The Other Way

048: A Deep Dive into Shamanism & Plant Medicine with Judy Lieblein

September 05, 2023 Kasia Stiggelbout Season 1 Episode 48
The Other Way
048: A Deep Dive into Shamanism & Plant Medicine with Judy Lieblein
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Do you ever wonder about the ancient wisdom of shamanism and the profound transformation it can spur within an individual? Today, I'm thrilled to share my compelling conversation with Judy Lieblein an esteemed herbalist, reiki master teacher, visionary activist, and shamanic practitioner. Our insightful discussion unfolds around the intriguing spiritual system of shamanism and the transformative experiences that punctuate this journey, such as the intriguing phenomena of fragmentation and shamanic death.

We journey deep into the heart of shamanic death, contrasting it with soul fragmentation and dissociation. Judy illuminates how this experience can trigger a profound reshaping of belief structures, leading us to the core of who we are. As we uncover these layers, we also explore how the echoes of childhood traumas and unexpressed feelings can bind us to the past, and how recognizing and breaking these patterns can imbue a fresh perspective and personal growth.

As we delve into the enigmatic realm of plant medicine, Judy shares her wisdom about the romanticization and overconsumption of these potent substances. We emphasize the importance of recognizing plant medicine for its true purpose - powerful medicine, and debate the nuances of its use and distribution. Lastly, we acknowledge the potential of these plant allies to help us uncover our greatest potential and express gratitude for our shared time. Join us on this enriching journey into the world of shamanism, healing, and personal growth.

To Connect with Judy (Or Gathering Thyme):

  • https://gatheringthyme.com/
  • https://www.instagram.com/sacredroseherbals/
  • https://www.instagram.com/gathering.thyme.shop 

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To connect with Kasia

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Hello and welcome to Nourish. My name is Kasia and I'm an entrepreneur, a longtime meditator and a student of Chinese medicine. My mission with this podcast is to share the tools and practices to help you integrate your whole self into every aspect of your world. As someone who is both a Taipei high achiever and a deeply spiritual, vulnerable and empathetic being, I know firsthand how it feels to be living a double life Showing up one way at work, a different way alone and struggling to reconcile the two. This disintegration of authenticity is one of the biggest causes of burnout, health flares and anxiety. For me, understanding how the mind-body connection is crucial to health and success, cultivating a strong sense of inner self and applying the healing philosophies of Chinese medicine and Zen Buddhism to my life has allowed me to lead from a completely heart-powered place, letting go of other people's judgments and finding peace and allowing my multi-dimensional being to shine. My hope is that this podcast may inspire you to do the same. I want to call out. It is a practice, it is a journey, but I believe it is the most important thing that we can do for our bodies, minds and our ultimate potential. Enjoy, hello, my friends. Welcome back to the pod Today.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

I am so, so, so pumped to share with you a very special guest. I am speaking with the incredible Judy Lieblin. Judy is an herbalist, reiki master teacher, visionary activist, co-owner and on-staff herbalist at gathering time and owner of sacred rose herbals. Judy is also a shamanic practitioner and that is what we're gonna be diving into today. I had the good fortune of meeting with Judy several times, but most recently for an energy healing session where we went through my experience of a shamanic death, which is what was happening in real time at the time. I'm gonna get into that on today's episode. And today we really explore a spiritual system, lineage and path that is fairly new to me, and that is shamanism. Some of you might be aware of the word itself but not really familiar with what it means. Who is a shaman? What is a shamanic practitioner? How does that differ from a shaman? Talk about the different experiences that one may go through. May it be a fragmentation, a shamanic death, a initiation process, which is what Judy had gone through in the past.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

