DIAGNOSTICS, ENERGETICS, & PATTERN RECOGNITION
Classes for Herbalists, Healers, & Culture Shifters – at the upcoming 2018 Good Medicine Confluence
For the first many years of Plant Healer’s annual international gatherings, our characteristically beautiful rural event sites had too few buildings of us to expand the number of classes to accommodate topics beyond essential foundational folk herbalism. Fortunately, since moving our Good Medicine Confluence to its new mountain-top site in Durango, Colorado, we have been able to procure sufficient spaces to expand our topics to include additional modalities, and means for a wildly healthy and deeply meaningful life.
In May, 2018, we will be presenting 5 days and nights of classes and entertainment for the same prices as most conferences charge for only 3: over 70 inspiring teachers presenting over 140 unique classes that have never been taught anywhere before, exploring the depths and frontiers of empowered healing in all its many forms from botanical medicine to healthy foods, nature therapy, cannabis and entheogens, and the radical remaking of the current cultural paradigm!
Before an herbalist or other healer can treat a condition, it must first be assessed, and the energetics of candidate herbs considered. One of the most effective skills for this purpose is pattern recognition, a learned ability to notice how factors and elements co-relate, indicate, interact, and affect. The following dozen classes are but some of the Good Medicine Confluence offerings that address this important means to our shared aim of healing, balance, and wholeness:
Evidence Based Herbal Medicine: New Block on The Kids
Jonathan Treasure (1.5 hrs)
When so-called Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) is applied to herbal medicine (EBHM) the predictable conclusion is that “Herbs Don’t Work”. Herbalists’ responses range from denial (“we don’t need no stinking studies”) through nit-picking , (study used wrong dose, wrong species, wrong plant part, yadayadayada) to the Stockholm Syndrome (conversion to mainstream acceptability by citing innumerable references ).
All this begs a bunch of questions: how do herbs work? How do herbs cause effects? What is a cause and what is an effect anyway? Can they be measured? Does it matter? Answering these questions requires a herb walk in the philosophical garden and digging down into the metaphysical dirt, admittedly unfamiliar turf for many herbalists. But as with all secret gardens, enlightenment and even enchantment await. Health Warning: this talk may affect parts of the brain that normal classes do not reach.
Patterns of Discontent: Recognizing Stagnation & Supporting Action
Kristin Henningsen (1.5 hrs)
The reality of our world today lends itself to a whole host of imbalances, many being deeply rooted in stagnation. Anger, fear, hopelessness, and apathy are just a few emotions that inhibit our ability to create effective change in our world and ourselves. More and more people are experiencing and answering a call to action, but struggling to free themselves from the physical and emotional stagnation they have been held in so long.
This class will explore common patterns of stagnation and strategies to help those who feel this call to action, but need a spark. We will explore herbs, diet, and lifestyle strategies to catalyze change and help reawaken society.
Pattern Identification as Diagnosis in Western Herbalism
CoreyPine Shane (1.5 hrs)
How do we go beyond just treating symptoms and find the root cause of disease? One approach can be seen in Chinese Medicine. It bases diagnosis on underlying patterns that links diverse symptoms of imbalance throughout the body instead of seeking to find isolated micro-organisms or physiological pathways. This class will explore a way of “pattern identification” using western physiology.
Trauma Awareness For The Herbal Clinician
CoreyPine Shane (1.5 hrs)
As a culture, we are only just realizing the extent of unresolved trauma. These experiences are far more common than is usually acknowledged, and are minimized by society and often even by the one who has experienced it. It is vital to our clients’ health and well-being for us to be able to recognize, understand, and respond to the effects of trauma. This understanding can also help us see how emotional, mental, and physical trauma can get stored in our body and cause physical problems.
Shifting Focus: Constitutional Assessment Through a Global Lens
Kristin Henningsen (1.5 hrs)
Not all folks fit into a tidy box. While constitutional assessments can be valuable in recognizing deeper imbalances, they can also be limiting in our approach. Being able to flip between the different lenses of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and Western energetics can provide a more nuanced approach, and valuable insight into what our clients need. Recognizing that our approach must shift with each season and stage of life allows us to be more effective in practice.
This class will look at the basic concepts of TCM, Ayurveda, and Western energetics to help us fine tune our constitutional assessment, recognize imbalances, and meet our clients exactly where they are. Class will include self-assessment, partner work, as well as case studies to apply these concepts to real situations
A Sensory Exploration Into Herbal Actions, Energetics, & Tastes
Rachel Berndt (1.5 hrs)
Immerse your senses into the art of herbalism! During this hands-on workshop we will explore the concepts of herbal actions, energetics, and tastes through utilizing our sensory perceptions. We will compare a handful of different herbs and will experience them through tasting, touching, smelling, and visual observation. After our sensory exploration we will discuss what our findings indicate. The concepts of actions, energetics, and tastes are some of the most important concepts to understand when practicing herbalism. Without a deep understanding of them, herbalism can feel like a complicated mystery and a guessing game. Through sensory exploration one can more efficiently and accurately learn about these concepts. It is endlessly fun and immensely empowering to be able to learn so much about a plant simply by using our senses. There is a part of this way of thinking that is different from “normal” thinking, or the type of thinking we are used to. The goal of this workshop is to get participants thinking about herbalism from a sensory perspective, to teach them how they can learn from the plants through their senses, and to introduce them to the important concepts of actions, energetics, and tastes. If you have ever wanted to know how to learn from the plants themselves, this is the workshop for you!
