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If you (or someone you know) ever taken an herbal workshop by Susun Weed, was she nice? : Herbs


If you (or someone you know) ever taken an herbal workshop by Susun Weed, was she nice?



Re: If you (or someone you know) ever taken an herbal worksh

Postby Greeb respect » September 24th, 2013, 5:25 am

Is Susun Weed rude and angry? Ummm... yeah. Calling her rude and angry is like calling Charles Manson a bad guy. She is abusive, nasty and disrespectful in the extreme. My advice would be to stay away.

I took a workshop with her and I would never go back under any circumstances. I will share my experiences with you below. Before I do, I would suggest you look long and hard at the "positive" reviews you see online. At the workshop that I attended, there were at least five "live outs" and apprentices, people who go back again and again for Susun's abuse. Although they all seemed very sweet and well-intentioned, they had the emptiest eyes and just sort of cowered while she screamed at them and belittled them, making excuses for all her clearly unhinged and nasty behavior. Honestly, the image I got was of cult members too brainwashed and afraid to stick up for themselves. I felt really sorry for them. One even mentioned that she felt "damaged" and that she felt that Susun was "harsh" but was "what she needed to improve." Just really sad. So just be sure you know where the positive review comes from.

As for me, I live out in the real world where people are expected to treat one another with respect and courtesy. I never really raise my voice. When something makes me angry, I state my side of things and look for the understanding and middle ground in the situation. I don't blow up small things like parking spots into massive dramas. But I was in for a view into a much darker, weirder world while I was at the "Wise Woman Center," an almost pathetically comical name for the ramshackle collection of dirty structures barely standing on a piece of land in Saugerties, New York. Drive up the gravel drive (where only one car can either make it up or down, but not both at the same time) and first spot a goat barn with a bunch of sad-looking rabbits behind wire. (The goats are running around and crapping on the sheep sorrel you will later be asked to pick for lunch). The itty-bitty barn itself looks like it's held up by some miracle, it is just a bunch of creaky boards. I half expected a camera crew for "Hoarders" to pop up and start filming the place. There was an ancient, rusted pick-up truck with all manner of garbage piled around it, including a toilet, pallets and other debris. A little closer is the "sacred circle" where you'll be greeted by two creepy goat skulls (complete with horns). But first you have to navigate the parking situation, which involves your esteemed seminar leader screaming at people to move their cars a foot to the left. If you're one of the (not) lucky ones like me, you will get blocked in. And lord help you if you decide you want to get out.

Once I got out of my car, I was admonished to "stay on the path." Do you think there are signs on the path? Stepping stones to guide the way? Oh, silly city dweller! There are only insults to tell you you've gone the wrong way. Guess wrong and you'll be treated to more of the put-downs from the seminar leader. That will be your welcome.

When we finally made it to the "sacred circle" and its collection of half-falling apart wooden benches that were sodden with the previous night's rain, we were mocked for not wanting to sit down on the wet wood. She halfheartedly gave us plastic bags to sit on (oh, the five star treatment!) and randomly started singing about a linden tree. I did not expect Tony Robbins polish from this wild-haired lady with the crazy eyes, so I went with it. It reminded me a little of Catholic Church, actually, while the others joined in on her linden tree song and I was berated for not singing along to a song I had never heard before. Oh, what, you thought singing was something you do out of joy? Voluntarily? Silly again! Singing at the Wise Woman Center is a coercive and hostile activity. At one point she looked right at me and said, "I will not teach until EVERYBODY is singing." Never a big singer, I pulled my old Catholic school trick of moving my lips and not making any noise. Eventually she stopped.

The talking stick ceremony (in which she passed around a greasy bone - yuck) devolved into abuse of a few of her "live-outs" when one woman dared to say she boiled linden leaves three times instead of twice. The screaming that ensued after that one! "Are you trying to get over on me?!?" Susun shouted at the top of her longs. The woman shyly looked at the floor and tried to explain. Susun screamed louder. Oh, and the poor first-timer who dared to speak when she didn't have the "talking stick/greasy bone" got the screaming abuse of her life, although Susun herself had just interrupted without having the "talking bone" herself. It was awkward and unnecessary and just a cartoonishly horrible way of greeting seminar attendees, many of whom were there at her "center" for the first time.

