Dear Wise Woman,
Thank you for inquiring about apprenticing with me. As my apprentice
you will reclaim your power, your beauty, your strength, and your ability
to use the gifts of the earth.
I am an intense and fiery teacher and living with me is not always
Apprentices who complete a thirteen week shamanic herbal apprenticeship
are eligible to apply for internship.
What Will You Learn?
Each apprentice draws to herself the specific teachings she needs while
living here. An hour-by-hour curriculum is sent to apprentices upon
A live-in apprenticeship gives you an opportunity to learn:
* How to identify and use plants for medicine, food, seasoning, and
* How to prepare herbal medicines simply and safely in your own home
* How to grow and wildcraft hundreds of herbs
* How to keep yourself healthy, and how to deal with a variety of problems
* How to use herbs to heal animals and plants
* The wisdom of the talking stick and the moon lodge
* How to nourish yourself optimally with wild and organic foods
* How to make cheese and yogurt -- and how to herd goats
* How to understand and use botany and botanical nomenclature
* How the Wise Woman tradition differs from the Heroic and Scientific
* The secrets of the Medicine Wheel of Plant Uses
* How to hear plants talking; how to find your green ally
* How to communicate with devas and fairies and Goddess archetypes
* What part death plays in healing; Living anatomy
* How to use the Six Steps of Healing
* How to live in truth and beauty
Starting Dates and Fees for 2017
Wise Woman Apprentices* pay $1300 for seven weekends, April 21 thru November 12, 2017
Green Goddess Week Apprentices* pay $1300 for one live-in week.
Herbal Apprentices begin any Tuesday, April through Oct. The cost
of $1100 for the first two weeks, plus $550 per week for further weeks,
includes food and housing.
Herbal Apprentices The fee includes everything: six weeks is $3300;
eight is weeks $4400; ten weeks is $5500; thirteen- weeks is $6600. Work-exchange credits generate refunds for Shamanic Herbal Apprentices.
April 11: Shamanic Herbal Apprenticeship, Spring Group begins
May 16: Shamanic Herbal Apprenticeship, Early Summer Group begins
June 20: Shamanic Herbal Apprenticeship, Mid-Summer Group begins
August 29: Shamanic Herbal Apprenticeship, Late-Summer Group begins
Sept 19: Shamanic Herbal Apprenticeship, Autumn Group begins
Simple and shamanic apprentices arrive Monday evening and begin at 10
am Tuesday. Live-in apprentices take part in Susun's classes, workshops
with visiting teachers, field trips, talking stick ceremony, and our
weekly yoga practice.
Shamanic herbal apprentices enjoy these extra benefits:
ceremony and gift
with Susun (one when you start, one when you leave)
Herbal First Aid Kit
for making your own tinctures, oils, etc.
on any books you wish to purchase
Tai chi and
self-defense training Group therapy sessions
including Witches, Nurses, Midwives
initiation as a green witch
when you return to the "real world"
retreat days at the Wise Woman Center every year
Unsure about committing? Check it out! Interact with me at home: come
to classes, do a work- exchange weekend, take an intensive, become a live-out
apprentice. Consult your dreams.
herbal and herbal apprentices receive a graduation certificate
Lodging for All Apprentices
Please alert friends and family that your special apprentice address
and phone number are: PO Box 64, Woodstock, NY 12498; phone:
845-247-0842. Your lodging choices are:
Camping heightens your experience; there is no greater healer than a
night spent outdoors. Bring your own tent or stay in our magical tipi
(fires allowed). (Fires not allowed at camp sites.)
The Nettles Patch is a pleasant duplex house located at the front of
the farm. The "farside" houses our yoga studio and a bedroom/bath
used by the intern and visiting teachers. The "nearside" houses
apprentices with one bathroom, one small bedroom, and two very large
bedrooms. Shamanic herbal apprentices have first choice of space at
the Nettles Patch.
The Studio is a separate building. When weather prevents outdoor classes,
the lower floor is our classroom. It provides indoor space for short-stay
herbal apprentices, and in poor weather, for those camping out. Overnight
workshop guests may stay in the studio. No bath; porta-pot nearby.
Note: Laughing Rock Farm is civilized (we do have running hot water)
but not modern. The septic systems are small; apprentices (and intern)
are asked to have only 1-2 showers per week.
The Main House contains kitchen, Susun's bedroom, Green Witch and Goddess
Library, Moon Room (and Red Moon Library), Amused Muses Musing Museum,
Herbal Pharmacy, and the Herbal References Library. Apprentices use
the main house anytime between 9am and 11pm.
Food for All Apprentices
Our fare is simple and spectacularly delicious. We grind our own flour,
make goats' milk yogurt and cheese, participate in an organic CSA, buy
staples from an organic co-op, trade with local farmers, and enjoy the
bounties of forest and garden. Let me know about special dietary needs.
All Shamanic Herbal Apprentices and all apprentices, and
some Wise Woman Apprentices, Simple Herbal, and Green Goddess Apprentices
can offset their fees by doing work while here.
The work-exchange program is arduous, but never involves missing class
Work-exchange positions fill rapidly for the Wise Woman
and Green Goddess Apprenticeships. Please ask for application guidelines.
How to Pay
Apprentice fees must be paid for in full thirty days before you begin
(payment plan for Wise Woman Apprentices available). All apprentice
fees are non-refundable but may be used at any time.
Please apply by mail. Payment may be made by check, money order, or
Or Register online
Refunds of Apprentice Payments
Due to the nature of the commitment required of apprentices, no refunds
are offered. You may transfer your apprentice fees to another starting
date, after two years you must re-apply with a new application fee.
Unsure about committing? Check it out! Interact with me at home: come
to classes, do a work-exchange weekend, take an intensive, become a
live-out apprentice. Consult your dreams. The universe and I take your
commitment seriously and we trust you do too.
Men - There is always a sense of women-centeredness
here, even when men join us. My consort, Michael, is frequently here;
he teaches our weekly yoga class and helps in many ways at Laughing
Rock Farm. Gordon Cook assists me with the shamanic/herbal apprentices,
teaching Tai Chi and body/mind awareness. Men may attend one-day workshops
and work-exchange weekends. Long workshops and moonlodges are women-only.
Work - Maintaining Laughing Rock Farm and tending to
the students, plants, and animals that live and visit here requires
a lot of heavy physical work, fierce attention, and stamina. It may
be challenging to you in unexpected ways and may bring up strong emotions.
We arrange it so those doing work exchange don't miss class time. A
50% work exchange means about 6+ hours of work a day; and shamanic herbal
apprentices will be at work or at class 12-16 hours some days. A 33%
work exchange is 25 hours a week, or 4 hours a day.
Never fear! Yoga, herbal remedies, and group energy miraculously carry
us through long shifts and late nights, and the attention required will
enhance and complement your studies.
Truth - Your apprenticeship places you in a circle
of beings committed to nourishing truth and beauty and following their
bliss. Co-dependent behaviors, which are condoned and solicited in the
"real world" don't work here. We gather every day for a talking
stick council where you are invited to express your concerns, gripes,
revelations, needs, fears, resentments, visions, dreams, and joys.
Change - Shamanic herbal apprentices engage their muscles,
their psyches, and their deepest Selves. With Susun's help, they melt
themselves down so they may engage greater truth and deeper wisdom.
But melting and changing is not always comfortable or graceful, from
the inside or the outside. Both shamanic herbal and simple herbal apprentices
will encounter intense emotions. These experiences are an important
part of your apprenticeship in the Wise Woman Tradition.
Still want to apprentice?
Wise Woman Live-Out Apprentices - To register: Please send a letter including the date, your name, address, phone number, email, occupation, and date of birth. List educational experiences, work positions, and passions relating to herbs and healing. Tell me what you hope to gain from your apprenticeship. Include a deposit of $100 (applicable to fees). You must do this even if you are applying for work-exchange positions. When I approve your application, I'll send you a letter of acceptance, including travel directions, and list of things to bring
Goddess Apprentice Week - To register: Please apply by mail or online. Include your name, age, address, phone number, e-mail address (optional) , and a $100 non-refundable application fee. Also, tell me why you want to apprentice with a fierce teacher who may yell at you, and what your goals are for our time together.
Herbal and Shamanic Herbal Apprentices: Send me your name, age,
address, phone number, choice of starting date and length of apprenticeship.
Write me a letter or draw me a picture of your vision of yourself as
my apprentice. Enclose a non-refundable application fee of $100 (not
applicable to fees). When I approve your application, I'll send you
an apprentice kit:
A letter of acceptance, including travel directions, and list of things
autographed copy of each of my four books:
Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year,
Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way, and
Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way
City Herbal by Maida Silverman; Common Herbs by Juliette
copy of LunaYoga
and a lunar phases calendar
A collection of Wise Woman Center Gazettes
The curriculum for your apprentice time
A copy of Petersen's
Field Guide to Eastern Wildflowers
Hints and helps for apprentices
Work exchange/barter suggestions
Apprentices Learn" by Chava (class of '92)
Center PO Box 64 Woodstock NY 12498 phone/fax: 1-845-246-8081
Thank you for visiting:
Before you decide to apply for apprentice time, here
are a few more words to consider.
A live-in apprenticeship may be one of the most challenging things
you have ever done. It may turn you upside down, shake your tree and
release seeds that will take root, and continue to grow, flower, and
nourish you for the rest of your life.
"You are one of the few women in my life that I consider a way
shower -- an example of my life-long quest -- learning to love myself.
. . . Celebrate with me! I stood up for myself with the fierceness that
I would use to protect my children -- without guilt." Barbara
from a letter dated October 2002 (Barbara apprenticed in 1992 for two
Simple herbal apprentices aren't called upon to work as deeply
as the shamanic apprentices do.
"The days I spent apprenticing are unforgettable. Memories, daily
tasks, objects, songs -- so many things remind me of those few weeks.
Thanks for every word, thought, and hand you shared with me. And thanks
to all the sisters I met during my stay. I think often of you and the
generous energy that surrounds your house." Suzanne
from a letter dated January 2000 (Suzanne apprenticed in 1999 for 4
It is not for nothing that I claim stinging nettle as my primary
ally. Like her, I am deeply nourishing, but will sting if not treated
with respect. I speak the truth -- understanding the truth can seem
harsh or unkind -- with deep love for your wholeness and health.
"Exposure to the sun can burn my skin and hurt something wicked
if I am unconscious and impatient and proud. But the sun's warmth and
light nourishes me and fills me with energy and a clear vision of my
path when I am conscious and respect Her boundaries. The sun's power
is unquestionable, undeniable, and yet sort of invisible, important
as breath. I will never forget to keep the 'sun' in Susun. Thank you
for the exposure!" Abbi
from a letter dated November 2002 (Abbi apprenticed in 2002 for 13 weeks)
"I had a big brouhaha with my mom. Instead of rushing in to fill
up her empty spaces of inadequacy, I remained strong in my burdock rootedness.
I listened to her but did not make any move to rescue her from her feelings
of self-loathing. I stayed with her and touched her to tell her I love
her. Then I went out to my car and screamed bloody murder. I ran away
from home like I always wanted to and got to a very real place with
myself. And I was able to return to my mother with peace, love, gratitude,
understanding, and my own true voice. Thank you for teaching me to teach
myself the art of being present, of becoming alive and wild in and with
my fear." Emily
from a letter dated August 1998 (Emily apprenticed in 1997 for 33 weeks)
"Enlightenment comes not from imagining figures of light, but
in making your own darkness conscious."
"Thank you for showing me my fear." Parnee, from a letter
dated September 2001
(Parnee apprenticed in 1999 for 7 weeks and interned in 2000 for three
As an shamanic herbal apprentice you will engage your dark side
as well as your Goddess archetype, use scientific botanical names as
well as commune with the devas, and be actively engaged in learning
and working for ten or more hours per day in a community with strict
rules and high expectations.
"I would like to apologize for up and leaving you in a lurch and
everything. I've thought many times since then about how I still hadn't
learned the lessons you were teaching during my apprenticeship about
expressing feelings, daring to be angry, or being bold and expressive.
I now know that my wholeness, wisdom , and freedom can never be separated
from those parts of me. I was forever changed -- for the good, into
my depths -- by my apprenticeship. And my time with you and at the farm
continues to be a touchstone and reference point in my evolution."
from a letter dated August 2001 (Michele apprenticed in 1995 for 6 weeks)
After completing your live-in apprenticeship, you will be ready
to take on any quest, any adventure, any life path, any thing you want
-- with joy and skill.
"[After leaving you, I've become] like a culture. I go around touching
things, changing things, giving them my flavor, consuming them and dying
in them. Exhaling and creating more of myself. Forming valuable nourishment.
Treating my environment as ecosystem. Proliferating the Wise Woman culture.
More and more, I center in my womb. I show up." Gaia/Helen
from an email dated September 2002 (Gaia/Helen apprenticed in 2000 for
"Words merely scratch the surface in expressing the depths of
my gratitude. I am touched and seen truly. I embrace the changes I made
here: I am awake, alive, walking in beauty and sacredness, in my power.
I have had spirit-gifted dreams on the mesa; passed through trance gates
into worlds within and without; stood silent at altars built by women
who walked their path on this land; walked in partnership with goats
to the point that they are now dear friends; heard the plants speak
to me; swum in the cold waters of the river; and stepped into my own
And with so many emotions: wailing, raging, laughing deep from my belly.
How precious it is to find a place where my whole being feels at home
and pulses intensely with life and vitality.
I deeply honor your insistence to honor life and death, playfulness
and shadows, the entire reality of life. And the energy you give to
stand in this truth! Susun, you are a voice from the wild calling us
home to ourselves with power, enthusiasm, laughter, and presence."
Kris ~ from a letter dated July 2000 (Kris apprenticed in 2000 for 8
"After I left Laughing Rock Farm, I felt your presence greatly
in my life. At first you spoke to me through the plants, and now you
speak to me in my dreams. My work with women has taken on a whole new
dimension. The Wise Woman tradition has enabled me to see and understand
many things in a different way." Greenheart ~ from a letter dated
May 1997 (Greenheart apprenticed in 1996 for four weeks)
"When I look back at photos of myself from before, during, and
after my apprenticeship with Susun, it's startling to see that the transformation
was so deep that it clearly radiated out into my physical form. I became
so grounded, and I came so fully into my womanhood and my body during
those nine months. My life was changed profoundly by all Susun had to
offer, about the plants, the Goddess, sexuality, communication.
As an apprentice, it is hard to be present with Susun's dark side,
but that became one of the greatest gifts for me: Susun is willing to
be fully who she is, and to take responsibility for her feelings, and
to speak her truth, which gives those around her permission to do the
same. She has reclaimed a dark side of womanhood that is our source
of power: the wild, emotional Kali. For those who are ready to receive
those teachings, the gifts are invaluable, personally and for the planet."
Corinna Wood, Red Moon Herbs from a letter dated May 2003 (Corinna apprenticed
in 1993 for nine months)