Linda Bates

Linda Bates

I have a Bachelor of Arts in Drama, from Flinders University, S.A.; a Diploma of Herbal Medicine from the Dorothy Hall College of Herbal Medicine, Rozelle, Sydney; a Certificate of Nutritional Chemistry (a course written by Henry Osieki and taught by Bob Lucy) from the School of Somatic Studies in Castle Hill, Sydney.

In the 1970’s I found my spiritual guru, Osho.

I attended classes with Glynn Braddy and the International Federation of Alchemists over 3 years part- time 1988-1990. Glynn taught me eastern medical philosophy and many subtle ways to rebalance bodies using kinesiology to assist diagnosing and finding remedies.

After this I met Edmund Harold, the seer and spiritual / crystal healer. He taught me more ways to use my gifts, helped me focus and find my way, and many other things.

Here is a formal list of my achieved outcomes:

Bachelor of Arts, Flinders University, S.A. 1974
Herbal Medicine by correspondence with Denis Stewart 1979 - 1982
Diploma Herbal Medicine (Dorothy Hall College, Rozelle 1984 -1986)
Certificate of Nutritional Chemistry and Prescribing Methods (College of Somatic Studies 1987)
Certificate of Iridology (College of Somatic Studies 1987)
Certificates of Eastern Medical Philosophy and Alchemy (I.F.A. 1988-89)
Certificate of Kinesiology- levels I – 4 (A.K.A 1988–89)
Certificate of Bach Flower Remedies
Certificate of Himalayan Flower Enhancers
Reiki I, II and Master Level
Certificate IV in Workplace Assessment and Training

I am also an astrologer. Since 2009 I have been working with a Shamanic group with the guidance and teaching of Franco Santoro, at the Findhorn Community in Scotland.

With gratitude to all of my teachers, from my women’s line of healers to the present, including my clients and my students, this is a little of my story:

I grew up in England where my great grandmother was a herbalist. She taught my grandmother and my mother and so I've been learning to use plants for healing myself and loved ones all my life.

We came to live in Australia when I was 16 years old and struggled to find the plants that we needed for the family health. By the age of 20 I was involved in the early organics movement and small herb growers in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

By 1977 I had collected many books about herbal medicine and then I found Dorothy Hall by purchasing her Book of Herbs. I began studying by correspondence with Denis Stewart in 1979 and when I moved to Sydney in 1980 I began listening to Dorothy Hall on the radio. In 1984 I started clinical practice and enrolled as a student at Dorothy's College of Herbal Medicine in Rozelle.

I chose my teacher, Dorothy Hall because she had 25 years of clinical experience and a way of communicating this knowledge that I understood. She taught us that the word "doctor" in ancient Greece meant teacher and that our responsibility as practitioners was to teach people how to heal themselves. This is my commitment to the people who come for help, to the plants which offer themselves to help us and to the Earth. No-one heals unless the Earth heals and healing only happens with love and respect.

In 1992 I moved to the Blue Mountains, two hours out of Sydney, and began to grow my own medicinal herbs and to collect them fresh and in the wild again. During this eleven years in the mountains I made over a hundred of my own tinctures and all my fresh plant creams, ointments and oil infusions for clients. I find the fresh ones have great healing energies. Collecting them from Mother Earth keeps me connected to the soul of the universe and working amongst them heals my spirit.

In the Blue Mountains I became a village herbalist. I found myself treating 2, 3 or 4 generations of some families. Attending them in the local country hospital when they had their babies, had accidents or acute illnesses; swapping them my help for their help when they had no money; and letting them arrive at the door anytime for help with a sick baby or a grandma that had a fall; being called up to the little primary school up the road when a child was taken ill.

My morning exercise was walking up and down the hills delivering herbal mixes to elders who were house-bound. I stopped for a cup of tea regularly with all of them and they told me some of their stories.

I had a huge aloe vera plant in a pot at my door from which they collected mixes when I was busy or out and in it they left envelopes with their payments and flowers and presents and notes of thank you. In this pot when I was sick they left me get well wishes and brandy herb syrups. They taught me so much.

