Where I am From
Like you, all that comprises this body was cooked up in the heart of a dying star and then scattered into deep space, to go on to become the myriad forms before the one that writes these words now…. but in more recent times, I am the descendant of mostly Celtic peoples in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall and to a smaller extent, a mix of peoples from Italy, Scandinavia, Iran/Turkey, Melanesia and an Ashkenazi Jewish lineage from Eastern Europe.
Some of these ancestors went on to become part of the first wave of colonial settlers in South Africa in the 1600’s, others came during the gold rush in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
I was born during the final death throes of the apartheid and grew up on a small farm on the ancestral lands of the San Bushmen people and of the Sotho-Tswana Bantu people which is currently known as Gauteng, South Africa.
I now live with my partner and border-collie in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia, on the unceded ancestral lands of the Wurundjeri Aboriginal people, who are part of the larger Kulin Nation.
What I’m Passionate About
- Coming back into an embodied, felt-sense relationship with my wider, ecological self
- Reclaiming animist/ pan-psychist perception and my ability to experience a living, breathing, sentient and co-creative world capable of relationship at all levels
- Ritually tending my other-than-human and ancestral relationships
- Connecting to my ancestral lines through plant medicine, myth and folktales
- Creating safe passage and community ritual for the metabolisation of grief of all kinds but particularly ecological grief
- Recreating Rites of Passage, Initiation and Soul-centric developmental containers for maturation of psyche and soul
- Cultivating kinship relationship with place
- Finding ways to live in a gentler, more sustainable and reciprocal partnership with my wider Earth body
- Reclaiming mythopoetic imagination, the feeling sense and soulful visionary capacities.
- Bridging neuro-gnostic plant medicines and ecological awareness.
- Transpersonal ritual practices, applied psychotherapeutic healing modalities, bio-energetic healing modalities, nervous system science and movement medicine.
- Contributing to the non-linear emergent movement toward cultural renewal and ecological healing
- And ultimately, participating in the collective liberation from the painful delusion of a separate Self.
I achieve this in many ways, but primarily through my work as a Nature Connection mentor with children, as a facilitator of The Work that Reconnects, as a Folk Herbalist, Plant Medicine Ritualist, and as someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, in ritual or in focused practise on the land.
Teachers and Influences
Some of my primary human influences at this time are:
Joanna Macy, John Seed, Stephen Harrod Buhner, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Daniel Foor, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Adrienne Maree Brown, Thomas Berry, Brian Thomas Swimme, Joan Halifax, Jon Young, Stephen Jenkinson, Bill Plotkin, Charles Eisenstein, Daniel Christian Wahl, Sharon Blackie, Lama Tsultrim Allione, Francis Weller, Martin Prechtel, Bayo Akomolofe, Martin Shaw, David Abram, Susan Murphy Roshi, and Josh Schrei
Training and Experience
- I spent 5 years (2000-2005) hand-raising and rehabilitating a wide array of wildlife species (primarily lions and baboons, but many other species too) most days after school and on the weekends alongside well known wildlife carer Kevin Richardson. I also grew up on a farm where I fostered many injured or abandoned animals. I consider myself a skilled wildlife carer, particularly with mammals but also reptiles (birds are not really my strong point in this arena).
- I spent two years (2003-2005) studying Kabbalistic occult ritual and magic with an experienced elder within a closed group of friends each week. I was simultaneously part of a monthly Wiccan coven during this period. While I no longer use either of these practices, they were useful in helping me to expand out of my narrow, materialistic worldview at the time.
- I spent 3 years (2007-2010) studying tui na massage, acupressure, cupping, moxa, qi healing, qi gong meditation, taoist philosophy and martial arts with TCM practitioner Dr. Jeff Lan at the International Kim Loong Wushu Center in Cape Town, South Africa. It was there that I received my first holistic systems view of the body and an understanding of its energetics. Though I no longer practice most these teachings in the traditional way, they continue to permeate much of my life, healing practices and work.
- I participated in my first 10day Vipassana Buddhist meditation retreat in 2009 and went on to sit another two 10day retreats in various parts of the world. I later took refuge in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition within the Kagyu lineage and have practiced on and off within this tradition for over a decade. I’ve also self-studied Tibetan and Mahayana Buddhist philosophy, cosmology and psychology for over a decade. I recently joined a Zen Buddhist Sangha under instruction by Susan Murphy Roshi.
