Don Ollsin is the author of Pathways to Healing, a Guide to Herbs, Ayurveda, Dreambody and Shamanism; here is a link to his website:
Q: What inspired you to write Pathways to Healing?
A: The deep incredible experiences that my students were having in my classes. I wanted to make make them available to a larger audience. To that end I have also made them available as an e-book and I offer courses based on Pathways to Healing, a Guide to Herbs, Ayurveda, Dreambody and Shamanism over the Internet.
Q: What kind of research did you do?
A: Much of the research for my book was done through direct contact with my many teachers. I have been in the herbal field for almost 5 decades. My other research was working with my wonderful students.
Q: What evidence did you discover in the research?
A: Given the right environment and guidance my students were able to access deep levels of healing, sometimes resulting in a complete transformation of their lives.
Q: What is Ayurveda?
A: Ayurveda is the art and science of living. It is a system system based on nature. It over 5000 years old. It is as relevant today as it was in the past.
Q: What qualifies someone to be a shaman?
A: Training under a true shaman. I have had the great good fortune of being trained by native elder Ellen White.
Q: What makes your book different from other books about natural healing and diet?
A: My book is different from many other books on natural healing in that it brings together the traditional deep systems of ayurveda, shamanisim and modern systems like process oriented psychology which was originally known as dreambody. This truly integrates the body mind and soul.
Q: What have you done to market your book?
A: Mostly my book has been available to my students and to people who find find my web sight.
Q: What is the best advice you can give to a new vegetarian?
A: Be sensible and do not follow any of the fad diets. Over my five decades of being in this field I have watched much many people destroy their health by following fanatic diets.. Also do not put diet ahead of kindness and enjoyment of life.
Q: You were a vegetarian chef. What is the secret to tasty vegetarian cookery?
A: The secret is in the ingredients. Great ingredients and a good cookbook can provide great vegetarian dishes.
Q: What is your strangest work story?
A: “In long training you become one with the herbs. Connect your deepest feelings with the plant, your buddy, sister, brother or elder. How do you feel in the presence of the plant, playful, respectful, full\empty, joy\sorrow?” Ellen White.
Dorothy Mclean introduced me to this incredible learning and healing tool. She was one of the three founding members of the famous community called Findhorn, in Scotland. It was her work to tune into the plant spirits to get guidance on how to grow them. She would meditate on the different plants and then write down what they communicated. Through the plants’ guidance they grew incredible vegetables that attracted attention from all over the world. She taught the importance of writing down what you received. The act of writing worked to draw the plant’s energy into this world.
This is the art of awake dreaming. First we explore dreams of the plant domain. The practice of attuning is vital to the art of dreaming. You will learn this craft quickly with practice. This way of working with plants changed my life.
The beginning of the Herbal Healing Journey was marked by a very special event. It was the last evening of a series of evening classes I had been teaching. The students were doing their projects. The last student was my dear friend Stan Tomandl. He passed around a charcoal salve that he had made from the Devils Club plant. He asked us to place it anywhere on our body that needed healing or attention. Next he began a healing dance using two deer antlers. His dance was very entrancing and the class continued late into the evening.
Stan and I left for home in my red van. We took one look at each other and knew that we wanted to go further with the wonderful state we were experiencing. I suggested that we go to see my Oak tree in Beacon Hill park (a local park in Victoria, B.C., Canada) I call it my Oak tree as I had been doing intensive attunement work with it over the last few years. It was the first plant that I did an attunement with.
It was snowing as we drove into the park and parked my van. We got out and started for the tree. It was a magical night and the snow was gently falling through the giant oaks. We came over the crest of a small hill and my heart leapt into my throat. There laying on the ground was my friend, the oak tree. I was stunned. Next I saw this beautiful blue glow coming from the base of the tree where it had snapped.
As I approached the tree, there was an incredible female deva bathed in blue light, hovering just above the broken stump. I gazed at her in wonderment. She smiled and spoke to me. ” I called you here tonight to say goodbye. I could not leave without saying goodbye. Thank you for your love and friendship. I am now finished here and ready to move on. Goodbye.”
Three weeks later the first Herbal Healing Journey was begun. I have conducted many Herbal Healing Journey Intensives since 1986 and am now expanding it to include this present work.
Plants are powerful allies that share our world with us. They are there to offer us support, guidance and healing. Plants are the foundation of all systems of herbalism. You can tune into plants anywhere in the world.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.