Seven Sisters Festival

Asha's Swan Blessing Story - BoneWoman

Susan Seddon Boulet

Today I share with you Asha's Swan Blessing story of past life Ancestral Medicine.

There are many reasons why we block and resist opening full connection to Ancestral Medicine again. Sometimes the medicine we have access to is so ancient and unknown to the mind that it frightens us. It may also carry the bindings of memories of carrying these gifts in times when it was dangerous and misunderstood. Many witches, healers and shaman were persecuted for possessing healing medicine that was viewed by a later religion as evil. The seeds of Ancestral Medicine are ancient and indigenous to the land they were birthed through, but these lands may not be where you find yourself living now and the wisdom needed to understand your medicine may not be available to you in your current environment or family.

When Asha came to me, she came with a heavy fury and pain. She also came carrying deep shame from lifetimes of believing that she had been the cause of a terrible and traumatic event. Asha's medicine in another lifetime was that of BoneWoman and Midwife. In this lifetime Asha had been drawn again to shamanic midwifery but was experiencing great pain and confusion when she sat with her sisters. In journeying back to the point of Soul Loss and closing down of her medicine, Asha saw that she'd lived in a time of high infant mortality and was a healer from the forest who was looked on with fear as she came not to birth the baby but to save the mother after the baby had died and heal the baby's soul and spirit through bone magic. Like many female healers, Asha experienced being blamed for the illness and 'bad luck' in her village and was made to watch as her sisters were murdered for her supposed crime. This led Asha to make the Sacred Vow to close down her Medicine and close her heart to Love.

This Swan Blessing was painful for Asha but so very beautiful in it's healing and return to Love. Asha gifts her Swan story to us here to help anyone else who may be resonating with these feelings.

"Her eyes are dark, black like ink. Thick black eye brows snake to a sculpted nose and her hair like coal rests heavy down her breasts.  

She is enraged, I feel it in my body, a hot convulsion, a shudder behind my brow, thick in my throat. But she trusts me, she trusts me and she reaches out her hands and I fall quickly and wholly through the inky pools of her eyes. I am in a dusty street, and alley between square earthen homes. Little stalls line the street and although it is not overy busy I cannot see her. Then it is that I glimpse her, see her walking briskly, almost, almost running, her scarf and clothes conspiring in the shadow of the buildings to conceal her almost completely. We come to a door way and when I enter at first I cannot see. There is a smell of death and metal. I cannot decide if I am in a home or the halls of a sort of hospital, not as I know it, but there is a long dark hall and I feel if not see many rooms. I feel other midwives, and also I don't and then we are in the room and my eyes have adjusted, just, and there is a mess. Blood and sweat and tears and the echo of pain to great to bear drench the air. A metalic stench. The mother, thick and heavy with her body's outpourings, past screams that have racked her body, and her hallow moans are all the worse for their subdued volume. A liquid is given, brought I assume by my dark eyed self but it is not she who holds it to her lips. Her entire focus is elsewhere. The babe stuck and dead.  

I watch her a long time. I think she wants me to know what it took. The physicality, her whole body wrenching from the woman's now limp one the the dead babe. Every thing she had. And more. And the numbness necessary. A resigned determination. Or a determinded resignation. She does not know if the mother will live, and in this very moment, in a certain way, she does not care, and the babe is too long dead. But she must pull it free. All she knows is that she must. And then it is done. There is a chaos in the room but we are removed from it all. No one looks at her. No one looks at the baby. No one looks at us. Too many dead babies.  

We are in the forest. A very small clearing created from the felling of one tree on whose stump rests something important. Show me, and she does, but it comes slowly. There are bones. For a long time all I see is the bones. As she moves them I understand she has collected them. Here is the skeleton of a rabbit. A deer. At first I do not understand. Teach me. She carefully aranges each bone to form the skeleton of the creature it once was. But one bone, one bone she takes from the baby. One bone she replaces. And then she breathes on the bones. She breathes the breath the babe never took. She breathes it into the rabbit bones until they breathe themselves. The rabbit lives, and the child lives in the rabbit. In the deer, in the birds of the forest. She is calm. She is sad but she knows what to do.  

