The Snake the Witch and the Midwife

Last year, 2013 - the Year of the Water Snake, I was invited to hold Swan Blessing as part of a 3 day retreat called The Deepening for the women of The School of Shamanic Womancraft to open up the ancestral medicine of the Witch. To hold space with this beautiful group of sisters was an honour and to hold the work of unbinding the demonised Wise Woman - the Witch was very close to my heart. The Deepening was held on the property of the school's founder and midwife, Jane Hardwicke Collings, in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Jane's country was very different to my dark green and wet forest  - hers was hot, golden and open land and I could feel I was already being challenged to become comfortable here.

Within minutes of arriving, I was greated warmly by Jane to her home and her land and then she mentioned casually 'oh yeah, there are snakes, just Red Belly Blacks so don't worry' ! Needless to say I was VERY worried about the poisonous snakes and conscious of their strong energy because it was everywhere! And why should I have been surprised when the School's totem is Snake? All I could  think about was the presence of Red Belly Black Snake always being nearby as I walked back and forth to the Red Tent where we were holding our rituals and the cabin where I was sleeping.

On the first night I dreamt of snakes crawling all over my cabin and dropping down on my body from the ceiling. It was not a great night for sleep. I realised that I had to deal with this irrational fear. I didn't fear the snake itself, it was something deeper, without a name... On the second day, after holding personal Swan Blessings for a couple of the sisters in my cabin I stepped outside and was met by one of the women's partners. He had his baby in his arms and his eyes were huge. He told me that he had just seen two enormous Red Belly Black Snakes racing towards him in the grass but they had turned when they had seen him and headed down to the water. He told me he had always thought that in an emergency he could outrun a snake and now he realised that their speed and power was far greater than his. He had to just hold his baby and trust that they would not hurt him.

On the third day, my dear sister, Mikailah, who was helping me to hold the space for our ceremonies as firekeeper began collecting wood for our ceremony and walked into what she soon realised was a snake nest full of snakeskin sheddings from a large family of Red Belly Blacks. She asked me if I wanted to go back there with her. And I knew that I had to face this fear, I wanted to see something physical to link to the energetic presence of the snake that was everywhere. She took me to the nest and I slowly walked into the circle of many many skins. It was as if they all decided to shed together at once and the skins formed an almost perfect circle. Carefully I chose two skins and thanked the Snake thanked the Land. I placed them with us in our cabin and even the skin itself gave off the strongest energy of strength and presence. I don't think I've ever felt a snakeskin as powerful. But sleeping with the skin in our cabin created a sense of conscious communication or peacemaking on my half and that night I dreamt that a snake was guiding me from above as it moved from tree to tree and I followed it along a path. In the morning I felt, for the first time a sense of acceptance and reverence for a creature that I knew could be dangerous but only when it had to be. And that if I was calm and left it alone to go about it's own day and way, that we could live on this land harmoniously together. The gift Snake gave to me was awareness in my movement on the land and awareness of fears that I had carried that had somehow been given or taught to me. Beliefs that I had not consciously created from my own experience. I realised I had now shed the skin of an old and unacknowledged fear of the 'demon snake'.

Just as the witch has been demonised, so too has the snake. It was important for me to feel this ancient, trembling fear of the snake especially since I hadn't ever even known it was there inside me. But it was there, deep beneath the layers and it was huge. I see the medicine of the witch as a woman who is taught by the Earth, who learns from the Trees. She is a natural healer through her deep relationship with the Earth, it's plant medicine and it's cycles. The snake is a creature of the Earth, how could an animal be evil? A creature so powerful that it can transform the old and shed it's own skIn. A creature that can midwife it's own rebirth.  Just as the women were releasing their own past life memories of being branded and hunted as Witch for simply being healers, midwives and free women they were holding space for me to midwife myself through the ancient fear of the serpent.

I have kept the skin of the Deepening Snake until this month to work with it's medicine. In the month of April I midwifed my familiar, Rory, through his journey with Death and then midwifed myself through the grief and loss that came afterwards. In this month I pierced another veil of illusion and remembered again that the only power is Love. And so with love I have begun birthing Snake Medicine dolls at this time of the Grand Cross and Eclipse. Here are the first snake spirit dolls, they have already found their keepers but I will continue working with these sacred skins as I learn more about Snake medicine.

Thank you to all of the beautiful sisters who journeyed with me at the Deepening. Thank you for opening your heart to the medicine of the Witch and thank you for helping me to open mine to the medicine of Snake. For all those who wish to learn more about shamanic practice, vision quest and women's mysteries I highly recommend the deeply transformative work of The School of Shamanic Womancraft.

