Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 9.54.24 AM.png

Lupo Passero Community Herbalist, Flower Essence Practitioner :: Founder and Director of Twin Star herbal education & community apothecary

Intimately connected with the plant world from an early age, Lupo Passero has studied botanical medicine from a variety of perspectives. A mother twice blessed, Lupo has a first hand passion for helping the family enjoy healthy and holistic experiences with pregnancy, childbirth, children and teenagers! Her humble beginning with herbs and flower essences as a young mother in the 90's inspired her to learn and go on to teach others. Lupo spent over a decade developing an intimate relationship to the diverse medicinal plants of the Appalachians Mountains of North Carolina, where she lived for many years and studied herbalism at the North Carolina School of Natural Healing. It was in the healing community of Asheville where Lupo began her career as an herbalist, offering classes and workshops on traditional herbalism and flower essences at various institutions (including The Appalachian School of Holistic Herbalism, The Blue Ridge School of Herbal Medicine and The One World Healing Institute). Her classes have since evolved to cover a variety of topics including folk herbalism, plant spirit healing, plant identification/communication, the medicine woman way, herb justice programs and a variety of spiritual and indigenous healing traditions from around the globe.   In 2009, shortly after moving back to her home state of Connecticut,  Lupo launched Twin Star Herbal Education and Apothecary in New Milford, where she continues to share her passion for the natural world. She has been invited to teach at various institutions around New England including, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Western Connecticut State University, Yale University and The Graduate Institute. Lupo’s immense love for travel has lead her to teach numerous herbal trainings and retreats throughout the country as well as Central America, Europe and the United Kingdom.  She has had the privilege of studying under the tutelage of many great teachers including Himani Ellis, Rosemary Gladstar, Pam Montgomery and a host of traditional Medicine Men and Woman across the globe.  Lupo is a retired two-term Secretary and board member of the American Herbalist Guild, an organization pioneering professional modern herbalism. Having grown up in Newtown, Connecticut Lupo has worked extensively promoting the concept of Herbalism in Action, using herbalism to help support communities after tragedy, after closely using the wisdom of the plants to help support her community of Sandy Hook. She and her family currently reside close by.  When she is not traveling and teaching she can be found in her medicine wheel garden or traipsing through the woodland, almost always with her camera in hand.  

What a privilege it's been for me to have the opportunity to walk this joyful herbal path with Lupo. A passionate herbalist and teacher, she is one of the most dedicated and generous individuals I know. Always growing personally and sharing her wisdom.” -B. Lewis 2012 graduate.

Lupo can be contacted at



Often turned to for field expertise regarding fungi, Zaac Chaves guides people through realms in which the details matter immensely. Zaac's greater research compassionately seeks out least-harm approaches to bioregional livelihood. As an extension of this approach Zaac rides his bicycle to work, practices a vegan diet, and maintains a waste vegetable oil fueled car. Employed as a detail-focused naturalist, Zaac performs botanical field work, writes, and interprets historic research. Zaac currently serves as an administrator on the board of the Connecticut-Westchester Mycological Association and has been honored by the Explorer’s Club regarding his epic Transtaïga bicycle journey. Zaac’s skills are requested by Harvard University, the National Parks Service, and the New York Botanical Gardens for rare and disappearing species’ surveys. Zaac serves as the chief editor of the renowned Boston Mycological Club Bulletin (1897).

 Zach Fisher, Primitive Skills Instructor

Zack grew up in the woods and on the beaches of Northern California.  The pursuit of art and music brought him to the East Coast and consequently to Tom Brown Jr's Tracker School which he considers to be the beginning of the education he was always looking for.  He began teaching in 2011 and has since co-founded Earth Living Skills.  He teaches and leads guided adventures for Discover Outdoors as well as several other earth skills based programs.  His goal as a teacher and a student is to foster a deeper connection with natural world in the spirit of discovery and the maximizing of our human potential. Zach is a guest teacher (and graduate) in Twin Star’s Foundations of Herbalism course and helps co-lead Earth Spirit: Plant Spirit Healing and Nature Connection. He also offers various monthly classes and workshops on primitive skills as well as ancestral healing and runs one of Twin Star’s newest programs Survival Sundays.

