The first wave of feminism did us all a disservice in some ways. The first wave of feminism told us to get out of the kitchens, get out of our aprons, and into the working world. Dishes, diapers and vacuuming weren’t worth our time and energy.
First, this message completely ignored the reality of women of color who, for the most part, had always had to be in the working world— usually doing the dishes, diapers and vacuuming for white women AND for themselves. Second, this message told us to leave the domestic sphere behind because there was no value in it, instead of teaching us to demand that the domestic sphere have value.
The domestic sphere, including foraging, farming, dishes, child rearing, sewing, cooking, cleaning, etc., has been the realm of womxn for . . . forever. In every culture there was a time when this sphere was the hub of community life and it was a respected and revered part of the life. (This does not mean it was always easy, fun or enjoyed. I have no idea if it was.) Most cultures have also experience a point in their history, for some it’s been several thousands of years ago, others more recently, when the realm of womxn became a convenient source of slave labor for the patriarchy. This could be literal slave labor or slave labor in all but name. Women have been confined to thankless hard labor in repeatedly bearing and raising children, doing all of the cooking and the cleaning, tending the vegetable garden, washing clothes (and for most of history this has been without the aid of washing machines) and were expected to selflessly tend to the emotional and physical needs of their men and their children. For many many womxn the domestic sphere also became a place of violence. A place where they were unsafe and even abused.
While having the option to enter the “Working world” is important and valuable, it’s also important and valuable to not dismiss the domestic sphere altogether. Yes, it has been abused and used as a place to define and confine womxn. Yes, it has been an unsafe place. AND. It has also been the place where women’s magic has been born and can still be accessed.
I am by no means suggesting that womxn get back into the kitchen. That they stay home to raise their babies themselves. Not. At. All. I’m a house and farm wife and half the time it drives me bananas. The other half of the time I’m grateful for the internet and the outlet it provides me to socialize, learn and to express myself.
I AM suggesting that we begin to value the domestic sphere. That we begin to consider what a world might look like where womxn are compensated for staying home to raise healthy and stable families— if they want to. That we begin to think about what sort of social and personal support systems would need to be in place for womxn to thrive in the domestic sphere.
I AM suggesting that we remember the magic, ceremony, ritual and blessings born from this sphere. The hearth magic. The alchemical transformation of food into medicine and story. The safe space to pass on womxn’s mysteries and wisdom. The household spirits (elves, brownies, pixies, etc.) that women conjured for protection and aide.
My new offering, Rooted Here, is going to help us do just that. The program runs May through October. Half of that time, June, July and August, we will be exploring and remembering the magic of the domestic sphere. In June we will learn how to connect and work with the spirit of your house as well as household spirits, if you want to take it that far. July is all about the alchemy of food and ritualized cooking and in August we’ll talk about The Sacred Table and how hospitality laws and taboos have shaped modern society and spirituality— plus how to bring more sacred hospitality into your own home.
Did you know that back in 1910 when the Boy Scouts was founded, it was because “they” believed that in a few years the indigenous peoples of the United States were going to be extinct and so they wanted to create a program to help preserve some of the indigenous ways of being in the world.
A bunch of white guys taught a bunch of white boys “indigenous” ways of being because other white guys had presumably been successful in their genocide against the indigenous.
Books and movies such as The Last of The Mohicans, Dances With Wolves and Avatar have also given voice and fuel to the idea that indigenous cultures need a white outsider to become an insider and to then save them.
It’s ridiculous. Offensive. Created for the white gaze (because the media, including the Boy Scouts, has been created for a white audience and it’s assumed that a white person cannot or will not put themselves in a person of color’s shoes, so the lead character needs to be white, specifically a white man). It’s a sign of a lazy imagination. And, I’ll say it again, it gives voice to the idea that indigenous cultures need a white outsider to become and insider and to then save them.
Let me bring this home: It is not your spiritual calling or responsibility to become an insider to any indigenous culture save your own. It is not your spiritual calling to save an indigenous practice by using it, selling it performing it. This includes punctuating prayer with languages you don’t speak such as using the word “aho” or using Sanskrit words, repeating Sanskrit prayer because you learned them at a retreat once. The Native speakers of these languages were once punished for doing these things by white colonizers. I myself don’t speak my mother tongue because it was beaten out of my grandmother in an Indian boarding school. I cringe every time a white person says “Aho” in my presence. It’s not your spiritual calling and it’s not your spirituality (hey! it’s not even MINE).
