Friday, October 28, 2016

A Note on learning at the Herbal Freedom School

People from so many different backgrounds and awareness of healing knowledge come to the Herbal Freedom School and it can be a challenge to provide a space that engages everyone and has material that resonates with every single person 100% of the time. In fact, it's not possible. I stressed a lot about this in the Summer Session. I wanted this space to be everything for everyone all the time! After all, people paid to have this! I quickly found out how implausible (or maybe just misguided) this kind of thinking was. In a conversation with a fellow queer brown person and educator doing healing work I reflected on the School of Liberation Healing and Medicine (née School of Liberatory Medicine- lulz) and the Herbal Freedom School and what exactly it is we're trying to do here. Largely, because my friend brought up that some students were lamenting over the fact that there wasn't more medicine making.

At the Herbal Freedom School people are on a journey and there's a specific process or path. People really have to come to terms with the first few lessons before we get to the medicine making. I know many are always so keen to just begin making medicine and work with the physiological healing aspects but there's so much to unpack and unlearn- especially the ways we relate to our medicine, the energy we unconsciously put into our medicine, and our disconnect from our ancestral healing histories, medicine, knowledge and ways of being. But, people are so quick to want to know how to make a tincture or a salve, etc. I get it. They want something practical for right now. Though, that's not what the School of Liberation Healing and Medicine is about. Medicine making is a part later in our 12 week journey. (Or 6-week if you join during the 2nd part of the session.) Though you'll find aspects of it interweaved throughout because from the beginning we are partnering with plants by sitting and dreaming with them. There are many workshops out there with amazing folks and many books as well where folks can learn how to make oils, tinctures, salves and remedies. People have plenty of access to that information - and many times for free.

In the Herbal Freedom School we set a foundation defining terms like liberation, health and healing and liberatory medicine for ourselves and we sit with what anti-racist, decolonial healing looks like. We discuss the impact of colonization on our healing histories and medicine and these are the first steps in the journey of connecting back to our ancestors and our own medicine. Then we are able to move on to achieving a more in depth understanding of medicine and how the ceremony and rituals and spirituality of our ancestors is inseparable from the terms "medicine" and "healing". In the final part of our journey we are ready to strategize about our healing which brings us full circle to the first lesson in which participants are asked what they need to feel liberated, what they need to release in their lives and to begin healing.

It's understandable that different parts of the journey speak more loudly to different folks. We are all at different places on our path. The point is- in the Herbal Freedom School program there is a method and the journey that we take is not linear. It may seem so on the surface, but folks can quickly determine for themselves that it's not.

Folks can take this program over and over and it can be different every time because they are peeling back layer after layer and different parts resonate and they connect differently with the material each time. Also, the material is influenced and shaped by those in the program- the interactions and conversation in the discussion boards and the live online class sessions.
I tell folks in the beginning- this program is what you make of it. You can go really deep with it or you can go with the motions and put little effort in, only doing the minimal. While I'm somewhat a guide on the journey, I don't hold your hand or smack it with a ruler like some belligerent teacher if you don't "do the work." Only you can be the captain on the journey. It's your choice to connect or not and there's no shaming or guilt around what you are able to do. Rest assured- something will resonate if you come into the program with an openness, few expectations, and the will to connect with the medicine of our legacies.

The Winter Session will begin January 13th and we're taking applications through November 15th to be in the program. Once accepted enroll by November 28th. Now, this is Part 2 of the program and you can join in January even if you haven't been part of the Fall Session (Part 1). This is an experiment so we'll see how this goes. (See above discussion for why!)

You can enroll for Part 1 after November 21st and you'll have access to the material such as video and audio, readings, etc. but there won't be any live components or feedback on your reflections. It'll be self-paced and the online material will only be available through 12/26/16.
Apply and enroll early folks because there are a very limited number of seats.

Apply Here for Winter Session 2017:

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