Activism, News & Updates, Witch Life

Susun Weed: Fallen Idol

I wrote about fallen celebrity idols a short while back and what we need to take into consideration when someone we look up to fails to be the amazing person we hoped they are. This piece is pertinent today as I read about Susun Weed and the accusations of abuse claimed by many of her students and people who have met her. I’m a little late on the news, I hope you will forgive me.

For those, like me, who had not heard about this until now, here are the links on the matter I found.

Susan Weed, 72, of Saugerties turned herself into police three days after she allegedly choked a person over some lettuce.

Susun’s Response to the Allegations Against Her:

On Facebook, Susun Weed responded

There is also a post on her website about Susun’s Anger

Note, neither of these responses fully acknowledges the situation with the choking. I could not find a response from Susun Weed or the Wise Woman site on that particular matter.

My own experience with Susun is limited entirely to her written work. Like many people, I read her books when I entered into the herbal and natural health field. Her books helped me through my pregnancy. The fact that her books are used as text books in many herbal courses and traditions certainly says something. It also holds the question – do we continue to use the work of someone with so many accusations (and an arrest) against her? I don’t know, to be honest.

On one hand, if we take Susun’s books off the shelves, it does leave a hole. The material in those books, the wisdom and information…are there other books that have that? I’m new enough in my studies that I am not sure. I will say that the majority of the books I’ve read over the years have been written by men and have lacked the creative and feminine vibe of Susun’s books. I would LOVE for recommendations on other books if you have them.
I recently wrote a book report on Healing Wise by Susun…I’m not sure if I will submit it or find another book to write a report on (simply because the reports are ready to go and I do not know what other course approved book I could find, read, write about at this time). Re-reading the report, I do note in the section on what I would change about the book…Susun’s books are very binary and I wouldn’t have recommended them before to just anyone. The language she uses around women is very menstrual-cycle-focused which leaves out people who do not women-identify but menstruate as well as those who do identify as women but do not menstruate. This doesn’t relate to Susun’s assault allegations but it does relate to whether or not her books should be as popular in the MODERN herbal teaching field. 

On the other hand, keeping these books, encouraging new students to read them not only supports Susun financially, it sends the message that the books are more important than the victims of the accused. It sends the message that the books are more important than people – not a message herbalists in particular should broadcast, in my opinion.

Moving Forward Regarding Fallen Celebrity Idols

After thinking about this for a while I have a few thoughts on the matter of fallen celebrity idols. This info is almost the same as I’ve said before only tweaked for this particular situation.

1, Celebrity Idols are just that – Celebrities put on a pedestal by fans. Nothing more

These are people. Human beings with faults and scars and issues just like the rest of us. Their stars were aligned in just the right way, you could say, that put them in the spot light. This did not make them inherently good or wise. They’re just popular vessels of inspirational art, writing, and music. In this way, they are no different than you or me.

2. You are still you and all that they’ve inspired is still there.

Healers who found their path after reading Susun Weed’s work are still healers. If you find yourself at odds with the statements or actions of someone who inspired your path or focus in life, remember that you are still you. Sure, the might have inspired that first big step but it was you who took that step and went on with it. They didn’t do any of the work for you.

3. They are still them and nothing more or less.

You can change the facts to match the myth. You can’t force people to be who they are not or do not want to be. We’ve all heard about the girl who dates the guy thinking she can change them. Fandom cannot change the celeb even if they want to.

You can’t make Susun Weed a calm, polite, non-aggressive person if she isn’t. It doesn’t matter how much you’d like her to be. You can’t make the accusations against her go away for your convenience. It is better to take celebs as they are and decide how you feel about them according to their words and actions rather than according to your daydreams and wishes.

4. Decide on your actions moving forward according to your own standards.

The hardest part of all of this for some of us is the decision of whether or not to continue to support or admire a celebrity that has let us down. The answer is entirely up to each individual.

There are some who doubt that Susun Weed is abusive, a “TERF” or in any way a problem in the herbal healing or spiritual community and continue being fans of her work. Others separate the art from the artist and continue to enjoy her work but not count her among their personal allies. Still others will acknowledge that her work was a great inspiration but will not provide her further support by buying related products or books in the future. Lastly, some who are offended greatly by their idol falling will speak out against and turn away from anything she offered. Where you fall in all of this is, again, up to you and your path.