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

Required Reading: SEVEN HERBS Plants as Teachers by Matthew Wood

Payment Options

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.

Forgotten Energetics of Traditional Western Herbalism:
The Six Tissue States in Relation to the Organ Systems
A Six Weekend Intensive for Intermediate and Advanced Students
with Matthew Wood MSc (Herbal Medicine), Registered Herbalist (AHG)
October 2014 – April 2015

In this class we will learn to understand the 'personality' and specific uses of herbal remedies. Every plant has a central, unifying intelligence which expresses through it's chemistry, uses, appearance, and taste. The Six Tissue States, an energetic system of Western Herbalism was largely forgotten by the late twentieth century. It is eminently useful and provides the logic behind so much that we do in modern herbal medicine. Matthew will be teaching specific indications for herbal application, the energetics of Greek medicine and nineteenth century botanical physicians, in relationship to the major organ systems. He will discuss this method and system over six weekends, giving plants, cases, and diagnostic tips for illustrations. A basic knowledge of western herbalism is recommended as this class will be geared toward intermediate and advanced students.

This is an excellent opportunity to learn from an internationally–known teacher of herbalism.

Matthew Wood has been a practicing herbalist since 1982 and is a renowned inspirational lecturer and author of several herb books including The Book of Herbal Wisdom and The Earthwise Herbal. He is a member of the American Herbalists Guild and has earned his Masters of Science degree from the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine. Matthew lives in Wisconsin and we are so delighted and honored to have him teach here at Gathering Thyme.

COST: $1,500. A $500 deposit is required to hold your space with the remainder due prior to the event. If necessary, payment plans are available on a limited basis and must be discussed prior to enrollment. (NOTE: Each individual weekend is also available at $300/weekend. Call Cheryl at 415-524-8693 for more information).
DATES: Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm: October 4-5, November 15-16. 2015 Dates: January 24-25, February 7-8, March 7-8 and April 4-5.
CONTACT: For more information about this event, contact Cheryl at Gathering Thyme or 415-524-8693.
WHERE: Gathering Thyme • 226 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. • San Anselmo, CA 94960
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Three Sacred Trees:
the Ecology, Medicine, Myth and Fare of the Bay Laurel, Oak and Tanoak
December 13, 2014, 10:00 to 5:00
Fairfax, Marin County, CA

Join nationally known herbalist Matthew Wood and ethnobotanist Jolie Egert Elan on a deep ecological and shamanic journey into the world of three iconic California trees. This class will explore the medicine, food, ecology, ethnobotany, shamanism, mythology and botany of three trees primal to the landscapes of the California Bay Area. California Oak, Tanoak and Bay Laurels are steeped in history, rich in medicine, essential ecological players and abundant food sources. But all is not well in this beautiful kingdom. Bay trees spread Sudden Oak Death, a disease killing Oak and Tanoak trees en masse. No cure is known. In this class we will attempt to learn about and from these great trees, both to help ourselves and to try to help them.

Recently, we have begun working with the powerful medicine of Bay Laurel. The acrid semi-roasted nuts possess tension-relaxing, antispasmodic properties and betray the presence of alkaloids that are known to operate on sleep and dream. Deep shamanic properties are to be found in this common tree. The fully roasted nuts taste like a cross between coffee and chocolate. The leaves have yet other properties, causing and curing headache, and operating like strong bay leaves in seasoning. Matthew will present, for the first time, a series of fascinating case histories hinting at the potentials of this emerging medicine. Oak, almost the perfect astringent for increasing tension in the tissues, has the opposite/complimentary property of the tension-reducing Bay. This warrior-remedy increases integrity of the tissues and the psyche. Oak is one of Dr. Bach's great flower essences. We will illustrate the properties of this valuable medicine with more case histories. Jolie will describe the botanical, ecological, and historical context of these trees and lead us in the preparation of acorn food, bay nut truffles, and bay medicine. These are not some kind of tough, mouth-puckering wild foods, but delicious mouth-watering treats.

>> click here for more information and to register for this class

Jolie Egert Elan, M.S.
Go Wild Consulting
510-666-WILD (9453)

Matthew Wood
MS (Herbal Medicine)
Registered Herbalist (American Herbalists Guild)

Journey in to the World of Three Sacred Trees:
Exploring the Plant Spirit Medicine of the California Bay, Oak and Tanoak
Sunday December 14th, 11:00 to 2:00
Fairfax, Marin County, CA

How did the ancients discover the healing properties of plants? Many say the plants told them. During this class we will explore how to connect directly with a plant and its inherent wisdom in a deep, ancient shamanic way through meditation. We will focus on the bay laurel, tanoak and oak trees, which are three iconic trees of California landscapes, each loaded with medicine, myth and ecological importance. We will begin with an ethnobotanical introduction to the tree and move into a plant spirit journey. After the journey, there will be an opportunity to share our insights and knowledge. This is a direct way to tap into Earth wisdom for the benefit of ourselves, our community and all our relations. Please bring a journal.

>> click here for more information and to register for this class

Jolie Egert Elan, M.S.
Go Wild Consulting
510-666-WILD (9453)

Matthew Wood
MS (Herbal Medicine)
Registered Herbalist (American Herbalists Guild)

“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