We're going to also talk about plant medicine and the use of plant medicine in the shamanic tradition and really dive into a lot of the reverence and the rituals associated with using plant medicine in this way, but also talk about some of the disconnect and what has been lost in our culture as this rise and awareness of psychedelics has really kind of pulsed through the world. I think this is a really important conversation because, as Judy and I discussed right after the recording, there's been this surge in the popularity and the availability of psychedelic medicine, plant medicine but I think it's important to also be aware of the sacred reverence of the plant itself and what misuse looks like, what overuse looks like and what are some of the not just benefits, which we are, of course, very well aware of, but what are some of the risks of misusing the medicine itself Overuse, improper use, using under the wrong set and setting intention harvesting. This is going to be quite the deep dive. For anyone who is curious about psychedelics, this is a must listen and for anyone who wants to dive deeper into understanding shamanism and shamanic practices, this is going to be an incredible intro. Without further ado, let's welcome the incredible Judy Lieblin to the podcast. Welcome, judy, hi, thank you for having me. It is such an honor.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

As I was saying right before we started recording, I feel like this conversation is going to go and already feels so much deeper than what I had kind of imagined our potential conversation topics to be, because just a couple of weeks ago, I actually experienced some of the healing work Would that be fair to say Healing work that you do. Yeah, I feel like I'm coming at it from a different perspective because from the moment that I met you, I was like, oh my gosh, I need to talk to this incredible human being on the podcast. Then now I'm like all right, I have a whole different point of view from which we can share, and I'm so pumped about it. Thank you, thank you, thank you for joining me. Before we jump into things, I want to start with a question that I ask everybody, and that is what are three words that you would use to describe yourself?

Judy Lieblein:

So this can change day to day, but in this moment I'd say solution area, adventurer and seer. Wow, what was the first one? Solutionarian, Like I'm always working to come up with solutions for whatever presents you know, either on a local level, collective level, global, and just wired that way to look for answers Wow, okay.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Well, that was the first time I've heard that one, and it's such a unique combination to have seer, which is, I think, kind of well, I know you, but like into seer of many realms combined with solutionarian. That's so rare. I like it, wow, and that I like that. That's what's coming up for you now and for me, having gotten to know you a bit better, that definitely resonates. I'm like, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, I can see that. And since you are an herbalist, I'm going to throw a question out there that I don't ask everybody, and that is if you were a plant, what would you be and does that change? Is that stagnant too? I'm curious. No, that's fluid as well.

Judy Lieblein:

but I'm feeling like mugwort and you know it's a native plant all through California but it holds both lunar and solar qualities and helps people to go into the treating time. You know it's a great medicine for as an oil for cramping and it's soothing and relaxing and eases deep tension. So I'm kind of I've been with the mugwort. I love that.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Also very appropriate from, at least on the receiving end, what I have seen of you. So I feel like I've been teasing this and I probably have talked about in the intro. But, judy, you're an herbalist, you're a shamanic practitioner, reiki master teacher, visionary activist, co-owner and on staff herbalist at gathering time, and you're the owner of sacred rose herbals, and there is a lot right there that we could cover. But the topic that I really want to dive into today partially because I feel like we touched some of this together when we did our work together is shamanism, and so I feel like this is a topic where there are just a lot of misconceptions, a lot of unknowns. When you hear the word shamanic practitioner, shaman, shamanism as a whole, there's just so much that can be interpreted there. So could you start by sharing with us what exactly is shamanism?

Judy Lieblein:

Oh. So I'm going to give like just a really broad, general, I guess, definition of it from how I know it and how I've studied it. So in many indigenous tribal cultures they would have one, they'd have a shaman within the tribe and the shaman would be a medicine man or medicine woman and they possessed, they were called to do this work at a very young age. They went through years of years and years of training in order to look into different realms, work with different spirits, in order to provide healing for anyone who came to them with any issue physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. So I don't consider myself a shaman I wouldn't use that word as I'm not indigenous so a shamanic practitioner, more what I've studied. I was called into this and I went through an initiatory illness where I received like psychic gifts and things like that which led me to this path, and then I studied with some indigenous medicine people to learn, and then it's just kind of incorporated into what I do.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Would shamanism also be considered a religion, or what are your thoughts on that?

Judy Lieblein:

So I think it's looked at as a religion and as and or spiritual practice, and I think the definition of it has changed through time and I think one of the reasons it's considered religious now is that there's certain rights that come with having a religious organization, and so to deem the plant medicine under this umbrella protects it so that people within the church or the group can use it freely. So I think you know, but again, I didn't grow up in an indigenous environment so I can't totally speak to that. But I think it holds both, both religious and spiritual.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

That must have been such a powerful experience. To have gone through what you described as kind of that indoctrination, in terms of the illness itself, or I don't know if there's a correct term for that. But then to also kind of be exposed to this world like that sounds exciting, but also a bit overwhelming to have kind of experienced that. What was your take on that?

Judy Lieblein:

It was scary. It was a long time, it was a couple year process that I went through. But I actually had met a medicine person who had come ended up in my circle and I described my experience and they were like, oh, that's classic initiatory illness. So they gave me the framework for it and helped me understand what was happening, what I was seeing, what I was experiencing, and then how to integrate it into daily life and then how to use those gifts going forward with other people.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

So for many people when they hear the term illness, you think like flu, covid. What exactly is this illness of quote indoctrination? Is there another term for it? What is happening?

Judy Lieblein:

if you can just briefly explain that for a moment, so, I mean you can read about it Like there's, there's books on it.

Judy Lieblein:

But you know, at this stage I think any illness can be an initiatory illness. For me, mine was a little bit classic, where I was unable to eat or drink for a year, I didn't sleep for almost a year and then I had visions and spirits would come talk to me and I would travel out and talk to them and so I started getting information about how the world was created and how to do different things. So the illness puts you into a place where just portals open, that you kind of get blown open and there's portals and then you learn and then the information kind of flows between you and what's in that other place. Some people go through that experience and never come back from it. Others can come back from it, but any type of but I've seen like these things happen with people if they have chronic pain. You know anything that's going to shift your consciousness into a different place so you can see the world differently.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

There's something very beautiful about that, because a lot of the time when we think about the suffering that comes with pain, with illness and there is, I think, a lot of suffering there for most people who go through any kind of illness, big or small, chronic, acute but to also have that be in, under some circumstances, maybe all out of some, a kind of opening portal, I think that there's something that kind of merges in a very interesting way the perceived horrible experience with like a beautiful otherworldly experience in one that's really profound, really profound.

Judy Lieblein:

And I think it becomes an and and I don't like to deny what goes on and in the human realm at all like there is physical pain, it can be awful, and people suffer, and there can also be blessings that come with it and it can depend where your mindset is, or some days that you're going to be more into the gifts that brings, other days you'll be more into like you know, I can't get out of bed, I can't eat, like it's just really hard. So I think it's an and situation.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Yeah, that's very non dual, I gotta say. You know it was so fascinating to me because this isn't like how we kicked off our initial meeting. You know, I came in and I was telling you about the kind of indecision and the limbo that I was initially dealing with around major life choice. You gave me a Oat straw and it cleared within a week and then I was like, okay, there's something going on here and I wanted to learn more about you and learn more about the work that you do. And it was interesting because your work are kind of the practice, the different practices that you incorporate into the healing work that you do. They weren't outwardly advertised, actually, like I couldn't even read about you, so it all came via conversation, which is quite amazing that we're getting to have this now because I can go deeper into the stuff.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

That, frankly, was pretty foreign.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

I mean, it was like a one, two word sentence about your background, of that of a shamanic practitioner, and so I actually mentioned that because so much of I think the wellness world right now is talking about healing this, healing that, and it's there's almost like at least in my experience this pull of when I'm suffering with something maybe psychosomatic or just completely emotional or physical.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Like all of the above, I'm always going to. You know, maybe it's going to be this healing modality, maybe it's this therapy, maybe it's something else, and it's just kind of there's no shortage of options as to who to go to, and I actually deeply appreciated the experience of actually seeking you out. Frankly, and I'm curious is that something that is typically common in the shamanic tradition where, in a way, there was once the sentence of like when the student is ready, the teacher will appear? That when someone is in a place of really being ready to kind of go through or process whatever is coming up and explore that from the perspective of shamanism, that that is how you find somebody to support you. Or is it, you know because there are just so many people out there offering all sorts of different gifts that can be hard to navigate who actually was indoctrinated, whose intentions are pure, and I'm curious, like what are your thoughts on that whole thing in terms of figuring that out?

