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An Apprenticeship in Herbal Medicine & Earth Rituals

at New York Open Center

Course Details
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Virtual Classroom
No class on March 30th & April 27th
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Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 18 and older
Average Class Size: 15
System Requirements:

You will need a reliable Internet connection as well as a computer or device with which you can access your virtual class. We recommend you arrive to class 5-10 minutes early to ensure you're able to set up your device and connection.

Class Delivery:

This class will be held via Zoom unless otherwise specified

What you'll learn in this medical training:

This is deep training, an apprenticeship in attuning to the spirit of nature, and thus, to your authentic Self with the help of common plants. We will learn effective remedies for familiar complaints ranging from belly aches to anxiety and Robin Rose Bennett will share favorite recipes that feature commonly available herbs. 

The primary aim and focus of this training is to help us restore our kinship with the Earth with the help of herbal medicine and simple yet profound rituals. We will experience the phases of the moon and their importance and effect on us and the plants, as we all move from the dark of winter into the light of spring. We will cultivate the health of our whole selves- mind, body, heart, and soul. This work is essential as we are living in evolutionary times. Healing ourselves leads to healing our families and communities, and to the possibility of healing our world.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion.


February 16th Welcome. Delve into the heart of healing with plants. Herbal Medicine is peoples’ medicine. Plants are healers, generous teachers, our elders. We’ll explore how plants help us deepen our connection to the Earth and help us attune to the cycles of the moon. During our opening evening, we’ll have a Full Moon Ritual with Artemisia vulgaris. This plant offers to un-tame us and helps us remember our night dreams, as well as the dreams of our hearts. Robin Rose will share artemisia ritual recipes for tea and hand, foot, or body baths, as well as several recipes for smoke mixtures featuring this amazing plant.  (Students will be invited to drink the tea, and/or blend one of the recipes to smoke during our ritual.)

February 23 Healing through Nourishment – This evening we’ll focus on ways to nourish and support the ground of our being – our overall immunity – in order to be as well as possible, while also learning how to lessen the intensity of illness with variations on recipes such as Robin’s “personal sustainability blend” of red clover (Trifolium spp.), nettles (Urtica spp.), and oat straw (Avena sativa). We’ll talk about the best ways to use lung strengthening herbs such as white pine (Pinus spp.) and mullein (Verbascum spp.), and about building a healthy immune system with vegetable and/or bone soups containing garlic and onions, roots such as burdock (Arctium spp.), ginger (Zingiber o.), Astragalus spp., dried and fresh mushrooms such as Chagas (Inonotus obliquus) and shiitakes (Lentinula edodes), and a variety of seaweeds. 

March 2 – Rituals and Ritual Herbs —This night is the dark of the moon or the “new” moon, and we’ll conclude our evening with a new moon ritual and meditation. First, we’ll explore why humans have always engaged in ritual and why it is so important to restore authentic ritual practices at this time. We will delve into important aspects of creating potent, meaningful rituals alone and in the community. We’ll work with the elements to create sacred space, use symbols and metaphors, craft altars, and discuss divination and timing as we explore many possibilities for spontaneous, daily, and cyclical or seasonal rituals and ceremonies. We will be exploring/experiencing a number of magical herbs, continuing our exploration of mugwort/cronewort (Artemisia vulgaris and other artemisias), and Grandmother cedar (Thuja occidentale), Rue (Ruta graveolens), Agrimony (Agrimonia spp.), and Marigold (Calendula officinalis), among others.

March 9 – The Cardio-vascular System– We are in the midst of a huge shift, a time of death and rebirth as we are moving from the age of separation into the age of unity, and we will continue to experience shocks and losses along the way. Our dear hearts need all the nourishment we can provide for them. Heart disease runs rampant, as does despair and numbness. We’ll explore heart-healing foods including red and blue berries, along with herbs such as hawthorn (Cratageus spp.) and rosemary (Rosmarinus spp.) that help maintain and restore the health of the heart itself. Herbs can help tone veins, strengthen arteries, and reduce plaque, as well as support the kidneys which are key in maintaining healthy blood pressure. We’ll look at ways to nourish our joy and the relevance of that to heart health. Joy is medicine.

March 16 – Herbal Medicine for the Skin– the Integument system – Topical and internal herbs for the health and beauty of the skin. We’ll explore a range of approaches from herbal scrubs with oatmeal and steams with elder blossoms (Sambucus spp.) to clear the skin, to herbal infusions such as rose blossoms (Rosa spp.) or plantain (Plantago spp.)  leaves that can help our skin from the inside out. Anti-fungal and anti-viral herbs such as basil (Occimum spp.) marigold (Calendula) can clear skin infections like ringworm; soothing herbs such as chickweed (Stellaria spp.) can be drunk and applied for rashes. Herbs excel at providing medicine for this amazing covering that is nearly waterproof and acutely sensitive to pleasure, pain, and temperature changes. Our skin is also a vital part of our innate immune system, and this beautiful covering can help us get clearer about where we end and others begin and vice versa! 