- I’ve been dancing 5rhythms, Movement Medicine, Open Floor, Ecstatic dance ect. Since 2009 and continue to this day, both in formal classes and workshops and also on my own. Dance is one of my most treasured practices.
- I spent a year (2010-2011) studying and working as a wilderness guide (FGASA) at Eco-Training and at a wilderness reserve in the Limpopo province of South Africa.
- I underwent a 200hour yoga teacher training (2012) with The School of Shamanic Yoga (since closed down). While there, I trained in Ashtanga Vinyasa, Sri Sri Yoga, shamanic dreaming practices, core shamanic drum journeying practices and learned Andean despacho ritual from the Qero Indigenous people.
- I underwent another 200hour yoga teacher training (2015) with the Inbound School of Yoga in Pisac, where I studied Ashtanga Vinyasa and Anusara Yoga, devotional singing and ritual, meditation, pranayama and Pantanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga.
- I spent five years (2011-2016) living in the Peruvian Amazon, four of which were in a full-time apprenticeship with the Amazonian Curanderismo tradition of the indigenous Shipibo people, particularly that of the Mahua-Lopez lineage. They introduced me to many plant teachers through the profound practice of Plant Dieta. I also worked as a facilitator for a well-known Ayahuasca healing centre during that time and facilitated hundreds of people through retreats ranging from 2-10weeks in length. That experience has been instrumental to me on many levels and is something I am still in the process of integrating. It remains a strong influence in all that I do, although I do not claim to represent that tradition in my current practice.
- I was introduced to Deep Ecology and The Work that Reconnects (in 2017) through the workshops of John Seed in Australia. This work has had a profound impact on my life, and has cohered many of my experiences into a whole system that makes a lot more sense to me now. I am now a dedicated student of this work through The School for the Great Turning and facilitate it for others through various collaborations, immersions and study groups.
- I spent 6months studying with South African sangoma, Guy, of Bone Seed Wisdom and the ceremonial leader of SOTEMS (2018). We underwent a deep journey into ancestral healing and connection, myth and earth-based ritual.
- I have done an in-person 3day Ancestral Lineage Healing training with Daniel Foor and have also participated in several of his online courses. This work has also been very helpful in my process of deepening my connections with my ancestors.
- I participated in a 4month long training with Bayo Akomolafe called We Will Dance with Mountains where we investigated some of our habitual responses to the current socio-ecological crises and experimented with shifting frameworks and worldviews around justice seeking. Bayo’s work has been a profound influence.
- I have have a certificate in Nourishing Early Childhood through the Waldorf/Steiner framework (2019)
- I have a certificate as a Nature Play Mentor for children through Nature Academy (2020) and I currently run outdoor/bush playgroups and do one-on-one nature connection work with young children.
- I have undergone a 3day training in Trauma Informed Plant Medicine Facilitation with Atira Tan and continue to learn from her when opportunities become available.
- I have also undergone many shorter in-person workshops and online trainings in all kinds of topics and modalities and have probably read well over 1000 books in my life so far. I’m a perpetual student, a voracious self-studier and a lover of learning.
- I am part of an ongoing Work That Reconnects Facilitator Developement Group with The School for the Great Turning.
- I am currently training as a Biodynamic Craniosacral and Trauma Release Practitioner through The Craniosacral Institute of Australia.
- I am currently part of a year-long study group in the Art of Soul Making with Francis Weller.
- I am currently part of a year-long Immersion called The Mythic Body with Josh Schrei, deepening in the study of Myth, Somatics, Ritual, Devotional Practice, Nature Immersion and Threshold practice.
But really, more than any human or system, I have been raised and molded by Place- especially the place where I grew up and my relationships to the more-than-human kin that inhabited it; the river that ran through the bottom of my farm and the little crabs that could be found there, the poplar forest that grew along the edges of our summer creek and the weavers who nested in their branches, the massive oak tree in whose bough I spent many hours lost in imaginative worlds, the rocky outcrop with the sun baking lizards… By the summer lightning storms, the cicadas, crickets amd flocks of Guinea Fowl singing the evening chorus, the burst of spring wildflowers and the smell of bushveld after the rain. It was these teachers that taught me how it feels to belong to the land beneath my feet.