They also made me teach them. They walked in through my herb garden and wanted to know how to grow and use their own plants. So I found myself teaching them in groups of 6-8 people who gathered for 3-4 hours once a month and sometimes (like in Spring and Summer) once a fortnight. Some of these groups met for 2 years wanting me to teach them how their bodies worked and how to care for their families with plant medicines.

In 2002 I was invited to teach Herbal Manufacturing and Medicinal Weeds at Nature Care College in Sydney and Herbal Therapeutics 2nd Year at the Australasian College of Natural Therapies. And so my passion for healing with plants took me into the classroom to pass on what I've learned to future practitioners. In 2004-2005 I taught at the NSW School of Natural Medicine. Now I teach only privately again.

During my years of clinical practice I have deliberately used ordinary language so that my clients can understand me and this is also part of the history of our plant medicine.

My connection with bodies and peoples descriptions of how their bodies feel and how they function is more important to me than demonstrating my knowledge of Latin-based medical terminology. People have now been educated by modern medicine to want a medical name for their ailment. I still encourage them to tell me how it feels. Patterns of symptomology is the traditional way to match herbs to people.

Like Albert Einstein, I believe that the human being is the most accurate scientific measuring instrument. If I know the right questions I can get extraordinary detail from the patients and I can choose herbs for them with precision.

Like Culpeper I believe herbs are friends and the foods we need to live with every day. If we can learn what our bodies sensitivities are, and what strengthens us, then we can learn to have a daily relationship with supportive plants - like having Nettle porridge for breakfast and dandelion salads.

The women in my family regarded lettuce and silverbeet as a waste of space on the table. Our salad bowl or stew was filled with the greens and herbs we collected on our walks or on the way home from school. This is how I grew up. My understanding of how herbs work physically and emotionally comes from deep in my own body's experience.

I am a traditional, wholistic herbalist. That is, I believe our bodies are self healing and that I am a therapist professionally trained to prescribe and dispense the plant medicines (as powerful tincture mixes) needed for the healing process; to interrupt the state of deficiency, imbalance or dis-ease and restore harmony and function. The way to do this, I believe, is to start with myself and carefully choose what I put into my body.

If we were bad tempered children my grandmother would say, "You've got shit on the liver my girl - you need to keep your mouth shut until you've let it out by the proper channels and then it won't poison us as well as yourself." Her definition of poison was anything not straight from nature - she regarded anything made by man and modern science as a giant experiment on the human race and our mother Earth.

If I choose to consume plants grown in soil filled with fertilisers and pesticides then I support the poisoning of the Earth and the human race, which includes me. And then I take my polluted liver filled with distress, depression, anger and turmoil and hope that I will be able to feel love and happiness. Doesn't make sense does it? The allergies and immune problems of humanity start here. My work with clients starts here. I work hard to make them see that these poisons are part of their illness and to eat organic food is essential for their recovery. My work is also political - heal the Earth first.

In 1854 the 'Great White Chief' in Washington made an offer for a large area of Native American land and promised a reservation for the people. The following is a small part of Chief Seattle's reply. The whole reply has been described as the most beautiful and profound statement on the environment ever made.

Teach your children
what we have taught our children -
that the earth is our mother.
Whatever befalls the earth
befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
If men spit upon the ground,
they spit upon themselves.
This we know.
The earth does not belong to us;
we belong to the earth.
This we know.
All things are connected
like the blood which unites one family.
All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth
befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
We did not weave the web of life.
We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web,
we do to ourselves.

Albert Einstein said:
" A human being is a part of the whole called the 'universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of …………….consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in all it's beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."

In the oldest days and civilizations the healers were also the priests and priestesses or the shamans. They were sensitive to all energies and worked with healing on all levels. They took care of their community’s spiritual, emotional and physical health with rituals, prayer, preparation of plants, holding of secrets. Concurrently they were expected to work on their spiritual evolution to ensure their hearts were true, pure and open to compassion.

