You’re probably wondering what the above picture has to do with an herbal path. At one time I did too. I started my herbal path by taking some small courses with the Herbal Academy of New England. It’s a great school. I’ve completed the introductory program and I’m in the intermediate program now. But there comes a point sometimes in a line of study for me where I stop and think, “There’s something missing from this, something big that ties everything together.” I look for patterns, systems, ways of looking at things. I did the same thing in my last big study undertaking: early childhood education. I didn’t rest until I found the underlying pattern and system, and spent years applying it in the classroom and teaching it to others. Now my interests have shifted and I find myself doing it again.
I didn’t find it at the Herbal Academy. The Herbal Academy is great and they have given me a foundation from which to work, but they made the question come up in my mind. They brought it out but they did not answer it. I knew I had to look elsewhere for the answers.
Enter the School of Evolutionary Herbalism, run by Sajah Popham and his wife Whitney. I didn’t know at first that this school was going to hold the key that I was looking for, the pattern I was seeking, the system that would explain all of the missing pieces I perceived. But I knew that if there was a school out there that would bring me close, this one was it. It taught things differently. It wasn’t about, “Here is an herb and here is what it is good for. Here is a bunch of anatomy for you to hopefully memorize during this online course, and here are the herbs that can help remedy different issues in this system.” Like I said, Herbal Academy is great, but it brought about more questions than it answered.
The School of Evolutionary Herbalism was different in every way. The first course I started with them was “Elemental Herbalism.” It talked about how to see the elements of earth, water, air, and fire in nature. However, it is a totally audio course with no clear layout and I found myself drowning in the lack of structure to the course materials. It was hard for me to stay focused during the audio portions, so I never finished the course. But it did show me that Sajah had something different than other herbal programs. There was a pattern and a system that he was teaching. I signed up for another course.
The next course was Astro-Herbalism, and it had videos to go along with the printed notes (which Elemental Herbalism had too). This time I had a much better way to keep up with my notes and take notes while he was talking, and the course was also made up of videos instead of audio recordings, which held my interest longer. I found the material interesting – I just started my second year of study. The first year was rather tedious, going through each sign of the zodiac, talking about the ruling planet, discussing the people and plants that correspond to each. Long year of study. But then I did something that changed my whole outlook and motivation level.
I’m a big picture person. If I don’t see the big picture of what is going on, then it is hard for me to stay motivated and focused when I’m being shown all of the little pieces that make up the big picture. That was what was happening to me at the School of Evolutionary Herbalism. Sajah was teaching me all the little pieces, but I couldn’t see the big picture, even if I tried. But Sajah did something recently that changed all of that for me. He came out with a book, which I bought. It basically had all of his teachings in it, condensed down to a readable book. I tried to read the book from the beginning and I found I was going through the same problem: reading about all of the little pieces with no pattern or picture to place them in. So I skipped to the back of the book and started reading. And everything I read changed my whole perception about my herbal path.
I’m not even sure I can explain what I read. But every piece that I have been taught by Sajah for the past three years made sense in one moment. Not only that, but other pieces that I had dabbled in, like the Tarot and Qabbalah were fit in to create the pattern and system that I had been looking for the whole time. It was amazing. It created a holistic spiritual program that I didn’t even think existed. It tied everything together to the point that now I want to dissect all of those pieces that Sajah has been teaching me because now I see how they fit in the whole.
I never thought that the herbal career I have been envisioning would turn into the greatest spiritual journey of my life. But that is what is happening. I’m so excited to be on this journey now and I can’t wait to learn more. That is definitely a change from when I started this journey.