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Classes & Teachers
This class will guide you through the phases of a woman’s life from a western and classical Chinese perspective. We will discuss appropriate herbs, foods and qi gong exercises that will help us gain acceptance and wisdom of life’s natural transitions. Beginning with menarche and ending post menopause, this class will cover western and classical Chinese herbs for reproductive health and longevity. Teas, essential oils and elixirs will be passed around. Daoyin exercises will be demonstrated and performed in class.
This class will inspire all herbalists to have the confidence to work with those that have experienced trauma or that have PTSD. Working with classical Chinese theories on Shen (spirit, consciousness), this class explores trauma within the context of Daoism, the 5 Elements and herbalism. Several categories of herbs will be discussed, from nervines to herbs that nourish blood and calm the spirit. Herbs and essences are a great way to help someone open up to be able to work through their wounds. My hope is that this class inspires many to help others. Teas, essential oils and elixirs will be passed around.
This class explores the evolution of plants and humans. Our existence and metabolism depends on plants for survival and longevity. But what allowed humans the ability to have abstract thought, create art, music and spirituality? Many believe it was the ingestion and inhalation of certain plants and compounds that opened the door to human consciousness. We will discuss the connection between compounds found in plants and their corresponding receptors in our brain and bodies. We will examine the limbic system and endocannabinoid system and their role in metabolism, cellular regeneration and consciousness. Plants as diverse as cannabis, carrots and lungwort will be discussed. Teas, essential oils, and elixirs will be passed around.
In this class we will deepen our understanding of Western Herbalism and be introduced to the ancient teachings of Chinese herbalism. Beginning with shamanism and an energetic approach to healing with herbs, we will follow the evolution of herbalism in classical Chinese medicine. Chinese herbal medicines are categorized by very specific functions and described by their taste, temperature, and what organs and meridians (rivers of energy) they enter. We will discover what western herbs are part of the material medica in China and introduce herbalists to a whole new way of working with their favorite plants. This class will be intriguing and fun. We will deepen our relationship with our favorite herbs and meet new herbal allies too! Teas, essential oils and elixirs will be passed around.
The lymphatic system is called Rasa in Sanskrit, meaning the river of life. Keeping this river flowing allows our tissues to receive nourishment, which is the secret to being and looking healthy. Our lymph fluids allow hormones to get from one endocrine gland to another and play an important role in our reproductive health. The lymphatic system is also called the Immune system, which we all know is important for fighting foreign invaders and staying healthy. There will be demonstrations on how to map the lymphatic system in your body with an emphasis on breast health. There will be time for Q &A about our breasts and immunity, massage assessments for experiential learning & what tools can support change and prevent diseases. Students will leave having a clear understanding of the lymph system and how to keep it and their breasts healthy.
*Breast Checks will be continued throughout the entire weekend.
There is strength in a river that is flowing
We will be sharing information about the conditions that effect women as they travel through their years the maiden, the mother and the Crone - and discuss the common thread through many of these imbalances that are unique to women and to also discuss the differences we see as women age and the most appropriate ways to support women in all these phases of life. We will discuss the various conditions women struggle with and how there are many similarities in treatment. We will discuss the basic physiology of women’s bodies through the different phases.
Ilene has been concerned about the adverse health effects of genetically modified foods since she became aware of them, but after attending an environmental health symposium where Professor Seralini discussed the results of his two year study of the health effects on rats she became more committed to educating individuals about this and other studies (some supported by Monsanto). Professor Seralini was one of the very first to demand a European commercial moratorium on agricultural GMOs for further research and has recently co-authored a book, Culinary Pleasures Or Hidden Poisons. This conversation between an eminent chef and scientist reveal their experiences with the problems generated by genetically altered food and their sustainable solution. We all need to be having these conversations to create sustainable solutions that work in our lives.
Experience matchless fire starting and become a member of the fire devas. Establish an intimate relationship with this powerful elemental. Holding the central fire is an act of service, a source of healing and a teacher of awareness.