She is old. She is so old. She is bitter. So bitter. I shake with her rage and she tastes like poison, like bile, yellow, green, black. The front of my body rots from it. And I ask her why. And she shows me. There is blood. There is blood. And there are limbs. Pieces, pieces, pieces of them. Mothers, daughters, sisters, midwives. They are hacked. They are hacked. They are hacked. And their blood pools and she is held. She is held by hard rough hands and arms, it takes many to hold her. There is an arm thick with muscle with soft blonde hairs. But they make her watch. They make her watch what she has done. They tell her this is her fault. The blood. The faces. The pieces. What do they call her? Witch. 

And it shivers though our spine. And it shivers through our time. I have to fly above it to understand what cannot be understood. But she is held in place. All she can see are those she has killed. She is old again and she coughs up the binding like stale phlegm. I will not help. I will never help again. What I know her to say is, I will not love. I will not heal. I will not love again. She binds her love and her healing gifts. I go to her. With my heart I see her. With my heart I understand. And I love her. I forgive her. And I tell her we are free. 

Our soul family comes, her sister midwives, and we are shocked, because they welcome her, they love her with open arms, here are her sisters who died, whose deaths we feel responsible for. But they do not ask us to hold this pain. They ask us to let ourselves be forgiven. And they become light like balloons, light like feathers, and she is rabbit, she is deer and she bounds into the forest. I cry for us because we are welcomed. We are welcomed home. We are welcomed back into love.  

I am as heavy as she is light. The daughter comes to me. I see my binding, it is arms. It is hands wraped around my torso. It is metal shackles on my ankles. The daughter comes to me and she hands me a scythe, the same one, and I shudder, but I hack away the hands that bind, and when they fall I slice smoothly through the metal on my ankles, the chain crumbles into dust. But the real work is the poison. The daughter puts her mouth to mine and she sucks the poison. She sucks and she sucks and she is serpent and woman and she sucks and she sucks. And she is done. Except there is something left. I spit out the last bit of bitterness.   

We are free. 

And I, I am safe to love again."  


Deer Julia,I have felt profoundly this releasing. I am feeling more whole and more held in this life. And I can see today swan and in her gentle permeance. Gliding on the rivers of my journey. I have called in my sisters when I have felt my need, and they have come. And I feel them, all the women who have chosen to love me in this life. All the women who have chosen to love me in many lives. And I am releasing my shame. And in allowing myself to receive this love, allowing myself to be part of this cycle, allowing myself to love, I am coming to the freedom to be more and more alone. More all-one. Asha, 2014

Thank you Asha for sharing your heart and your story, oceans of love for the gentle holding of your beautiful medicine again, love Julia x

heart alchemy - healing the lineage

Stacia Napierkowska
Today I am creating a bespoke medicine doll for a seeker who wishes her doll to hold the spirit of Avalon. This morning I began gathering ferns and moss and oak leaves from a tree nearby. I will place an acorn in her hands - perhaps in a basket. I did a final walk to see what treasures were on the ground waiting for this doll and as I lay them out I began to feel what resonated for the doll and thought this is like alchemy, it is always a delicate balance of different plant and animal medicine. Some medicine feels distinctly feminine or masculine.
As I was laying out plants and feathers I received an email with the gift of the photo above of Stacia Napierkowska. The woman who sent it to me was in need of a session to heal the wound story of the lineage of women in her family. She remarked on how similar the photo felt to the card The Fferyllt representing the archetype Temperance in the Druidcraft Tarot. The Fferyllt were the Druid alchemists - creating the Sacred Marriage of balance between the Sacred Feminine and Masculine. We see this work here in the element of Water (in the cauldron) representing the Feminine and the Fire below as the Masculine. 
This healing of the Sacred Union is such important work for us now. These wounds may come from your own experiences in this lifetime, from the lineage wound in your birth family, the collective unconscious or carried over from past lives. This heart alchemy will not only be a benefit to ourselves but also to the lineage of children to come and the ones who came before us. Ancestral healing teaches us that we are all linked - when one hurts, we all hurt - when one heals, we all feel the benefit of that release. To do this healing work for your lineage, family and community is a great gift. Sending love to all those finding the delicate balance of heart alchemy today.
Druidcraft Tarot