Judy Lieblein:

I do believe that you know the people we need to meet or come to us, like the land in front of us, and so I think in regards to the shamanic but even that even happens as an herbalist, like when people are ready, they like they'll appear in the store, you know, and want to work with us, maybe having never worked with them before.

Judy Lieblein:

So I think there is a lot of that and I always tell people to just like, just get deep with, like, if you can come inside and figure out what it is that you're looking for and what it is that you want, and at different times, different modalities are going to be helpful. You can always re choose and, you know, maybe acupuncture is inappropriate now maybe you know cranial sacrum is better, maybe Reiki is better, maybe lymphatic work is better. So it's really, you know, I like people to stay fluid and actually see what works with them and what resonates, and the main thing is that the person across from you speaks a language you can understand and speaks a language that holds meaning and value to you and where you feel seen and heard and respected and safe, you know, and that can be in any field.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Beautifully said. So shifting gears for a second, because I kind of tease this quite a bit. But yes, I came to see you and when I described what I was going through which I'm happy to be very open about, but you kind of shared that you believed that what I was going through was something similar to that of a classic shamanic death, which is like completely a foreign concept to me. When I heard that, I'm like, okay, well, that's nice, because I had come to you thinking that we're going to do some sort of a soul retrieval. So I was going through, just for context, just what felt like a breaking down of a lot of the systems that I have been conditioned to work towards. So I was going through a shifting of my priorities with my career, a shifting of my identity and the amount of value that I have been putting on myself as in I am valuable based on what I put out into the world. And that helped me with this massive, massive void of okay.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

I spent my entire life working towards fixing x, being, you know, x, enough of whatever that could be physically or achievement oriented. And so I come in and you kind of start by telling me this, which sounds completely foreign. I start by, maybe, before we dive into my specific case and we can dive deeper into that of the shamanic death. I'm curious is a shamanic death one of different experiences that one might experience, like maybe the indoctrination being one, a soul retrieval being another? Like what are some of those common experiences that people might show up with if you can kind of give us a lay of the land? I don't even know if that's the accurate description, but yeah.

Judy Lieblein:

Well, people can show up with anything and so and I don't always use those terms for what somebody's presenting it's how the energy reads and how the energy is taking shape inside of somebody. So, yeah, I can look at, you know, fragmentation of spirit or soul. We can look at disconnection, can look at influence of entities or spirits who are not embodied. We can look at, you know, initiatory illness. So there's many things and some people never have a shamanic death, some people have one, some people have multiple ones. It really depends on somebody's what their trajectory is and what their path is and how they're walking through this lifetime.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

So it is a shamanic death.

Judy Lieblein:

So you know, I think one of the reasons why I was able to see this in you is because I've experienced a multitude of them and they're not comfortable.

Judy Lieblein:

But it's basically, as you described, kind of that breaking down of belief structures, thought patterns. You know, anything that's not true, anything that's a lie, that's not true gets broken down and if you think of like scaffolding holding you up and then you realize this oh wow, that's not true, this doesn't define who I am, and you take that off and then you start picking apart, you deconstruct your reality. At some point you pull up enough wood beams, the whole thing's going to come down and then you're going to be at the bottom and there's no way up. You're just on the bottom and you have to rebuild. So the shamanic death takes you down to, I want to say, the core of who you are, and you have to figure out who you are without that structure in order to rebirth. I don't know if that makes sense, so it can be really scary. The void is one place Some people can sit in that for a few minutes, a few hours, weeks months, years, just a place of basically almost like a loss of identity.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Yeah, oh, very much, it's a loss of identity. How does that differ from the process of fragmentation, which is what I had thought I was kind of experiencing because of the feeling of like disassociation that I felt was coming up?

Judy Lieblein:

So when I see fragmentation in someone, it's generally there was an event that happened that caused somebody to split off from themselves, like it was so traumatic on some level and people may or may not be conscious of the level of trauma that they experienced and so, like you know, if their souls, when you see a split or there's fragmentation or there's pieces of somebody out on the side, you know I'm going to want to bring back in or they're going to want to, I'll have them call those pieces back in.

