This blog post is all about The Collaborative; what it is, how it came to be, how it is evolving, what I have learned through offering it, who I have had the pleasure of collaborating with and what’s in store for our upcoming 6 month course. Also, I’m very excited to share a special announcement and opportunity with you which you will see at the end of the post!
I chose this image to represent The Herbalist’s Collaborative. I like to imagine that these three women are throwing their flower crowns in the air in celebration of their graduation from their herbal studies. They are about to embark on their career path as herbalists and The Herbalist’s Collaborative is the ideal setting for them to hone their skills and connect with a network of professionals.
As far as I know, The Herbalist's Collaborative is the only one of its kind. The course is unique in that it is live rather than pre-recorded which offers the convenience of online learning as well as the accountability and connection of a live format. I know far too well how challenging it can be to stay motivated as a student of an online course.
Community is the heart of the Collaborative and the relationships formed are what set it apart from other herbal courses. It was created to provide an empowering and supportive space where herbalist's can gather to create lasting relationships, both personal and professional. We are a collective of healers, with different backgrounds and specialties, who gather weekly for six months to deepen our knowledge of plants through the study of herbal energetics and plant journeying meditations. It is a structured, peer-supported environment where we develop our herbal practitioner skills by practicing herbal consultations, reviewing case studies and studying materia medica. The Herbalist’s Collaborative bridges the gap between a student's herbal studies and their career as a skilled community herbalist. It is a space where we get to support and celebrate one another’s growth and accomplishments.
The Herbalist’s Collaborative was inspired by my own needs as both a budding herbalist and a human being. I believe that meaningful connection with nature and community is foundational for spiritual, emotional & physical wellbeing. With this in mind, I created The Herbalist’s Collaborative to attract a healing community and to encourage my own connection with nature through herbalism, which is a great source of spiritual nourishment for me. I imagined that like myself, there had to be plenty of other herbalists who were in need of support as they figured out how to introduce their offerings to the world. The three things that I needed most were a deeper more intimate connection with plants, practice doing herbal consultations and a sense of belonging to a healing community.
My goal is to understand plants through my own relationship with them. Studying and memorizing literature is simply not effective for me. Sajah Popham says it beautifully in this quote "The true herbalist is not just trained by others who heeded the same calling but is instructed by the wisdom of the natural world, a student of the plants themselves.” Deepening our relationship with plants takes time and devotion which is why we dedicate an entire month to focusing on one plant, so that we can get to know it in as many ways as possible.
In The Herbalist’s Collaborative, we practice our herbal consultations with the intention of getting clear on the kind of experience we want to offer our clients. We also do monthly case studies where we craft herbal protocols from an herbal energetic perspective. I found myself feeling uncomfortable with some of the consultation training that I had received. It resulted in a very clinical feel to my practice which, I was realizing, does not align with my values. What I wanted was to create a safe environment where people get to share their life stories and discover strength, meaning and purpose from them. I wanted a more intuitive, conversational approach that focuses on empowerment and education. I want my clients to
know that they have the power to heal
themselves. I want them to trust the wisdom of their minds and bodies, to own their stories, know their worth, claim their place in the communities that they belong to and connect with nature as a source of spiritual fulfillment and wellness. The Herbalist's Collaborative has provided me with the opportunity to refine and practice my skills and offerings in an inspiring and supportive environment.
I want to take a moment to introduce you to the incredible women that I have the honor of working with in The Collaborative. I am beyond grateful to be able to call these women my friends and for their ongoing encouragement and inspiration.
Tamar Helfen is an incredibly intuitive and
knowledgeable herbalist. She is an educator, gardener, medicine maker and offers herbal consultations. She is an absolute Super Momma and devoted community member. It has been a pleasure watching her business, Tamar's Garden, take root and begin to blossom into her own authentic expression and offering. She brings depth, creativity and spirituality to our group that is so enriching and appreciated.
Bee Andrews is a Historian of medicine and has a truly impressive background that continues to reveal itself as we spend time together. She is a visionary and brings so much inspiration and enthusiasm to the group. She is working on launching Boston Herbs, an apothecary specializing in herbal support and community for cancer patients and survivors as well as herbal consultations and education. Bee has enlisted the group to organize a herbal conference in 2024 which we are excitedly and currently collaborating on.
Jenn Demers is a herbal teacher and medicine maker who has 25 years of experience in marketing. It has been such a joy to watch her skills as a marketing manager merge with the needs of our herbal community. She has an Etsy shop called My Magical Muse where she makes small batch herbal products made with so much love and is in the process of rebranding and refining her offerings. She also is an exceptional public speaker. Jenn brings a strong intuitive and spiritual connection with the plants and her business skills have helped all of us in one way or another.
Jo-Anna Casino is an old friend and fellow herbalist who has just celebrated the opening of her brick and mortar apothecary called Botanic Providence. It has a fully functioning lab and a wide inventory of bulk herbs as wells as teas, tinctures and extracts. She offers herbal consultations, formulates and crafts plant-based skincare, haircare and teas. She grows her own herbs organically and sustainably, too! I am ever in awe of her boundless energy as she also runs an organic hair salon, sings in a band and still finds time to study, travel, etc!
As you can imagine, having this group of healers as members of my community has had a truly enriching impact on my life. I am thrilled that they are all returning for another six month course of The Herbalist’s Collaborative and that we are collaborating on projects beyond what I would have ever imagined including Gather, A Northeastern Herbal Conference, coming to Boston in June of 2024.
Our group is ever evolving. What started off as a monthly meeting, is now weekly. Last year Jenn lead our Strategic Marketing Forum where we learned about branding and marketing, while developing strategies for our businesses and exploring what makes our individual offerings authentic and unique. We realized that we all needed support and accountability around the execution of said strategies so, moving forward we will meet monthly for our Business Development Work Space.
If there is anything I have learned it is to surrender to the flow and needs of the group. I am forever reassessing and realigning our plans with the mission and intention of Healer's Harvest and The Herbalist's Collaborative. I am so humbled to witness what can be accomplished when we come together in community with intention. When we pool our skills and resources, the sky is the limit.
One of the most profound ways that we are evolving is that we are now hosting renowned guest teachers. This year at The International Herb Symposium, I was introduced to Kat Maier, author of Energetic Herbalism and founder of Sacred Plant Traditions, a center for herbal studies in Charlottesville, Virginia. Kat has over 30 years of clinical experience, has trained many clinical herbalists and is a founding member of Botanica Mobile Clinic, a nonprofit dedicated to providing accessible herbal medicine to local communities. When I sat in on Kats class at IHS, I was filled with a resounding “YES!” in response to her teachings. I knew then and there that I wanted to learn from her. I asked her if she was willing and available to mentor me and she agreed. Since then I have invited her to join The Herbalist’s Collaborative as a teacher and I am beyond honored and excited to announce that Kat will be leading our Case Studies for our next six month course. She will walk us through creating SOAP notes and providing an energetics based herbal consultation. I can’t imagine partnering up with a more aligned teacher and I am so excited to welcome Kat to The Herbalist’s Collaborative.
Now is the most exciting time to join The Collaborative and if you join in the month of September you can save 20% with coupon code SAVE20 which is an absolute deal for what you will receive from this membership. We hope you will join us on our plant paths in this ever evolving and supportive community.