My name is Katie and I am writing this note to share with those who may be interested. There is a report being passed around that is sharing lies and exaggerations about an event that happened in 2020 at Susun Weed´s house. I can call them lies because I was there and they are not true! I myself am also named in the report. I think it's very appropriate that I share my voice and will continue to do so in a way that stands up for Truth.
When the woman who wrote the report arrived to Susun´s house I had already been there for 5 weeks. I was very much settled into my routine which was really healthy for me. I was spending a lot of time with plants, a lot of time with the goats, a lot of time with Susun in class and also with Miki as an active member of the homestead. I also had regular contact with Justine, Susun´s daughter, and Monica Jean, her granddaughter, usually at meal time, and I also loved being around them. I was very happy and learning a lot. Being on Susun´s land in the woods without social media was amazing; although the apprenticeship is very active and intense, it was also a period of deep rest for me and for that, I am so grateful.
Getting into addressing the report….
I´ve thought a lot about how to share my words in a way that is both firm and loving. I want to avoid “she said” vs. “she said” - a war or sides mentality. Those that want to believe the report exactly as it is,will most likely completely close themselves off to my words without ever contemplating that they could be true. Even if I am misheard and misunderstood, I still want to share my story out of respect and love for myself, for Susun and also for Truth itself!
Where to begin….
My experience with this woman that wrote the report was that she would take something rooted in reality and then completely turn it into something that it was not.
For example: I did not show up for lunch the first day she was there. She then asked me “So they don't feed you lunch?” And I reminded her that of course we get lunch! When you are on goat watch in the woods you pack your lunch and eat it out there with the goats which is lovely. Although I told her this multiple times, she kept bringing it up as if I wasn't eating lunch and I kept reminding her that is not the case.
Also please note that one of the first things this woman shared with me and Susun (we discussed it at a talking stick circle) is that she had had a concussion that affected her memory. Susun was gracious enough to let her walk around with a notebook and pen so that she could write things down and also write down times of meals and meetings.
Here's another example…2 days or so after this woman arrived I started to bleed. It was my moon day which means not only did I have the day off but I also got paid for it. Susun pays her apprentices to take a day off when they are bleeding. I told this woman that I was going to the grocery store to get some chocolate and pick up a few things. I was craving chocolate! I also let her know I was going into town to the bookstore. I then returned back to the homestead to rest on my day off.
It seems as though this woman interpreted this situation as though I wasn't being fed enough which again was, and is, far from the truth. I shared several meals together with her during the short time she was at the homestead. Buying extra chocolate and honey and other treats at the store on my moon day doesn't mean I wasn't well fed or taken care of. It means that I wanted to buy those things for myself.
The day after the woman left, the police came to the homestead asking for Katie, me! The first thing they said was that they had reports that I was being starved and after looking at me and talking with me they told me that I seemed healthy and great so they left. No problem at all. But again, this was just another example of how something real - going to the store to get chocolate - turned into something not real - you are being starved and must look for food elsewhere.
That brings me to another point…the other thing that the police mentioned when they visited me was that they had reports of the goats being abused. Again, that is SO FAR from the truth. Those goats are revered and treasured beings on the homestead. At one point during this woman's stay we were close to the house where Susun lives and the goats were trying to eat an American Holly tree. There is a rule that goats can't eat trees if we can see a house. We don't want the goats eating all of the trees around the homes. So I ran up behind the goats to move them away which they did. This woman saw me and then walked up to Susun and told them I was hitting the goats with rocks which was absolutely not the case and super bizarre for her to say that to Susun. It was a lie! I was protecting the tree and it was a very super rapid event because the goats just started eating the grass next to the tree anyway and everything was fine. But later she told the police that I (or someone) was abusing the goats. That was not true and again, when the police came they said the goats looked great and left without an issue.
My experience during this woman's time at Susun´s was that she was against me. For example, she also told Susun that I had been going through her trash. Again…what? I was very busy. I did not have time (even if I did I wouldn't do that) to go through someone else's trash. Susun listened to her and had her move to the other size of the duplex home where we were staying as apprentices. Susun respected her wishes and allowed this woman to move sides. I also felt better because it was so bizarre and unsettling to me that someone would accuse me of going through their trash.
The last afternoon that this woman was still at Susun´s I was sitting in the field by the apprentice home drawing my plant ally. It was one of my assignments. This woman started to walk around me. She didn't say anything but she was standing close by me for a while and then walked away. A few minutes later I headed back to the apprentice house and she suddenly storms in and starts yelling at me that I had changed the clock to make her confused about what time yoga started. What? I would never change that clock. I needed that clock to be accurate for myself. I would never think about touching it. Also, how could I change the clock and then change it back so quickly? When she was yelling at me in a very aggressive way she also said “I swear by Hecate if you all drugged me…(but didn´t finish the threat)”. She was literally convinced that I (and maybe Susun too) were out to get her. It is so far from what was really happening. The goats, the food, the trash, the clock, etc….it was as though she was having an issue understanding what was real and what was not.
At that moment she packed her suitcase and literally started walking down the road. She didn't say bye. She just left after that very unsettling encounter about the clock being changed on purpose (it was never touched).
I stayed at our apprentice home until yoga started at 5:30 pm (the normal time). I told Miki and Susun what had happened and also told them I was uncomfortable staying at the apprentice home that night. I was concerned this woman might try to come back and she did not seem to be well and also seemed to be very upset at me in particular. I camped that night closer up to Susun´s house and then returned to the apprentice home the next day. All was well and I continued on to finish my apprenticeship.
A bizarre twist to this story is that this woman reached out to my friend who was maintaining my social media business account while I was away. She wrote to him that I was being trafficked and starved. It is extremely inappropriate that she did that. Also, I am confused why she cared about me because during her stay she seemed to not care about me at all and in fact, didn´t like me.
This woman also chose to call the bookstore where she knew I had been on my moon day and share my Instagram picture with them and tell them I was being trafficked and if I ever came back they should call the police.
I did go back to that bookstore! It was literally my last day in New York. I had some time before taking the taxi back to Albany. I love books and I love that store so I went back. I was browsing through the shop and a worker there approached me and said “are you Katie?” I was extremely confused that she knew my name. I told her yes and she explained that an unidentified woman had called and shared my picture via Instagram. The police had already been called. I waited at the store until a police officer came. We talked for a few minutes. I shared that this woman seemed to be unwell. I was happy, buying books and taking a plane back home that same day. The police and I had a very short, pleasant conversation and then I left to get my bags and fly home.
There is so much more I could say and this is already getting long.
Here's what I think is important.
1. Obviously my account is different from what the report says. I think my voice and experience is also really important to take into consideration. The accusations being made are extremely serious and are being shared without a calm, reasonable discussion about what may have actually happened.
2. Apprenticing with Susun is not easy. I never thought it would be. It is VERY clear on her website what the apprenticeship is like. I read that many times and chose to go. I wanted Susun to be my teacher and she was and she is. I am so grateful for my time at her homestead. I am so grateful to Susun´s books and teachings and classes. My life is better because she has been a part of it. I´ve had a beautiful, long spiral path of learning and growing as a human being. The spiral continues and it's an honor to have been an apprentice with Susun Weed; it has been just one point - and a beautiful one - on my life´s journey.
Thanks for reading! Maybe my perspective helped you or maybe not. But I'm glad I wrote it. And thanks Susun for being such a dear teacher to me. With a truly grateful heart I stand by you in love and in gratitude to Life, to Truth and to the plants!!!!