Eliot Cowan and Plant Spirit Medicine
By Vivian Mason
There are many healers, psychics, homeopaths, naturopaths and mediums focusing on every road to healing and well being. Certainly some, if not all of them are beneficial in one way or another. The list is long and sometimes confusing and many come and go with time. Eliot Cowan has mastered the essence of healing. Cowan is a Huichol Indian Shaman, teacher and Master of Acupuncture from the College of Traditional Acupuncture, Leamington Spa, England as well as founder of Blue Deer Center (BDC). He has gained acclaim for his techniques by using healing properties derived from plants to support human healing. He has rediscovered Plant Spirit Medicine by working directly with the Huichol Indians of Mexico and later studying and learning from the late legendary Huichol Indian Healer, Don Guadalupe Gonzales Rios.
This path to heal others started early in Eliot Cowan’s life. As a boy in the 1960’s, during the cold War era (which could have easily been a pre-cursor to universal eradication), Cowan realized with certainty that something was insanely out of balance in our way of living. Being involved with Plant Spirit Medicine for twenty three years Cowan has witnessed a myriad of healings which became rich, life changing transformations in many lives.
After the many years Cowan spent studying, traveling and practicing natural medicine and healing under the influence of the indigenous Huichol teachings of Mexico, his dream came to fruition. The Blue Deer Center (BDC), a 501, C3 non-profit retreat center was founded by Eliot Cowan in 2005. Programs focus on healing, ritual and balanced relationship with the natural world. All leaders, teacher and healers at the Blue Deer Center come from authentic, indigenous and ancestral traditions where offerings of wisdom, healing modalities such as Plant Spirit Medicine are practiced in a relaxed, nurturing sacred environment. Blue Deer Center is nestled in a ninety acre rural and peaceful setting adjacent to tranquil flowing waters in the spiritually healing mountains of the Catskills in New York. This provides a divine backdrop for transformation, ritual healing and growth in a natural and balanced environment. Participants experience a deep and sacred healing wisdom, purpose and satisfaction. This in turn nourishes all components of their lives. Blue Deer Center is the actual location of the healing grounds where indigenous people gathered many years ago to heal, reconcile and make peace. No other retreat center offers this depth and connectedness to nature. The spirit of the land is still evident and felt daily on this property.
At both the Blue Deer Center and in the teachings of
Eliot Cowan, there is a definite and authentic communication between the plant world and the human world. As Cowan explains, “All we need to do is listen and the plants talk back to us and they tell us of their medicinal properties. If we listen, we shall hear”. Cowan believes that this communication was the originating basis of herbal medicine. Plant Spirit Medicine supports the theory that plants are expressions of spirit; wise, powerful and balanced and able and willing to share that with humans. This, as a process enables the spirit of the plant to teach and heal the human sprit after this intimate connection. Healing flows naturally and effortlessly from plant to human in a gentle, sublime exchange of health, energy and peaceful healing.
Another dimension of Cowan’s Plant Spirit Medicine healing expertise is the dream world of Huichol Shamanism. We all visit different places in our dreams. Ancient teachings honor these visits, where modern society disbelieves or even discredits them. A cited example is one where a healer dreams of meeting the spirit of a plant, receiving medicine from the plant spirit and later cures a patient who benefits from this dream encounter. Healers recognize the communication through dreams as valid and authentic. Healings have sources that far exceed comprehension by human rationale. Proof of healing and
Cure is realized through dreams. Conscious waking conditions are not synchronized with the dream state which offers healing connectedness and energy. This can be, as Cowan states, “the mainstream medicine, while modern technology is in reality the alternative process”.
At Blue Deer Center the approach to healing is to view the ancestral world as a composite of wise, caring, elder brothers and sister, parents, grandparents and great-grandparents teaching us what we need for life’s successful growth and journey. In return its recipients demonstrate gratitude, sacred offerings and experience wisdom from ancestral evolvement and bonds with our origins. The modern world fancies control, exploitation, prediction, withdrawal and denial which lead to violence, depression, anxiety, drug abuse, hate and intolerance. The stark comparison of these opposing lifestyles are instantly apparent as our health deteriorates and our spirit weakens and our hearts retreat from one another, living by modern societies’ restrictions. If indigenous ancestral ways are viewed by today’s standards as antiquated and outdated, then why does it feel so peaceful to be with nature?
Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.
– Albert Einstein
Why have people lived by the natural laws of the land and emerged more peaceful, balanced, authentic, wiser, gentler and healthier beings? The natural world is and always was a part of the modern world, or conversely the other way around. The gap is not that wide or difficult to bridge.
We all have what Cowan calls, “an ancestral soul”. Modern Western people have campfires and bonfires; ancestral folks have Fireballs, as they do at the Blue Deer Center. The next
Fireball Fundraiser on July 4th begins at 2 p.m. until late night.
This event supports Blue Deer Center’s work and efforts to continue to bring international sacred teachers to the center who educate, heal and share their indigenous wisdom with folks coming to seek harmony, guiding thoughts and new tools on their journey towards a more enriched and fulfilled life’s path. “People dance like their feet are on fire”. There is food, friendship, happy people meeting and sharing their lives with each other. There is laughter and joy and teachings by the fire.
To learn more about Eliot Cowan and Upcoming Blue Deer Center Events and Retreats visit: http://www.bluedeer.org or call 845-586-3225.