Shamanic herbalist facilitates a path to healing through plants

Julie Charette Nunn is a master conversationalist, though her discussion partners aren’t always of the typical sort.

Julie Charette Nunn is a master conversationalist, though her discussion partners aren’t always of the typical sort.

A shamanic herbalist practicing in the wise woman tradition, Charette Nunn has cultivated a profound connection with the natural world, reaping wisdom and insight from plants of power.

Nestled in the Maxwelton Valley of South Whidbey is her farm, home, school and sanctuary, a place of healing and education.

As a part of her practice, Charette Nunn operates the Crow’s Laughter Mystery School, through which she offers several courses, including an apprenticeship program.

The program, Women and Plants, is a comprehensive immersion into the wise woman tradition, and spans one weekend a month for 16 months.

The next course will begin in early September.

She explained that the title of the program stems from the ancient tradition of women as healers, often making and administering natural medicinals.

“It’s the old way. The women in the village were the ones who were taking care of everyone. They were taking care of the homes and families,” she said. “I feel like it’s an instinctual thing for women.”

Women have also traditionally practiced as midwives, aiding fellow women through the birth process, often with the use of herbs, she said.

“It’s kind of like the wise woman in the village. She was the one that knew the plants that grew around her and how to heal; she knew how to instruct people.”

At the moment, Charette Nunn has five apprentices, as well as additional students who drop by for single classes.

She also recently taught a free one-day class at South Whidbey Tilth Farmers’ Market, which she said she hopes to do again.

She said compared to when she began teaching herbalism 20 years ago, far more people today come to her expressing a desire to connect on a deeper level.

“There has been a lot more interest in natural healing and energetics of plants, and more of a spiritual connection with the plants and with the herbs,” she said.

“People are looking for more of a depth of healing, not just getting rid of a disease.”

More information is available about natural healing, she said, which may explain in part the heightened interest.

This investment in knowledge about alternative healing methods extends to doctors and nutritionists as well, she noted.

On the farm, she grows about 50-75 total plants, 21 of which are used for medicinals, including dandelion, hawthorne, oats, wild roses, plantain, stinging nettle, chickweed, lavender and raspberry.

She also sells medicinals, including vinegars and teas, through her website.

Prior to working as a shamanic herbalist, Charette Nunn was a school teacher for over 20 years, working with children in Montessori schools, at a reservation school and at a school in Seattle for homeless children.

Even as a school teacher, she said she always made it a priority to incorporate creativity and exploration of the natural world into her lessons.

It was also during this time she found her calling, to help others find their own.

As a part of her work, Charette Nunn said she often aids people in delving into a prolonged process of deep healing and self-discovery, going beyond the physical and addressing visceral or spiritual ailments.

“I have (people) connect with the earth and the plants to receive messages and to find out more about who they are in connection to what’s going on with them,” she said.

“I feel like I can help people in finding their calling and being able to create a life that they want and that makes them happy.”

Charette Nunn can be reached at or through her website: