Alicia Bay Laurel serenades Juliette de Bairacli Levy as she communes with a bee, August 26, 2000 at the New England Women’s Herbal Conference in Peterboro, New Hampshire.
Notice from Juliette’s daughter, Luz, and Luz’s husband Gunter and daughter Adaya:
She passed away at the 28. of May 2009 peaceful without pains.
We don’t organize an official announced funeral,
We plan to bring the ash back to Kythera.
In Loving Memory,
Luz, Gunter and Adaya
Ninety-six years strong,
Juliette changed our world
With the courage to go her own way
Back to nature and to fellow wilder beings.
Gentle of manner and determined in action,
She lived adventures that instructed for the good.
She blithely ignored the blind strictures of society
While carefully paying attention to the tiniest creatures,
Assuaging their pain
With mosses, spider webs, roadside weeds
And her endlessly kindly gaze.
Mother of the wildwoman in my soul,
I salute you as your make your triumphant rise
To the realms of pure spirit,
Leaving behind your example
To hold aloft as we continue
Living on the earth.
Alicia Bay Laurel
May 29, 2009
Juliette de Bairacli Levy is a world renowned herbalist, author, breeder of Afghan hounds, friend of the Gypsies, traveller in search of herbal wisdom, and the pioneer of holistic veterinary medicine. Juliette has a long record of spectacular cures to her credit and the books she has written have been a vital inspiration for the present day herbal renaissance.
Juliette was born on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11 month, almost in 1911 (actually 1912) in Manchester, England. Her parents were Jewish – her mother from Egypt and her father from Turkey. Juliette was raised in a household with three sisters and two brothers, a nanny, chauffeur, maid and gardener. She was educated at Lowther College, one of the best girls schools in Britain, and went on to study veterinary medicine at the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool. However, Juliette did not approve of the vivisection and animal experimentation that was going on in the universities in the name of science and health. So she left university after two years and went to study with the Gypsies and peasants of the world. In the late 1930’s Juliette ran a distemper clinic in London where, at a time when many dogs were dying from this disease, she treated and cured hundreds of dogs with fasting, herbs and a natural diet. When many Afghan hound puppies were dying of distemper, Juliette raised a litter of puppies on her natural rearing methods and these puppies won Best of Show at Crufts Dog Show.
It was in the 1930’s that Juliette developed a line of herbal supplements for animals known as Natural Rearing Products. For the next 50 years these were the only products of their kind on the market. Today these supplements are still distributed world wide.
During the World War II Juliette worked in the Women’s Land Army gathering sphagnum moss which was used on soldiers’ wounds. After the war she went to Yorkshire where she cured thousands of sheep who had been declared incurable by conventional vets. This work brought her to the attention of Sir Albert Howard, founder of the Soil Association and creator of modern day “organic” farming methods. Sir Albert Howard encouraged Juliette to learn all she could about herbal treatments for animals.
In the 1940’s, while travelling in America, Spain, France, North Africa and Turkey, Juliette gathered herbal remedies from the nomadic and peasant peoples of these lands. When her Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable was published in 1951, it was the first veterinary herbal ever to be published as before this time, the art of farriers, gypsies and peasants had been passed on only by the spoken word.
Thus Juliette became THE pioneer of what is known today as holistic animal care. She went on to write The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog. Both these books together with Juliette’s Illustrated Herbal Handbook for Everyone and Natural Rearing of Children have become classics and many generations of humans & animals have been raised & healed on these books.
Faber and Faber, one of Juliette’s publishers, say that for the past 50 years they have always received more inquiries about Juliette than about any of their other authors who include T.S. Eliot, Ted Hughes and William Golding.
Juliette’s two children, Luz and Rafik, were born in the early 1950’s. She took her children to live in Israel where they raised owls, hawks, dogs, goats, donkeys and bees. Juliette became famous for saving her hives of bees from shell attack during the six day war. In Israel and later when she moved to Greece, Juliette continued to write, to raise Afghan hounds, to garden and to gather herbal remedies. As well as her herbal books, she has written several travel books, two novels and three books of poems.
For the past many years Juliette has been coming to America every summer to give lectures, workshops and seminars on herbal medicine. In America she has become recognized as the grandmother of today’s herbal renaissance. In 1998 at their HerbFest in Iowa, Frontier Herbs presented Juliette with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the herb world.
Send love letters and words in memory to firstname.lastname@example.org
Note from Tish Street, who created a bio-documentary, interviewing and filming Juliette de Bairacli Levy, titled Juliette of the Herbs:
After several days of not eating, and sleeping more and more, Juliette died very peacefully and calmly in her sleep in the night of May 27th/28th. She was in a lovely home in Switzerland near her daughter Luz, her grand-daughter Adaya and her son-in-law Gunter who took very good care of her these past few years.
