May 25: Tree Spirit Medicine Workshop - Black Walnut

The Tree Spirit Medicine workshops are a series of workshops that provide an opportunity for you to receive and experience the spirit medicine of one of our local tree species. In each workshop you can receive the spirit medicine of a different tree.

The next workshop in the series is with Black Walnut.

More information about this workshop will be coming soon!

Date:  Saturday, May 25th, 2019 from 10 am to 5 pm. 

Location:  Living Earth School in Maple, Ontario. Carpooling can be arranged.

Tuition:  $95.

Instructor:  Monika Ghent.

Registration: This workshop will be open for registery in early March. To register, please click here.

Questions: If you have any questions about the workshop please contact Monika at


July 7 - 12, 2019: The Spirit of Herbs with Michael Vertolli

Although the conventional belief is that the vast wealth of knowledge of the medicinal uses of herbs that has been accumulated by traditional cultures around the globe has resulted from trial and error, according to their traditions much of this knowledge and wisdom has come from a more direct source. The ability to connect and communicate with the many beings with whom we share the Earth— including plants—has long been considered one of the most important attributes of traditional healers. In the last few centuries, reductionism, rationalism and materialism have come to characterize the philosophy that underlies Western medical dogma. This has also had a significant influence on the practice of herbalism. The focus of the curricula of many herbal schools has shifted to the study of the pharmacological properties of chemical constituents of herbs as demonstrated in animal, in vitro and human clinical studies. As a result, the intuitive side of herbalism has been largely ignored or denied at a great cost to our connection to the medicines and effectiveness as healers. To truly master the art and science of herbalism it is necessary to develop both its intellectual and intuitive elements and find a balance between the two so that each supports and enhances the other.

There are many theories that have been proposed to explain the intuitive aspects of herbalism, however, this is something that can not be fully understood intellectually and must be directly experienced. The Spirit of Herbs workshops are intended to help participants to obtain this experience and ultimately to be able to integrate it into their daily lives and healing practice.

Although the content of these workshops may be practiced by individuals of any philosophy or faith, it does require an open-minded attitude. Some people may have difficulty accepting some of the views that are expressed. Anyone who is concerned about this should enquire further before enrolling in any of these workshops.

The Spirit of Herbs workshops are not intended to initiate anyone into the practice of "shamanism" although they do include some practices that are common to what have recently been generically referred to as "shamanic"—traditional healing systems that require practitioners to engage with the world in both a physical and spiritual capacity. Although useful to some extent, this term is limited and overused. It is sometimes considered offensive to traditional healers who prefer to use the appropriate terminology of their own tradition. Regardless of what we call it, the traditional healing path requires a personal calling and a life-long commitment. To be initiated into this path requires many years of intensive apprenticeship with elders who hold recognized lineages in their respective traditions.

The Spirit of Herbs is a six day intensive workshop that focuses on the energetic and intuitive elements of herbalism. It will help you to expand and deepen your connection to plant medicines and Nature. This workshop utilizes a variety of meditation and attunement exercises that will help you to experience a greater awareness of and connection with all aspects of the natural world and to develop your ability to intuit medicinal and energetic information directly from plants. It will also help you on your own healing journey and to live in deeper relationship with yourself and the world. The remainder of the workshop provides the theoretical background and guidelines to help you to integrate this knowledge and experience into your daily life. Whether you are called to work with plant medicines on a professional or purely personal level, you will find this workshop to be a life-changing and healing experience.

Dates:  Sunday July 7th to Friday July 12th, 2019. This workshop is now open for registration. There is a limit to the number of participants. It is best to register early as it often fills up.

Location:  Maple Sweet Rural Retreat, Rocklyn, Ontario. Car pooling can be arranged.

Tuition:  $850.

Food and Accommodations:  The fee for the workshop includes the cost of meals and accommodations. The meals are mostly vegetarian and organic as much as possible. Indoor accommodations consist of shared rooms that sleep two persons. Occasionally single rooms are available. Tenting is also an option.

Instructor:  Michael Vertolli.

Registration: Please click here to register.

Please contact Michael at if you have any questions or require further information.


July 13: Dream Journeying to the Plant People 

In this workshop you will learn an easy and effective method to awaken your innate ability to communicate with the spirits of plants and directly access their teachings and medicine.

Plants are fully aware beings that have intelligence and spirit, as well as a great deal of wisdom that they are willing to share with us.

The way the plant people speak to us is predominantly through dreams. Dream journeying is the process of dreaming in an intentional way while still awake. This way of dream learning with the plants is available to everybody. You do not have to have any special training or calling; all it takes is a very minimum of guidance and instruction and an attitude of respect.

The plant people have been waiting a long time for us to open ourselves to their wisdom. If we listen in the presence of the plants in a respectful way, we will hear them speaking to us of their teachings and medicine.

Date: Saturday, July 13, 2019

Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm

Location: Living Earth School of Herbalism, Maple, Ontario. Carpooling can be arranged.

Tuition: $95

Instructor: Monika Ghent

Registration: This workshop will be open for registration in early May. To register for this workshop, please click here

For more information about the workshop or to be put on the notification list when this workshop will be open for registration, please contact Monika at



August 21-26, 2019: Healing Retreat with Eliot Cowan: Five Days of Traditional Huichol Shamanic Healing


“The shamanic view is a deeply spiritual view in which the questions of health, illness and healing are always seen as involving spiritual dynamics. The natural world is seen as having great awareness and wisdom and offers profound help in seeing what’s needed and also supplies it.”    – E. Cowan

Healing Retreat consists of five days of Huichol Shamanic Healing with Eliot Cowan at Maple Sweet Rural Retreat Centre in the beautiful Grey Highlands, on the edge of the Beaver Valley and the Blue Mountains in Ontario, Canada.

Eliot Cowan, Tsaurirrikame (Huichol shaman) and author of "Plant Spirit Medicine", lived and studied with the Huichol people - an indigenous people who live in the Sierra Madre Mountains of central Mexico. Over the years, Eliot has gathered extensive experience working with the full spectrum of life events from birth to death. He brings the sacred healing traditions of the Huichol people to all of us.

Your stay at Healing Retreat includes daily private sessions with Eliot, time for contemplation and reflection, gathering in community around the warmth of the fire, and an opportunity to connect with the natural world.

The cost of the retreat is $1,400 which includes your daily shamanic sessions with Eliot, teaching fires, lodging and meals. The maximum number of participants is 13 and your space is confirmed upon receipt of full payment or a non-refundable deposit of $700.

Everyone can benefit from Healing Retreat, whether you are experiencing serious or persistent health concerns, desire guidance on your spiritual path, or need support in your daily life.

Maple Sweet is a lovely retreat centre located on over 75 acres in the stunning Grey Highlands, two hours north of Toronto on the edge of the Beaver Valley and the Blue Mountains. Carpooling can be arranged.

For more information or to register, please contact Monika Ghent at; (416)537-8842;


On-going: Living Earth School of Herbalism - Herbal Field Studies Introductory Class

Living Earth's Herbal Field Studies Introductory Class is now online!

This class is the prerequisite for Herbal Field Studies - a series of seven full-day outdoor workshops running monthly from April to October.


The Introductory Class establishes the theoretical foundation for the field workshops and provides an excellent overview of wild plant identification and ethical wild-harvesting. It is useful to any herbal student or herb enthusiast who wants to develop a more intimate knowledge of wild herbs.


Once you complete the introductory class, you will be able to attend any or all of the field workshops lead by Michael Vertolli in which you will learn how to identify, harvest and use many wild herbs that grow in Ontario or in similar ecosystems. At each field workshop you will also make an herbal preparation using herbs harvested during the workshop.


There is no prerequisite necessary to take this class and it is open to anyone with an interest in wild herb identification whether or not you continue on with the field workshops.  

Cost: $65.

For more information or to register, please click here.