It is with a heavy heart that I learned today of the passing of Andrew Stableford. Andrew was the course leader of the University of Lincoln BSc (Hons.) Herbal Medicine course, and pretty much ran the third year of the course. He is a light that has gone out in the herbal medine community before his time.
It is probably because of Andrew that I finished my degree and became the practitioner I am today. At the end of the second year of the course, everyone, but especially me, were really worn out. The second year was a test of endurance for everyone and I was still recovering from my last bout of surgery following on from my accident the year before. I almost didn’t go back to do my third and final year, and arrived with a sense of trepidation. Yet within two weeks I was floating round on a little cloud of chilled-out herbal buddhist vibe serenity. This was the atmosphere that surrounded the third year of the course in those days. It’s where everything came together and started making sense – where we went from student herbalists to student practitioners. Learning, and putting into practice our science and craft. And that was mainly due to the atmosphere that surrounded Andrew.
Looking back on the years I was at university, the third year was probably the most formative of my training in many ways. I still have (and shall now be re-playing!) all the recordings I made of Andrew’s therapeutics lectures. I found myself refering to them only recently (ok, a couple of years ago) and realising how rich in experience and information they were.
Andrew always said he’d do two things that became almost an ‘in joke’ – he said he would finish writing his book, and look to starting a Masters degree in Herbal Therapeutics “Some time next year”. The joke was that he’d been saying that for a decade. Well, in 2019 I found myself back in Lincoln to start a MSc in Herbal Therapeutics – with Andrew. The five years in between melted away and I found myself back in that learning environment once more. Unfortunately things fell apart with the Masters in 2020 with the Covid pandemic – but I’ll hopefully be going back this Autumn to resume it. It won’t be the same without Andrew’s presence though. And lastly, his other ‘next year’ project, his book, came out in 2020. The Handbook of Constitutional and Energetic Herbal Medicine is a legacy of knowledge that I will return to – all the more fondly now.
Ironically, before the Covid pandemic hit, Andrew had to step back from the Masters course due to his health – and today’s news doesn’t surprise me in some ways. But it saddens me. I am just glad that, even for one weekend, I got a chance to go back and revisit that connection and touch base with my teacher.
So, tonight, I raise a glass to Andrew Stableford. Who will be sorely missed.
Categories: The Journey