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

Swan Blessing - Heretic or Wise Woman

The Heretic by Frank Craig, 1906

The Heretic by Frank Craig, 1906

HERETIC: dissident, dissenter, nonconformist, unorthodox thinker, freethinker, iconoclast, schismatic, renegade

Not all of our behaviours and patterns are created through conscious choices. Many behaviours begin early in our lives as re-actions to intense events and to understand the seed of these patterns and beliefs we may need to journey back to the time of the event to unlock and release their power over us. And sometimes that event did not happen in this lifetime but in a past lifetime, that of an ancestor or can even be a traumatic story held in the collective unconscious. There is much research being done right now on DNA and the passing on of ancestral trauma and wounds to future generations. Swan Blessing is work that I have been carrying out for the last 7 years with women and men all over the world to journey and access these soul stories by opening the gift of sight. In vision these stories can be seen again with their own eyes and most importantly there can then be a conscious release of the 'soul loss' and the energetic binding that can make us feel like this event just happened yesterday. When a vow or promise is made around these highly charged events and experiences it creates an even stronger hold over us and we can find that we are acting in ways that rationally make no sense and yet the feeling of the behaviour is familiar, entrenched and very hard to let go.

Another beautiful Swan Blessing story to share with you today from my session with client and colleague Bec Walker, death worker and healer at Wayfaring Bones. Thank you Bec for your sharing. As I read it, I felt the healing for us all again. With your telling you are helping so many who are feeling the bindings and very real fear of persecution of the wise woman again in our time. This Swan journey was empowering just for me to witness.

"I was in a small cottage in the woods, surrounded by small children , an elderly lady was crying as I  kissed them goodbye.  I knew they were coming for me. I knew I was a wise woman and they feared me. I actually felt at peace. I told the elderly woman it would be alright. I was quite young with beautiful long hair.
My next thought was to get away from cottage as I could see the torches in the distance.  I started running through the woods. They caught me about 500 meters from my cottage. My thought then was are my family are safe as I looked back towards the cottage? They had me on my knees with my head pulled back by my hair. I was surrounded by men and could feel the fear in their heart. I was taken under the cover of darkness. It was a lynch mob. A powerful man with the authority was behind the scenes. Orchestrating the outcome. I felt he was scared of my inner power.
The very next thing I saw was a vision of her standing on a pyre. It quite surreal as I stepped out as myself from the future to see my past self on the pyre. I could see a sea of what looked like Pilgrim hats, and a town square. She was searching frantically for someone or something in the faces before her; she knew this was going to happen. There was no hatred in her body, only sadness and compassion, for the people doing this to her. I watched as the tears streamed down my face.
I stepped forward and her eyes locked onto to mine. She smiled at me and said with her eyes:  ah good you are here! I have been waiting. My soul felt like it exploded in to a million pieces, it was such a deep and profound connection.Her words to me were: You are free, Have no fear. They cannot come for you in this lifetime. Your family are safe. Be true to your soul and path. With that she closed her eyes and tilted her head skywards. And whispered 'I am ready” to the Heavens. As they lit the pyre. I saw a bright white light come down from above. She was enfolded by light and I could see two beings beside her. The flames had only reached her feet. But she was already free.
Julia, I thank you for releasing my fear/binding, in this life as a healer/witch/ wise woman. I hadn’t realised that this fear of judgement and persecution had been holding me back. Also my intense dislike of authority makes sense. My past self had no fear; No anger, she accepted it, in perilous times of who she was.  Her message to me was the gift of Freedom, acceptance and walking the path of self truth. No more Hiding."
With Love, Bec 

I urge you all to experience the potent work of Bec Walker. For over 20 years Bec has worked as a nurse and in palliative care had many experiences of the divine crossing over of the soul. I am so happy to say that she is honouring her wise gifts and is now offering sessions of energetic and intuitive healing, grief and death work here in Melbourne in person and by Skype.   www.wayfaringbones.com


Book a Swan Blessing clearing session of old vows and oaths and bindings to the past with Julia

Read more about Julia's Swan Blessing work

Deepening with Mikailah and The School of Shamanic Midwifery

Mikailah and I heading down to the Deepening

I am still landing here in the forest after the Deepening Retreat with The School of Shamanic Midwifery. My deepest thanks to my sister witch and shamanic astrologer, Mikailah, Jane Hardwicke Collings the amazing founder and creatrix of The School of Shamanic Midwifery and mermaid teachers, Talulah and Kristan for all of your graceful assistance and love. And to all of the sisters who joined us in the Deep as we journeyed with the Wild Swan - thank you from the bottom of my heart.

