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Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal) Paperback – April 11, 2003
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
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The Wise Woman tradition is the way of nourishment and sustenance, rather than of "fixing" and "curing." With that in mind, Susun Weed introduces us to seven herbs and encourages us to get to know these Green Allies by spending time with them. Food and medicine recipes are given for each herb, as well as fun facts and literary references. Susun also includes detailed instructions for making herbal preparations such as infusions, tinctures, oils and poultices. Her knowledge of herbs is quite evident, as is her commitment to the Wise Woman way of life. Even though only seven herbs are presented here, I felt like I gained more usable information from Healing Wise than I have from any of the encyclopedic herbals I own. -- From The WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women; review by FGP
About the Author
Susun S. Weed is the voice of the Wise Woman tradition, where healing is nourishing. She is known internationally as an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and health. For more than thirty years she has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations, restoring herbs as women's common medicine, and empowering women to care for themselves.
Susun is founder of the Wise Woman Center, editor-in-chief of Ash Tree Publishing, a high priestess of Dianic Wicca, a member of the Sisterhood of the Shields, a Peace Elder, and happy herder of her dairy goats.
Her four books: Healing Wise; New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way;Breast Cancer? Breast Health! the Wise Woman Way; Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year; and Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way are used by more than a million women throughout the world. She writes a regular herbal column for SageWoman Magazine and hosts the Wise Woman website and forum atwww.susunweed.com created by her amazing daughter Justine.
Susun continues to train apprentices, initiate green witches, work with her correspondence course students, and write books.
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She defines the Wise Woman Tradition which she states is the oldest tradition of healing on the planet, but rarely talked or written about. The unique traits of woman are central to this tradition and are accessible within male or female forms. The emphasis is nourishment not fixing or balancing, in which problems are doorways to transformation. The key nourishers are mothers, particularly mothers of color, the most invisible in our society, all things of power she states are "invisible" (pg. 10). All health from wholeness begins with "the power of the void" (pg. 12). Embracing the void, allowing the fall into emptiness, chaos, death, the crone, and then the Virgin from which life springs. There are no diseases in this tradition, as these names separate us from the wholeness of ourselves, which is health and disease. We look instead at health problems as allies, as lost parts being revealed, as needing nourishment, (pg 29-31).
She was so blessed to create a wonderful formula from which we can think about treatung illness and injury. Her healing paths as outline reference the first path being silence and to first do no harm and wait and work energetics and gently before exploring drugs, supplements or surgeries. Amazing book and teacher who changed my life, and who I constantly wish to emulate.
Firstly, Susun's style might not be for everybody. The bulk of her book features the voices of seven beneficial plants--and yes, dandelion does have a French accent typical of Pepe Le Pew. In addition, Weed also does not spare her opinion regarding what she calls "scientific" and "heroic" perspectives on healing. Nonetheless what she does say, she says well and unfortunate in its reality, mimics my own feelings about such things. I actually found myself nodding in successive agreement to her description of "alternative" medicine--this, of course, thought to be progressive in its very nomenclature as "alternative" and was quite pleased to "spiral" out with her words to a newer understanding and consolidation of my own opinions. For that, I thank, Susun Weed greatly. I cannot say that her definition of "Wise Woman" healing is not cloaked in a bit of ambiguity, but like the spiral she speaks of, it is multidimensional in its nature and must be considered as such. I will be reading this portion of the book over for greater insight. Words mean different things to different people and they must be met at that place where minds meet. Why not integrate what we know to discover more? Why battle ideologies when the goal is the same?
That being said, the sections on each of the seven herbs include information that appeals to all three of the disciplines Weed mentions. I wish she included Linden leaf and flowers, and a few other trees like Willow, Cherry, Oak and Slippery Elm. I also wonder if Oatstraw contains gluten and if this would be problematic. I wish her illustrations were more botanical or included actual photographs so that I might wild-harvest too. I totally agree with her that it is unnecessary to purchase super expensive items from out of the way places where cost seems to determine value. Why not use what our ancestors used to nourish the whole?
Her herbal pharmacy section includes information on how to prepare a variety of medicines. I wish Susun included her daily intake of such things.
Bottom line? If you like Susun Weed's perspective and appreciate her body of work, you will enjoy "Healing Wise." If you are not into her philosophy you may not like the first part of the book--but read it anyway as it offers some pretty "wise" remarks about the industry of medicine in general that are worth pondering. She features seven herbs and includes medicine information, kitchen recipes and first aid info for each one. Wish there were more plants included. Recommended.
Diana Faillace Von Behren