Its been just over a week since I came home from the Sacred Earth Medicine Retreat in Aravaipa Canyon. I’ve been in a phase of re-entry, re-evaluation and re-setting. I think I perhaps underestimated how deeply I would be changed and affected by faciliating this experience. I knew I would be tired, and needing some quiet solitary time after the year long process of making this happen, but I overlooked how deeply the shared sacred time and space with powerful sisters, and the ceremonies and the lodge and the work I did myself would count. Because for me, it was far more than just holding of space for others, or creation of a cauldron of magic, but truly, was investing myself fully, completely and head first in the call of spirit, and following the Song that inspires me every day. Maybe it seems small, but for a single person, herbalist, who’s spent years trying to make my little business grow wings and fly in the world, to see a dream manifest before my very eyes, to feel the ways it impacted the beautiful sisters who joined me, and to feel the clarity and affirmation- that my crazy little dream, when held by spirit, became something so much more.
It fed me deeply, to feel that land hold us so sweetly, to feel the gathering of so many ancestors offering us our gifts, to feel the sweet sacred womb space of the lodge, to birth, what felt like, an entire universe. I know now that my work in the world is expanding, changing, growing and becoming ever more directed by a spirit bigger than myself. And I am humbled. And so grateful. Letting go of what I thought I was supposed to be and do, to make room for what I’m being really guided to be and do has been one of the single most important things I’ve done for myself. And its not always easy. What is an herbalist anyway? What is a healer? What is a space holder? Medicine maker? Teacher? Sister?
I am just human. A woman. Coming back to myself. Coming to back to the Earth. Coming back to sit with my fellows at the fire to dream a new world, a new way of being, to sit at the fire with that Spirit that fills all life- the land, our hearts, the plants, the animals.
And it was so beautiful, so full of magic, and blessing. Mornings breathing and grounding in circle together. Sharing the incredibly delicious and abundantly nourishing meals our Chef, Laura Chamberlin, prepared for us three times each day.
Feeling and breathing the plants, gathering the medicines, concocting potions, inviting and co-creating essences of plant and place.
Meditating and journeying with the song of the river and cottonwoods. Holding space for our grief and heartbreak, and welcoming our beloved ancestors to the fire, sharing our stories and retrieving gifts of our bloodlines- as healers, wise women, medicine tenders. Fire Ceremony night after night, releasing the things that hold us back from becoming fully empowered, honoring and inviting new plant allies and gifts from our ancestors- drum and rattle, song and chant- the wind stoking each fire in just the right moment. There is so much power and magic in the gathering of souls around the ancient and primal medicine of the transformation of FIRE.
Skilled herbalists and beginners alike sharing their favorite remedies, formulas, tips and special magic and connections with the plants for healing of the darkness, sadness, grief, and challenges of life. And the beautiful exchanges, each woman bringing her particular brand of medicine offerings- perfumes, incences, teas, elixirs, body butters, stone amulets, oracle readings, wise and wild woman aprons. The delight on everyones faces as the goodies came out of the boxes, the oohs and ahhs as they were passed around to be loved and honored and treasured by whomever received that particular gift.
And the sweet lodge. I’ve been in many lodges of many sorts, and I’ve had physical challenges that made lodges difficult to get the medicine and power out of. But my dear sister, Chrysta, I awaited for months and months for the right lodge keeper to arrive for our ceremony, and just as summer ended, Chrysta came back into my life, and the perfect divine timing to hold the lodge for us, with her gentle wisdom, and strong mother energy. Ceremony, toning, healing, shifting within the space of that womb, together as sisters. Long and deep seated fears released in the safety and cauldron of the elements.
Personal medicine and intentions created, with the power and assistance of plant allies, stones, and individual magic. Each woman’s medicine bundle as unique and beautiful as she, filled with her intentions, hopes, challenges, gifts and transformations.
I am so deeply honored and touched by each woman who chose to hear the call and follow the song that my heart, the land, and the plants were singing out…to join in this medicine. this sweet, sweet medicine.
We ARE the MEDICINE we NEED.