Sunnyfield Herb Farm
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2014 Class Schedule

Seven Herbs, Plants as Teachers
with Matthew Wood and Unchatwa
in Fairfax, CA
Seven Weekends:
May 31–June 1, June 28–29, July 26–27, Aug. 23–24, Sept. 27–28, Oct. 25–26, Nov. 22–23, 2014

Matthew Wood writes:

This is a first time and unique class for me. Almost thirty years after writing and publishing Seven Herbs, Plants as Teachers (1987), I will be teaching a class on the use of the seven herbs for self–development and therapy. In order to facilitate this I will be teaming up with Unchatwa, an old friend from upstate New York, now living in Oakland, with his wife Kate Skelly. Unchatwa has been studying and meditating with the seven herbs for over three years.

The seven guideposts are seven steps on the spiritual path which came to me during meditation and reading the book of Genesis (both in English and Hebrew) almost twenty–five years ago. Each also corresponds to a “law” or principle of healing, as taught in homeopathy, naturopathy, etc. The three main laws of healing are: (1) the law of action and reaction (similars, contraries), (2) the law of direction of cure, (3) the law of the healing crisis, followed by the four principles of therapeutic acumen: (4) therapeutic peregrination, (5) therapeutic seership, (6) therapeutic grabbing hold, (7) therapeutic understanding, authority, and responsibility. The seven guideposts are: (1) accepting dual nature, (2) following through (on your inspirations), (3) integrity in crisis, or the justification/value of the soul, (4) spiritual letting go, (5) spiritual seership, and (6) spiritual grabbing hold and (7) spiritual understanding, or the mantle of authority and responsibility. The first three are the “bread” of spiritual life while the second four are the “wine” or subtleness. We will discuss the corresponding Genesis stories: (1) Adam and Eve, (2) Cain and Abel, (3) Noah and the Ark, (4) Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, (5) Isaac and Rebecca, (6) Jacob and Esau, and (7) Joseph.

The second element of our teachings involves the seven herbs. The concept of seven sacred herbs is found in a number of cultures, including Native American traditions on this continent. The seven herbs that stepped forward here, many years ago, represent the seven guideposts. We will study and journey with these seven plants (Easter Lily, Yerba Santa, Iris, Sagebrush or Wormwood, Cat’s Ears, Black Cohosh, and Lady’s Slipper, and in some cases discuss their cousins and analogs. We will also discuss California Bay Laurel, a powerful shamanic herb native to the area. Time permitting, we may be able to visit some of these plants in flower (or not).

A third element will involve general shamanic teachings related to the seven guideposts or seven herbs, such as the “three selves” of the shamans (conscious self, animal self, and dream self), warriorship (described in Genesis as tzaddikah, straight–arrow–ness), the animal medicines (“our energies,” as the poet/shaman William Blake said) and their corresponding medicine plants.

Unchatwa writes:

What an honor for me to be asked to co–teach this class with Matthew. His vision and wisdom have been transformative in my personal life and my medicine practice. The Seven Herbs spoke to me from my first reading and has become a foundational practice in my work focusing on mental and emotional health as well as addiction recovery. Through daily use and notation, meditation and journeying practice following the lunar cycles of waxing and waning I have experienced these effects first hand. I am truly blessed by this opportunity. Aho.

In addition to our two major teachers, Matthew and Unchatwa, we hope also to have cameo (or longer appearances) by two individuals, one of whom helped develop the seven herbs (Peter Young), and the other, David Milgram, DC, also helped and has used them therapeutically for twenty–five years.

We invite you to join us in this journey with the Seven Herbs.

Contact: Kate Skelly 518–522–1420

Seven Herbs Seven Month Apprenticeship $1700.00
Early Bird Pricing before April 15 $1400
Early Bird Pricing before May 15th $1500

Required Reading: SEVEN HERBS Plants as Teachers by Matthew Wood

Payment Options

UK Class 2014
Matthew Wood will be teaching Classes in the United Kingdom
July 11–20, 2014

First Weekend: Toxins, Cleansing, and Detoxification
Friday, 11 July 2014,
5:00 pm – 7:30 pm

for students and the interested public (max no 25)

A Full Day on Toxins, Cleansing, and Detoxification
Saturday, 12 July 2014,
9:30 am – 6:30 pm

We cannot help but be concerned with toxins, since we now live in a toxic environment invisible to our eyes. People have been concerned about this, however, since the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. What makes sense and what is effective in cleansing and detoxification? In herbalism we recognize four channels of elimination (skin, kidneys, colon, lungs) and try to keep them open and eliminating. We also recognize internal detoxification and cleansing organs (liver, lymphatics, thyroid/heat, and the cell). All tissues are situated in the extracellular matrix (ECM), which is where toxins primarily accumulate. These are the subjects we will discuss so that laypeople or practitioners can work with cleansing and detoxification. Throughout we will discuss the great herbs of detoxification: burdock, yellow dock, dandelion, red clover, nettle, scrophularia, chickweed, and some of the lesser known: pipsissewa and ceanothus (red root).

