Teacher Sheila Devitt

I’ve moved from East to West over the course of my life. I was born in Boston. My parents were involved in the home birth movement, and natural food co-ops. We followed my father’s career first to Chicago, then to Santa Fe.

I began studying theatre in Santa Fe, and majored in acting at UNM. After college, I supported my acting career working in bars and nightclubs. I got burnt out with that lifestyle, and resolved to work with fresh air and sunlight. It is said that the actor’s body is the instrument – a painter has paints, a drummer has drums – which needs to be well-maintained.

I got a job in a plant nursery, setting me on the path of herbal medicine. Through subsequent work at an apothecary store, then a tincture manufacturer, I learned basic medicine-making and a foundation in Western, Native American, and Ayurvedic traditions.

I moved to San Francisco, pursuing acting opportunities, and continued with herbal work. Exposed to a large Asian community, I began to learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine. I apprenticed with Christopher Hobbs for my first Herbalist Certification.

I registered with East West in 2008. Having dual careers in acting and herbal medicine, my progress is slow but steady. I attended Foundation seminar in 2011.

This past fall, a new opportunity brought me to Ashland, OR, to run the dispensary for Donnie Yance’s Mederi Centre. My goal for the dispensary is to help it grow to meet the needs of the clients, and comply with FDA cGMP regulations. Meanwhile, I’m completing my lessons for Advanced seminar! Next: AHG Professional Membership.

Aside from herbalism and theatre, I love to travel. I’ve been to four continents (I’ve performed in three). Whenever I visit a foreign country, I like to find a natural pharmacy, and see a play.

I have some thoughts about the intersection of my dual careers. There was a time when performance and healing work were intertwined, when the herbal remedy required an accompanying ritual. In classical Greece, citizens went to see dramas and comedies, in order to experience catharsis. In modern society, art and medicine are separated. I believe the work we do as herbalists helps to bridge that gap.


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