Juliette was 96, had a remarkable life, a peaceful death and will leave an incredible legacy. Even while feeling the beauty of the completeness, i will miss her presence in this world.
Peace, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.
Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.
Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.
I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way.
Luz, Gunter and Raffi have asked me to make a page on the web site julietteoftheherbs.com for everyone to send their memories, prayers, thoughts, photographs etc. I will get this up as soon as i can. Also on this page will be information on where and when there will be a gathering (with lots of chocolate) to celebrate and remember Juliette’s amazing life and legacy.
With much love to all of you who cared so much for Juliette, and who carry on her work,
Note from writer Jodi Mitchell, who lived at the Wheeler Ranch Commune where I wrote Living on the Earth:
Her book, Natures Children (1971), was my Dr. Spock. I literally raised my son, Mitch on it’s advice when he was a baby (and my pets as well). I used all herbs and medicinal plants for his healing and health; never took him to an MD. Spent lots of time outdoors and within nature celebrating all the seasons. He was breast fed until 1.5 years at which time he informed me he wanted to drink from a cup and be weaned! I planned to breast feed him much longer; but he chose to wean himself. He spent that milestone day with a group of my men friends_about 6 of them. They went off for a day of hiking in the woods. He came back weaned, and drinking from a cup. That was it. I then made all of his own baby food by blending whatever I ate in a blender for him. He was raised vegetarian. I grew lots of my own organic vegies or traded for them. There was also an ancient apple orchard on our land. I made applesauce from the old, tough apples. He was also fed brown rice cream: brown rice ground fine and cooked as a cereal for protein, and black strap molasses for iron. He was never sick, even through the long, cold snowy winters. Someone once told me he was healthy like a bear cub! We lived in rural West Virginia at the time.
Juliette was so inspirational to me as a young (age 19, 20) woman, as well. This was of course, after my life on the back-to-the-land commune Wheeler’s Ranch, where I knew Alicia and owned a copy of her own amazing educational/inspirational book, Living On the Earth. Still have my original copy! The elder Juliette was in the forefront of the whole natural living, natural eating, natural healing lifestyle which so informed the rest of my life. She also guided and inspired me as a young woman in that she helped me to believe that I had innate wisdom of my own and self-worth.
Luckily, I found a first addition copy of the original book online last night and ordered it. I am sure it will flood me with many sweet memories when I see it again. I probably referred to it daily when Mitch was a baby. I also very much wanted to live a life like Juliette: strong, independent_living a rural simple lifestyle surrounded by animals, children, art and beauty. Maybe I’ll still get there.
A beautiful memorial from master herbalist and teacher Susun Weed:
I Remember Juliette de Baricli Levy
by Susun Weed
June 1, 2009
I met Juliette de Bairacli Levy almost three decades ago, but I remember our meeting as though it were yesterday. My heart beat fast as the glass door opened and the woman whose books I adored entered. Smiling broadly, both from delight and nervousness, I eagerly awaited her.
“I brought this for you,” I said, offering her a weighty bag. Inside was a quart of goats’ milk yogurt and a pound of goats’ milk cheese—made by me from the milk from my goats. It was the right gift at the right time, and Juliette warmed to me.
Our talks were many over the years we worked together. Most were about animals, some were about herbs, all were about the gifts of the Earth. Juliette and I shared a love of goats and a child-like delight in the miracles of life. We both bowed to no man-made rule, but spent our lives in strict obedience to Nature’s laws.
I feel keenly grateful for Juliette’s stance as a woman who found her own way. I feel deeply thankful for her friendship and mentorship. I feel profoundly humbled by her trust in me to publish her books and keep them in print. And I feel keenly, deeply, profoundly sad that she is no longer with us in her body.
I commit to keeping Juliette’s words available to all who wish to drink from her well of knowledge and delight. She did delight in the beauty and wonder of the world and its creatures. In these times when major publishers are faltering, Ash Tree Publishing is thriving. Ash Tree Publishing will continue to provide access to Juliette’s work, both in print and in modern formats.
Three of her out-of-print works are in line for publication. We anticipate presenting them to you in the very near future.
So Juliette lives on in our hearts and minds and through her books. And she will continue to live on, influencing new generations of herbalists.
Juliette de Bairacli Levy is the woman who was the greatest influence on my path as an herbalist. I hope she lives on through me.
More love notes and memories on Susun’s memorial page for Juliette on her website.