Walk our talk. An evening conversation with Don Ollsin.

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

Pray to be used.

Ellen White, Kwulasulwut, (1922-2018),

elder, author & teacher from the Snuneymuxw nation*

We were very excited about our conversation with Don Ollsin. Lori frequently mentions his teachings in our encounters. Don is a dreamer and mentor; some members of our community have studied herbalism under his guidance, he inspired their walks.

Shamanic workshop with Ellen White, 1980's


We dreamt of an evening with Don, on one of those first cold and dark evenings as transit into the next season, into Fall. We thought we would talk about medicinal plants, create the space for the community to get to know Don’s teachings, have an opportunity to sit with him, and practice active listening to his sharing of many years of relations with plants and nature.

What we didn’t know was that we would learn/experience something else.

For quite some time now we have re-created our connection with Grandmother Moon. We sit in circle with every new and full moon. With the new moon, we set our intentions for the cycle (29.5 days), and with the full moon, we learn to expand those intentions.

We have learned from the Toltec teachings, that there are five moon phases. New, waxing, full, waning & black moon. We understand what energy each of these cycles brings into our lives and physical bodies.

New Moon- new beginnings, new intentions

Waxing Moon – observation, crescendo energy, time to tweak our intentions, time to dream

Full Moon – expansion, strong energy, light into the darkness, seeing, amplified vision

Waning Moon – Let go of old patterns and obstacles impeding our growth

Black Moon -Time to rest

We scheduled the conversation with Don Ollsin on the day of black moon #10.

We neglected the lunar calendar, we didn’t rest that day, and we pulled our community into a beautiful evening where we all felt the quietness of the night sky and the need for reposing.

Don gently reminded us, “I am an elder, he said, I feel the natural forces on my body, I feel the energy of the black moon”. And then, we felt it too, we saw it on the faces and bodies on the computer’s screen. It was a day for us to be reposing.

How would it be to live in a world where we not only follow the sun’s cycles? How would it be to live in a world synchronized to the moon calendar? How would it be to live in a world where we are one with the Cosmos?

Don Ollsin, herbal elder, teacher, mentor, grandfather, opened the space for questions, created space for telling stories on his journey walking with Elder Ellen White of the Snuneymuxw Nation, and the teaching they offered on plants, foods, and medicines. We shared a serene, reflective, and gentle time.

Following the teaching of Ellen White, we pray to be used, to be in reciprocity with Mother Earth and everything that exists. We walk our talk.

*To know more about elder Ellen White visit Story of Water)

** To know more about Don Ollsin visit

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