This IS Your Spiritual Calling:
Make space for indigenous people at your events. Honor the ancestors of the land you are on. Invite elders to speak. Don’t say “Aho” when they’re done (it’s not a pan-Native expression). Say “Thank You.”
And honor your ancestors. Find out what your ancestors said and did before they were colonized by the Roman Empire/Christianity. What was their version of “aho” or “namaste”? What smoke clearing practices did they use and how? What was their prayer, in Gaelic, Norse, Etruscan, [insert their native tongue here] to bless all of the beings? THAT is a language and a heritage you should be trying to preserve and reclaim. THAT is your spiritual calling and responsibility.
THIS is ancestral activism.
If you want to learn more about this, if you want to be held in a space to ritually tend your ancestors and to discover their ways of being in and with the earth, you may be interested in my offering, Rooted Here. We’ll spend six months tending our ancestral connections to food, home and land. You will be guided heavily by your own ancestors in this program and it will look different for everyone. No matter where you are on the race or gender spectrum, you are welcome. You MUST be on the open-ended spectrum of open-mindedness though 🙂 We begin this Sunday, May 6th. Learn more here.
I have a theory about spiritual practices and lifestyles. First, I think having one (a spiritual practice and/or lifestyle) is a time-honored way of being in and experiencing this world. It’s just that spiritual practices and lifestyles have taken different forms and expressions under patriarchy, empire and organized religion. Second, when you come down to it, I think that all spiritual practices and lifestyles are just expressions and personal paths to finding and feeling like we belong. To a tribe, to a culture, to a land.
I suspect that for most of us, this desire to feel seen, to feel like a valuable and unique member of a community and for an overall sense of connection and belonging, stems from the Immigrant Wound. If you are reading this in the Americas, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or as a first, second or third generation immigrant in another country, chances are pretty high that at least one of your lineages contains the Immigrant Wound.
I am an U.S. American and an enrolled tribal member (but in Canada! Ha! Can’t pin me down, can you?). I have the blood of the colonizer and the blood of the colonized in my veins— I hold both of those stories. I’m also a willful emigrant, living and raising my family in Costa Rica with a first generation Costa Rican partner.
Needless to say, I’ve had a lot of time and experience to think about and shape this theory.
When our ancestors immigrated to the Americas, whether by force, choice or in desperation, there was a spectrum of trauma involved. They were leaving their tribal lands for an unknown world and knew that it was extremely unlikely that they would ever step foot in the homelands, or see the family they left behind, again. They also knew that their descendants would have a missing link in the legacy passed down to them— cast forever as insider-outsiders, belonging to the mother land by blood but not by culture, custom or shared experience.
This is part of the Immigrant Wound.
We’re All Just Trying To Belong
Our immigrant ancestors set to work trying to create a sense of belonging and rootedness in their New World. They took over land and natural resources. In some cases the only way to satisfy their deep urge to belong was to “go Native” and surrender completely to the tribal ways of being on the land, with an actual tribe. Others needed only to possess a Native woman, by force or by consent, to feel rooted to the land, knowing their seed was being sown into deeply rooted soil. Still others had to inflict violence on the Native people, shedding the blood and decimating the numbers of the truly indigenous so that they’re own claim of belonging had room to grow.
In this day and age, however, the unhealed Immigrant Wound is much more likely to manifest in a spiritual practice or lifestyle. Those with this unhealed wound are looking to spirituality to find their sense of belonging. They’re copying or unknowingly parodying spiritual practices from Indigenous cultures— whether they are near or far. Feathered headdresses. Using words from languages they don’t speak to punctuate prayers— when actual native speakers of the language or discriminated against and penalized in English-speaking worlds for using that language, wearing bindis, and other outward expressions of “spirituality” that lend to their overall appearance/vibe but neglecting to take up the deeper practices that aren’t seen, heard or witnessed by anyone else. (This is cultural appropriation, just so we’re clear).
The Immigrant Wound may also perpetuate itself by spiritual appropriation through spiritual travel. Traveling to this culture and that country. Taking this international yoga class and that one too! While I myself love traveling and learning, there is an element of slippery territory if we are subconsciously traveling for the sake of finding somewhere — anywhere! Anywhere but where we are, that is— to feel rooted.
And while I find all of those above examples to be annoying, if not offensive, in practice, I also hold a lot of compassion for those just trying to find their way, trying to find their sense of belonging, just trying to be Rooted. Here.
It doesn’t matter if you once constructed a spiritual practice that was entirely based off of cultural appropriation. It DOES matter that you’ve since course corrected or at a place where you’re willing to open your eyes and consider how you can course correct.
For the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be publishing a series of articles on how we all can begin to feel more Rooted. Here. I’ll begin by discussing ways we can root into the land we live on and the home we live in and then we’ll move forward into discussions about how food roots us, how and why engaging in intentional hospitality is one of the most rooted and sacred things we can do and finally, we’ll look at ways we can begin to feel rooted (and safe and loved) in our own bodies.
In the meantime, this article series goes hand-in-hand with my newest offering— Rooted Here: Tending Our Ancestral Connections To Food, Home & Land.
Enrollment is now open and space is limited! I’m capping this class at 30 participants so we can get really intimate and deep with our work.
I’m popping in today to share a video with you! This 15-minute video (or stream the audio!) is all about my upcoming program, Rooted Here.
Rooted Here is a 6-month program to tend our ancestral connections to food, home and land. I’ll tell you all about it in the video below.
What I didn’t tell you in the video is HOW this course will be delivered. Every month, there will be a live (and recorded) masterclass on the month’s topic. The next week a ritual, ceremony, or something otherwise active and engaging will be delivered to you (like, how to ritualize a recipe or communicate with the spirit of your house!). There will also be a month live (and recorded) Q&A/circle share and an OFF-FACEBOOK private community for us to interact and, well, create community around. You’ll also have two private sessions with me during the 6-month program that we can use to make sure
In the video, I cover:
Why we will be connecting and in relationship to actual spirits versus talking AT spirits and hoping something sticks.
How the dark period of adjusting to my new life in Costa Rica, and finding my roots for myself and for my children, helped me create Rooted Here
Rooting with Persephone and Demeter
Just because something is a spirit doesn’t mean it’s all knowing and all snuggly. That means BOUNDARIES
How your ancestors will take the lead in structuring your personal experience of the program
Spirits of the land and cultural reparation
The importance of connecting to the spirit of our house, and how I learned this first hand
My resentment at being a housewife and stay-at-home mom and how connecting with the spirit of my house changed that (a little)
The night I saw a spiritual grid all over my house and what dramatic changes afterward
Sacred Alchemy in the kitchen and ritualizing recipes and cooking ceremonies
Hospitality as spiritual practice and what happens when ancient hospitality laws are forgotten
Diet culture vs. letting ourselves be nourished
Honoring our ancestors with food and sacred hospitality
We’re painting eggs at my house today, and in case you are too, I thought I’d share a really easy way to infuse the tradition with a little more magic.
Painting eggs with ritually symbolic colors and symbols is an ancient tradition going back thousands of years. People from many cultures have a long history of ritually painting symbols on eggs and using them as part of magical practices including grinding up the shells, burying the eggs in the Earth to plant dreams and desires, burying eggs to ensure a good harvest, burying eggs with the dead to ensure life after death (lots of burying! Maybe that’s part of the reason we hunt for eggs on Easter– they’ve been hidden/buried).
To create your own magical Easter Egg ritual, gather up your usual egg dying supplies– whether you’re making your own plant dies, making your own colors with food coloring or you bought one of those kits with the colored tablets that fizz in the water.
Also remember to have a white crayon on hand to drawn symbols on the egg (the dye won’t color the part of the egg you colored on with the crayon because of the wax).
Now in all honesty, I will probably be doing all of this with alongside the hubbub and excitement of my children also coloring eggs. But if you can create a quiet space, light a candle, put on some music, all the more power to you.
