Where I’m From
Like you, the components that make up this body were cooked up in the heart of a dying star and then scattered into deep space to go on to become the myriad forms before this one that writes these words now…. but in more recent times, I am the descendant of peoples of mostly Celtic origin in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and Brittany and to a lesser 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 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 Johannesburg, South Africa. I now live with my partner and border collie in Melbourne, Australia, on the unceded ancestral lands of the Wurundjeri Aboriginal people, who are part of the larger Kulin Nation.
What I’m About
I am passionate about coming back into felt relationship with my larger Earth body… Of reclaiming animist perception and entering back into the conversation with a living world of which I am a part… Of nurturing my relations with my other-than-human kin… Of finding ways to live gently on this Earth again… Of regenerating that which has been damaged… Of tending the ancestors of blood and place… Of reclaiming my imagination and my cycles… Of decolonizing my body and mind… Of protecting biodiversity… Of bridging Entheogenic plant medicines and ecological awareness… Of contributing to The Great Turning, the shift towards a regenerative and life-sustaining culture… And ultimately, participating in the collective liberation from the painful delusion of a separate Self.
I do 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 Plant Medicine Ritualist and as a Folk Herbalist.
Teachers and Influences
Some of my primary human influences at this time: Joanna Macy, John Seed, Stephen Harrod Buhner, Daniel Foor, Gabor Mate, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Adrienne Maree Brown, Thomas Berry, Brian Thomas Swimme, Joan Halifax, Jon Young, Stephen Jenkinson, Bill Plotkin, Michaela Boehm, Charles Eisenstein, Daniel Christian Wahl, Sharon Blackie, Lama Tsultrim Allione, Francis Weller, Martin Prechtel, Bayo Akomolofe, Martin Shaw and David Abram.
I spent 5 years (2000-2005) hand-raising and rehabilitating a wide array of wildlife species (primarily lions and baboons, but there were many others too) most days after school and on the weekends. I also grew up on a farm were I fostered many injured or abandoned animals.
I spent 3 years (2007-2010) studying Tui Na massage, Qi gong meditation and Taoist healing practices with TCM practitioner Dr. Jeff Lan 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 traditional Tui Na, the teachings I received there have permeated much of my life, healing practices and work.
I spent a year (2010-2011) studying and working as a wilderness guide at Eco-Training and at a wilderness reserve in the Limpopo province of South Africa. I loved the training but didn’t care much for the jobs that followed.
I spent five years (2011-2016) living in the Peruvian Amazon, four of which where 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. 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 curanderismo 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 and facilitate it for others through various collaborations, immersions and study groups.
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.
But 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 and crickets 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.