This growing season (April – October) I apprenticed with herbalist and “spokesperson for the plants” Pam Montgomery. I’m so very ready to sing the praises of my teacher and what I’ve learned about our plant allies. It has changed my life for the better.
Pam’s approach draws from shamanic wisdom (though she’s quick to point out that she is not a shaman). She has developed a method of accessing the energy and spirit of plants for personal and universal healing. It’s about forming a personal relationship with plants. Then if used therapeutically, the healer channels the plant energy that performs the healing.
Pam is author of two books, Plant Spirit Healing and Partner Earth; a spiritual ecology. She teaches from her lovely (and energetically supercharged) farm Partner Earth Education Center at Sweetwater Sanctuary. If plant energy and spirit are of interest, check her out!
I have noticed in my reading of thinkers in the shamanic tradition that our internal dialogue, and getting your internal house in order is a prerequisite for this work. For me this may be the most powerful part of the apprenticeship – to take that work in myself to the next level of alignment with my aspirational self. Retire the snarky me? Well, hold the phone just a minute – fun and laughter are essential, but this work reminds me again to keep it good clean fun. It heightens my awareness of when my jokiness is not in service to the higher good, and also to practice calling others on jokes or comments that are at another’s expense (that’s a challenging skill for me to get right without injuring the one doing the teasing).
I honor Pam as a thinker and writer, teacher and conscious activist. In the world of integrative and aspiration teaching I notice two general types. One I call the guru model, where the teacher is wonderfully gifted but the student cannot exceed the teacher without triggering negative emotions from the teacher. There is an accusatory vibe even when primary sources are properly attributed and the teacher is honored – basically there is room for one star and it ain’t the student. You can probably sense this model doesn’t work for me, and I stay away from teachers who operate in the guru model. Give me the academic model any day! Where the job of the teacher is to help the student reach their full potential – to get bigger than the teacher is actually the point! Sure, it’s great when a student honors the teacher from whom they first heard an exciting new idea. But as Pam says “it’s about the plants”.  I love and appreciate her generosity of spirit and a teaching philosophy that honors the universal laws of energy. Ideas and new information wants to expand, and if it is held, and if people are held with respect, the whole things just expands and expands.
I’ll report more on my experience with the Plant Spirit Healing modality –  this winter, I continue to do practice sessions and some group work – it is amazing work. But it’s just right to begin by praising my teacher.