Judy Lieblein:

Disassociation is more like you have left your home, you've left your body and you're just kind of outside up in somewhere around up in here, you know, and that, like that can be from shock or trauma as well, or just plain fear. So different things can happen. You know. It can be as getting yelled at for something you did when you were four years old that you didn't do, and like somebody not hearing you. Like if you're telling your parent, no, I didn't do this, and they're like, yes, you know, accusing you of something that maybe your sister or brother did not, being heard at four, or that can be enough to fragment somebody and they'll carry that with them through their life and feeling like people don't hear them because of that one instance, and then sometimes we'll live in the past, right, they take that forward with them.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

So when that is your experience and I think most of us I can't speak for everybody, but I think a lot of our population kind of experiences some degree of that Like I can definitely relate to that being the case. For me it comes up, for example, I don't know, like the fear of putting out something that I create like that just truly. If I'm creating it as part of a company, great, you know, it's not really me, like this isn't my heart that I'm putting out on the line. But if it's something that I ideated that I really put my heart into, that's the hardest thing to put out there and be seen for. And so, you know, I can kind of trace that back to perhaps an experience that happened that was really traumatic when I was younger. But where do we go from there? Right, like we're not living in that experience anymore, yet we're carrying with it that with us. So what does that look like? Is it a releasing, is it a rebuilding? Is it a kind of reconstructing that memory?

Judy Lieblein:

It's, you know. I think most of all it's recognizing the pattern within us. And recognizing any pattern is 50% of the work and that's the hardest part to actually see the pattern play out. Once you see the pattern, it just dissolves itself, like just time will dissolve it, and that's also so. You see the pattern and then you understand, oh, I'm no longer that person. Like I'm actually. You know, it's been five years, 10 years, 15, 20 years, like I'm not that person.

Judy Lieblein:

So when the situation comes up, the same situation. So yeah, you can re-choose. So maybe before you had an idea that you wanted to and I'm just not saying you, but like you people, you have an idea you want to put out into the world that stems from your heart, but you're afraid and you choose not to do it. You don't want to risk vulnerability, you don't want to risk rejection. The next time something emerges that comes up that you want to put out, then you actively take a step in that moment to make it happen. And maybe you don't see it all the way through, but maybe you write it down on a piece of paper and you start framing it. So we change patterning by making choices in the present.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

That's really, I think, offers a level of empowerment, right Like while not foregoing compassion and kind of acknowledging the pain that had happened, but at least it gives us something to move towards or to make a different choice. Today I'm curious, it was fascinating to me, because we had one session and then at the end of it I was like, okay, so now, what? Right? Like you're like, okay, you're going through shamanic death. What happened in the session happened. We don't have to like give a play by play. But then afterwards I was like, okay, well, what's going to happen now? And you're like, well, take this herbal extract that you recommended. I'm going to send you my notes and you have passed through it. Be on your merry way.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

Essentially, that's kind of my experience. I'm so curious, like how does that work? Right, like what exactly had happened? If you can kind of walk through to the best of your ability, like what had happened, right, because something did shift and I, when I was in the room with you, I had a very, very clear experience of my body tingling. I described, and it was like this level of presence as we were speaking, that I hadn't experienced before. But I'm just like what on earth happened?

Judy Lieblein:

That's a good question.

Judy Lieblein:

I don't know that.

Judy Lieblein:

I know, like because I'm so in the moment when it's going on and I'm just so focused on, like you, the person in front of me, that I kind of let go of a lot of things, and so I don't always remember what I'm saying, because I'm just kind of moving, like so the person in front of me dictates whatever happens in the session and the person shows me what they need or what they want, and then I'm there to help facilitate that. So I think part of you know what happened was the validation of your experience, meaning, like you know, I had been through something similar, through a different thing, and so I saw you actually energetically shift out of a space into a new space and I kind of the way you described it, I kind of feel bad that I was like bye, and since you're on your merry way, but no, I liked it. I liked it Because it was like you know you're good, move on like now, like go into the world, and it was like kind of freeing and I started going yeah exactly so.