Chris (Painted Turtle) Harris, Herbalist & Spiritual Guide

Turtle comes to us with the wisdom of Native Ceremony and is willing to share the teachings as he lives them in his spiritual life. He is a Counsel Elder of the Mohegan Tribe of Indians and although he spent time at Indian ceremonies as a young boy, he started paying attention to the lessons of the Red Road 25 years ago. He has a strong belief in our connection to Mother Earth and simply shares what he lives. Chris (Painted Turtle) brings his years of experience and Native wisdom to Twin Star for a variety of classes and events throughout the year.  Earth Spirit - An Introduction to Plant Spirit Healing, Nature Connection & and Native Healing is offered each year in June where he shares ceremony, lodge and sacred teachings.  Turtle also teaches 'Honoring the Four directions' in the Foundations in Herbalism class each spring. 

Tina Hartzell, Reflexologist & Twin Star Travel Guide

Tina started on her healing journey in 2008 when she serendipitously signed up for a Reflexology class.  Her intentions of simply learning the technique in a few hours immediately grew in to a passion.  After 300 hours of coursework/study, 100 hours of hands-on experience and a rigorous exam, she became a Certified Reflexologist.  She has since taken courses in Meridian Therapy, Jin Shin Jyitsu, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy and Reiki – all modalities that enhance her Reflexology skills.   For the last 5 years she has been studying herbalism at Twin Star and shortly after her studies began she felt called to work with the Magdelene energy to consciously contribute to the healing of humankind.  All her skills combined translates into an “East meets West” common sense approach to healing. In addition to keeping busy with her practice, Tina loves to travel and arrange tours for Twin Star to Southwest France.


Farmer Melody, RN, Herbalist, Foundations of Herbalism Instructor

Melody Wright is the founder of Pleasant Valley Botanicals, a "farmlet" in Northwest CT committed to growing vibrant medicinal and culinary herbs for the local community. Melody is committed to growing and sharing fresh medicinal herbs because of her belief in medicinal herbs as an integral part of an affordable and holistic health care system. She also works as a Community Health Nurse, and has a passion for canoeing and kayaking. Melody is currently working on a USDA-funded research grant looking at crop yield and disease resistance of crops planted with soil fungal inoculants. Melody is honored to be a part of the Twin Star Tribe. She is also prone to hooting like a Short-Eared Owl while on woodland tromps with her love, GingerDog

  Find out more at:

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 12.56.43 PM.png

Deana Paqua, MA, LMT

Deana is a teacher and practitioner of cross-cultural energy medicine and contemporary shamanism and has worked as a holistic health practitioner for over 20 years. She has worked with traditional healers, shaman and medicine people from Tibet, North and South America, with an emphasis on the healing traditions of the Andes, for over a dozen years. She is also an adjunct professor at Western CT State University, in Danbury, CT. In her healing work and classes, Deana incorporates traditional and contemporary spiritual, energetic and holistic health practices to support the self-healing and self-empowerment of her students and clients. At Twin Star, Deana is honored to provide classes and offerings in Shamanic Journeying, the Rites of the Munay Ki, Despacho Ceremonies, traditional teachings from the Andes, and the Rite of the Womb. She offers classes, training programs, healing sessions and more. For additional information, please visit

Cassandra Purdy, Local Chef and Cannabis Expert

Cass has a degree in Anthropology from Vassar College and another in Tibetan Studies. She has always been interested in sacred plants and ethnobotony, pursuing her education in these subjects through shamanism, travel, workshops with masters and research. Since 2000 she has worked for Mama Editions, a French publishing company specializing in these topics and has translated many important works and contributed to and edited many others including the bestseller “Mr. Nice ”. She translated activist/writer Michka Seeliger-Chatelain's seminal “Medical Cannabis” and “Healing with Cannabis” into Englishas well as (for another publisher) “Homegrown Harvest.”  She worked at her first High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam in 1995 and has been a judge at many since, both for flower and edibles categories. In the intervening 23 years she has attended hundreds of tradeshows, conventions and conferences all over the world in the cannabis space. She has also made almost a dozen trips to India starting in 1994 with a deep interest in the continent’s relationship with psychoactive plants and in particular the traditional uses of cannabis as sacrament and medicine. Since 2014 she has been working in the new world of legal and medical marijuana consulting on edibles and creating product-lines for companies in CT and Oregon, drawing on her more than 25 years of experience collaborating with this powerful plant ally.

Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 11.11.42 AM.png

 Benjamin Schwartz, Farmer, Herbalist, Activist

Herbal Medicine Farmer and Herb Justice advocate Benjamin Schwartz of White Pine Community Farm. White Pine Community Farm was established in 2008 with a mission to address food justice issues both locally in Dutchess County and in New York City, specifically in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Food justice means many things. To Ben, it means increasing urban/rural solidarity by bringing our educational programs to the city, and bringing the our community from the city to the farm. It also means addressing the inequities of our food system by increasing transparency and access, becoming an educational resource for our community where everyone feels they are part of the family.