The Extracellular Matrix
Sunday, 13 July 2014
Morning: 9:30 am – 11:00 am

This amazing compartment, surrounding all the cells and tissues of the body is the physical basis of holism because it is a single whole realm surrounding all tissues and because it is in touch with and conditioned by all the major systems of the body. We need to maintain our ECM, even though we barely know it exists. But this is what we have been doing with traditional systems of treatment that address local congestion, atrophy, relaxation, etc: massage, body work, manipulation, osteopathy, acupuncture, cupping, and of course, herbal medicine. Herbs that open and close, cleans and stimulate the ECM. Chickweed, Solomon's Seal, Glucosamine sulfate.

The Wisdom of Nature
Sunday 13 July 2014
Afternoon: 11:15 am – 4:30 pm
An afternoon devoted to herbalism and the imagination, and especially the medical system of the American Indian people, who linked medicine animals with medicine plants. Seeing and feeling the whole in Nature.

Midweek Advanced:
Pulse and Tongue Evaluation for Western Herbalists
For qualified practitioners (max 20)
Wednesday 16 July 2014
9:30 am to 6:30 pm
Thursday 17 July 2014
9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Improving our skills of evaluation and observation of patterns in the organism — with traditional tongue and pulse diagnosis. Basic principles of tongue diagnosis (regions, colors, coats) and of the pulse (speed, height, volume, etc). We will examine each other in class to provide illustrations and the class will select remedies. Because pulse and tongue diagnosis can be very exact, we will introduce the concept of “specific medicine,” the use of single herbs on very specific indications, a method from the eclectic school of nineteenth century botanical medicine.

Second Weekend:
Energetics of Western Herbalism From Galen to Physiomedicalism

Friday 18 July 2014, 5:00pm – 7:30pm

An introduction to the value of the energetic approach, different systems, and especially those used in Western Herbalism. The focus therefore will be on Greek medicine (the four qualities in four degrees), nineteenth century herbalism (the six tissue states of physiomedicalism), and the three doshas of Ayurveda. Throughout the weekend we will discuss the energetics of common articles of Western elissa medica (yarrow, yellow dock, burdock, chickweed, rose hips, linden, elissa, rosemary, etc.)

Greek Medicine
Saturday 19 July 2014
Morning: 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

The four qualities and four degree of Greek medicine teach us how to access hot and cold and damp and dry. They are the pragmatic backbone of the Greek system, actually more important than the four temperaments and humors. Another Greek system also introduced the issue of tension (strictus and laxus).
The Six Tissue States
The Theory of Irritation and the Leading Ideas of Herbal and Medical Treatment 1750–1950, Presentation Intended for Practical Application
Afternoon:1:45 pm to 6:30 pm
The demise of the Greek system left a void in medicine until Albert Haller introduced the theory of irritation (c. 1760). This provided a new energetic system for Western medicine (stimulate, contract, relax) that was used until 1950 and still informs aspects of neurology. It was also the basis of the physiomedical system(stimulate/sedate, relax/tone, nourish/cleanse) based on six tissue states. Our old categories of actions (stimulant, sedative, astringent, nutritive tonic, mucilage, alterative, laxative, bitter tonic) are based on these six states. This "forgotten" system of Western energetics is eminently useful.

Sunday 20 July 2014
9:30 am to 4:30 pm

Continuing discussion of the six tissue states and the energetics of herbs.
Tridosha. Thick, thin, and medium are the basis of medical typology or constitutional analysis, since people tend to fall sick according to their build (thin = nutritive and nervous issues; thick = weight gain, diabetes, HBP; medium = despite the balance tends towards muscular skeletal problems and heart disease). The three doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) describe these differences so well and correspond to similar Western ideas (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph of Sheldon's types). The most simple and useful system of medical typology.

Location: Pounds Farm Threshing Barn, East Garston , Hungerford . Berkshire RG17 7HU
Contact: Bernadette Dowling
Cranes Farm, East Garston, Hungerford, Berkshire RG17 7HU
Telephone: 01488648111
Email :
Cost: £220 early bird for all 3 courses
£260 within 21 days of each course.
Accomodations: Bed and breakfast and hotels provided.
Breakfast, lunch, and supper included except on 4.30 pm finishes, when there isn't supper.

