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About The Root Circle

Ancestral Skills

Plants

Place

Magick

The mission of The Root Circle is to share plant-based medicine teaching, ancestral skills and Earth healing magick that is rooted in place and centered on principles of social justice, sustainability, permaculture, and ecological restoration.

The Root Circle is a cultural center and herbal education school that seeks to reclaim and promote plants and plant medicine as an integral component of healthy human community.  

Our ultimate goal is to contribute to the emerging movement to recover and re-imagine our inherent capacity to innovate and creatively adapt to swiftly changing and precarious ecological pressures.

While I have been in this life so far I have followed, however reluctantly at times, my ancestors into the crypt of gather. It’s an old and forgotten place full of magick, bones, unseen essence, and the dormant seeds of lands once forested and inspirited. The forests, as I’ve found them here within, still beam with the sap of stone lit eons and are yet inhabited by the wisdom of a place that once taught us to pull and turn those infinitesimal galaxy flares out by the curl of palmed sinew wrapped fingers so we may conduct each twisted code of light into the breathing, speaking, stories of the land.  It is here that the leaves shape the wave of the hills and my basket waits for visitors.

 

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Bioregional herbalism for community resilience, creative resistance, and generative living

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.

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.

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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.”
— Hygieia

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.

Working with plants has 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.

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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.

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My primary herbal medicine training was by informal, ancient-style apprenticeship where I worked daily, one-on-one,  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.

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Lisa has been graciously sharing the ways of herbal healing for many years, weaving her experience and intimate connection with plants and the sacred Earth from which they rise with the science and magick she has found along the way.

Her classes and workshops are designed to not only offer traditional herbal medicine studies, but also to help encourage and empower students to bring herbal support and allies into their daily lives.

Hands-on demonstrations, well researched information, along with a deep well of experience and knowledge create a space for true learning in a community of plants and people. I love Lisa’s desire to awaken and expand new ways of thinking about healing, her hands-in-the-soil, simple yet profound insights along with her integrity and fearlessness in tackling some of the larger issues of health and well-being as a birth-right for all! 



She speaks of and for the medicine plants she knows so well even as she honors the ancient ways of tending hearth, home, body and soul. She is a gifted medicine woman, in a timeless lineage of herbalists, who carries on the task of educating and healing in beautiful ways! Not to be missed!
— Kate Gilday, Woodland Essence
I am blessed and honored to know Lisa for many years personally and professionally. I love her holistic mindset where healing body, mind, and spirit with herbs, flowers and planet energy empowers individuals, communities and nature itself. Lisa is a true wise woman.
— Christine Shahin, Goddess Beauty
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Below is a link to the full story of my first adventures hiking with my grandfather: