Much of my work revolves around cultivating understanding for misunderstood species and parts of ourselves.
We are one part of the web of life. Every species relies upon the balance of the ecosystem. Every species plays a role, including fierce predators.
We often lean towards protecting the cute and the vulnerable and shy away from “threatening” animals who can take care of themselves. Predators and weeds are the same – they don’t need us. They are fierce, resilient, and cannot be controlled.
Like these animals, we too are predators. Embracing this aspect of ourselves means embracing our powerful, wild nature and illuminates our truest role within Earth’s systems.
Predators are stewards the of ecosystem. Countless studies have shown what happens when keystone predators are eliminated or at risk. The reintroduction of wolves to yellowstone is a perfect example. After a 70-year absence, their reintroduction resulted in a trophic cascade, bringing the land back to life. Wolves kill the sick, weak and injured animals to maintain the strength of the herd. They represent and create change; the wolf changed to the domesticated dog, eager to please. The werewolf; man out of control. We fear them. The reality? We have evolved with wolves. Indigenous humans have learned by watching wolves living in families, hunting together, and caring for each other.
In contrast to the familial wolves, Margays are solitary creatures that are strongly associated with the forest. This species is arboreal and better adapted to live in trees than other cat species. They are less tolerant of human settlement and altered habitat than close relatives, the ocelot and tiger cat which is why they are threatened. They depend on uninterrupted jungle for survival. The Margay has been one of the most exploited wild cat in Latin America. Threats to this species include habitat loss, fragmentation, roads, illegal trade and retaliatory killing (animals are often shot due to depredation on poultry in places where their habitat has been compromised).
We as predators hold the same traits and responsibilities. When we deepen our understanding of the Earth’s systems, we can recognize our role as an ecological steward, and make peace with the fierce parts of ourselves.
So, where do plants come in? I see them as a bridge to a deeper connection with ourselves and the Earth. When we work intentionally with plants, they see us for who we are. They do not let us hide from our deep internal truths, including our inner wild.
Mugwort is the common name for Artemisia Vulgaris, a so-called weed that grows throughout the world and thrives in urban areas. This plant is a fierce ally in seeing our truth and holds the boundary between the wild and domesticated self. Mugwort is named for Artemis, Greek goddess of the hunt, wild animals, and wilderness. She helps to move stagnant energy and things we may be holding onto (old traumas, stories or emotions) that are blocking us from fully claiming our power. Mugwort is famous for helping us to remember and heal via the dream realm. She moves what we need to see into dreams for us to confront and heal. This wild healer grows everywhere – through the sidewalks, next to parking meters, in vast fields deep in the forest. She is ever present and ready for us to use her medicine. Working with this plant has definitely helped me to remember, reclaim my missing pieces and rewild.
The experiences offered during Sacred Warrior retreats aim to bring us into better relationship and understanding with these parts of ourselves and our environment. The more we connect, the more we realize that we are not seperate. We come to know, deep down in our bones, that every species plays a vital role in our ecosystem, and in turn, in own health and well being.
All Sacred Warrior experiences connect you with the wild. Here are a few offerings and organizations we work with:
Jaguar Rescue Center: The center rescues injured or orphaned animals. They rehabilitate and re-release the animals that can return to the wild. For those that can’t be released due to illness or injury, the Jaguar Rescue Center provides and loving and nurturing home. We visit and work with the Center during our retreats in Costa Rica.
The Wolf Conservation Center: The center’s purpose is to educate the public about the essential role of wolves for a healthy ecosystem and to reintroduce critically endangered wolves to the wild. We have 2-day retreats here from April-Sept.
Alladale Wilderness Reserve: A 23,000 acre wilderness reserve that works hard keep their part of Scotland truly wild, by replanting lush forest and reintroducing original Highland plant & animal species. They are working hard to bring wolves back the the UK to heal the landscape. Our upcoming retreat with Alladale is July 2019.
Herbalism Courses & Plant Walks: These ongoing experiences in our base of Brooklyn, NY introduce you to healing plants in the Urban Wild. Every Sacred Warrior offering connects you the nature through the lens of medicinal plants.