How To Ritually Paint & Infuse An Egg
First, set an intention for Spring.
Next, using your intuition, choose the colors and designs or symbols that you feel support your intention.
Green – new life, new growth, hope
Red – passion, energy, transformation
White – purity, innocence, birth
Yellow – happiness, community, youth
Orange – strength, endurance, sexuality
Black – darkness, the void.
Blue – the heavens, air, peace and vision
Go about the business of painting and designing your eggs, allowing yourself to get lost to the creative flow. When your egg is done and dry, hold the egg up to your mouth and whisper or blow your prayers into it. If it feels right, wipe the egg all over your body/aura (or have a friend help). This is known as an egg limpia or an egg cleanse, as eggs can draw out dense or heavy energy and emotions from your body.
Finally, bury your egg in the Earth (make sure you have permission from the land!) and ask the Earth to receive your prayers, compost your heavy energy and nourish your dreams and desires
How To Cook The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg
Do you have an Instant Pot? Or other electric pressure cooker?
You can make perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs in minutes:
Make a single layer of eggs across the metal rack that came with your pot or a vegetable steamer basket. Add one cup of water to the pot and insert the rack/basket. Manually set the pressure cooker for 6 minutes.
Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure cooker to naturally release for another six minutes, then manually release the steam. Put the eggs in an ice bath for another 6 minutes, or run under cool water until no longer warm to the touch.
Perfectly easy to peel eggs and no gray or green rings around the yolk!
I grew up in a small white farming community in Northeastern Washington State. It’s the same town my mother and my father both grew up in, and where they both still live (though they are divorced).
It’s also my maternal ancestral homelands.
I am an enrolled member of the Okanagan Indian Band— a small band of First Nations peoples who are now headquartered in British Columbia, but whose traditional territory spanned central and eastern Washington and British Columbia. I am a U.S. Citizen but enrolled with a Canadian First Nations tribe. The border crossed us. On the Washington side, we’re known as the Colville and I have many Colville nation family members. And although I am a legal tribal member, although I grew up in my ancestral homelands (but not on a reservation), I sometimes have a hard time identifying myself as a tribal member.
Part of the reason is I don’t “look” the part— at least not all the time and not to all people.
I’m 1/4 First Nations/Indigenous/NDN/Native American. Phenotypically, I’m a racial chameleon. Most people don’t know where to box me in and I get a lot of “what are you?” questions, including one really awkward conversation with a security guard at my undergraduate school who asked me (with hope and nostalgia in his eyes) if my mother was from the Philippines . . . he new a woman there once when he was in the Army and I looked just like her.
Along with my racial ambiguity I can be, and have been, white passing. This means that I have also benefited from the privilege that comes with being perceived white. I’ve even had two ex-boyfriends, both white, male and vert privileged, encourage me to not identify as Native, and just consider myself white.
And then they wondered why I promptly broke up with them after they expressed those opinions.
Here’s Why I Found Their Remarks Offensive:
Not too long ago, being 1/4 or even 1/8 Native was enough to classify you as 100% Native— and be racially profiled and discriminated against because of it. When my grandmother was a young girl she was forced into the Indian Boarding School program— a program in the U.S. and Canada, that ran until the 1970’s, designed to “kill the Indian and save the man” inside every indigenous child. Her hair was cut. She was forbidden to speak her first language of what is now known as Interior Salish, and she was forbidden to speak to her own siblings, who were also in the school. And that’s not even the worst of what she was forced to give up and take on.
My grandmother later fell in love with a white man. I’m told they loved each other very much but they couldn’t get married for two reasons: 1) he had an estranged white wife and divorce wasn’t so easy or accepted in the 1950’s. 2) my grandmother was a Native woman and it was illegal for a white man to marry a woman of color.
However, they lived together, ran a ranch together and had four children together.
And then, when my mother was about 10 years old, her father died of a heart attack and his white wife and children came and took everything from my grandmother and her children. And they had every legal right to. They left a single Native woman without home, supplies or resources to raise her four children and the two nephews she had taken in so they wouldn’t die of neglect. To survive, my grandmother had to go through the shame of asking for welfare from the government and the government’s white male representatives.
