May 14 – 22, 2018

Plant Spirit Medicine Healer Training

in Santa Cruz, CA

with Alison Gayek & Eliot Cowan 

“My training and years of clinical work have convinced me that the overwhelming majority of our health problems, of all kinds – our physical health problems and our mental and emotional health problems – are caused by pain in our hearts, our spirit, and our soul.” — Eliot Cowan

It is easy to recognize that plants offer us food, oxygen, and medicines, but less known today is that plants have spirits with wisdom to nurture and heal us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Ancient cultures and shamans have known for millennia that the medicine of plant spirits can bring us into balance and harmony, but much of this tradition has been lost in the West.

This course brings together shamanic techniques with the ancient Chinese medical philosophies of the Five Elements. As the course progresses, you will

  • learn Chinese Five Element worldview
  • study Pulse Taking
  • practice Household Shamanism
  • make direct relationship with plants through Shamanic Journeying
  • engage in intensive clinical work to hone Assessment/Treatment skills

Program offered by the Blue Deer Center.


Alison Gayek

Alison Gayek has been teaching Plant Spirit Medicine with Eliot Cowan since 2002. She began studying with Eliot Cowan in 1997 and graduated from the PSM course in 1999. Since then, Alison has maintained a strong effective PSM practice.

Eliot Cowan

Mr. Cowan is best known for making accessible two treasures:  the indigenous Huichol  shamanic tradition of Mexico and an approach to deep healing with the spirits of plants.

Details & Pricing

Please contact Karla Refoxo at or (845) 586-3225 ext. 333 with your questions or for registration information.

This is the first of a series of 10 classes, held over the course of 2 years. The first is a week-long session, which will provide the big picture for becoming a Plant Spirit Medicine healer, as well as the foundational material necessary for the subsequent weeks of the course. 

Sessions 2a, 2b, 3a and 3b will be long weekend programs (2 x 4-day weekends and 2 x 3 -day weekends).  During these sessions, students will build on the foundation taught during the first week of the course and begin to add the additional components necessary for the practice of Plant Spirit Medicine.   These fundamental building blocks will begin to create a more complete picture of how deeply the medicine helps others and what you need to learn in order to practice it effectively.

These long weekends will be followed by three week-long advanced sessions to be held at Blue Deer Center, located in the Catskill Mountains of New York, which will unify the teachings and begin the work with clients through clinical demonstrations, giving you an opportunity to join up with other students studying the medicine. The ability to create connections and community with other students of Plant Spirit Medicine is invaluable.

Sessions 7 and 8 are clinical weeks, giving you the opportunity to shadow the faculty and present your own patients. 

Session 1-   Vajrapani, Santa Cruz CA- Arrive, May 14, depart May 22, 2018

Session 2a- Vajrapani, Santa Cruz CA- Arrive, August 23, depart August 28, 2018

Session 2b- Vajrapani, Santa Cruz CA- Arrive, October 9, depart October 13, 2018

Session 3a- Vajrapani, Santa Cruz CA- Arrive, December 12, depart December 16, 2018

Session 3b- Vajrapani, Santa Cruz CA- TBD (Spring 2019)

Session 4-   Blue Deer Center, Margaretville, NY, Dates, TBD (Summer 2019)

Session 5-   Blue Deer Center, Margaretville, NY, Dates, TBD (Fall 2019)

Session 6-   Blue Deer Center, Margaretville, NY, Dates, TBD (Early Spring 2020)

Session 7-   Location and Dates TBD (2020)

Session 8-   Location and Dates TBD (2020)