The Woodland Priestess - Earth based spirituality
Fireweed came to be in 2017 when I didn’t think I could take one more step. I was lost. I thought I was at the bottom of the barrel but I had many hurdles to overcome before I would finally rise from the ashes. Fireweed walked with me on each step.
In 2017 my world went upside down. I had to give up my dog who turned aggressive on my newborn, I was suffering with an undiagnosed severe adrenal and thyroid auto-immune condition, a new mom with no partner, and in shock having left 10 acres in rocky mountains to arrive in a townhouse in a city. I didn’t think things could get worse until my father suddenly passed away.
It was right after my dad died that I began walking the river lost and weeping. I would beg the river to just carry me away. I had been recently gifted a hand drum and so I began taking it with me as I wandered deep into a ravine along a river to sit with my pain.
One day while drumming and crying I lowered my forehead to the ground and asked the Earth and all of creation to guide me. I was so lost and I wanted to feel whole again. A vision of a hornet nest, the hexagon, and the plant fireweed took over my vision. The magenta leaves were blinding with beauty and ever so radiant even with my eyes closed. I walked home aware something or someone had heard me and sent me these messages.
I did some research and learned that Fireweed comes to help us process anger. It's a plant that is an expert in rising from the ashes (literally) and is the first to emerge after a forest fire. One single plant emits 80,000 seeds that eventually help repopulate a barren landscape beginning the process of regeneration. This was what I needed, to rise and to heal and to begin planting seeds of change.
In the first few years I held the vision tightly for a community. A place in an Earthship on shared land where everyone worked together to educate and involve all those seeking holistic healing and regenerative land practices. Still living in a city at the time my dream was pretty far fetched to most. Eventually I began to believe the criticisms of my dreams and I slowly began to waiver in my conviction that such a community could exist. I shifted my idea from a land based space to a yoga studio and delved into life as a holistic practitioner.
I thought I was on the right path. Then just as quickly as I materialized a yoga studio everything fell apart as the world spun into a global pandemic. I lost everything. The studio, yoga equipment, and thousands of dollars in the building are all gone. I picked up my photo of fireweed and held on to it leaning into Faith in resiliency and trying to trust it would all work out.
Forests go through a natural progression. They start with pioneer species and eventually evolve into mature forests leaving no room for many of the early plants like fireweed who prefer the open sun to a closed canopy of mature trees. That's where I am now. I am now standing in the mature trees watching as the landscape of my life twists and turns and takes me deeper into my new role as the Woodland priestess.
I felt the shift into my growth heavy in 2021. I started out working hard at co-creating kid’s content to help families feel the seasons together and it never really took off (except I met my sister through another mister in that offering and am eternally grateful). I am not one to do things for the sake of it, when something feels off I stop. By late 2021 I could feel a massive shift, the “dark winter approaching”. I shut down for a while, I went deeply inward. I didn’t feel “safe” just about anywhere other than in the woods so that is where I stayed. As 2022 took a slow start I started to realize the massive shifts within me and the responsibilities that come with being a “priestess”.
I am sure the definition of a Priestess is different for many people. For me it means a spiritual, non-christian leader . I am a strong believer in Earth based spirituality and as I heal my own Metis Roots I am learning the Anishinabek path to whole living on the “good red road”. A priestess is someone who is often seeked out for counsel, and whose views are highly valued. A priestess is often seen almost as a “mother” to a community. I feel all of this.
For years people have searched me out for counsel, relishing my Owl Eyes (ability to see in the dark and turn a disadvantage into an opportunity) and eclectic wisdom. I have dabbled in psychology at university, considered social work and gotten certified as a life coach. As the world continues to break down more and more people are turning to a holistic approach to life. With a rise in homesteading and homeschooling and many taxed systems, increasingly care of one another is falling to the community level. I have spent a decade learning and working this way of life and now it's my turn to step up as a leader and offer counsel.
There is a scary feeling to the woods, just as there is in “priestess”. Taking on both means taking time to walk my talk, be in the woods, meditate, stretch, forage, make medicine, and live a wholistic life. Each day is about staying rooted in the faith of Self, connected to nature, and trusting that abundance is all around me if only I look closely. I’m no longer standing in the ashes. I don’t know how I could have gotten here without that single plant sending me 80,000 seeds of strength, courage, hope, and love. Fireweed will always hold a special place in my heart. It saved me and taught me the meaning of resiliency. Now that I've found my way into the woods, it's time I rise to the calling of my higher self and stand strongly guiding those seeking healing, to heal from within. A new plant is calling, I don’t know where it will take me but I am fully present and leaning in to Whole experience.