Blackbird's Daughter Botanicals
Blackbird's Daughter Botanicals’ offers Sacred Gaian Herbalism apprenticeships, classes, family-friendly workshops, and wisdom circles based on the premise that "herbalism is your birthright – claim it!”
The Sacred Gaian Herbalism Apprenticeship program consists of 12-seasonal semesters. Whether you join us for the Roots of Sacred Gaian Herbalism (our foundational course), or the full 3-year program, be prepared for this apprenticeship to CHANGE YOUR LIFE. Our goal is to help you fall ecstatically in love with the Green World and recognize your birthright as a natural healer. If you’re ready to immerse yourself into a richer understanding of how interconnected life on this planet is, and discover your part in the pattern, READ ON!
Welcome to folks of all learning styles, experience levels, and walks of life, and offering unlimited Social Justice Scholarships for BIPOC & Trans/2-Spirit students, as well as sliding scale tuition, these hands-on courses will teach you far more than just how to use plants as medicine – this is herbalism for body, mind, and spirit; ancestors and descendants; family, community, and planet. We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful healing space, community apothecary, and United Plant Savers botanical sanctuary in the woods!
Please note, these are NOT YOUR TYPICAL classroom-style learning experiences… Instead, our primary classrooms are your kitchen, our school-run community apothecary, woods, fields, our ever-expanding gardens and trails, and your community (wherever you're located)! You'll grow incredibly close to your fellow Herbkin (our inclusive term for all who are drawn together through our mutual love of the plants), as we stretch our minds and hearts to understand the green world around us in ways you never thought possible. If you’re looking for herbal education that blends scientific and sacred, practical and profound, with a hearty dose of social justice and environmental stewardship, this is the program for you. Each apprenticeship year ends with a final ceremony, and students who complete all graduation requirements receive a Certificate of Completion. Prepare to sing, taste, laugh, dance, plant, pray, blend, brew, and get dirty!
About the Apprenticeship:
Of use to beginners and experienced herbalists alike, the complete three year Sacred Gaian Herbalism Apprenticeship course is divided into 12 seasonal semesters, so busy people don’t have to commit to the full program at once. Should you wish to become an AHG registered herbalist, after completing this program you will have more than enough experience and hours to seek AHG mentorship and follow that path.
In addition to class time, all apprentices (whether in person or distance learners) are required to participate in 8 practicum hours a month, gaining and sharing our diverse skills. Your time may be spent working in the apothecary, tending the Botanical Sanctuary & gardens, helping behind the scenes at our school, assisting (and learning from) herbal elders in our community, creating herbal products to raise funds for our scholarship program or to donate to your local mutual aid organizations or Herbalists Without Borders, teaching free workshops/plant walks, or volunteering at community herbalism events.
Class time is divided equally between Group Learning and Collaborative Learning. During Fall and Winter terms we meet virtually twice a month from 6-9pm EST as a large group. Twice a month, students also meet in small groups (either in person here in the apothecary, at your homes, or virtually) from 6-9 to work on at-home explorations (aka homework – researching, kitchen witching, making projects, participating in book group, etc), with your teacher available by phone, video, or in-person to answer any questions and support you through your projects.
For Spring and Summer terms, you may attend in one of two ways: in-person, or virtually with one 4-day in-person intensive per season (intensive cost is not included in that Semester’s tuition).
In-Person Spring and Summer Cohorts meet twice a month at Blackbird's Daughter for practicum hours from 10-3, followed by class from 3-6EST. On alternate weeks, students meet in small groups (either in person here in the apothecary, at your home, or virtually) from 3-6 to work on at-home explorations.
Virtual Spring and Summer cohorts meet once a week for 9 weeks, as well as in-person for the 4 day Immersion Intensives.
For students who require lodging, we offer free on-site camping, as well as rental guest quarters in our adjacent Bower (a single room overlooking the Mushroom Trail), Nest (a two room suite with small private deck above the barn, overlooking the pond and woods), and one RV hookup site. There are also many local bed & breakfasts.