Swan Past Life Story - The Vow to Carry On Alone

Today I share Rebecca's Swan Past Life Story. I met Rebecca when she was co-presenting an ecoprinting workshop - a workshop that fascinated me as it involved cooking up in a cauldron recycled items like old keys, pieces of metal, wood and leaves and flowers to create natural dyes for silk. I loved the transformation of items regarded as waste or rubbish into incredible beauty.
Rebecca's story is of a young girl who on her mother's death-bed promised to carry on in life alone. To survive without the love and assistance of any members of her Feminine Matriarchal line. As with many of these Soul Promises made in past lives, the energy and binding of these oaths are carried by our spirit with us into the present. It is a beautiful remembering of a life endured with quiet strength and in the release of the binding comes the release from that word 'endure'. How many of us have endured our lives? For so many lifetimes we have had to 'make do' in hard times. I am so happy to see that we are now remembering ancient ways of creating communities through creativity and motherhood and sacred medicine. If we are without elders in this lifetime we can seek them out in community and this is why the Red Tent movement of creating sacred space for women is so important. As are the sacred spaces being created by our brothers for men to meet and share and receive the guidance that may not be available to them in their birth families.
The painting you see above, 'Christina's World' by Andrew Wyeth was chosen by Rebecca to accompany her Swan Story and I am always so fascinated to see the threads of art symbolism woven into the words of story.  When I looked into the story behind this painting I discovered that the model for it was Wyeth's neighbour, Christina, who had polio and had lost the use of her legs. This painting had been inspired when he'd seen her pulling herself across the field to her home with strength of her arms alone. It is poignant to me that when parts of our spirits are bound by past life vows, in soul loss, our present lives can often feel like this - as if mobility and movement is somehow limited by energy beyond our control. The gift of this impediment is that we are often forced to develop new skills and ways of finding nourishment beyond the normal constraints of culture and society. This is why, I believe, we are seeing a rise in the shamanic approach to spirit - regardless of the fact that western society has become so urbanised and materialistic. Our spirits are wise and we remember the truth - that we are all one, that our mothers and fathers are many, and the greatest source of Feminine Love is always available to us when we connect to the Earth.

Deep in the heart of Mother Mountain, in the home of the Crone, who has a name I can’t remember, I looked into the Well of Memory. She emerged, a young girl with red hair, wearing a dress with an old-fashioned collar. She stretched out a hand, and we met, palm to palm. I joined her in a country field, wheat waving golden in the afternoon light. We walked towards a farmhouse, and her sadness, grief and loneliness were tangible within me. 

The girl led me into the empty house, upstairs, to a bedroom. The bed was smoothly made, a sense of timelessness in the air. Without words, I understood that her mother had died here, and in the last moments of her life, she’d compelled her daughter to make her a promise: to live, to survive, to carry on, despite the painful lack of any feminine energy. No mother, no grandmother to hold her. 

The girl was stoic and sad. She had to hold herself, and it was a very lonely path. 

I felt grief, tears, and the familiarity of her pain deep within me. The resonance of making do without loving feminine energy around me. Nowhere to receive a deep hug, or older wisdom and nurture. I felt all that, and how I live that, and I also felt how this no longer serves me in this lifetime. I felt how it is shifting. I have survived that painful absence of Mother, and now I can soften and seek out the love and support of the feminine all around me. 

Crow came and led me out of the mountain, flying from tree to tree. I felt her energy of watchfulness and waiting, a companion high up in the branches. I felt the holding all around me. There is enough. I am safe and loved. And I can offer safety and love to my daughter and all those around me.  Rebecca, 2013

Thank you Rebecca for sharing your beautiful story and helping us all to remember that we are not alone. Rebecca is embracing her medicine as Artisan and this is one of the many ways to express the limitless power of the Feminine. You can read her inspiring words at her website: Healing Tools - I visited yesterday and spent a couple of hours immersed in her nourishing stories and wisdom. And you can also see the stunning ecoprinting creation and take part in workshops with the Oracle Textile Collective here. Love to you beautiful Artisan x

