Pharmakeutes’ Dreams is the culmination of the combined passions of a pair of Ash, Birch, & Willow Initiates who wanted to share their dreams with the world.
What is a Pharmakeute? If you are at all familiar with the author, scholar, and teacher Raven Grimassi, this word isn’t at all new to you. It comes from the Greek word pharmakis, meaning someone with intimate knowledge of herbs. Pharmakeute, therefore, were the Cunningfolk, the Wise-women and men, the knowers of plants. With the ABW, Raven has reclaimed that word for us. With all of the ill-associations that have been and are still attached to the word “Witch”, Pharmakeute gives us the space of a breath to be able to talk to people about who and what we truly are.
JEFFREY CERNESON has been wandering the crooked paths of sorcery for nearly 30 years. His journey began after a series of personal and spiritual crises following his involvement in the first Gulf War. His wanderings led him from humble beginnings in Anglo-Saxon traditions to the mountains, temples, and hidden doors of the ancient wisdom of the Wu Shaman of China; those Taoist Sorcerers and Sages who have preserved the old sorcery in their secret martial, healing and spiritual arts. He has been trained as a Tao shih; priest, healer and alchemist, by such teachers as Huo Zhi Lian, Tzu Kuo Shih, and Feng Song, and is accounted a disciple of the Tao. From his wanderings in the Far East, he returned to explore the roots of his own blood and ties to the land of his birth. Being of Abenaki heritage, he undertook an apprenticeship in Native American Medicine ways and healing in exchange for the knowledge he brought from China. There he learned singing medicine, the Medicine of the sweat house and the sacred pipe, and the calling of spirits for healing, power, and balance. As he became a primary singer for an Absaroke Wicasa Wakan (Crow tribe ceremonial leader, and medicine person)., his own medicine grew, as did his yearning for his European heritage. While this training was essential to deeper understanding, it has always been in his own cultural heritage that his heart belonged, so he returned to studies of both his Norman ancestors as well as his Southern French ancestry. He began to re-examine the cunning arts of the Northern peoples on his own. With his newly awakened senses, and comparing what he experienced afar with what has been written and passed down, his wisdom potency and insight have grown beyond what was ever possible for him before those wanderings.
Perhaps most important to the integration of all that he has learned, he has studied the Old World Witchery of Southern Europe, and the Etruscans through training and initiation with Raven Grimassi, and Stephanie Taylor-Grimassi. He is an initiated member of the Ash, Birch and Willow tradition and as such is a Pharmakeute; spiritual botanist and also a cunning person of the Greenwood who lives in partnership with the green world as the heart of his life.
SUSAN MARIE COTE is also a Pharmakeute and initiate in good standing of the Ash, Birch, and Willow Tradition of Old World Witchcraft and was personally initiated by Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor-Grimassi.
Susan began her path as an herbalist and student of the Wisewoman Ways of both Rosemary Gladstar and Susan Weed. For Susan, the plants themselves quickly became her friends, allies, and direct teachers. Exposed to various traditions from around the world, her focus was quickly realized in the Old World Witchcraft of Southern Europe, and the Cunning Arts of her English, and French Ancestors. She is currently extending her scholarship to embrace her newly discovered Polish roots and the wisdom to be found there, as well. Susan has been walking the path of the Cunning Folk for nearly a decade. Always interested in expanding her knowledge, Susan has been trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tuina, and Chinese Herbalism by Liu Shui Long and she has received her Level I & II Reiki attunements. She was the founder, and Executive Director of The Natural Path Herbal Apothecary and Wellness Center, and is the visionary, owner and primary herbalist/Cunning Woman of Branwen’s Botanicals; an herbal apothecary offering magical and mundane herbal products.
Between the two of them, Jeff and Susan have been making their living solely as professional Cunningfolk / Pharmakeute for nearly 4 decades. In today’s world this is rare, but we are hoping to help change that.