It was truly a gift to hold this Swan Blessing dreaming pool with such a dear friend as Mikailah and together we brought our elements of Fire and Water to the unbinding of the Witch and her medicine and also her freedom.

What an amazing year 2013 has been, what a great shedding of the old skin in the Year of the Water Snake. Blessings and love to all around the world who are preparing to travel and share their love next year. You Are Free.

Here is a link to all of Kristan's photos from The Deepening.







magic circle

The Magic Circle by John William Waterhouse

An ocean of love to my sisters Mikailah and Jane Hardwicke Collings and all of the glittering mermaids of the School of Shamanic Midwifery. Thank you for bringing your medicine to the Deepening. Thank you for this magic circle.

Return of the Medicine WOmen

I love this photograph, I've looked at it many times wondering where it was from. Recently someone sent me this link. As I watched I heard 'stregha' - Italian witch. I have noticed that nearly everyone who views this image sees an ancestor, relative or ancient part of themselves in it. As I look at it again for probably the 50th time I am amazed to see the likeness of my Aunt Trish who always had time for animals and lost children. Hail to the return of the Wise WOmen.

Calling to the Sisters of the Sun

Return of the Medicine Women - Mt Tamborine, QLD

Swan Blessing: Femmina Unbound
Full price ticket: $150
Concession Ticket: $120

Dear Sisters of the Sun,

It has been over a year since my last journey to the mystic Mountain Tamborine and I welcome you to join me in ceremony and circle to reclaim the ancestral medicine of the wise woman : Swan Blessing - Femmina Unbound. This ceremony and workshop will be held at Grail Haven, Mt Tamborine on Oct 12th. I am honoured to hold space for the return of your medicine in this collective unbinding of Feminine Wisdom. On this day we will release and clear some of the strongest of past beliefs and vows : Vow of Silence, Vow of Obedience, Vow of Chastity with the intention of releasing the binds that tie the past histories of the Medicine Women, Shamans, Witches, Herbalists, Wise Women. By consciously releasing these sacred contracts from our spirits, our hearts, our voices and our bodies, we are opening up strong Dream Pathways for our Ancestors, the Grandmothers, to heal and reconnect the roots to our Ancestral Medicine again. These are our birthright gifts, we are ALLOWED.

The Medicine of Swan is the gift of Seership, Swan Blessing is an activation to open your own ability to be the Seer and experience shamanic vision. In Femmina Unbound you will journey back into the past to see your own binding spells - created by your own words in promise or vow and with great compassion release your spirit from them. You may also see back into the Mother Lands to understand and release the bindings carried in the lineage. 

After embracing connection to our Ancestral Medicine we will engage in the shamanic practice of Medicine Doll creation. This doll will be made in the image of your 'dreaming self' - the otherwordly self that acts as a bridge to the ancestors and animal totems. Please bring a small sacred object to place inside your doll. You can read about Emily's personal experience of the process of creating her own spirit doll here.

Medicine Dolls


This day will be spent in the Deep, you may feel much emotion moving through you but the key is not to hold on to the wound to let it flow in the sacred water we will communing with at Grail Haven - a spring water sanctuary and holder of sacred energy on Mt Tamborine. Once released, this well of feeling will be replaced by your Medicine and your Love. we will be able to fully feel our majesty and our natural gifts of healing. With hearts full of love we will sing our spirits back to ourselves, performing Soul Retrieval and Initiating ourselves again into our wise medicine. With this love and power we will then perform together a ceremony of healing for our Sacred Earth, honouring the ancient Aboriginal Ancestors of the land.

Speak to your Ancestors, call to the Grandmothers - they are very aware of this journey we are making to our Medicine, they are so happy that we are returning. If you are feeling great resistance you are very welcome to book a session by Skype if you feel you need to before we meet on October 12th. I will also be holding a small amount of personal Swan Blessing sessions on the mountain in the days before the ceremony.

Oceans of love to you my medicine sisters,
you are free.

Swan Shaman - Waves of Grace by Patricia Ariel

Return of the Medicine Women - Women of Power: Katarzyna Majak

Maria Ela Lewanska - a Healer and Visionary
belongs to the 'tribal elders' of the new times

I am so thrilled to see this beautiful photographic work: Women of Power by photographer, Katarzyna Majak a series of 29 portraits of Polish witches, healers, enchanters, visionaries and spiritual leaders.  Thank you Katarzyna for this honest honouring of Wise Women.
See the full project here: Women of Power.