Swan Blessing Story - Spirit Doll of the Sacred Artist

Lakota Doll by Rhonda Holy Bear

Tonight I share Katy's Swan Blessing story of a past life remembered as a young Native American girl carrying the wisdom of the sacred artist. When faced with the loss of her tribal lands, she made a Vow to Never Submit to the materialistic ways of the modern world. In this lifetime Katy is an artist again and to carry such a binding from the past into this new time was creating many obstacles. Many of us are carrying vows and laws that still forbid us from creating wealth in our present lifetimes and the reasons for these promises were very valid for the times they were made in but do not serve us now. For Katy it was the release of this vow that gave her understanding that she now had permission to create wealth in her life without guilt.  When we imbue our work with sacred energy, which is simply love and intention with the action of making the art itself,  our creations have great worth in our world. In fact, it is very needed at this time. As artisans we must see our craft as a worthy channel for abundance - just as needed as any other role or service. To create with the intention of healing and service and then to charge accordingly for this work is something that is important for us to learn. At the same time we can be discerning and make sure that our work is not being abused, disrespected or copied. We do not need to sell our services to everyone but we can choose who we wish to worth with and for. To accept our own ability to create sacred art again is important because it helps us to also open our minds and hearts to the sacred art of indigenous artists and give it the great honour it deserves. Our sacred art is not a commodity but a gift that creates a circle of abundance that includes the recipient as well as the artist. We can make our whole life a practice of sacred art.

When I met Katy I felt such a bond of sisterhood with her instantly but I had no idea of the way her story was going to ripple out and flow through my own life and through the lives of the women who have also heard her story. When I retold Katy's Swan Story at a recent workshop it was not shocking to them to hear of a woman who intended to burn a town down for taking away her tribal lands, but a cry moved through the crowd as I told of her spirit doll being thrown onto the fire. As I heard and felt the unrest of the women I realised we all still carried a strong collective memory of carrying our magic in dolls. And that these dolls were not merely toys but living sacred objects, more like little sisters or guardians. I began to remember lifetimes of making Medicine Dolls, Witch Dolls, and Spirit Dolls and how sacred they were to us women in times when we were connected to our ancestral medicine and wise ways.

Amazingly, I had chosen the image of this beautiful and proud doll you see above created by Rhonda Holy Bear because I could feel the sacred essence that it carried and it reminded me of Katy's Vow. Only tonight did I read the story of how Rhonda came to her artisan craft of doll making. If you click on the image you will go to her website and read the story about how her grandmother's spirit doll was given away to wealthy tourists - yet another echo of Katy's story rippling and awakening us to the need to learn to honour sacred craft and indigenous art and a call to us to learn to create our own sacred art and spirit dolls again.

"I didn't know what to expect from the Swan Blessing. I just had a very clear and direct inner impulse to participate. I have funny problems understanding basic societal constructs like money, so the "vow of poverty" idea really rang a bell for me. I fully expected to see in my past life (if I saw anything at all) a medieval nun, living quietly, disengaged from the world, expecting nothing, with nothing expected of her but simple labour and the contemplation of the divine. That's not quite how it worked out. It may be that the life I expected to see is there in my secret soul, but it's certainly not the one that sprang forth and demanded my attention.

A young Native American woman came forward and took my hand. She showed me the ashes of a campfire. In the fire were the remains of a simple handmade doll. The woman with me was now a little girl, and the doll had been made by her, and thrown into the fire by her brother (who was much older, and an important person in her tribe), to teach her a lesson. I felt her child's anger and confusion, and also her brother's deep, wild, implacable rage. As I looked around, I saw that her camp, the home of her people, had been burnt to the ground by white men on horses. There was ruin and destruction everywhere, and everything of value was ash. The lesson her raging brother was teaching her by throwing her doll in the fire is that their life as they knew it was finished, that there would be nothing spare for foolishness. 

The next thing I saw was the woman, no longer a child, but still young, lighting a fire.  

This part of the story unravelled backwards: She was lighting a fire. She was lighting a fire at the back of a building. Oh! She's setting the building on fire. The building is a pub, in a small, still-being-constructed mountain town. She's so angry. So fucking angry. Why is she so angry? They killed her brother. Who did? The same men. They caught him and killed him, shamefully, publicly, because they were trying to build this town, and he kept attacking them and disrupting their work. So. She sets the town on fire. It burns, and her fury burns, she is utterly consumed and immobile with rage. She is arrested and imprisoned for the rest of her brief time on earth. And the burning vow of her whole life is the rageful shriek that she will never, ever submit. 

She comes to me again, calm now, and shows me how I still carry this vow as big heavy rocks in my hands. Together we smash the rocks into pieces and they crumble away. She hands me her gift, and I see it's the little doll that her brother threw into the fire, now unburnt. It represents the power I have to make magical objects, and to make objects magical; to weave together disparate and inanimate things and breathe into them life and intelligence and meaning.  