The instructions: wanna pee? Go out in the woods. Or there are two horrendously awful-smelling porta potties that smelled like they hadn't been cleaned since the Reagan administration. But after micromanaging every bit of logistical detail, when one woman asked for permission to go to the bathroom, Susun started screaming, "Am I your mother? Do I tell you when to pee?"

We went for a walk in the woods that involved Susun telling us nasty stories about previous participants. She pointed out the "gate of Hekate" where you could go to the right or the left but not straight ahead because that's where the fairies lived. She took us past the "gate of righteousness" where only the pure of heart could pass. (Apparently that made it tough for a news crew that once went through those parts). Later, up on some flat rocks, she told the story of a woman who committed the grievous sin of stepping on a little patch of moss shaped in a V (which, for the life of me, I couldn't make out as a V). "Where is it?" one of the other attendees asked, terrified of committing the same crime.

"Can't you feel its energy?!?" Susun screamed, all angry. Ummm... yeah, we're talking that level of loony.

The unnecessary nastiness is just too much to catalog. While there were interesting moments, and while it seems that her knowledge of plants is extensive, there are many other wonderful and reliable sources from which you can get your information without sacrificing your dignity. It's just unnecessary to put yourself through a day with this woman.

I am no mental health expert, so far be it from me to diagnose what is wrong with this sad person. Obviously she's got some control issues if she needs to create such massive conflicts over where people park and how often they boil their linden leaves. I would guess there is something more serious going on, but again, that would be between her and her doctor. I will say that many of the people there exhibited what Cult Education would term as warning signs that people are involved with a potentially unsafe group/leader, like # 9, "Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful." and "Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior." It was troubling and pitiful.

So, in sum, I would never go back there. I would warn anyone considering going there to stay on their path of spiritual and herbal seeking but not subject themselves to any harm or abuse. It's made for a great story that has made my friends giggle, but it was a disturbing glimpse into just how much emotional harm people can come to in seeking the truth. As always, take care of yourself and seek out situations that uplift and nourish you. If you ask me, stay away from this crazy place.
Greeb respect
 

Re: If you (or someone you know) ever taken an herbal worksh

Postby Sheela Na Gig » May 20th, 2014, 2:42 am

I have to agree with the last post 100%. Susun Weed is a monster. The women who return to her again and again must have self worth issues.
Sheela Na Gig
 

Re: If you (or someone you know) ever taken an herbal worksh

Postby Lisa Nori » January 29th, 2015, 11:52 pm

Read this the post here

http://www.herbshealing.com/anger.htm The post is used to justify anger and rudeness. I find it hysterical that the post justifies the rudeness and anger by spinning it as "fierceness" instead of the condescending attitude that it is.
She's for people who have no self-esteem. No self-respecting person would take this. There's a difference between being firm and being a jerk.

Here's an excerpt from the post:
Recently a student, in tears, shared some horrifying childhood experiences. Despite being in therapy for five years, she had not been able to trust her therapist enough to tell her what had happened to her as a child. She confided: "Susun's yelling reassured me. She is honest and forthright. This allowed me to share what I have been too ashamed to speak of anywhere else."

'Susun's yelling reassured me'?
Too much.
Lisa Nori
 

Re: If you (or someone you know) ever taken an herbal worksh

Postby screamingtree » June 7th, 2016, 3:47 am

In June of 2016 I attended a Susun Weed workshop. If you were unfortunate enough to ask a question, or to ask for clarification on something, she was very rude. These were polite, paying attendees that she was rude to, and she turned the good energy in the room into very negative energy. She acted like a bully who elevates herself by tearing others down for no reason. She had a girl from another class in tears, and left attendees with a bad feeling about the class. Susun also contradicts herself continually, and thinks she already knows everything, so I cannot use any of her teachings for any type of resource. Good teachers should stop aligning themselves with her. I too will never pass another dime her way. Why should anyone pay money to be demeaned, and still not learn much of anything useful?
screamingtree
 