Amazing and Unique Class in the New York City Area
with Vanessa Chakour & Matthew Wood
Warriorship and Shamanic Medicine
Wolf Conservation Center
August 13th and 14th, 2014

Join Sacred Warrior founder, Vanessa Chakour and internationally renowned herbalist, Matthew Wood for a journey into our deepest selves.

Warriorship: Exploration through movement, meditation, creative exploration and dream work designed to move beyond the ego to reveal the innate strength of our instinctual and intuitive dream selves. In order to dive fearlessly into the mysteries of shamanic medicine, we must activate and awaken our multi–dimensional sensors and strength to confront the obstacles standing in the way of our transformation. We must possess the power to embrace our sensitivity so we may recall our deep connection to, and communication with nature.

Shamanic Medicine: Plants teach us that "Nature is alive," and intelligent. The green world personifies the life force; the individual plants teach us the alphabet or Language of Nature. Animals teach us about our "energies" or the visceral powers within us. The two interact with each other and with us to teach us about Nature, ourselves, and our spiritual potential. In this class we will learn about medicine animals and medicine plants and how to learn about and from them.

During our time together we'll share herbal infusions, wild food and camp outside, amongst the 25 wolves and many wild medicinals at the conservation center.

2–4 person tents are provided, but you are welcome to bring your own. More details will be sent upon registration.

Warriorship and Shamanic Medicine

$150–$285.00, sign up at:

The Forgotten Energetics of Traditional Western Herbalism
Advanced training for herbalists
with Guest Instructor: Matthew Wood, RH (AHG)

This 5 weekend series will include:
Introduction of the Five Tissue States, Demonstrations of Traditional Diagnostic Skills, Application of Herbs for Balance and Support

September 6 & 7, October 25 & 26, December 6 & 7, 2014, January 17 & 18, February 21 & 22, 2015

Matthew Wood has been an active practitioner of traditional Western Herbalism since 1982. He has helped tens of thousands of clients over the years, with many difficult health problems. While Matthew believes in the virtue of many other healing modalities, he has always been inspired to learn, preserve, and practice the tradition of herbal medicine descending to us from our European, Anglo-American, and Native American heritage.

He is a Registered Herbalist with the American Herbalists Guild and earned his Masters of Science degree from the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine (accredited by the University of Wales).

Register on line at
Call for more information 540-937-4283
Email Teresa Boadwine at
Download class flyer (PDF)
Total tuition paid in full is $1625 for all five weekends. Early bird special $1500 (if paid by check)
Housing is separate unless camping. Lunches are included.

Karyn Sanders & Matt Wood Event
at Dancing Yarrow Retreat in beautiful Buffalo County Wisconsin on the Buffalo River

Dancing Yarrow Retreat
S193 County Road BB Mondovi, Wisconsin 54755

The Three Selves of the Shamans with Matt Wood
October 17, 2014, 5–8 pm, Cost $35.00

Shamanism is, above and beyond anything else,a spiritual path, and this path makes use of and develops all parts of a human being — human, animal, and dreamer. From our humanity we get our first self, the ego, the conscious mind, a tyrannical guard but necessary part of our assembly. From our animal self we get our senses and instincts. Without the animal self we would have no sight or sensorium in the physical body. When we at last dream of our true animal self (bear, deer, wolf, elephant, etc.) we move those senses to the dream plane and awaken our dream self, the non material spiritual element within us. These are the three indispensable selves of the shamans.

This class helps prepare us for learning about animal medicine powers from Karyn Sanders, who I count as one of my teachers and who I recommend always as an important source of plant wisdom.

Energetic healing from an indigenous perspective with Karyn Sanders
Saturday October 18th, 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.
$125, includes an organic meal from the farm.
Join us in looking at healing from an indigenous perspective. We will learn about the energetics of healing in the physical, emotional, and spiritual worlds. Everything is energy and she will show you how to work with plants in this way.

Following the Saturday class Matt will have an herb walk,
"Looking for the Doctrine of Signatures on an herb walk" with Matt Wood

Working with animal medicines with Karyn Sanders
Sunday October 19th, 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.

$125, includes an organic meal from the farm.
In this class we will learn about how plants carry certain animal spirits with them. We will learn how to use these animal medicines in healing and learn about the plants that have these animal spirits.

If you attend both classes you get a $25 discount at $225.

Contact or call them at 715-926-5020 for lodging info right on the farm.
Dancing Yarrow Retreat, S193 County Road BB Mondovi, Wisconsin 54755

***30 person capacity. Classes are filling up fast! Get your spot reserved today!

“By magically changing our lives, our green friends restore physical health, psychological happiness, and spiritual purpose. A little miracle occurs and the magical level clicks in, in fact, whenever an herb cures in a real and radical way. This is a sign that something great and new has come in from a different world to enrich and develop our lives to their fullest and most beautiful potential.”
—Matthew Wood