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Stephen Harrod Buhner

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.
– John Steinbeck


Master herbalist, prolific author and Earth poet Stephen Harrod Buhner has died. Stephen Harrod Buhner (1952–2022) was the award-winning author of 25 books on nature, indigenous cultures, the environment, and herbal medicine including numerous articles, memoirs, short stories, and poetry on nature, human plant, and human Earth relationships. Through his works, he helped millions of people. Stephen was an interdisciplinary, independent scholar, polymath, autodidact, Fellow of Schumacher College UK and has been head researcher for the Foundation for Gaian Studies for the past thirty years ( ). In recognition of his life’s work as a natural philosopher, Stephen was awarded the first McKenna Academy Distinguished Natural Philosopher Award for 2022.

Stephen Harrod Buhner died on December 8, 2022. He was present, aware, conscious,
humorous, open hearted, holding the space for his death and those few friends and family in attendance and in ceremony. And so very brave. Yet his death was not unexpected Stephen prepared himself, his family and his public through his posts and articles about his dying and preparations for death. He hated secrets and much of his work was about exposing them. “And death is one of them,” he said. He wrote about his own dying in part to break the injunctions about saying truths about dying out loud and in large part because he was in service to what is real which he did in his articles and books that hold timeless truths and guidance of how to be a human being, one species among many in the community of Earth.

As he did with everything he rubbed his life up against, he researched, contemplated, talked about and wrote about the process he was going through. Some of this can be found on his facebook thread as well as under the listing of articles here on his website.

Those who attended his workshops were moved often to tears, always by his humor and
most memorable was his full hearted laugh that filled the room and the hearts of
attendees. Stephen was a rare teacher devoted to making his teaching an art form of the highest degree paying keen attention to the most subtle detail and nearly imperceptible movement in the room. He loved teaching and giving people the ends of golden threads to grab hold of. The world will miss him as his loss reverberates around the world. He was a pioneer, a bard, a maverick, an outlaw.

Stephen comes from a long line of healers including Leroy Burney, Surgeon General of the United States under Eisenhower and Kennedy, and Elizabeth Lusterheide, a midwife and herbalist who worked in rural Indiana in the early nineteenth century. The greatest influence on his work, however, was his great-grandfather C.G. Harrod who primarily used botanical medicines, also in rural Indiana, when he began his work as a physician in 1911.

To read more about Stephen Buhner and his work, here is a link to a self-written



On December 4, 2022, he wrote:
Facebook A Last Post

Hi All

Regrettably, my body has taken a severe turn for the worst; it doesn’t look like it
will be able to be corrected. I spend most of the day sleeping; I am having
seizures and mini-strokes now. Julie brings me back from them but it is getting
harder and harder for her to do so. It’s only a few more days now. Sorry for this
last long journey into night. I had hoped to find a different outcome.

Pulmonary fibrosis is not a kind disease and in many ways cancer is far more
benevolent oddly enough. I have spent most of my time on the couch in front of
the computer or about 20 feet away lying in bed, that is about all I can do and I
have to have help to make it that far. I can no longer move on my own. Your
very kind donations have allowed us to clear all our credit cards and buy a few
expensive care items that we had hoped to have and which have helped
immensely. You have helped us so much in the end; this has made more of a
difference than you know and I can’t thank you deeply enough.

I am lucky enough to be buried deep in the Gila Forest in a place few people are
aware of. luckily, New Mexico is still supportive of home and green burial. So it
is just me and my beloved forest, right adjacent to the Aldo Leopold wilderness
area, which makes a lot of sense to me given my life’s work. The truth is that as I
have grown older and more tired, I feel my connection to the land more deeply.
I have been lucky enough to be buried in a handmade woolen shroud. One made
with care and love, the deer buttons are quite lovely.

Julie and Trishuwa will have some posts to make in the coming weeks.
I did manage to finish my last book, BecomingVegetalista. It will be out in a
number of weeks. Only 500 or so; I did not get to see it in print. I left quite a
number of signed stickers to be placed in some of the books though I don’t expect
them to last long. I wish you all the best, safe travel in your lives.

Green blessings,
Stephen Harrod Buhner