I received my certification of completion of my 400 hours of Herbalist training in The Bitter Herb Academy yesterday! What a great way to celebrate the last full moon of the year/decade than to see all my hard work coming to fruition. I am now a Certified Herbalist!
My Green Path So Far
I began my journey to becoming a certified herbalist back in 2009. At 20 years old, I was sick, depressed, estranged from some of my family, and a college drop out. With little money and no prospects, I knew I needed a change. The world of plants called to me and offered to be allies in my physical-emotional-spiritual healing.
I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. YouTube was one of my best resources with videos from amazing people like those from Learning Herbs but I lived in the country with dial up so it was limited. I started using “weeds” and trees in our yard and down the lane – dandelion, plantain, honeysuckle, white pine, and poplar. I went to local events, usually held by multi-level marketing groups, that taught some basics of essential oils and similar. Like a sponge, I soaked it all up.
I knew I wanted to take it further, learn more and share it with everyone around me. This led me to looking into certification. The problem was, I was still a broke college drop out. I barely could hold a job and didn’t have the money for an online herbal college or to travel to North Caroline or Alabama (my closest herb schools) for apprenticeship.
So I chose the cheapest school I could find that would let me pay for my course by the lesson. With help from my boyfriend (now husband) and a family member, I bought my first lessons.
Life happened, I had to pick up and put down these lessons a lot over the years. I also got married, moved across the United States a couple times, and I had a kid. This all, of course, delayed my studies in one way or another as well as bolstered my studies as each life change brought me closer to the plants themselves even if I wasn’t learning in a scholarly fashion.
Unfortunately, the school I was going to changed hands just as I was making more money and could go ahead and finish up my course work. In this exchange I was informed that my account would likely be lost and that I would have to essentially start over – including start over my payments. Appalled, I tossed those years of study out the window (or so I thought).
Upset with how I’d been wronged, I looked at the certification world as a sort of enemy. The people offering certifications weren’t certified and I felt like I had been made part of a scheme. I turned away from it all and focused on grassroots herbalism.
Genealogy became a stronger interest and I wanted to know all about the healing methods of my ancestors recent and in the distant past. Appalachian, Irish/Scottish/Welsh, and Norwegian folk medicine, herbs, and remedies became my new scholarly work. Weeds, grocery store herbs, and accessible plants were also a larger part of my life.
I started asking some big questions. Why was herbalism becoming gentrified? It seemed everywhere I looked, the herbalists that were well known or making themselves known were people with money, usually white, and usually charging large sums for aid, remedies, and education. I gotta say, My Mamaw Fannie and my Aunt Venus (both knowledgeable women from the hills of Eastern Kentucky) would have laughed derisively or in disbelief at the very idea of charging $$$ for using weeds and helping people heal.
In the end I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to be the change I wanted to see.
New Green Path Goals
As I tried to figure out what it would mean and how I would make changes, I knew I would again have to look at certification.
As a Polytheist, I prayed and All-Father Odin shared His wisdom through His lore – the story of Odin, Gunnlod, and the Mead of Poetry. Odin worked for a year to obtain a drink of this magical mead. He toiled hard without complaint. When the time came for Him to earn His due, He was screwed over. So He transformed Himself into a snake, wriggled into the mountain, seduced Gunnlod, drank all the mead, and shared it with the Aesir and with some humans of Midgard (His children).
I couldn’t give up because I was screwed over. I would have to play by their game as far as I could, then I would have to do what needed to be done (lessons in shape-shifting and charisma would also be needed for that part). Odin has taught me to do what needs to be done to get what I want.
So I looked at what I would need to do. My thought process came down to – I want to open a school to make herbal education and healing accessible. The best way to do that is to develop credibility. The best way to do that right now seems to be becoming a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild. To join, the easiest way seems to be to get a certification from one of the schools they list on their site.
I went through their schools, seeing how much they charge and what programs they offer. I needed something Online and within my limited budget. This is how I found The Bitter Herb Academy.
Coming to a Milestone: a Certified Herbalist
This week, I finished this leg of my journey and became a Certified Herbalist through The Bitter Herb Academy. It didn’t pass my notice that I received my certification on the last full moon of the decade. A decade of focus coming to fruition on this full moon certainly is magical. I am truly grateful.
This is certainly not the end of my Green Path, only a milestone.
Next, I work on the other pieces needed to become a member of the American Herbalist Guild. This means 200 clinical hours – I need clients for herbal consultations – as well as a developed materia medica, networking with other types of healers, and more.
If you are interested in becoming a client, I am offering herbalist consultations on a donation or barter basis. The consultations are online via video conference, call, or email depending on your needs/preferences.
I am also sharing my materia medica development on Patreon with a monthly herb. I also share homeschooling info on there including how I teach my son about plants (he’s 4 and can already identify wild onion, chickweed, poke, deadnettle, plantain, pine, beech, oak, and maple.) All money goes towards developing new resources here on the site.
I am so excited to share my journey with you all and bring you with me as I keep traveling down this green path towards my goals. Thank you for joining me.