Linda Jean Shepherd
Linda Jean Shepherd was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. She holds a B.A. summa cum laude in biology from Millersville University, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Pennsylvania State University. Her book, Lifting the Veil: The Feminine Face of Science earned the Washington Governor's Writers Award. This book led Anna Harrison, past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society "to think anew about science and about women in science."
Linda's love of Nature led her to become a scientist. She wanted to know about Life, to understand Reality. She wanted to know how plants create such a cornucopia of chemicals, medicines, and structures from just air, water, sun, and dirt. She was curious about dreams and the mind. Her Ph.D. research on the mechanism of anesthesia was as close as she could get to studying consciousness within a biochemistry department in the 1970s.
Her questions strayed into other fields; she was stimulated by courses in anthropology, Eastern philosophy, and quantum chemistry. She read books on spirituality and Jungian psychology. As much as she loved science, it alone didn't satisfy her. Over time, she came to the conclusion we need to expand the definition of science to include studying more realms of reality than just the physical.
As a scientist, Linda worked in the biotechnology industry developing clinical diagnostic products, obtained a U.S. patent, and published ten scientific papers. At the same time, she began to explore inner realms through Jungian analysis, and discovered the wonders of the body through training in massage therapy. She began to wonder what it meant to be a woman in science, read widely in the feminist literature, and then left her biotech job to write Lifting the Veil: The Feminine Face of Science. For several years, she participated with a group of scientists who engaged in monthly discussions about the relationship between science and spirituality.
Her awe of plants led her to apprenticeships in herbal studies and ethnobotany, which enabled her to develop personal relationships with plants, to know them in their habitats, to understand our reliance on them. Her study of the Waitaha, a peaceful matriarchal people who lived in New Zealand for two thousand years before the Maori, has given her a vision of the degree of peace and harmony that is possible within a culture and with Nature.
Today, she feels a deep commitment to being a voice for the plants, animals, minerals, lands, and waters of Earth. As human activities increasingly threaten our biosphere, she feels called to work toward a transformation of human consciousness, values, and institutions.
Linda is enlivened by interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches, which she finds give birth to our most creative work. Today's problems are complex, and she wants to help weave interactive, inclusive, cooperative strategies to solve them, drawing on the knowledge, wisdom, and perspective of diverse fields.
She has gone on a sacred journeys to visit the stark beauty of the deserts of Israel and Jordan; learned about compassion and the abuse of power in the Mayan Yucatan; experienced the bridge of connection and abundance of life in the rainforests of Costa Rica, explored her heart's desire in Machu Picchu; wove with the rainbow rays of creation in the Galapagos Islands; sought the divine feminine in New Zealand and the divine masculine in the dolmens, standing stones, and caves of Ireland, Scotland and Spain. Perhaps if far-reaching political, economic, and business decisions were made in places such as these, rather than in climate-controlled buildings, humans would make wiser choices.
As a writer, Linda contributed an essay to the anthology The Sweet Breathing of Plants: Women Writing on the Green World and has published articles in New Zealand Geographic, Resurgence, New Realities, Ancestry Weekly Journal, and Coping. She is currently writing a novel about Mileva Maric, Einstein's first wife.