All of our ancestral peoples used plants as medicine and as an integral component of their healing traditions whether as food, herbal remedies, or shamanic allies. Our interaction and interdependence with plants guided human alignment with the landscape, other living beings, seasonal changes, and celestial forces. Plants inhabit cultural narratives, myths, and stories both now and in the past, and were centered in many ancient practices that connected humans with the seen and unseen animate forces of nature.
About Lisa Fazio
Plant Healing Artist
Folk Herbalist + Writer
I have spent countless hours and days alone in the wilds sitting with rocks, feeling the pulse of rivers, breathing with the great Eastern Hemlocks, listening for directions from the crows, following the trail of the seasons, and, of course, learning the language of the plants.
I have been devoted and apprenticed to the animate landscape, the innate healing potential of the living world, the Earth, and the vital force of nature since I was 4 years old and began joining my grandfather on tracking and mushroom gathering excursions in the mountains.
I am the descendant of Irish and Italian immigrants and live and work where all of my people first settled Turtle Island among the foothills of the Adirondacks in what is now known as New York State.
I am a tracker. I track the obstacles to healing and want to know what the underlying causes are. I track patterns of imbalance as well as patterns of strength and resilience. I seek the keys of inner creativity and genius. I want to know what lies beneath.
As such, my work is to connect people with the magick of plants, nature, and their own innate healing potential. I do not profess quick fixes, miracle cures, or the superficial resolution of symptoms, but instead seek to guide others in the sacred journey that is uniquely aligned with the destiny of each individual and their relationship to place, community, and the more-than-human world.
“The wound reveals the cure.” ~Hygeia
Many great healers have told us that our most valuable gifts often lie within our deepest wounds. As we progress into our unique healing journeys we often grow and expand as we also excavate our creative potentials. As we seek resolution for our health challenges we are also guided into self-exploration resulting in a further understanding of who we are and why we are her. Our greatest strengths, our genius, and our evolutionary health can be followed through the illuminated beams of light that seep out from our broken places. This means that I don’t offer “this herb for that” unless it’s necessary to getting deeper into the root causes.
I want to work with those that desire to learn how plants can resonate and correspond with human conditions and dis-ease as well as our dreams, our creative potential, and vital energy in such a way as to invoke shifts towards our optimal health and an embodied life.
Plants have shown me how they can be catalysts for an expanded relationship with “self” as well as community and how we can collaborate with them to support intact cultural resurgence, social justice, and decolonization leading us to greater sustainability, reparations, and the possibility of thriving on a damaged planet.
I have studied and practiced as a Traditional Western Herbalist for 25 years beginning when my young daughter had chronic ear infections and we didn’t have health insurance or the funds needed to pay for the surgery being recommended to us by conventional medical doctors. One of my very first herbal remedies was garlic oil and, because of this, my daughter never had another ear infection and didn’t need surgery which seemed like a miracle to our family. Plants as food, medicine, and sentient allies have supported and continue to guide me as a mother of 4 children as well as in my ongoing personal healing journey through the resolution of severe asthma and allergies, chronic fatigue, and Lyme disease. I am also someone who has been challenged with lifelong depression, anxiety, and complex trauma and, in this context, plants have literally saved my life and continue to support me in my emotional and neuro-physiological health.
I am a lineage witch as a granddaughter of the city of Benevento, Italy, La Citta Delle Strega, the city of witches. My grandmother was born in Benevento where my great-grandmother was a known witch who could dispell the curse of the Malocchio (the evil eye) as well as other physical and spiritual ailments using traditional, indigenous Italian healing methods.
The other skills I carry in my medicine basket are, first and foremost trauma informed practice, herbal remedies, flower essences, ancestral and lineage recovery, witchcraft, ritual, astrology, yoga, and dreamwork. With these I also carry my deep love for both plants and humans along with a firm and unwavering confidence in the healing ways of the natural world.
My primary herbal medicine training was by informal, ancient-style apprenticeship where I worked daily, one-on-one, with the amazing and brilliant herbalist Kate Gilday of Woodland Essence for over 20 years. I continue to be under Kate’s mentorship to this day and spent 12 years as an employee for her business working as a wildcrafter, gardener, consulting with customers, filling orders, preparing formulations and all other aspects of herbal medicine making. I also worked and learned from late great herbalist Jean Argus of Jean’s Greens as an organic gardener and medicine maker.
My formal herbal training includes several structured training series and long-term group apprenticeships with many teachers including Matthew Wood and Pam Montgomery. Focuses of formal study and practice include: Spiritual Ecology, the Heart as the Path to Spirit, Plants as teachers, Journeying, Working with the Medicine Wheel, Five Element Theory, the Chakra System, Ayurveda, Alchemy, the six tissue states, the four qualities, the six directions, the twelve primary organ systems, traditional herbal diagnosis, specific medicine and Western Herbal materia medica.
I have spent 3 decades studying and practicing the language of astrology under both the formal and informal tutelage of Tiny Shuster, aka The White Witch of St. Johnsville.
I also hold a BA in psychology from the State University of New York, an AAS in Human Services from Mohawk Valley Community College and have completed Master’s level studies in Chemistry, Botany, and Environmental
***The lands I live upon are the unceded, colonized territory of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) confederacy and I am committed to the continued acknowledgement and awareness of the trauma and genocide that occured here as well as acting in every way possible, to the best of my ability and awareness, to honor these First Nations, accept responsibility for my own and my ancestors complicity in this ongoing conquest, and make every effort to learn more, understand greater, and do better at contributing to the creation of a right and reparative relationship with this place and it’s indigenous people and all those oppressed by white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy.
Below is a link to the full story of my first adventures hiking with my grandfather: