Fireweed School Herbal Apprenticeship Program
The 2019 Program is now full. We normally open registration in the fall each year.
The Fireweed School Herbal Apprenticeship Program was created by Jessy Delleman in 2015. Jessy has been offering the program for the past consecutive four years, and each year the program evolves as its teachings become more deeply infused and guided by the wisdom of the medicine plants. Jessy has been working full time with the plants as a herbalist and herb grower since 2008, and dabbling in their magic long before that. Her passion is the reception of direct knowledge of a plants medicine through the nature given senses, and facilitating that means of knowing for her students.
The Apprenticeship is supported by the presence and assistance of Harmony Pillon who has been an intrinsic part of Fireweed since the first year the farm opened. Harmony has attended each apprenticeship year since the program's conception, and offers a wealth of unique experiential knowledge that ties together many modalities and traditions. She enjoys steeping herself fully in the wisdom of the plants though plant meditations, botanical drawing, and the study of medical astrology.
Classes take place at Fireweed Farm & School in Brentwood Bay BC, with additional field trips to natural areas for plant walks and wildcrafting.
$2300 (includes all course books and materials, including herbs and medicine making supplies). A tuition deposit of $250 is required with your application. The remaining tuition can be paid in full on the first day of class, or paid in 4 instalments throughout the course.
Classes take place on a Sunday/Monday 'weekend' once per month from the end of March until the beginning of November, for a total of nine weekends (or 18 full class days). Note that there are two sessions in July and no classes in August. Each class day is held from 9am-4pm. The 2019 program has been extended to include a bonus extra full day of class time not offered in previous years. Attendance is expected for all class dates:
March 24th & 25th
April 21st & 22nd
May 19th & 20th
June 16th & 17th
July 7th & 8th
July 28th & 29th
September 8th & 9th
October 6th & 7th
November 3rd & 4th
As a student of the program you have a natural curiosity; a willingness and desire to not only root deeply in the experiential knowledge and legacy of plant medicine, gaining tools for a lifetime of study, but to also root deeply into your own personal healing journey with the plants. Through the program you will learn how to utilize plant medicines for healing on the levels of mind, body, and spirit.
Vitalist Herbal Theory
Fundamental to Vitalist theory is the awareness of nature's intelligence. There is a wisdom, a vital force in nature, that is always returning to balance. Within our bodies lies that same wisdom, that same vital force.
Daily life is continually throwing us off balance and we are continually needing to readjust to maintain health and wellness. In an attempt to heal itself and return to balance the body expresses symptoms, these symptoms are the language of the body.
To foster wellness, this language must be listened to rather than suppressed. When we learn to listen to the wisdom of our bodies, and of the earth and nature, a deep wellness and vitality can emerge. Plant medicines are valuable in supporting the body's natural ability to heal itself and return to homeostasis, through their effects on our body, mind and spirit.
Throughout the Fireweed Apprenticeship we will be returning to rest in these foundational principles, helping to ensure our practice of herbal medicine is truly holistic in nature.
Plant Spirit Medicine
The plants are our greatest teachers. No book, no video, no podcast, no program, no teacher, can instil in us the deep-rooted knowledge that comes from learning directly from the plants themselves.
Speaking a language that we once all new and understood, the plants can offer us direct knowledge of their medicine. Learning this language is a practice, a refining and reawakening of the senses we already have laying dormant within us.
Throughout the Apprenticeship we will be learning how to open to the wisdom of the plants, and gain insight through direct communion and heart-centred perception. When we humble ourselves in gratitude to our plant teachers potent wisdom and insight can be gained, both of the plant's medicine and of ourselves and our own true natures.
During our exploration of Plant Spirit Medicine we will also have a look at ancient systems of knowledge such as the Elements, Astrology, the Chakras, and how these structural frameworks can help us develop a language in which to describe our experiences with the plants, as well as help synchronize the rhythms of our minds and bodies with those of the earth and nature.
In materia medica we learn the medicinal uses and actions of the individual plant species, as well as how to identify the plants in nature, and species-specific harvesting and medicine preparation. This program focuses only on plants that can be found in our local ecosystem. It includes native plants and weeds growing wild, as well as exotic and traditional Western herbs growing in the Fireweed herb garden.
Timed with the first burst of emerging buds in spring and commencing with the fallen leaves and restfulness of autumn, the Fireweed Apprenticeship takes place through the most vital time of the year when the plants are awake and abundant all around us.
Surrounded by nature and the medicine plants at the farm and in the wild, a unique feature of the program is the opportunity to meet and spend time with each and every plant covered in your materia medica. We will be using our senses to discover the plants medicine by looking, touching, smelling, tasting, listening, and feeling the plant before us.
Botany & Herb Growing
Students will learn basic botany as it applies to growing medicinal herbs. Integrated hands-on learning in the herb garden will take place throughout the course, and skill building will be facilitated in the areas of plant propagation, planting, harvesting, and seed-saving.
Harvesting & Medicine Making
The Fireweed Apprenticeship offers a solid foundation in the art and science of herbal medicine making. This is a strong component of the course providing students with the opportunity to produce plant medicines from start to finish: from seed to plant to finished herbal product.
Class time will be spent with hands-on lessons in medicine making. Studying at the herb farm gives us the benefit of witnessing peak harvest times to inform our practice and enhance the medicinal potency of our preparations. Students will have access to the herb garden to harvest additional herbs with which to practice their techniques at home.
Medicine making preparations covered during the course include teas, tinctures, infused oils, salves, liniments, infused vinegars, herbal syrups and infused honeys.
Body Systems & Herbal Therapeutics
A holistic approach to anatomy and physiology will be offered and integrated into the course material with focus on the body, mind, emotions, and spirit as a whole connected organism.
We will learn the basic biology of how our bodies work and look for the interconnections that produce wellness, or alternatively, the symptoms of disease. We will discuss a variety of aliments, including eczema and skin disorders, allergies, autoimmune disease, menstrual disorders, urinary tract infections, and digestive disorders, and explore how they can be supported with herbs.
Energetics & Constitutional Theory
Rather than view the body as a machine with a collection of working (or non-working) parts, we can view it as a ecosystem unto itself. Each body is unique, and understanding that uniqueness can be facilitated by learning constitutional theory.
In the Fireweed Apprenticeship we will discuss the constitutional framework provided by the Ayurvedic Tri-Dosha system. We will discuss how a constitutional system is integral to the holistic practice of herbal medicine. Understanding the energetics of our plants and herbal formulas take the individuals unique constitution into consideration, and help us to formulate more efficiently and effectively.
Formulation & Clinical Theory
During the program students will explore methods and techniques on how to combine herbs in formula to create effective remedies for the treatment of common pathologies. Several case studies will be practiced throughout the program so that students can gain experience in formulation. Students will be offered an introduction to the practice of clinical herbalism.