A book with photographs and conversations with the medicine women will be released soon.  www.katarzynamajak.com

"Katarzyna Majak explores the power of women as she searches for female wisdom and plurality of spiritual paths hidden within monoreligious Polish society.  Majak’s Women of Power series turns stereotypical witch imagery on its head and showcases striking images of women ranging from their 30’s to 80's, wearing colorful unconventional clothes, and holding their unique objects of power. When asked what being a witch meant to one of the subjects in the series, she replied ‘A witch is a woman of knowledge who takes a broom and sweeps to cleanse the world.’
The women of wisdom, healers, enchanters, visionaries and spiritual leaders depicted in Majak’s vibrant photographs often facing discrimination, have taken great risk in being photographed. This is the first time many of them owned their power publicly. Majak’s journey with the Women of Power began when one of them accompanied her in a ritual to say ‘good-bye’ to her wedding dress, and the journey continued from woman to woman as the artist became fascinated with their alternative wisdoms on female power."

International Women's Day - Reclaiming the Wise Ways

Kay Nielson, East of the Sun West of the Moon 1914

Happy International Women's Day everyone! Why do we celebrate such a day? I celebrate because not so very longer ago our sisters were bound and locked away from education, did not have the right to vote, often had marriages arranged for them and most importantly were punished for using the Wise Women Ways  - naturally intuitive gifts and tools passed from grandmother to mother to daughter. 
This morning I was thinking of the word 'witch' and it's potency and demonisation. What is it about the Witch that we find so frightening? What is the energetic binding around this name that makes us want to turn away? What if the word Witch could simply be another name for our natural intuition as woman, and our innate knowing of Mother Nature and her teachings? What if the word Witch meant: Sacred Feminine, Healer, Shamaness, Seer, Diviner, Medicine Woman? 
A Visit to the Witch: Edward Frederick Brewtnall (1846-1902)
I would ask you to look at this typical image of the archetypal Witch given to us. What is it that we fear? Examine this image beyond the binding of past beliefs and the brain-washing of a society that has for centuries been deeply afraid to honour the natural wisdom of the Sacred Feminine. What do you choose to see? I would love to share with you what I see.
  • A Crone who is beyond the limitations of appearance and belief of worthiness measured on her physical beauty.
  • An Elder who has lived a long life with many experiences of love, death and rebirth.
  • A woman who has chosen to live close to nature, to hear the Mother clearly, to know her creatures and her plants.
  • A woman who knows how to live sustainably and in harmony with the earth.
  • A woman who knows the value of each element: earth, water, air and fire - because these are all she needs to care for her body and LIVE.
  • Two women who must step out of the busy-ness of the mundane world and journey to the wild forest. Women who need to sit with someone with clear eyes, one who has not been influenced by outside forces and trusts her own authority. 
  • Two women who have forgotten how to communicate with their own spirit and to know what is sick, what is needing nourishment, to know what wise gifts they each carry and how to share them. 
Today I will celebrate International Women's Day by engaging in a practice so ancient and natural to women - the reading of oracles. I will give thanks for having the freedom to not only engage and come to know my own spirit in this way but also the freedom to share my ancestral wisdom with other sisters in open classes, workshops and consultations.  Today I  celebrate all of the beautiful sisters who have shared circles with me and sat with me to open their hearts and in doing so have helped me to open mine. 
This morning I created a Tarot spread to speak with your own Wise Woman WIthin: 
Wise Woman Tarot Spread:

Card 1: What is my own unique wise way?
Card 2: What is unconscious about this gift?
Card 3: What action will help me to bring what is unconscious into my conscious world?
Card 4: What binding beliefs of the past do I need to release to reclaim my intuitive gifts?
Card 5: What do I need to embrace to express these gifts with fearless love?
Card 6: The way forward.
Every woman is Wise Woman. We each carry our own unique essence and we are all valuable, worthy and have a purpose. We are growing Wise Sisters and we are many. Now we are being asked to begin to gather and share our wisdom, to help others who are afraid or sick, to ask for help from the Elders, the Ancestors.  And in this deep love and knowing of Self we will also create equal and respectful relationships, work and sharing with our Brothers and we will remember again how to live in harmony with Mother Earth.

Bee Well! Bee Wild! Love, Julia