Re: If you (or someone you know) ever taken an herbal worksh

Postby Youngandwiserwoman » July 18th, 2016, 11:26 am

I attended one of her volunteer exchange weekends. Could only put up with less than one day. My assignment on the first day was to "clean the porch." The porch was a trash laden closed in shed on the back of her house. After straightening the half filled dead plant pots on the shelves, including tossing the dead things out, I started on the floor. I found some unused garbage bags and began to shovel, yes, shovel the crap on the floor into them. At that point, she came into the shed and fell into a violent rage, screaming and yelling about how the floor isn't the porch and I was a cretin to treat her beloved greens, i.e. the dead plants, in such a way. She screamed at me to get out of the porch and began unstacking the empty pots and tossing them all over the shelves. Lucky for me, my husband, who had dropped me off and been screamed at for driving on her moss in her less than a car wide driveway, came back fearing for my safety. I met him at the road where I had taken refuge with my belongings and we got out of there poste haste. I'm surprised that the county health or fire department hasn't shut the place down as a "conference center." It's a fire trap and a health hazzard. I was so scared that I was going to spend the night in that filthy shack she calls the dormitory. And the "teacher" is a nut case.
Youngandwiserwoman
 

Re: If you (or someone you know) ever taken an herbal worksh

Postby NorthStar » July 27th, 2016, 4:44 am

First of all, I have to say that I agree 100% with the other posters. I can attest that everything they said about the "center" and Susun's personality is true.

I attended a workshop earlier this summer, and was so bothered by it that here I am, actually taking time out of my day to write this post and warn people not to go anywhere near that place.

As a herbalist who still has a lot to learn, I was very excited to take a workshop with Susun. I'd heard a few rumors about her temper, but decided I was woman enough to go and see for myself. I've been looking for a good herbal apprenticeship, and as options are are bit limited hereabouts, I was really hoping Susun would be a good fit. I like the idea of a more shamanic approach, of connecting with the earth and learning from and with the plants. I'd read her books and listened to her on the radio, and I liked what I heard and read. Plus, I always give people a chance - everyone gets a bad review once in a while. People exaggerate.

Well, I can say now that I would pay the cost of the apprenticeship to NOT have to apprentice with her. I'm really still appalled, days and days later, at what I experienced. It was much worse than I had imagined.

Throughout the day, she yelled at everyone at least once (me included...apparently I'm an imbecile who can't park a car). She even yelled at a little child. And when I say yelling, I don't mean just a raised voice and a momentary flair of annoyance. I've had a lot of tough teachers in my life. I understand that sometimes, people are tough on students to get them to do their best. My past teachers gave me a thick skin and taught me accountability and to take constructive criticism. But this is a different beast entirely. When she yells, she says the nastiest, most hurtful things she can think of, and her wrath is often completely unprovoked and disproportionate to the situation. She seeks to decimate, to make others feel small, worthless and stupid. As strong as I think I am, I think I might be a little suicidal after a few weeks of that! And this was all to complete strangers, all seemingly very nice people, who were paying money to spend time with her!

She made one of her apprentices cry. I can still see that poor woman's face as it crumpled into despair. I've never actually seen a person abused to that extent in real life. It stays with you. Her eyes were hollow and sad, and her spirit just seemed to collapse. The whole rest of the afternoon after being yelled at, she was weepy. A little wilted flower of a woman. This is not how the Goddess, whom Susun claims to believe in, treats women. Yes, the Goddess has a dark side, as all women do...but it is only revealed when necessary. And it was all over something extremely minor the apprentice did. In fact, my biggest regret right now is that I didn't stand up and do something about it. I feel ashamed. So here I am warning others to stay away - it's the best I can do now.

As you can imagine, this is a lot of emotional turmoil to go through for a one-day workshop.

Was it worth it for what I learned? Absolutely not. Sure, I picked up a few tidbits of info I didn't previously know. But as a whole, these were things that could have been learned from a book, or by simply going on a nice walk and being with the plants. When it comes to learning herbology, please trust me; there are many kind, wise teachers out there from whom you will learn just as much, if not more. Herbalism is, at times, as much a spiritual path as it is practical and tangible. And sometimes, it can have a dark side. Be careful. Don't go to a toxic place to learn about the plants, or they will be tainted for you.