Earth, My Body: Somatic Practices For Herbalists
Larken Bunce (2 hrs)
We are the Earth and the Earth is us. We are our bodies and our bodies are us. Yet, many of us experience a sense of separation, a severing even, in our relationships with the living Earth body and with our own physical selves. Some of us, on the other hand, find ourselves acutely sensitive to the slightest sensation, and to every threat, painfully aware of the ongoing wounds to our own bodies and to the larger ecological body of which we are all a part. Some of us straddle these experiences, overwhelmed by the shifting and unpredictable nature of our experiences. Drawing tools from the fields of somatic psychology and trauma studies, this will be an experiential class intended to share a variety of practices for helping us relate to our bodies in new and hopefully, healing ways. Time will be dedicated to practices that ground and focus attention on the body, as well as those that allow for less attention to bodily sensation, acknowledging that support looks different for everyone. We’ll explore practices that are easy to apply within a consultation or to teach folks to use on their own. Of course, plants are supreme mediators of our embodied experiences and so we’ll also consider a handful of herbs to support each practice through direct and subtle actions on our bodies and hearts.
Demystifying The Pulse: Traditional Assessment For Western Herbalists
Larken Bunce (2 hrs)
Traditional assessment methods, such as reading the tongue, face or pulse, are invaluable doorways to the inner terrain, giving us clues about qualities such as moisture and heat, as well as a sense of tension and overall vitality. We can also gain entry into the psychoemotional world of the client, allowing insight into a person’s world view and perceptions, as held in and expressed through the body. Assessing the pulse is especially useful for understanding the state of the nervous and cardiovascular systems, but also serves as a microcosmic mirror of all of the organs, as well as a person’s integrated function. Perhaps most profound is the opportunity to listen in to the Heart-stories carried in the Blood, our ancestral inheritance, our earliest experiences, our current fears and dreams which all course through us, shaping the behavior of every cell and directing our patterns of perception and response. We’ll learn some theory and then spend time practicing together, including selecting herbs based on what we feel. We’ll address the potential for accessing information through entering another’s heart-field and the therapeutic value of intentional touch and presence which can be a fortunate “side effect” of pulse assessment. This class is meant to demystify pulse for beginners and to deepen understanding for folks with some knowledge. Come, bear witness, and share the story of your Health.
Home Herbalism I: Weaving Together The Patterns of Herbs
Juliet Abigail Carr (1.5 hrs)
How do we pick the right herb for the moment we’re living in, given the limitations of the home apothecary? Climbing out of the trap of “this herb for headaches, that one for cough” allows the Home Herbalist to reach the next level of understanding that can be seen from the corner of your mind’s eye, but is still outside your grasp. Critical thinking allows us to move fluidly within an organizational framework to understand top-down pattern recognition, using Herbal Actions, Specific Indications, & Energetics to choose the most appropriate herb, along with the ability to flex and substitute herbs on hand. Discussion & hands-on practice help us synthesize our pattern recognition skills. We will take this home-focused exploration of patterning even further in Part 2: “Patterns of Problems: Contraindications & Drug Interactions.”
Home Herbalism II: Patterns of Problems: Contraindications & Drug Interactions
Juliet Abigail Carr (1.5 hrs)
Join us to create a map to navigate the labyrinth of herbal contraindications and drug interactions. We will use pattern recognition and critical thinking skills to explore this complex topic, an intimidating frontier for many home herbalists and folk herbalists. Discover which groups of herbs may be problematic when used in certain physical conditions or combined with specific classes of medications. We will also discuss the strength of the evidence and how to look deeper to make appropriately judicious choices; for example, there is an enormous difference between Cotton Root and chamomile in pregnancy, and yet both are contraindicated. How do you know which rules to bend, and which to honor? This class can certainly be taken alone, thuogh its concepts are introduced in detail previously in “Weaving Together the Patterns of Herbs.”
Southern Appalachian Folk Medicine: An Elemental Approach
Phyllis Light (1.5 hrs)
Fire, Water, Air and Earth…..These elements come together in a magical dance of genetics and environment to help create each of our unique and individual traits. What are your elemental influences and what exactly does that mean anyway? Understanding your elemental makeup is useful for a variety of reasons. Knowing your elements can help guide your healthcare choices and be used to improve your health. Knowing your elements can bring awareness of potential relationship issues or which elements or combination of elements might be more compatible with you. Knowing your elements can help bring awareness of why you make the decisions that you make. The wonderful Phyllis Light will lead us on a journey to discover our elemental makeups and how we can use this in our lives. And who knows – we might just take a few minutes to dance the elements!
Heaven & Earth: Astrological Influences in Medicine Making
Phyllis Light (1.5 hrs)
Astrology is an ancient study found throughout most of what we know of human history, and has only recently been suppressed. This is not unlike many of our collective passions as herbalists. In the early days of astronomy, the energetics of planetary influences were perceived at the same time the physical masses in the sky were identified. The practices of astrology and medicine have often gone hand in hand as useful tools that can be used together to make sense of our world and also to find balance within it.
Aside from modern horoscopic divinations, astrology has historically been used as a system of energetics, making it accessible and translatable to the herbalist. In this class we will begin with an overview of Western Astrology as an energetic framework and place the zodiac within their planetary rulers and get a sense of how they might impact our lives and medicines. We will spend time discussing the lunar, solar, planetary, and zodiacal energetics and explore ways to incorporate them into medicine making, including theories of specific plants and their astrological affiliation. We will also explore times and ways of incorporating the desired energetic into your preparations.
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