Natural Healing: Q and A with Pam Montgomery


| March/April 2002





Name: Pam Montgomery
Age: 50
Hometown: Danby, Vermont
Education and training: Holistic health education at Empire State College in Ithaca, New York; live-in apprentice with Susun Weed; participated in Eliot Cowan’s practitioner training in plant spirit medicine.
Occupation: Author of Partner Earth: A Spiritual Ecology (Destiny, 1997). Educator and practicing herbalist, plant spirit medicine practitioner and organizer of herbal events, including the annual Green Nations Gathering held in the Catskill Mountains.

“Green Nations is herb-related, but also focuses on earth-centered teaching and earth stewardship,” she says. “Native teachers come to share, and I often look for some special guest who works with health and healing in a particular way.” Montgomery also organizes the Healing with Flowers conference, focusing on flower essences and aromatherapy, and operates the Partner Earth Education Center, an educational center where she teaches herb classes.

How did you become interested in herbal medicine?
It goes back a long time to my grandparents. They lived in the eastern hills of Kentucky on a farm where they lived off the land. My grandmother was a real plant person with lots of flowers/plants around everywhere. They instilled in me a love of the earth and growing things. I spent my summers there, being close to the earth and developing a big love of the earth. It was in my genes to totally love plants.

Having that as a background, and realizing the economy and social structure could change at any time, I knew I needed to learn how to take care of myself. A big part of that was learning how to take care of my own health and growing my own food. There were hardly any herb books back then, so a lot of it was my own experience, experimenting with the plants, and taking care of myself and my family. Working with plants became a passion. Eventually, I realized, “I really like this” and decided, “why not let my passion be my livelihood?”

Part of my interest over the years has been the energetic nature of herbs or the spirit aspect of the plants and how that affects us. I think we’re suffering from malnutrition of the spirit, so for years I’ve been mostly interested in how that part of healing with herbs really works, and how practical it is.

Tell us about your conservation efforts.
Here in the northeast, the woods used to be covered with many native plants like ginseng and bloodroot. But now, it’s very sparse, and that’s very disturbing. There are a few little plants here and there, but it’s not super-abundant like it used to be. There’s been overharvesting—especially of valuable herbs such as ginseng. Local folks harvested it to make money with no thought of what it was doing to diversity.

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