In India the ancient herbalists were also astrologers and they have a written history of their medicine and astrology which goes back 7,000 years. Their written language of Sanskrit is still the same today and so there is no danger of misinterpretation or manipulation of truth.

Nostradamus himself was an astrologer and herbalist. The training for a physician / doctor /herbalist in the western world until the late 19th century involved studying Anatomy, Botany and Astrology. Medical Astrology is a fascinating subject. Just to look at the effects of the moon on our physical and emotional state could demonstrate the power of this. Each month the moon travels it's cycle and it's movements trigger harmonious and challenging emotions as it aspects the astrological imprint of universal energies which entered our cellular structure at birth and became our personality - documented and calculated over 7,000 years as an astrological birth chart. This monthly journey repeats itself for our whole lives.

During the 40 years that women are fertile they experience this monthly journey intensely. Each month they feel this cycle of regeneration, receptivity, awaiting transformation, death, failure, loss, purification and rebirth. This cycle is the foundation of women's creativity. In a tribal situation women retreat to the women's lodge when menstruation begins to allow our internal process of dealing with death, loss, failure, grief, purification and rebirth. Today women have learned to push themselves through daily life's demands or what we expect of ourselves.

Our emotions are not allowed; our society tries to brainwash us into taking a Codral and soldiering on, or a Prozac, or the Pill.

This monthly cycle and the effects of the moon happen to men too. They too have been brainwashed into not feeling it, but the fluids of their bodies and their hormonal tides are also affected by the movements of the moon.

Learning to live harmoniously with the natural forces that are inside our bodies and all around us in the physical natural world is learning to support this journey of life - a journey of interconnectedness with the universe. Supporting our physical bodies will support our emotional well being and this brings more freedom to choose how it is we want to respond to what life offers. Supporting our physical bodies will help us to be open to spiritual forces and growth, open to the light.

Supporting our physical bodies to me means to use the help offered by the physical world to harmonise and balance ourselves; to assist the processes of cellular regeneration, cellular death, transformation, repair and cleansing. We can do this with whole plant remedies such as herbal tinctures, infusions, decoctions, creams, linaments, lotions, herbs in cooking and salads.

Flower essences, shell essences, gem and rock essences will harmonise the vibrations of our nervous systems and balance negativity which in turn supports and influences our healing potential. A walk on the grass with bare feet will earth our electrical systems thus helping to smooth out any short circuiting from stress. Breathing sea air has magical effects. Listening to birdsong and certain kinds of music heals our hearts.

A herbalist needs to take herbs and grow herbs and learn to love herbs. To familiarise all levels of your awareness with the vibrations and potential of the plants. To study herbal medicine is often only a feeding of the mind with information. It is the whole body which works with healing and so the whole body must be taught in appropriate ways what the plants are for. Grow them, feel them, smell them, nurture them, love them, thank them, pick them, eat them, drink them, thank them again.

To work with healing you need to heal yourself all the time. If the vibrations of your body and soul are the very best you can be then even those who just sit with you at the bus stop will be helped in some way. I remember a client years ago coming for a second appointment before I thought she should. I was considering whether to be annoyed if she had forgotten one of the many things I had told her to do. So I said to her "Well why are you here today?" and she replied "I'm here because I love to sit with you and have you remind me of all the things the plants can do for me. Then when I go home and look at my garden my body seems to open to receiving the help the plants can give me."

This is known as the placebo affect. Placebo means to please. If my clients open themselves to healing to please me or because they believe me is no matter - that they heal is what I care about. I cannot tell them what to use without my body knowing and therefore my heart tells them the truth and they hear it and open to it. Love is the greatest healer. Love your plants and yourself and your clients. This will create healing for all.

Don Manuel Cordova, an Amazonian medicine Man said "What good do you think my medicines would be if I didn't sing to them. The Indians who taught me their secrets believed that the words carried by the breath of their Shaman had a creative power all of their own."