About Iris Weaver, M.A.:
I am a shamanic herbalist and educator located in the Beverly, MA, area. I work with herbs and weeds, traditional foods, shamanic practices, and spiritual counseling. My methods are based on Wise Woman, Western Herbal, and shamanic healing traditions.
I have always loved plants. From very early in life, when I needed safety and hope, I found plants to be my strong friends and allies. I relied on them for help, even just to give me a spark of joy in the midst of dark days. They have always been friends, companions.
My love of wild plants and weeds blossomed when I was in my mid-teens. I had always chewed on grass blades and honeysuckle blossoms, but I started seriously foraging when I discovered Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons. It was a love not only of wild foods, but medicines as well, and the other wonderful things you can do with plants. While I was eating wild plants, I was also collecting them for the dye pot to dye woolen yarn, an interest that eventually led to my going to school for fashion design.
Just as anyone wants to know more about their friends, I wanted to learn more about the plants. In my teens I began reading books and looking at all the plants growing around me. I wanted to know their names and what they were used for—food, medicine, making colors. I experimented and researched, attended workshops, and corresponded with several herbalists. What wonderful discoveries I made!
The plants accompanied me as I raised my daughter as a single parent, went to college as an adult learner and got my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and edged my way into becoming a teacher. The funny thing is that the plants have always known I was here to work with them, and to teach about them to people. It just took me a lot of years to understand that. Once I got the message, however, they were not letting go! And thus I find that they have become my passion, my avocation, and, now, my vocation.
I have studied the plants and taken classes with wonderful herbalists including Susun Weed and Sean Donahue. I find great joy in sharing what I have learned in classes, workshops, and plant walks. Because I am self-taught about plants and herbalism, I understand the student’s view-point, and I teach from that perspective. My passion for the plants and how we work with them informs all aspects of my workshops, talks, and classes. My classroom and workshop materials and handouts reflect a learner’s need for both basic and advanced information.
I have taught a wide range of herbal classes in many locations, including adult education, garden clubs, and community groups. I have been teaching at the Boston Center for Adult Education since 1999 and in the Community Education department at North Shore Community College in Beverly, MA, since 2008. I also teach classes and workshops at various other locations, and on request.
I have always focused on the plants that are around us, in our gardens, the fields, the woods. I feel strongly that the best medicine, the best food, the best magic and crafts, are from the plants that we can easily access, whether through wild-crafting or growing, or purchasing affordably at the store. Thus the plants that I love the most, and work with the most (with a few exceptions), are the ones that are around me and that I can grow or pick myself. It is this philosophy that informs the work that I do with the plants, my teaching, and the products, crafts, and magic that I make.