* * * 

I'm an artist, and I've always had a very fraught relationship with money. It just doesn't make sense to me, particularly in relationship with art-making. When I make artwork, it's always something that can't really be  bought or sold. It's films, or crazy installations that fall apart if you touch them, or giant inflatable whatchamacallits; for me, their very purpose is to be not-of-this-world. If they fit neatly into somebody's everyday life then they're not doing their jobs as other-worldly triggers. They're sacred objects. They don't get turned into a commodity. But then, on the other hand,  when I try to figure out how to make money, it's ALWAYS some kind of making-something-that-is-most-emphatically-NOT-the-sacred-object kinda thing. And I always feel weird about it, and I'm really stingy with my attention. And it always feels unfocused and wrong, and it's always this big inner conflict, and it's always a struggle. And I sort of hate the thing I'm making. And the enterprise usually collapses and I'm secretly relieved. 

At the moment I make these embroidered patches and sell them in my shop, and to other shops. They're definitely NOT art, but people like them and they sell quite well. I've been having my usual funny struggles with it; weird panics at markets, the urge to sabotage the business. The weekend after the Swan Blessing, my husband and I hosted a big party in the forest, for about a hundred people. It started looking like it was going to be really big, and we didn't really know what to expect, and we were a bit nervous. We arrived a day early to set up, so in the morning before people were due to arrive, I put on the poncho I had made out of blankets, made a sign, and set out another blanket on the ground, put all my patches out on display, sat down and waited. 

I suddenly felt very, very, very weird. Like all of this was incredibly familiar. I have never in my whole life experienced Deja Vu until this moment. And then, just to drive the point home, somebody wandered past and said "Wow, you look exactly like an American Indian selling crafts by the side of the road!"  I couldn't even answer them, because everything was just thrumming and humming and glowing and feeling so weird. And it was just like it all fell into place. I know now why money is so uncomfortable for me, and why this is being triggered so hard at this point in my life. I think this conflict is HER conflict. Like, her inborn magic was to make sacred objects, but then her tribe's way of life got destroyed, and then, traumatised, she had to find new ways of living and fitting into the foreign currency structure that had been imposed on her, and her magic got degraded and and turned into crappy commodity-trinket-making. And that felt like submission, and that felt terrible and wrong. 


The animal companion that was given to me by Tony at the Swan Blessing was the chipmunk. At first this seemed a bit incongruous; this cheeky, busy, funny, lighthearted creature didn't seem to sit comfortably with this giant vision of rage and burning that I'd just experienced. But the next day a couple of things struck me: One, that this was a creature I used to see a lot in my childhood in Colorado. (My vision absolutely and unequivocally occurred in Colorado as well. Funny.) The other thing is that this is a creature who knows how to prepare for winter, but doesn't make a big deal about it, or agonise over it; it just goes about it's cheeky life, and trusts its own ability to take care of its own business... it just follows its instincts, stuffing nuts in its chubby cheeks all summer, and then has a big pile of nuts to sleep on through the winter. Maybe the feeling I keep having in my life, that I don't understand these basic laws about how the material world works, how to make and keep money, how to connect effort with reward, things that everybody else seems to intuitively understand and be able to work with, come from being tied to this past life of chaos and desperation and imprisonment. Maybe some of the fallout in this life has been my feeling like a foreigner when it comes to these basic self-determining and self-care strategies. So maybe it's not as complicated and mysterious as I think, and if I just channel that little stripy guy, the state of Usefulness and Plenty will just happen as a natural side effect of my instinctive life, rather rather than something I try to consciously build through the force of my will."   

Katy 2013

Thank you Katy for opening your heart and sharing your Swan Blessing story. By releasing her Vow to Never Submit, Katy has opened up a channel to abundance and understands that this channel will be of her own making. In this lifetime we are free to share our deepest and most sacred art again without fear and under our own authority. The gift of release teaches us that we are allowed to create and share in abundance and that possessions do not need to be void of sacred energy but instead can be beautiful vessels of magic and love - Art with Soul. With intention, belief and love we turn the mundane into the sacred. I am very excited to see the magical and sacred art that Katy creates now that she has released the bindings of that lifetime.

You can see some of the beautiful community building that Katy is involved in through her shop Desire Books in Manly, Sydney. Just have a look at the creative projects she offers to children, musicians, writers... If you are in Desire's neck of the woods pop in and enjoy!

Thank you Katy for opening up this sacred pathway to the Dreamer for myself and for many, many other women.