Working with Plant Medicine

This week I'm bringing you a guest blog from Renee Baribeau, The Practical Shaman, to let you know about an upcoming trip she is facilitating to Mexico, May of 2016, to work with plant medicine.  When we first posted the article below, she was in the process of taking a group to Mexico on a similar trip in 2013.  I have worked with Renee and have been following her blog and emails for the past couple of years, and I also know Maria Teresa Valenzuela from her powerful teachings at the Grandmother's Summit in 2011.  Both are profound shamanic practitioners and I'm sure their  workshop will be transformational.  Here's more....Kaliani

Renee writes: 

Our upcoming trip will be an amazing cross-cultural experience and opportunity for healers and mystics from our group and from Mexico. As a participant, you will explore traditional Curanderismo, traditional ceremonial lodge, herbal remedies, plant medicine and their practical, modern-day applications for your life. In addition to Maria Teresa Valenzuela the tour will be facilitated by Renee Baribeau and Rosario Sarria.


Are plants intelligent?  Do they know more about you than you know about yourself? 

Healing from the Inside Out: Working with an Intelligent Plant

If you are ready and can hear the plant calling you, I invite you to join us for a southern journey, May 22-28, 2013.  Details are available at

According to Vedic Traditions, all memories are stored in the energetic direction of the East, including our subconscious dreams, waking moments and future events. There are many ways to access these levels of awareness, including crossed-legged meditation in a temple, climbing mountains, yoga, dreams, and one which I found to be more expedient: working with sacred plant medicine. 

After years of therapy and energy work, I still arrived at my plant medicine workshop full of anger and resentment.  Immediately after swallowing the sticky bitter liquid, my mind cast doubt into my decision, “The shaman is evil, and I made a mistake.” I was not allowing myself to surrender to my dance partner or the music. The plant inherently knew that the first level of healing needed to take place. 

Looking back, it is clear that my inability to surrender was like a concrete sidewalk preventing a shoot from bursting through into the light of day.  As early as the 4th grade I remember choosing my own reading material in class, and my fits of rage were like tentacles, strangling every relationship throughout my life. The plant accurately and intuitively honed in on my inability to trust.

After the first few sessions I was able to gradually shift away from my mistrust of the shaman and medicine. I began to relax and allowed the teacher to hold the space for my healing. She rocked me gently to console me, teaching me to trust others and myself. 

As the medicine brought me deeper, I realized that abuse and anger are multidimensional issues buried deep within certain organs of my body. One time, during an earlier session, I discovered that the abuse I encountered as a child was buried in my ovary. Its rapid throbbing indicated a great need to release years of pent up pain and anguish.

Our hotel
Our Hotel
As a healer, I watch my own clients struggle with their inner demons. Recently one client shamed her child in attempt to try and get her to exercise. Some people cling to relationships as if they were gripping the bar tightly on a roller coaster ride; anything to prevent separation. In my work I use a combination of conversation, energy, homeopathy and when appropriate, I use plant medicine.

Working with other experts in various fields helps my clients move from pain to health in far less time than the 25 years it took me. I have one student who went from the traveler voted less likely to succeed, to a powerful healer and happy family member in less than three years. It is heartwarming to watch her grow.

Last year, I organized a trip to a Mexican community and will be returning again this year. The Grandmother of this spiritual community, Maria Teresa Valenzuela, is a Curandera, whom I have grown to trust during the past ten years. Her group has made our group feel most welcome. We will also work with a male shaman, named Tatateuvenal, who I found to be a gentle and impeccable seer.

Hot Springs
Hot Springs
Last spring I was there with a small group. The first night, Tata looked around the circle and called me out from the group and asked me to sing a song. Perplexed, I asked Maria Teresa, “How does Tatateuvenal know that I have songs buried within me?” I struggled throughout the night to retrieve the ceremonial words I had previously stashed when my local community lodge had disassembled in strife. A few nights later I was prepared to sing and did so. That night, during my inner journey, I felt his loving songs, which allowed me to explore deep, lingering pain. I asked the plant to show me where faith resided and was shown that it required an absence of doubt. Then I asked to see where self-hatred lives in the body. During the course of this mystical journey, I was taken on a magic carpet ride into my inner domain, and discovered where the energy was hiding. Like the blindfolded one in a hide and seek game, each time I found one place, I was made aware of another, and could hear a voice calling my name, beckoning me to an even deeper level of my subconscious body.

At the end of this powerful experience, I felt the love of the community welcoming me back, celebrating my rebirth, and accepting me as a member of their tribe. From the windless void, a sweet song emerged, which I plan to transform into a book. I continue to work with my teacher who guides me as a healer, and as a loving member of society.  Anger has ceased to control my life, and I am ready to embrace the fullness of my destiny.

Learn more by listening to this 25 minute dialogue between Maria Teresa and Renee Baribeau:
For details about the 2016 Trip to Mexico:

All photographs copyright 2013 by Renee Baribeau, used with permission.


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