This Welcome Unit aims to:
Introduce the contents of the Urban Herbology Healing module, the concept of the Wise Woman system of healing, and how it may be useful to us. It also explains how to work through the module.
After completing this unit you should be able to:
- State the main topic areas which this module covers.
- State how your work for this module will be assessed.
- Organise your personal notes and assignments for this module.
- Name three different healing traditions.
- Name two key figures who have helped to promote the wise woman tradition.
- State the reason why we should build good relationships with our regular healthcare providers, such as family doctors.
There are 9 units in the Healing module.
We suggest that you aim to complete one unit per month. This will help you to complete the module within one year - if that is your target.
Initially, you will have access to Step 0 and Step 1. After you submit the unit assignments for those Steps, you will have access to the next two steps, and so on
Assessment of your Healing work
At the end of each unit in this module, there are tasks to complete. Some of these are optional tasks, which you may like to complete. Others are clearly indicated as Assessed Tasks. Your responses to the Assessed Tasks need to be shared with your tutor for marking and feedback.
There are four points in the Healing module, where you will only be able to progress to the next units when the previous unit assessments have been successfully completed and marked by your tutor. This is to ensure that you have understood the earlier work.
To qualify for your Urban Herbology Healing certificate, you need to :
1. Work through each of the Healing units and successfully complete all of the Assessed Tasks. These must be completed and marked as a pass by your tutor.
2. Submit a summary to your tutor, of how your journey through the Healing module has impacted you. Your summary does not need to be very long but it needs to show me what you have gained from this module. It can be in several forms (short report, poetry, drawing with annotations, etc).
How to share Assessed Tasks
Some of your assessments are shared with your tutor through the Healing Forum and other assessments will be shared with your tutor via email.
Please ensure that each task states the unit number and name when you send it through.
We strongly advise you to keep a backup copy of all work that you send to your tutor for marking. Please do not rely on email or the forums as a way to organize your work.
Organizing your notes and tasks
Decide on how you will make and keep personal notes as you work through this module.
You may like to begin a Google doc or purchase a notebook or ring binder to file your work and keep it organized.
There are some worksheets to complete through the module but most of the tasks will be notes sent via email or the Healing Forum.
Sharing with the UH community
The Healing Forum and the private Facebook group are great places to ask questions and share your thoughts with your tutor and the other students, about any of your foraging work and experiences. Please feel free to use them.
Some of your assessed tasks will be submitted to the Healing Forum to allow for discussion with other students, and to encourage deeper engagement and learning.
Wise Woman System of Healing
This is a traditional, logical, and intuitive way to maintain health or restore balance and well-being. It doesn't expect other people or pills to be able to fix all of our problems. The Wise Woman System of Healing promotes self-empowerment, networking, learning, listening, and prevention of ill health.
This is an age-old system of healing but it is most associated with contemporary wise women such as Susun Weed and Robin Rose Bennett. Both are based in the US and both have written and worked extensively to raise the profile of the Wise Woman Tradition. Links to some of their work are below.
There are also links below to Steve Brill who works in a similar way (also in the US) and Glennie Kindred, who I have also worked with and lives in the UK.
Assessed Task 1
Write a list of people who can help you with advice and practical help. Include their name and contact details.
Possibilities include herbalist friends, organic herb suppliers, foragers, therapists, organic food suppliers, house repairers, Yoga teachers, healers, and family doctor...
Keep a note of this list in an easy-to-locate place.
7 Steps of Healing
The Wise Woman system of healing advocates a progressive approach to tackling health issues. A simple way to describe this has come from Susun Weed who uses a step system to describe the pathway.
This Healing module looks at each of the steps in turn. There is a unit about each step. Here are the steps from 0 to 6:
Step 0 – Serenity Medicine - Do nothing - Go with the flow
Step 1 – Story Medicine - Collect information
Step 2 – Energy Medicine - Placebo - Mind medicine
Step 3 – Lifestyle Medicine - Nourish & Tonify
Step 4 – Herbal medicine - Stimulate & sedate - Alternative medicine
Step 5 – Pharmaceutical medicine - Drugs - Supplements - Essential oils
Step 6 – Hi-Tech medicine - Break & Enter - Mind Altering drugs
Stepping gently and sensibly
The Wise Woman approach is to look at health issues objectively. If the issue is not serious, perhaps a common cold without serious symptoms, we try to start tackling the issue at Step 0. We then set a reasonable time limit (for the cold, perhaps 2 days) and if Step 0 approaches do not make a difference by the end of that time, then we move on to Step 1.
Again, we set a reasonable time limit for trying out some Step 1 approaches and if those don't work, we may then want to move up to Step 2 approaches - but only if needed. We could carry on in this way, using progressively more intense methods, to try to help with the cold to go away, until it goes away or is resolved.
Sometimes stepping fast!
Sometimes emergency help is essential and taking time to work through the steps would be irresponsible and could even be life-threatening.
Knowledge of the Wise Woman Healing Steps can still help us in some such cases. This post on Lynn's blog is an example of how the Wise Woman Tradition helped her when a health situation seemed completely out of her hands.
The core aim of the Wise Woman system is to try simple approaches to try to solve problems ourselves and not to jump in with overzealous approaches to health care, without at least thinking about it.
What about regular health care?
Many people run to the doctor to solve such minor issues but the approach here is to choose to work through the Wise Woman steps, to try and ourselves first, before making an appointment with a doctor.
This module is certainly not attempting to persuade anyone to stop visiting their doctor! We should welcome good relationships with our family doctors and be happy to consult their teams when help is needed.
Generally, those in the medical profession are excellently trained and have great knowledge. We must remember that some visits to doctors' surgeries, for seemingly minor complaints, can help to detect very serious diseases.
This module is not to discourage anyone from visiting their doctor. It is simply aiming to encourage people to try to help themselves first, before dashing to the doctor, especially when the dis-ease is minor.
Three Traditions of Healing
Below are brief outlines of three ways of looking at healthcare provision. The Wise Woman Tradition, the Heroic Tradition, and the Scientific Tradition.
As you read through the outlines, think of healthcare provisions that you may have used that fit into any categories.
Wise Woman Tradition
Mainly focuses on steps 0, 1, 2, 3.
Do nothing, story medicine, mind medicine, lifestyle.
Quiet and almost invisible system of healing
Self-care, nourishment, listening carefully, and lifestyle.
Usually relies on steps 4 and 5.
Herbal medicine to stimulate or sedate, supplements, essential oils, etc.
Practitioners hold all the power.
Healing is done to the patient by a healer.
Dependence rather than empowerment.
Focused on steps 5 and 6.
Strong medicine, breaking and entering.
Essential at times.
Suspicious of unproven remedies.
Seeks scientific evidence as proof of effectiveness.
Assessed Task 2
a) How comfortable are you with each of the healing traditions that are outlined in this unit?
b) Where do you usually prefer to be when you need to solve a health issue? So which tradition(s) do you seem to favour the most?
There is no judgment here, simply acknowledge where you feel safe and what you prefer.
Please send some personal notes about Tasks 1 and 2 to Lynn via email.
When you are ready, click on Healing - Step 0 to begin your journey in the Wise Woman Tradition.