wants a full-being transformation, then the live-in apprenticeship will give them that, but full shamanic transformation does not come without a real challenge.
May the teachings of Susun Weed and the Wise Woman tradition continue to flourish and bring healing and benefit to the world.
I have been a student and now am a correspondence apprentice, of Susun Weed, since the mid 80’s.
I used to receive her newsletter in the mail when I was still in under graduate school, in the late 1970’s, and continued reading them for decades.
(Hard glossy copy, black and white).
Even reading them through graduate school, which helped me get through it!!!
Especially all the awesome pictures!
‘Hope of things to come!’
(As I really wanted to attend her workshops).
In the mid 1980’s, I began leading Herb Walks, as a volunteer, for the York County Park and Recreation’s, weekend activities. - (York, PA).
I taught the basic herbs that Susun featured in her newsletters, i.e, plantain, nettles, dandelion, etc.
Susun’s newsletters were vital to my education in discovering new plants and how to use them.
In the mid 90’s, we lived to Maryland, where I continued leading Herb Walks for the local park service.
I learned that Susun Weed was doing a weekend retreat at Seven Oaks, spiritual center, outside Charlottesville, VA.
I signed up immediately!!!
I remember getting ready to leave, (I lived in southern Maryland at the time), when a call came through, to my land
line, from an administrator at Seven Oaks.
Susun’s plane had landed late in Alexandria, VA, and could I pick her up on the way to the weekend retreat? YES!!!
I did and that was the start of my apprenticeship in herbal medicine. Susun’s weekend classes at Seven Oaks, were beyond my expectation.
I remember sitting there in one of her classes saying to myself, this the closest thing I have ever heard from any teacher, that resonates with my entire being!!’
The next summer, I signed up for what would be almost a decade of summer workshops, including week long classes,
at her beautiful farm, ‘Laughing Rock,’ in Woodstock, NY.
Even when we moved to Montanta in 2001, I flew back for her workshops for a few summers in a row.
After that, I signed up for her A-Z Herbal Apprenticeship. Which I am still using and studying!
Never ending herbal knowledge.
In Montanta, in 2007, I joined up with the Montanta Herb Gathering folks. (Disbanded currently).
The group held annual summer gatherings, for ten years, until just a few years ago.
I had put Susun’s name in right away, as a suggestion for one of the teachers, and finally in 2012,
(maybe 2011?), Susun’s name was on the list to be invited.
Susun came to teach at the Hot Springs, MT gathering, ‘headliner and main teacher,’
Susun was a hit and her classes were packed!
I was thrilled!!!
My teacher and mentor was coming to Montanta!!!
Everyone was lined up to take her classes and weed walks.
A wonderful experience for all!!!
I continue learning from her regular newsletters and updates, and the YouTube training videos.
My entire way of life has changed from Susun’s tutelage and nurturing.
I am a devoted student for life of Susun Weed.
Blessings, - Sarah Smart
My testimonial : I do not support this cancel culture. Period. The recent behavior of the herbal community is disappointing and childish and not health promoting. My stand is from personal experience not hearsay. I spent a LOT of time at the WWC between 1995-2000 (as an apprentice and later and intern and an employee. (for transparency sake I have not been there in at least a decade but have remained in touch with Susun and seen her at conferences and herbal events. My students have also attended classes at the WWC and I hear feedback from their experiences) I would not be the person/teacher I am today without my experiences at the WWC. Susun was a good and committed teacher to me who taught me way more than herbalism, homesteading and cooking and living a truthful path. I never felt threatened, abused or belittled by her in anyway. Like everyone Susun is human, she is not perfect, and has flaws (who does not) I have seen Susun raise her voice in frustration and anger, she can become loud and overwhelming and also be deamining(in a way I would never treat my students) I have seen students get very small in her presence, perhaps get triggered, perhaps they thought Susun would "fix" everything for them. Their reaction is not all on Susun however. Yes, I believe at times Susun lacks visible sensitivity, she is however quite up front about what works for her and what doesnt and a lot of incidents could be prevented if students read the literature sent to them and did not show up with their heads in the clouds. Susun also responds well to upfrontness. Apprentices are coming into Susun home and have agreed to allow her to be their teacher by choice. I have never seen Susun physically hurt, assault or inappropriately touch another person (which of course I could not support), I always felt full and nourished at the wise woman center, yes Susun does not cater to vegans and various trend diets- however why apprentice with someone if you are unwilling to learn and again no surprise if you read the literature you will know what kind of food you will find. I find it hard to believe that she "starved" or "drugged" anyone, so so very far from my experience. And Yes the Nettle Patch (apprentice housing) could use a good scrubbing! For years people have gotten off telling crazy Susun stories but this has absolutely gotten out of hand!
I might add a more personal story here also about the kindness Susun, while I was working for her (doing office work) I was commuting from Western MA on a motorcycle because I could not afford a car....as winter came I begun skipping out on work! Too cold too wet, too far etc...eventually I made it to Saugerties to quit, realizing I needed a job much closer to home. I told Susun my options the way I saw them and said all roads let to quitting. She said there was another option she went got her check book and wrote me a check for $5000 to go and buy a car! A loan with no strings attached. We set up a payment plan I dont remember the exact details....I paid small amounts monthly. I eventually left the job a year or so later....and when my daughter was born Susun sent me a paid in full invoice as a baby gift! Pure generosity!
Why women feel the need to put someone down to make themselves look better I shall never understand. Sending love to Susun and everyone around her.