And she was turned down.
The white man told her that her current situation was her fault and she needed to work harder and the government would not be helping her.
Her situation was her fault and the government would not be helping her.
She forced into assimilation. She couldn’t marry the man she loved because the government wouldn’t let her. She couldn’t protect her assets because the government wouldn’t let her. But it was her fault. Because she was an indigenous woman.
So no, I won’t be giving up my Okanagan identity, especially if a white man thinks I should.
And yet . . .
I didn’t grow up with the traditions or the language. First, the U.S./Canadian border was one hindrance. Second, we weren’t raised on a reservation, Third, my grandmother HAD to assimilate to survive. Preserving what little she remembered from the first six years of her life before she was taken into the boarding school, was not and could not be a priority.
And there’s something else.
I Don’t Fully Trust My Tribal Membership
A few years before I was born, the tribe was receiving a large monetary compensation from the Canadian government for land and resources they had lost.
The tribe disenrolled ALL THE WOMEN in the tribe so there would be less people to share the resources with. My mother and grandmother were disenrolled. For being women.
My mother told me this when I was young (aged 10 or so) and I felt the wind go out of my sails when she did. I felt the pride of being Okanagan lessen in my heart. And something else, that I couldn’t identify until recently— I felt the fear and uncertainty of being an Indigenous woman. The message was clear:
You are an indigenous woman and you are not safe, not even with your own tribe.
Unfortunately, my tribe was not the first nor the last tribe to do this to indigenous women. And a side note: this is one reason why I cringe when I hear white women/people far removed from a tribal identity, refer to their businesses as “tribes.” You. Have. No. Idea. What. The. Tribal. Experience. Is. Like. And it is mostly definitely not about 100% belonging, safety and security. The tribal system had it’s flaws long before Manifest Destiny came along too.
My ancestors are Okanagan, Nez Perce, and came from Sweden, Ireland and Germany. I’ve always felt like an insider-outsider. I’ve felt like an insider-outsider in the dominant culture and I’ve felt like an insider-outsider around other Natives, despite working in Native media for 10 years as a journalist and radio producer. Despite earning a Master’s degree in Intercultural Communication which helped me learn A LOT about how my different cultural identities inform who I am. And now, as an expat living in Costa Rica, my insider-outsider status is even more pronounced.
Where Ancestral Healing And Connection Comes In
Nearly two years ago, I was working 1-on-1 with a spiritual mentor and asked her to teach me how to do ancestral healing work. I had actually never seen the words “ancestral healing” before nor had known that it was possible to heal your ancestral wounds, stories and traumas. As part of learning how to heal my ancestors, my mentor, Mary Shutan, taught me how to connect with my ancestors in my body and how to create a spiritual practice around that connection.
The first time I connected with my ancestors, I sobbed. I sobbed with grief. I sobbed with love. I sobbed at the overwhelming sense of connection, deep love and belonging that I experienced in my own body.
A year after I had begun my ancestral spiritual journey, I was introduced to another ancestral healing modality and I jumped in immediately, it was such a full body YES.
Over the last six months I have deepened my connection and healing process with my ancestors in a profound way as part of my training as an Ancestral Lineage Healing practitioner. In fact, it was my ancestors who reminded me about the story my mother told me when I was a young girl about being disenrolled from the tribe. It was my ancestors who showed me that that story was underlying a lot of other stories and situations in my life where I wasn’t feeling safe and also wasn’t recognizing the feeling of being unsafe. And it was my ancestors who helped me begin to heal that story and begin to feel safe.
Why I’m Telling You This
All of this informs why a large part of my life’s work is to bring Ancestral Healing to you. It informs my experience of the Ancestors, of Spiritual Connection and of my place in this world. It informs my sympathies and my proclivities and it is informing a lot of the offerings and content I have in the chute for you. I want you to understand that Ancestral Healing isn’t just a spiritual healing modality flavor of the week for me— it’s something I’ve been searching for and engaging in for most of my life, and something I will continue to do for myself and now, for others, for the rest of life. I have personally and profoundly been affected by this work, for the better and I hold it in integrity and in all sacredness.