March 23 – A Spring Equinox Ritual and Spring Tonic Herbs – Awakening the vital life force; nettles, red clover, dandelions roots, leaves and flowers (Taraxacum spp.), violet leaves and flowers (Viola spp.) and wild foods such as garlic mustard (Alaria p.) and plantain are all ready to give themselves to us generously. In spring the energy of the Earth is rising, and herbs can help us rise to meet and greet the light that is growing longer now! Movement, food rich in nutrients, time outdoors, and of course, herbal infusions and flowers in our food can all help awaken our vitality. We’ll conclude with a spring equinox ritual and invite ourselves to play!

April 6 – Digestive Health, optimum nourishment for the health of the digestive system. We’ll explore this system from ingestion through assimilation to elimination. Common herbs that help the liver and gallbladders such as dandelion and burdock will be discussed, along with soothing herbs such as marshmallow root (Althaea sp.) and slippery elm bark (Ulmus rubra). There is no diet that is right for everyone, but we’ll look at the benefits of a rainbow diet that offers specific nutrients in every color of fruit and vegetable! Robin will share herbal recipes and culinary spices to help with the health of the teeth and gums and to soothe upset stomachs or nausea, and ease common complaints like constipation, diarrhea, gas, cramping, and acid reflux. The digestive system is the primary physical portal that connects the outside world to our insides and is connected to how we take in life, and how we release that which doesn’t serve us.

April 13 – Immune System – Learn how to strengthen the immune system and heal infections with the use of herbs. We’ll explore a range of herbs – from the powerful benefits of all species of basil provide to the immune-enhancing qualities of garlic and Echinacea spp., to immune-modulating herbs such as Astragalus that build immunity and yet are safe for people with auto-immune conditions. We’ll explore the differences between innate and acquired immunity as we explore the watery brilliance of our lymphatic circulatory system. Recipes such as Robin’s “ginger-thyme (Thymus v.) euphoria elixir” offer profound lung and bronchial healing along with spiritual upliftment, and will be shared in class, with students invited to make it at the same time. “Your immune systems are comprised of all parts of the eco-system you know as yourself, and include not only every part of you, from your conscious and subconscious thoughts to your physical body systems but also how you live and function in relationship with the larger ecosystems that surround you.”* (Excerpted from The Gift of Healing Herbs by Robin Rose Bennett)

April 20 – Nervous System, Part I – Learn natural ways to stabilize your nervous system with herbal oils, tinctures, infusions, and baths – full-body, foot, and even hand baths can be immensely helpful. The nervous system holds the key to our overall health. Neurons live everywhere in our bodies and affect all of our systems: cardiovascular, immune, digestive, respiratory, urinary, musculoskeletal, and sexual/reproductive. Learn to use herbs to strengthen the resilience of whatever system(s) need(s) your attention. Caring for yourself with loving-kindness is a radical act, and herbs such as oat straw, lavender (Lavendula spp.), basil, St John’s wort (Hypericum spp.), and more help address anxiety, pain, nerve damage, inflammation, headaches, insomnia, lethargy, and more.

May 4 – Nervous System, Part II– In this evening we’ll continue our discussion of how to use herbs and ritual practices to support the health of your nervous system. We’ll look to the gifts of roses, California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), motherwort (Leonurus c.), skullcap (Scutellaria spp.), lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora), and more to help us when healing from shocks to the system, despair, betrayal, heartache, and more. 

May 11– Herbal First Aid, on the road and at home – In this evening we’ll explore what to do when things go wrong; when someone falls, cuts themselves, swells up after a bug bite, hyperventilates, freaks out, and more. Which herbs are indispensable? What do you want in your first aid kit at home or while traveling? What’s growing in your backyard that might prevent an infection from a splinter or a wasp sting, or from stepping on a piece of glass?

Herbs such as yarrow (Achillea milfoil), St John’s wort, echinacea, plantain, and more are multi-talented healers. We will delve into different ways to use these and other herbs internally and topically to help prevent further complications from accidents and to achieve amazing healing results. 

May 18 – An Herbal Full Moon Celebration– This evening we’ll celebrate! We’ll all bring rose preparations to the party and share what we’ve made as we gather “under” the full moon to sing, dance, and honor all the good work that you’ve done to date, in reconnecting yourself with the Earth and helping yourself and others with herbal medicine. Robin will answer questions and lead a full moon meditation where you may reflect on where you’ve come from, where you are presently, and where you wish to go next, aided by the illuminating light of the beautiful full moon. 

Note: This program will now be offered online. It will be recorded and shared with registrants after each online program for three months (90 days).

Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy

For Single Evening Events, Series, Half-Days and Mini-Workshops, Walking Tours, Single-Event Webinars or O’Cast™ Recordings, there are no refunds or course credits for these offerings.

For Full Workshops, Ongoing Courses and Webinars and Online Courses:

  • Refunds are available minus a processing fee* if you cancel up to 11 business days prior to the first day of the program.
  • Course credits are available, minus a processing fee* if you cancel up to 3 business days prior to the first day of the program.

*The processing fee for cancellation is $15 for programs costing less than $250, and $35 for programs costing $250 and up.

No refunds or credits will be given for cancellations less than business days prior to the first day of a program, or if a student does not attend a program. The estimated refund processing time is two to three weeks.

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New York Open Center

The New York Open Center’s mission is to bring the holistic, ecological and spiritual worldview into the contemporary world. Founded in 1984 in the heart of downtown New York City, The Open Center offers programs, workshops, conferences, lectures and performances that awaken the potential of the human...

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