The Journal of the American Botanical Council
Issue: 59 Page: 69
William LeSassier 1948 – 2003
HerbalGram. 2003;59:69 © American Botanical Council
I am honored to write words of remembrance for William LeSassier: the mystical teacher of all my teachers. He who dropped under the radar for so many years. The famous and infamous William LeSassier.
In the late ‘60s, William opened The Christos School of Herbal Medicine in Taos, New Mexico. By the 1970s, herbalism was re-awakened. He was one of the most well-known herbalists in the country. During those early years he wandered and taught, selling herbs as he went. He wrote some of the very first herb articles in Well-Being magazine, possibly the first publication on alternative medicine. In the early ‘80s, he settled in New York City to open Chiron’s Magic Minerals, where he practiced and taught energy work. The Taoist Arts Center was also graced with his wisdom. He continued his busy herbal practice, blending modalities of bodywork and incorporating herbs, energy work, and acupuncture. A perfectionist, William’s book was constantly evolving. We hope to publish his works in the next few years.
Like so many people of genius, William led a life full of intensity we would expect from one who received formulas shared from the book of Pythagoras, in blasts of white light. Thus, the birth of the Triad System of Formulation 30 years ago, visually drawing one triangle within another, with the client’s constitution/core condition in the center. Herbs on the apex representing the “king,” the ruler/significant herb/neutral signified by a circle, a “minister” the herb that communicates to other plants and takes the message to the king, signified by a plus sign, and a “servant” the reciprocal part of the formula that acts upon/eliminates through the “doorways of the body.” Measurement of herb was formulated by energetic strength, not weight. William’s Triad System of Formulation continues to be taught from coast to coast.
Hanging in herb schools and practitioner’s offices around the country are William’s Facial Diagnosis Charts, which illustrate the five elements as they relate to general and specific characteristics including the shape of the face, temperament, tone of voice, and the myriad of fascinating descriptions that make up a “type” of person. The chart is based on a combination of traditional Chinese physiognomy and William’s own interpretations. Clients are always curious to discover their “type.”
William was exceptional and at the same time completely human in experiencing the extremes of life. Never one to moderate excess! A gifted man and blessed soul. So regular, so ordinary, so “no big deal” in his beige turtleneck and sweats with words falling out of his mouth in such profusion that one could easily forget that he was a brilliant genius and channeled the healing energy of the universe. The flow of knowledge while he taught was magical. Humor and lighter entertainment interspersed between the meatier portions of diagnostic tone and color, nails and tongues. He grasped each line of the face, each subtle marking, explained, and drew so beautifully. That smirk, his delightful wry comments sneaking in at just the right moment, to tickle the joy button of the whole experience. He was so gracious. How fortunate we were.
It was good to see he had come back into his own light these past few years. He returned to his herbal family. What impact can a single man make? The lineage of those directly influenced during his life journey walking our Earth includes a bounty of accomplished practitioners. I share Rosemary Gladstar’s sentiment that William was “…sweet, rare and fairly complex. May our hearts feel peace as his heart does. He is close, even closer now than in life. That is the gift of those who pass over. Our gift is to remember them and to honor them.”
Herbalist, acupuncturist, artist, teacher, husband, father, keeper of his beloved Virginian land – William was always a body worker. Matthew Wood so succinctly added, “William touched the four elements – earth, air, fire, water – and then the fifth element which changes everything, as in the ######### of an eye, in a magical moment when no one sees. And then he was gone. We thought we could always learn from him, but suddenly the book was complete.”
Spirit and wind are the same word in Greek. To inspire is to breathe in. We all share inspiration, our breath. To inspire is to excite with passion. William was my inspiration to be a better practitioner. He always liked an “Amen corner.” I am not alone in that corner. So Amen, my friend, amen.
– Margi Flint
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