Ilana Sobo, Herbalist, Aromatherapist, Ayurvedic Practitioner

 Ilana works as a community herbalist, Ayurvedic Practitioner and Yoga Instructor in the Greater New York City area and Fairfield County CT.  She has spent over 14 years in the fields of Ayurveda, Yoga and Herbalism and has work with &apprenticed for several of the pioneers in Botanical Medicine & Ayurveda in the US.  She also has unique apothecary training spanning over 10 years and regularly compounds tinctures, salves, essential oil blends, teas and flower essences for her local community.  Ilana also formulates organic customized skin care, essential oil perfumes and medicinals through her healing project Shakti Botanica. She is available for consultations and classes on Ayurveda, Yoga and herbology by appointment, visit her at 


Linda Shreve, Goddess Within Us Instructor & 13 Moons Songstress

Linda has been a long-time student of the energetic truth expressed between us all (humans, plants, animals, the rock and tree people, among others) in this world, and of deep listening. She grateful for all her teachers: Oh Shinnah, Lupo, Joan Halifax, her movement and song teachers, family, friends and Nature.  As Song Mistress she leads songs and chants for 13 Moons; a singer with a passion for community song work, and group singing. Linda believes that singing together builds shared community, deep listening and transports us to an expanded awareness of ourselves and the world. Trained as a movement analyst, Linda turned her love of movement toward ritual, dance, and embodiment of archetypal energies including the various forms of the Goddess.  She was always meant to study herbalism and was grateful to find Lupo and the Twin Star community and has been immersed in the life of plants and herbs over the last 4 years including herbalism, plant spirit studies and flower essence therapies. To Linda, herbalism is a natural extension of the energetic dance all around us. As a Reiki Master she has studied various energetic therapies over the last 30 years or so – Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, and various meditation practices including moving meditation.  

Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 3.49.11 PM.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 1.03.29 PM.png

Jason Scott, Mycologist, Ethnobotanist and Spagyricist
Jason Scott has studied traditional Hermetic Alchemy, from history and philosophy to practice, for the past 5 years. He has a background in Ethnobotany and Plant Medicine that started on the Big Island of Hawaii, and has carried back with him into his home: the Pacific North West. Born and raised in Oregon, Jason has an intrinsic interest in the Fungal Queendom and all of its aspects: from cultivation and mycoremediation, to historical and cultural relationships. Most specifically their medicinal application. Jason has studied various different healing modalities including Ayurveda in Nepal and Western Herbalism all over Oregon and Washington. He is on an ever-deepening journey of education to understand the practical applications of his interests, and the golden threads that connect them. You can learn more about his work and products at

Rebekah Sutter, Twin Star Herbalist, Apothecary Goddess, Herbal Artist & Chaga Queen

Rebekah first joined the Twin Star Tribe in the summer of 2013.  Since then she has completed various herbal trainings including: Foundations of Herbalism, Practices and Protocols of Herbalism, Tropical Herbalism in Costa Rica, Flower Essence Practitioner Training and our Seed to Market Advanced Herbal Training. She has served as the Twin Star Herbal Apprentice for nearly five years and has helped Lupo co-teach a variety of classes throughout that time.  Rebekah skillfully creates and crafts the majority of herbal preparation in our apothecary and is also co-teaches in the Art & Science of Herbalism, The Spiral Path Women’s Medicine Way Course, Foundations of Herbalism and Introduction to Herbalism courses.  She also hosts and organizes both the Plant Partner and Plant Wisdom Wednesday monthly offering as well as our 13 Moons Women Circle. Not only is she an up and coming Herbalist, she is also a talented artist, with an emphasis on the divine feminine and botanical prints.  Rebekah and her work can be found in the Twin Star Apothecary throughout the week.

Laura Watkins, Astrological Counselor, Educator and Personalized Jewelry Designer

Laura has been studying astrology for over thirty years and has over 20 years of experience as an Astrological Counselor. Laura has been making jewelry since 1986. Inspired by natal charts and crystals she began designing personalized jewelry that can enhance Sun Signs and balance energies. Laura is a member of the Organization of Professional Astrologers, The Astrological Society of Connecticut, and the International Association of Reiki Professionals. Laura loves to combine energetic healing modalities to heal herself and others using Shamanic techniques, Reiki, crystals, and plant medicine.

Laura offers her services in many ways at Twin Star including a variety of astro-classes, her annual Introduction to Astrology 6 week immersion class and monthly natal chart readings in the apothecary. Twin Star Community Apothecary also carries a large variety of her incredible healing jewelry.