Judy Lieblein:

You can always come back, and people can always come back, and I like to take time to have energy settle and I like for people to distill their own experiences and then, if they have questions or they're unsure that, you can always, you know, email me or come, come back and sit again and we can take a look.

Judy Lieblein:

But we're constantly changing and evolving, like every second of the day. You know we're different than who we were five minutes before, and so I trust nature and I trust in people's ability to create what they want and to move towards what they want. And then at times, yeah, we need help from our friends or from somebody across from us to help, you know, get us on the path or point out where the path is. So I think that's some of what took place, but that wouldn't have happened unless you were ready for it for sure. So you had come in doing 99.9% of the work in just land. Yeah, I should know like you did so much work before you came, and that's generally how it is. You know, people do a lot of work and then they come, and then it's just that little bit of support to just go to the next place.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

So that's actually really good segue to the next question I had for you.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

When I showed up, I had said explicitly like I'm at my wit's end with this, like this experience is just totally not serving me anymore, right?

Kasia Stiggelbout:

This just feeling of, I guess, apathy or ungroundedness from lack of grounding, based on kind of the other, the paradigm that I had broken down, that I was now just like meddled in, just all broken down around me, and I had said, you know, I'm looking for anything like kind of solar retrieval, which is what I thought I needed, through to plant medicine, and I would love to get your thoughts on plant medicine, because it is all the rage in like our society today. You know, I am curious to know, from a shamanic point of view, where I believe the plant medicine is served as actual medicine and there is, you know, a certain amount of ritual around that, like, what are your thoughts on the kind of mass distribution that's happening with this medicine and also, is it for everyone? Right? Because I showed up and I was like I'm going to do, I'm ready to do anything here, like guide me, so tell me about your perspective on this.

Judy Lieblein:

Yeah, so I think you know, the plant medicines have been romanticized in our culture across the board. I think some people have the conception that they just do this once and like, all the problems will be solved. That's not how the plant medicines work, but it's you know, it's seductive. You know the plant medicines are seductive and so I'm going to be talking. So if I talk about the traditional medicines, like ayahuasca or San Pedro or peyote or, you know, psilocybin mushrooms, those that have been used traditionally and from my understanding is that somebody has an issue, they would go to a medicine person and that that medicine person would ingest something to see what's happening with this person across and then talk to the spirits and see what they can do and then maybe, if the spirits say, yes, this person needs to take this as well, then that person would guide them through it. What I see today is I see a lot of people take, you know, flying off somewhere, taking a one, two week course and how to distribute the medicine, and then come back and lead, like these, really big groups with 20 or 30 people, like every other weekend. Or take people to South America and then have them do it every day for five days. You know and I think a lot gets lost in translation I mean traditionally someone who's offering the medicine had, you know, been training 10, 15, 20 years before they offered it. They themselves had taken it hundreds of times so they know how it works in the body and the mind. And a lot of the people offering it that I that have crossed my path in the US don't have that level of experience. They haven't studied with somebody traditional who's passed it on. They haven't been taught the songs, particular songs to sing, you know. So I think that leaves room for trouble to happen. And with that said, any plant can be a plant medicine, even the weed outside plantain or dandelion. So when I say plant medicine I'm talking about the common plants that we work with all the time and those can be doorways and portals into learning about the cell, for learning about others or just learning about the plant kingdom.

Judy Lieblein:

We don't necessarily need to take a hallucinogen. There are times when they're totally appropriate for people, but that's such a personal choice. But there are risks and you know the medicines can be super seductive. They can take hold of people and not let go and if you come back from it you may not have the support structure set up to help you integrate. And so I've had people come back to me unable to work, unable to be a mom or father. They just can't hold their old role because so much got broken down.

