The Three Traditions of Healing

   A few days ago, Susun S. Weed offered a free teleconference. I listened in, and was reminded of how much of an inspiration she has been to me. And I realized how in the past few years I have moved away from her philosophy. So I found my old copy of Healing Wise, gifted to me nearly 20 years ago by my mentors Pearl and Joann, and started to (re)read.

Healing Wise categorizes healing into three traditions:

1. The Wise Woman Tradition

 The symbol of the wise woman tradition is the spiral. It is invisible, heals with nourishment, believes in the Goddess and blood mysteries, is heart centered and unique. The Wise Woman tradition is the tradition of Mothers. It says “Trust Yourself”.


2. The Heroic Tradition

The symbol of the heroic tradition is a circle. It has rules and punishments. It uses purging and cleansing. It is foreign and exotic. Alternative health care practitioners usually think in the Heroic tradition: the way of the savior, a circular path of rules, punishment, and purification. “Trust me”.

3. The Scientific Tradition

The symbol of the scientific tradition is the straight line. AMA-approved, legal, covered-by-insurance health care practitioners are trained to think in the Scientific tradition: walking the knife edge of keen intellect, the straight line of analytical thought, measuring and repeating. Excellent for fixing broken things. “Trust my machine”.

  The Scientific, Heroic, and Wise Woman traditions are ways of thinking, not ways of acting. Any practice, any technique, any substance can be used by a practitioner/helper in any of the three traditions. There are, for instance, herbalists and midwives and MDs in each tradition.
  The practitioner and the practice are different. The same techniques, the same herbs are seen and used differently by a person thinking in Scientific, Heroic, or Wise Woman ways. Thinking these ways does lead to a preference for certain cures. The Wise Woman helper frequently nourishes with herbs and words. The Heroic savior lays down the law to clean up your act fast. The Scientific technician is most at ease with laboratory tests and repeatable, predictable, reliable drugs. But still, the practices do not conclusively identify the practitioner as being in a particular tradition. The intent, the thought behind the technique points to the tradition: scientific fixing, heroic elimination, or wise womanly digestion and integration.
   The three traditions are not limited to the realm of healing. The Scientific, Heroic, and Wise Woman ways of thinking are found in politics, legal systems, religions, psychologies, teaching styles, economics. As the Wise Woman way becomes more clearly identified, it opens the way to an integrated, whole, sacred, peaceful global village, interactive with Gaia, mother, earth. As each discipline spins anew its wise woman thread, we reweave the web of interconnectedness with all beings.
   I became a midwife and mother in the wise woman tradition. And then through life experience and fear was led to heroic and scientific traditions. And now I am spiraling back. So this morning I applied to Susun S. Weed’s correspondence course. Which one is right for me?

And here is Susun explaining it:

She blows this interviewers heroic mind, don’t you think?

What healing methods do you use? What tradition do they belong to?

Author: thewitchmama

Melanie Elizabeth Hexen is a midwife, regionally famous bellydancer, homeschooling mother and matriarch of the Many Hands House. She has been a witch for 25 years, and her belief system is currently based on the writings of Terry Pratchett and the teachings of Steven Posch. With her coven, the Prärie Hexen, she is creating the Hexen Tradition of Witchcraft.

4 thoughts on “The Three Traditions of Healing”

  1. I loved this, thank-you for posting. Why have I never heard of this woman before?!?!?!?! This ideology reminds me of the Modern Maori; there is a great book dealing with the heroic mind, feminism, post-colonization, and the wise woman tradition called “The Bone People” by Keri Hulme – I think you would really like it. I did my dissertation in Southwest Asian Literature, and Susan is referring to a lot aspects in their cultural. I love the spiral, and the way she presented it. Just one more reason why I am not worried about getting older 😉 I can't wait to experience some of that rising energy.


  2. I've been rereading Susun Weed lately too — my tattered old copy of Healing Wise has been such a friend to me! And I've also been watching those videos of hers that are up on youtube. What a sweet and lively presence she has. Thanks for sharing this wisdom – I love the herb walk posts – and thanks again for sharing your herbs! It's great to be making medicines again!


  3. I know! I feel like I got away from making my own medicines. I also have heard some crazy things about Susun Weed, but sometimes genius is like that I guess. Thanks for reading my blog Monica! ❤


  4. I am so glad you reminded me of Susan Weed! I'd gone to her website a few years ago after Ivy recommended her to me, and didn't sign up then. and then I forgot about it in the flurry of having a kid. I'm so glad to be reminded as I want to sign up. Which one are you doing? I am struggling over the decision so I won't make it tonight.


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