Join Herbalist & Tea maven Darcey Blue to discover the magic and alchemy of blending herbs together, in water, for healing and pleasure. The benefits of preparing, drinking and connecting with your herbal medicines as tea is an important therapeuetic self care practice for both herbalists and their clients. But no one wants to drink a medicinal tea that is unpalatable, and we’ve all made a blend or two that was a bust. After 13 years of blending medicinal and beverage teas with herbs, Darcey has learned a few tricks and strategies to help make this process less mystifying and more enjoyable. This class will cover the basics of understanding the six tastes of herbs and herbal energetics that are vital to being able to blend delicious and effective herbal tea medicines (and other forms of herbal medicine!), and an overview of energetics in people and constitutions. We will learn a few different strategies for formulating herbs in tea blends, which can be distinct from tinctures, in which palatability and compliance is less of a challenge. Additionally we’ll cover preparation methods for different kinds of teas/brews, client compliance strategies (how to make it easy for them!), and share several recipes for basic medicinal formulas/blends that can be adapted to different people and situations. Medicine should be both beautiful, delicious and effective. We will taste different herbs and teas during the class. Please bring your mug!
The practice of Sacred Reciprocity has become a bit of lost art in modern western culture, but all traditional peoples had ceremonial and beautiful ways of showing gratitutde and giving back to the land that supported their lives. As healers, earth lovers, plant people, sacred warriors and priestesses, it falls on us to recreate, honor and hold space for our communities to show our gratitude in meaningful and beautiful ways. Together in this time we will create a sacred space, call on the spirits of the land of Black Oak Ranch which has supported women together for so many years, to create an offering of prayers and gratitude. We will create a “despacho” as it is called in the Andes, a beautiful mandala filled with food, seeds, sweets, sacred plants, and all our prayers, together, to be offered to the Fire. The power of prayer is well known, and these direct offerings of gratitude to the land (and the plants we work with!) can be quite powerful and effect transformation, healing and empowerment in our lives and work in the world. All are welcome. Please bring 3 small, whole leaves for your prayer offering, and a drum, rattle, whistle or flute to help us create sacred space.
Treating acute situations requires an intensive and active herbal strategy, which includes frequency, dosing, monitoring and potential referral out to further medical care. This class will cover the materia medica/herbal allies effective at clearing infections, how to monitor and assess, therapeutic strategies of frequency and dosage, and when to refer out to further medical care. Most infections can and do clear with appropriate herbal treatment, but it is best to be prepared and know when to seek assistance from other medical practitioners. This is especially important as we come across increased frequency of antibiotic resistant strains of bacterial infections, and folks without access to insurance. Treating infections effectively and responsibly is a great service to our communities. Lyme disease therapeutics will not be covered in this class since it is beyond the scope of Darcey's personal practice.
Sharing traditional European approaches and knowledge passed down the ages, this class will teach how British herbalists match the spirit and energy of plants to different mind states, to enhance happiness, contentment and well being and to support women’s passage through challenging times in their lives.
Paula will share her extensive experience of teaching children and teens about herbal medicine. Learn about everything from safety issues to helping enthuse kids in a lively and engaging manner. A wide variety of tried and tested recipes and ideas will be shared.
Breaking Down Boundaries of Self Expression (in front of each other?)
If you have self chatter that says phrases like: “I can’t dance, I am a bad singer, or I don’t play an instrument because my sister does, I hate my voice, or I wish I could draw, paint, sculpt, write, express without hearing the opinions of others of the past, present, and future go through my head,” then this class is for you.
In this class we will explore an important body system that has too long been left in the shadows. Learn all about this amazing system: how
lymph stagnation shows up, and how it plays a role in inflammation, immunity, detoxification, energy, and general health. Then we will delve into one of the most supremely useful category of herbs and take a tour through Lily's most beloved alteratives, learning how and when to apply them. We will wrap up with simple practices to keep our lymph systems healthy.
Join Lily for the insomniac's tour of some the latest (useful!) sleep research, and learn practical tactics to improve our sleep quality and duration, and therefore our quality of life! We will discuss common causes of sleep disturbance, and then launch in to nightly sleep hygiene practices, as well as herbal strategies, nutrients, and foods for sleep.