Judy Lieblein:

So there's a lot of places where it could be problematic for people, you know, and then other places it can be, you know, life changing without a doubt, you know, and it depends. And the person who's going to offer you ayahuasca, you know that's different than the person who may do MDMA therapy with you. Or do you know micro dosing, suicide and to get over fear of death. But the bigger medicines that take you out and on a journey, for, you know, eight or nine hours or a day or two definitely aren't for everybody. But I think it's people's personal, you know, it's definitely a personal choice.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

I mean I really appreciate you having this conversation and I love having this conversation frankly in general, because, as somebody who's like a longtime meditator, I came to you after a state of doing a lot of work and actually I had tried mushrooms once before I had come to see you and although my experience doing mushrooms was like psilocybin was very eye-opening, it wasn't actually until a couple of weeks later that I had this massive breakthrough.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

And then I came to you with essentially what felt like a struggle to kind of rebuild after all these things crumbled down.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

And one of the things that I find you know kind of as an observer that's like watching this wave is that there's something almost so ironic about. It feels almost like an overconsumption in some cases and compulsion of consuming, mass consuming these plants, almost in the way that we are like mass consuming and destroying our planet in general. To get these answers right and I want to have conversations that kind of don't just talk about the incredible benefits which have been researched, and you spoke very well to now that there are so many incredible benefits and that the plant medicine itself isn't inherently harmful, but the way that we consume it is so important, and not just the way. But you know, they talk about set and setting. But I also think that more is not necessarily better, right, like in the way that perhaps meditating more is a practice that is helpful in general I don't know, I haven't noticed any negative side effects Like being mindful of the fact that this is medicine is actually so so, so important right?

Judy Lieblein:

No, I agree 100%, and that's what I mean. So if I have somebody comes to me and they flew somewhere, they did AYA every day in a row for nine days, I'm like inside, I'm like oh, like that's not how it's traditionally used. So I think setting intent, all of that goes into it. But also, you know, is the spirit of the plant courting you. Is, you know, is that something that you're feeling called to do? Or is it something that seems sexy and new and fun? And I just want to try it Because, as your experience shows you, the trip is one thing and it's the aftermath, it's what happens after, it's the integration.

Judy Lieblein:

So you're basically telling I don't know what you know you're, by doing these things, you're opening yourself up to like a deconstruction of self, and not everyone is prepared for that. Not everyone, physically, is prepared for that. No one, not everyone, is emotionally or mentally prepared for that, you know. And so if you travel somewhere and you do it and you come home, you don't have the container to hold you while you go through that.

Judy Lieblein:

And Western culture doesn't know how to handle spiritual emergence and a lot of what happens to people's pathologized and they can end up in a psych ward or on psychiatric medications.

Judy Lieblein:

You know, because there's just the cultural laxity of understanding of what that means to deconstruct and rebuild when in tribal cultures it's like, it's a practice, like people go through that and they understand it and not everyone needs to be opened up that wide.

Judy Lieblein:

You know, some people just need a little bit of sliver of a door to open up to get shifts happening. You know, everyone's definitely different but not every medicine is for every person either and you know it's not like every diet, like being vegetarian, isn't for everybody. I mean, morally maybe, yes, but physically some people actually need me to be healthy and so we don't want to shame people who need that to be healthy, you know. So some people like may need these medicines to be healthy and I think that's great and I'm glad that people have the option, you know. But I think a lot of people lacked respect going in and lack the understanding of what it means to actually take the medicines and what happens afterwards and, like you said, weeks after, sometimes it's months after. You know it works, it tumbles you, you're like being tumbled by the spirit of the plant.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

That is so powerful and I'm so, so, so happy to be speaking to that, because I think that the experience in and of itself is one thing and the intention is another bit, but I think also the kind of historical and spiritual, I guess, association and foundation behind these medicines. It is so important to also be aware of that and kind of include that in the journey, right, as opposed to just the experience that it could give you, and I think that's just so powerful to speak to that right. And like what does that experience actually look like? Right? You kind of described, if you're working with a medicine, human I don't know if that's the right term, I don't want to say medicine, man medicine, woman medicine then I don't know if there's like a better term, but there's like a kind of ritual and practice and this has deep roots and that is just, I think, so important to acknowledge as part of our connection to trying some of this, if you feel called.