Please, stay away from this place. It's a scam. The Goddess, and the good spirits of the plants, are not there.
NorthStar
 

Re: If you (or someone you know) ever taken an herbal worksh

Postby Asclepsia » September 20th, 2016, 2:11 am

All of the horrible, nasty things you are reading about Susun Weed are absolutely true. We just participated in a class this past Saturday (never did one with her before) and it was just awful. I wish I had read the reviews first. And I used to admire her and owned several books. As one fellow student said at end of day 'that b***h is crazy'. Most were disgusted. Where do I even begin? Her insane rules and screaming when someone unknowingly broke it? How filthy everything was? How I got food poisoning from lunch? How broken and brainwashed her apprentices are? (I too regret not telling the one to run away and never look back). How $75 per student, with 30 students ($2250 total) apparently wasn't enough for 'dream pillow' materials and we were given pieces of old clothes (the sock I got had a stain on it) and herbs so old that they were all light brown in color?
One young man (late teens?) was dropped off by his mom in the morning and poor thing, she backed up onto some weeds (not a garden) and Susun screamed, literally SCREAMED, at her for doing this. The kid was visibly shaken by this (he also was walking on what appeared to be a road to gathering area) and she screamed again for not being on the path. At the end of the day a car had pulled over at bottom of driveway, none of us knew what was happening, Susun is again screaming like a maniac to get off her lunch. We ended up running into a student when we went over to Woodstock for dinner and it was her mom coming to pick her up. The girl had to walk down the road to meet mom because her mom was so scared. Susun was yelling that she was a 'murderer'. For driving on some dead grass. Several women didn't eat all of their 'lunch' and Susun made them take it back and eat because no food should be wasted. Vegetarians hate animals and anyone following the Catholic faith has no place or business being with Susun.
How about she passed around 5 different smudge sticks, everyone was smelling them or waving around their bodies. Not until everyone done did our illustrious teacher inform how wrong we were and pretty much indicated we were stupid. This is a teacher??? Why not explain BEFORE we all did it wrong? She just wants to feel superior. We saw other reviews that night that her daughter Justine was trying to justify her behavior by saying she has Aspergers. Yet on the Susun Weed website she writes that she is a 'fierce teacher' and her anger is used to teach, not hurt. I can tell you that is NOT even close to the truth. She wants to hurt, humiliate, and show how much more she knows than us hapless students. How can this woman be allowed to conduct seminars? Should she be turned in? Social services check on the health and emotional well being of her poor apprentices? How she is serving food that made me sick? No water available either. I really think she should be stopped and never allowed to teach or have apprentices. WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE.
Asclepsia
 

Re: If you (or someone you know) ever taken an herbal worksh

Postby earthlover » April 13th, 2017, 12:52 am

I went to a Susun Weed workshop this past weekend (April 2017) and have never seen someone leading a workshop be so abusive, mean and full of irrational prejudices and false statements. The first evening she said that trans women are not women. (This in a community that has outlawed discrimination against LGBTs). When I responded the next day saying a trans woman is always welcome in my circle, and that trans people are often discriminated against and have higher suicide rates, Weed leaped up and started yelling and pacing around. She said I was spreading lies. She said trans people don't have higher suicide rates. That is just lies spread by the hormone industry. I checked government research and it confirms high suicide rates among trans people. I have friends who are trans, and have written several articles interviewing trans people. They all talk about the difficulties.

Weed also ranted and raved against essential oils. When I objected, she said what I said was opinion and what she said was "fact." She was not just a rude bully but spread false information such as women who have a hysterectomy triple their risk of heart disease. Actually, there is an increase of 28 percent, not 300 percent, and then only for women younger than 50.

I paid $230 for a workshop where I learned nothing of value and where I was treated like an idiot. I was one of the first to leave, but she continued to pick people out to insult and women continued to leave. She also bullied a ten year old boy at the workshop, telling him to go into the woods and "think about" what he had done after he broke a "rule" that he hadn't been told about. She told a terribly inappropriate story about participating in an orgy in front of this boy.

By the end of the workshop, only a dozen of the original 35 women were left. It was so sad what could have been a wonderful weekend for all of us was a complete horror.
earthlover
 

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