In addition to learning how to support yourself and your loved ones holistically (body/mind/spirit/community/earth/ancestors), and become familiar with herbal allies, their families, actions, & energetics, body systems, botany, environmental stewardship, plant communication, sustainable wildcrafting, and organic gardening/farming/permaculture practices, this program is designed to introduce students to a variety of Nature-based healing traditions, holistic self care strategies, herbal remedies, and Earth-based spiritual, healing, and wellness practices from around the world and across time (including Yorùbá, Ayurveda, Shamanism, Wise Woman, Folk, and Kitchen Herbalism, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Curanderx, and multiple Native American traditions) WITHOUT appropriation or spiritual bypassing. Please note that you will not become an “expert” in any of these, nor are they all available for you to use carte-blanche. Rather, this is an opportunity to reconnect with nature, to learn and unlearn and explore the ways your own ancestors were encouraged and discouraged from doing so, to sit with discomfort and joy, to discover more questions than answers, and to build your own authentic relationship with plants and herbal healing. Together, we will explore how (and how not) to incorporate these diverse modalities into our own understanding of Herbalism – safely, respectfully, and wisely. You will learn which plants you are called to work with, what gifts you have to offer, and how you can confidently and competently use what you learn to make the world a healthier, greener, more just place.
By the end of just the first year, you'll have cooked up nutritive foods, made a whole medicine chest of Syrups, Teas, Tinctures, Oils, Salves and Steams, a First Aid kit, a group Flower Essences collection, a group materia medica, and your own herbal oracle deck. In the second year, we focus more on ancestors, mental/spiritual/emotional wellbeing, and connecting with forests, oceans, and mushrooms. We dive deeper into the rhythms, traditions, and connections of Sacred Gaian Herbalism, re-member how our (often ancient) ancestors honored nature and worked with herbs, and further our studies of body systems, native and naturalized/invasive plants, and custom remedy blending. In our third year, we learn more about reproductive and sexual health for all bodies (cis, trans, young, old, and in between), learn about wellness throughout the life cycle, hone our formulating skills, and work on using our knowledge to support others. We research the traditions that call to us most deeply, studying with a variety of teachers (both in the group and independently). You will also be working to prepare to use your newfound skills and knowledge to give back to the community as a Sacred Gaian Herbalist, wherever your journey takes you.
Family Learning: Parents are invited to involve their children in appropriate learning opportunities whenever practical*, to encourage the next generation of herbalists and environmental stewards. (*Practically, this translates to young babes-in-arms, and kids who are able to play and read outdoors fairly independently or have interest in learning and helping alongside the grownups. Toddlers and wiggly/short attention-spanned younglings make for distracting though much-beloved visitors, so please bring a back-up adult or older kid to support your family's time here. We have places to build fairy houses, trails to explore, and are close to many free-to-visit natural areas).
Farm Interns: For students with prior farming experience, we have room for up to 2 farm interns at a time over the Spring and Summer, with shifts lasting 2 weeks (after the first two weeks, depending on our needs and your abilities, the opportunity to come back again or stay on longer next season may be available). Applicants must be comfortable camping, experienced with living rustically and independently, have their own transportation and cooking apparatus, and be physically, mentally, and emotionally hearty enough to enjoy a variety of New England weather conditions, entertain themselves, and the opportunity to spend far more time with plants than with people.
Social Justice Scholarship Opportunity for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and Trans/2S folk: Apprentices who this applies to receive 50% off each semester, as well as the sliding-scale tuition. This scholarship seeks in a small but meaningful way to replace systemic injustice with the skills necessary to heal and nourish all community members. Simply check the box on your application that says you qualify – that's it!
Sliding Scale: Each semester, simply review the sliding scale, calculate your tuition based on your household's current income, and adjust your tuition accordingly.
Please note we offer this program at a low cost with the goal of making this wisdom available to everyone who seeks it. In return, participants must agree to share what they make and learn, while naming and supporting the traditions, regions, Peoples, and teachers they come from, to ensure the knowledge of wellness spreads. We rely on the honor system, a desire to break free of capitalist/racist/sexist constraints, and a robust desire to see more Sacred Gaian Herbalists in the world, no matter your income or background. Come join us; the world needs you!