Judy Lieblein:

Yeah, and to remember, the plants have a spirit. I mean, you're, you know, it's just, the plants are sentient beings. All the plants, even the plants that you know come across in our diet, are sentient. They there's a life force and they have a spirit. And when you're ingesting it, you're engaging with the spirit of that plant. You're taking something into you, you know, and it's going to touch you and it's the most intimate thing you can do, ingesting something and I think that needs to be recognized as well it's not like you're taking and even medications, you know, people think they're taking this benign pylonol or this Advil or whatever, but even those medications have a chemical soul. There's a spirit in those medications, like everything is sentient and I think we lose that and that can present problems as well. You know, and this isn't to, I want to say, scare anybody. You know this. We're just having this conversation and it's my experience of these things.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

No, I think there's something beautiful about it. I think that including that perspective offers, at least for me I feel a deeper connection to the things that I'm consuming, a level of respect and a level of honor that fundamentally, I think for me and I don't only speak from my experience, since there are two of us on this call right now but it at least allows me to feel more connected. So I appreciate that Kind of speaking of that sentient side, the deeper, spiritual side. You are a deeply spiritual being living on a material plane. Welcome, in case you didn't know. Well, now you know, although I think, if anything, you're probably the first one to be educating us on that.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

I'm curious how do you balance that right? Like, at least for me, it can be so easy to get sucked into the device. Or you know, kind of focusing on the goal. Or you know our material world is just a non-negotiable part of our life, like making a living, managing employees. Like you have a thriving business, yet you also seem to balance that with being connected and that is the core theme of this podcast. Like how do you integrate the two in your life, whatever that looks like for you? You know, ceo of Microsoft, founder of Gathering Time Like how do you do that on a practical level if you can offer some wisdom there?

Judy Lieblein:

Yeah, so I think, when it's not denying humanness and I think there's a spiritual trap where people deny their human level of experience.

Judy Lieblein:

So for me it's you know, everything informs how I am in the world, and then I also get to choose, like we all do, how we want to be in the world, how I want to walk in the world, like what's important to me, and then you know, what do I want to offer back out?

Judy Lieblein:

So you know, it's connection, definitely connection within, but it's not separating spiritual from material, it's seeing that they're one in the same, they're exactly the same. So for me it's like mindful intent and bringing my, you know, trying to be as present as possible in every moment. Sometimes I'm better at it than not, but I allow for myself to get off. You know, I allow for those times when I get pulled off track, because that's part of the human experience, and then I just come back to center and just coming from a place of gratitude for everything at all times has been a practice for me, and I know that can seem really woo-woo, but you know, just being in gratitude for whatever gets presented in front of me and just being grateful for it, and it's a little bit harder on some days than others, but I do strive for that most of the time. So you know it's deciding how we want to live in the world, basically, but taking it all in and everything feeds itself. That makes sense, it does.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

All right, I can keep chatting with you for hours, but we're coming up on time. So, judy, where can people find you? Do you have anything exciting coming up that you would like to share with our audience? And I will link everything below, so don't worry about spelling and stuff like that.

Judy Lieblein:

Well, thanks, so you can find me at Gathering Time. In San Rafael, we're an herbal apothecary and we run by myself and my business partner, cheryl, and can help you with anything in the world that you would need or want, so you can come see me there. You can also find my personal information on the website at Gathering Time if you want a session. I'm also teaching this fall my shamanic herbalism class, which is phenomenal. I'm going to say that it is really great, and it goes for about September, october and it meets weekly and so we delve into. You know how to use herbs consciously and we learned how to communicate with them on many different levels and how to work with them as medicines.

Kasia Stiggelbout:

So that's happening as well Beautiful, and I'll include everything in the show notes, folks, for you to check out. Judy, it was such a pleasure having you on. Thank you so much for joining us today. Yeah, thank you for having me. Thanks everyone for tuning in and see you next time. Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Nourish. If you enjoyed this conversation, please leave a review. Five Star Reviews help the podcast grow and I'm so grateful for that. I publish new episodes twice a month, so hit the subscribe button to be notified and if you want to stay connected in between episodes, join my community on Instagram and TikTok at Nourish underscore podcast. All right, that's all I got for you today. See you next time.

Exploring Shamanism
Understanding Shamanic Death and Fragmentation
Healing and Personal Growth
Plant Medicine
Thank You, See You Next Time

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