Come join in creating sacred space where we can reclaim our lost initiations and rites of passages. Most of us were raised in a culture where these rituals were forgotten or not acknowledged. Here at NCWHS we are privileged to create a ritual for our maidens, but often we did not experience one for ourselves. Here will be time to claim our power and step boldly into your womynhood, by co-creating a ceremony where we will honor, support, witness, and acknowledge the life transitions we have gone through to become the amazing beings that we are.
In this experiential class we’ll explore how one can work shamanically to build a personal alliance with the spirit of the plants for guidance and healing. I’ll discuss some traditional approaches to plant spirit medicine, including the basic principles of plant initiations, dieting with plants, plant baths and teas and how one can use this ancient non-verbal practice to begin and/or deepen their relationship with the plants they hold dear. I will also go over the basics of the shamanic drum journey (portals, worlds, percussion, etc.) and then we’ll move into the journey itself to experience a series of plant spirit journeys. Spirit journeys are an ancient practice used by our Ancestors to communicate directly with the essence of a plant to receive guidance and healing. The practice of journeying gives us a tool to communicate with the spirit that exists within all things at any time by accessing the theta state by means of percussion. Feel free to bring your instruments with you! Please bring what you need to be comfortable sitting & lying down throughout our time together such as a sun shade, chair, yoga mat, pillow, eye covering (scarves work great), plenty of water and a journal/notebook. This class is not suitable for children or young women under the age of 16 yrs old.
This highly experiential class invites those of us who work with Cannabis personally or professionally an opportunity to experience how the Spirit of Cannabis can restore balance within the body, spirit & soul and what it means to be in conscious “right relationship”. We’ll experience various shamanic journeys to explore how we can honor our relationship with Cannabis in our daily lives, as well as how to work in partnership with her to receive guidance, healing and support. There will be a bit of talk and discussion and then we’ll move into the journey itself. In this class you can expect to learn the basics of shamanic journeying and what it means to be in shamanic “right relationship” and experience plant spirit journeys to Cannabis for guidance, healing and enhanced well-being. Spirit journeys are an ancient non-verbal practice used by our ancestors to identify a plant’s energetic and medicinal attributes. The practice of journeying gives us a tool to communicate with the spirit that exists within all things by accessing the theta state by means of percussion. Feel free to bring your instruments with you! Please bring what you need to be comfortable sitting & lying down throughout our time together such as a sun shade, chair, yoga mat, pillow, eye covering (scarves work great), plenty of water and a journal/notebook. This class is not suitable for children or young women under the age of 16 yrs old.
In this intensive we will look at how trauma is carried energetically in us both in the present and ancestrally. We will explore where it is in our bodies, how to recognize trauma patterns and how to release trauma. Plant meditations and energetic exercises will be part of the class.
This class will look at learning to be fully present in the world and living in our hearts. We will explore how to be connected with the universal energies and therefore more connected with the plants. Plant meditations and energy exercises are part of the class.
The Goddess is inside all of us and she loves to dance! Let your body move, slow sensual movements to release the feminine within us. Allow yourself to explore the divine through Bellydance. We are all beautiful. This class is great for everyone, and for those who are shy or feel a need to express their latent femininity.
This is Tribal Fusion Style Bellydance with an emphasis on building strength and flexibility and learning to dance safely, without injury. Any age or body type can become a bellydancer. We will learn a short dance to perform together in the talent show and/or show to your loved ones. We will start with a short warm up and end with a few gentle cool down stretches.
Here at Herbal Symposium, we celebrate three archetypes of the Divine Feminine: Maiden, Mother and Crone. Of them, Mother is often the most complicated for us to relate to. This ambivalence is deeply rooted in our culture, and impacts the way mainstream society relates to Mother Earth. In this class, we will explore our deeply held beliefs about motherhood that unconsciously hold us back from fully embracing the Divine Feminine and the Earth as Mother. Join us for a guided visualization and healing ritual, so that we may further embrace the Mother Archetype, in all its complexity, as a symbol of our power to heal the Earth. Please bring a sacred object to charge on the ritual altar.
In this intensive we will explore one of the greatest historic herbal vinegars. As we work our alchemy and make medicine together, we take the time to experience the three aspects of essential medicine making: Plant Spirit Wisdom, the studied knowledge or Materia Medica and the Craft of Medicine making. It will be both a personal and group experience as we share the wisdom that presents itself during our time together. We will study the rich her-story, the herbs, and the gifts that the Vinegar of Four Thieves offers us in our present times.
This is geared toward beginning herbalists and gardeners alike. It is a way to become acquainted with those plants that are often referred to as “Weeds” in our gardens and neighborhoods. Many of these plants are our greatest ally’s in our medicine pouches and in the kitchen. Weeds in the past were also the means to know our land and soil as they act as indicators for us. You can also utilize weeds as dynamic accumulators for the compost pile or to make herbal infusions for the garden. Michelle will bring a variety of weeds in glass jars and discuss their uses and magical/medicinal qualities.
Tara will explore basic drum rhythms and etiquette to facilitate a more successful and playful drum circle experience. Women and girls of all ages are welcome. Bring your drums, shakers, bells and playful spirits to weave a circle of magic that can carry over into the Sunday night ritual and fire circle. See you there!
Crones, come share lunch with other Wise Crones. We will discuss loving life after menopause, finding joy, appreciation, and health in our Crone years. We will also discuss our part in the Maiden’s Rites of Passage Ceremony and our own Crone’s Honoring Ritual.
This is time to reflect and share our experiences of Cronehood and our love for our Wise Crone ways and bodies. Past menopause and into memorypause, we will tell our stories. A time to make a ritual Crone Broom will follow.
Crones, come share another lunch with other Wise Crones. We will continue our plans for the Maiden’s Rites of Passage and our own Crone’s Honoring Ritual.
Welcome maidens, to the Circle of Women! Join us in celebrating the beauty and strength of this phase of your life, the time of your bloods. We will explore ideas and feelings, hear stories, make things to care for ourselves and prepare for the Maiden’s Rites of Passage Ceremony to be held Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. Any young woman who would like to go through the Maiden Ceremony must attend this class.
During our time together we will create a sacred space from which we will be able to nurture ourselves and each other, and safely discuss issues affecting young womyn in our culture. We will sew a moon pad together and play with ways to claim our personal power through deepening our understanding and connection to our body’s natural rhythms and the links to the cycles of the natural world.
This class is so much more than yoga asanas! We will stretch and move our bodies as we explore what it means to be a Heart Warrior. Am I strong enough to be soft? Can I listen to the messages of my heart and body? Often that takes strength and determination, especially when faced with conflict or the pull of what others want us to do. Through fun and engaging games, yoga and activities, we explore the senses, make contact with our heart center, use our voices, tap into our super powers and find our power pose.
ages 9 & up
Learn how to make a labyrinth anywhere you go, using the natural treasures found nearby to mark the paths. We’ll explore ancient ways of asking for Spiritual help on your labyrinth walk. Those who like can become the “Stewards of the Labyrinth”, tending it so that anyone at the Symposium can walk it, day or night. Grown-ups are welcome in this class.
Aikido is the martial art of following Nature’s way, the way of harmony. Come explore your hidden powers: sitting like a mountain, rolling like a river, floating like a butterfly, leaping like an antelope and more! NOTE: for younger mid-kids age 5 to 7 only
In this fun class for older mid-kids we’ll play with a variety of “hands-on” moves from Aikido, the martial art of Peace. We’ll explore both how to strengthen your Center and how to return to Center when you you feel Off. Learn how to take the energy of an attack and turn it into Peace Power.
all mid kids
mid kids 5-7
mid kids 7-11
We will weave small round traditional Hawaiian style baskets. We will discuss local and tropical fibers used for basket weaving. We will use the following materials: Round reed, watsonia grass, banana paper, redwood bark, hemp twine, philodendron leaf, new Zealand flax, and seagrass. Please bring clippers or scissors if you have them. Class is limited to 13 mid-kids.
Early Morning Classes
1. A Medicine Making Journey With The Vinegar for Four Thieves beginning ~ Michelle Vesser
2. Lymphatic Breast Care all levels ~ DeAnna Batdorff
3. Releasing Trauma all levels ~ Karyn Sanders/Nashoba Shilup
4. Working with Plant Spirits Shamanically for Guidance and Healing all levels ~ Heather O’Connell