grandmother medicine

From Tree to Tree Dollmaking with the Spirit Weavers

  Turkey 1968

Well it's almost time for me to leave Sherbrooke Forest to meet our Northern sisters at Spirit Weavers Gathering in the redwood forest of Mendocino, California. I will be travelling with one of my dearest friends, Talulah of Making Sacred to share dollmaking and song circles at this gathering of amazing women sharing earth skills and wisdom. I see this gathering as a beautiful tapestry of medicine from our own ancestral lineages.

This is the first time that I have ever been to America and I am so curious about this journey. The Spirit Weavers Gathering is so exciting to me because it is a gathering based on sharing skills and crafts! There are so many incredible classes being offered it's really going to be difficult to choose what to do. Have a look at these beautiful offerings - perhaps you will be inspired to attend next year!

serenity - redwood detlefson

And then of course there are the Redwoods themselves. These were the faerietale trees of my childhood imagination. When I was little I used to stay with an elderly couple after school. They would often be caring for injured and animals and birds. They were important to me because I didn't have any living grandparents - I see them now as foster grandparents. Their names were Mr and Mrs Elks and they would have been in their 70s. It was during the 70s too and they had this print, Serenity by Paul Detlefson on their wall and I used to sit in front of it for hours. In my imagination I played in this forest often. About 5 years ago I came across exactly the same print in an opshop and now this beloved image from my childhood is hanging in our home. It's going to be very special to actually meet and sit amongst these giants, and even better to weave medicine dolls in their ancient embrace.

If you would like to get in touch I will be back home in the last week of May.  Tony and Fox are holding space here at home as I move from one forest to another. And I travel with this boulder opal heart to keep them close with me.

See you soon weavers! Love, Julia

Boulder Opal Sacred Familiar


Celebrating Spring Equinox - by being here

Spring Equinox in Sherbrooke Forest by Sacred Familiar One thing I love about living in the forest is the way we are reminded constantly of the seasons. It's not something we have to think about here, we can see, smell and hear it all around us. At the moment the forest smells like honey with so many new flowers blooming and the birds are busy! We've had a currawong singing in a tree near our house and chasing away the cockatoos, I think she's protecting her nest. The points of Equinox in the year are when the days of light and darkness are in balance and equal measure. I look forward to these points because over the years I've noticed pivotal changes and very helpful and practical messages coming through in meditations and dreams. This week I have been thinking about balance and new steps I can weave into my daily practice that will support the amount of time I am spending dollmaking these days. The most important practice for me is to walk and to move after sitting so long bent over the dolls, listening and weaving in the studio. And most importantly for my Aquarian brain to be resting while I walk - all I have to do is be present here.

To celebrate the Spring Equinox this week we went walking into one of my favourite parts of Sherbrooke Forest. I used to create very elaborate rituals and ceremony around the points of change in the seasons of the year but these days I am enjoying the simple and the small and loving how deep that experience can be.

Spring Equinox in Sherbrooke Forest by Sacred Familiar

Spring Equinox in Sherbrooke Forest by Sacred Familiar Spring Equinox in Sherbrooke Forest by Sacred Familiar Spring Equinox in Sherbrooke Forest by Sacred Familiar

Mama&Cub Medicine Doll Spring Giveaway

Mama&Cub Sacred Familiar GIveaway We are having a giveaway of the Mama&Cub medicine doll to celebrate the blossoming of Spring over on Instagram. To have your own chance to win this Spring Mama and her fluffy cub carried in a fossilised cocoon all you have to do is follow @sacredfamiliar share and hashtag #sacredfamiliarmamadoll

Inside Cub is mountain ash resin and Mama has a medicine bundle in her belly holding orchids, hawthorn berries, forest moss, sequoia, mountain ash resin, wattle, rosemary, birch bark and oak. Her Springtime headdress is created from quail feathers, pine leaves, smokey quartz crystal and wild chamomile flowers gathered by Alice Savage in the little forest near her home in Italy. She holds a staff covered in forest lichen and moss and topped with a clear quartz point.

We will draw the winner at midday 2nd September - good luck everyone!

Mama&Cub medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

Mama&Cub medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

mama&cub medicine doll Sacred Familiar giveaway

Mama and cub medicine doll by sacred familiar

Cosmic Children and GrandMother Dolls

OrchidDreamer medicine doll by Sacred Familiar I had the best time creating this medicine doll for Tilda who is 11 and a budding young artist. She is the OrchidDreamer friendship doll and filled with orchids grown in Tony's mother's garden and lots of forest flowers that I picked close to our home. While I was making her one of favourite people came to visit and I'm sure all of that laughter and storytelling has been woven into her dress.

Tilda's request for a friendship doll came in the same week that I received 3 more invitations to create dolls for children. This is the CrystalReader doll for Emma who is 12 receiving a sun blessing on her crystal ball.

CrystalReader Medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

I have been inspired so much by the spirit of the child whilst making these dolls that I began to make some big changes in my life, creating space for my own cosmic child to play. I created a tarot spread to understand what the cosmic child needs and I will share this spread with our subscribers very soon on the 1st September - the first day of Spring here in Australia.

I believe that whenever we give we receive and this week I had a sudden compulsion to go to our local opshop. And look who I found - my own doll! Isn't she beautiful. I don't know anything about her except that she looks completely handmade right down to her woolly jumper. She reminds me of my ancestors from Scotland and Ireland. Perhaps she is Fox's grandmother and has travelled from the Shetland Islands to take care of us all. Thanks Tilda! I definitely believe you and the OrchidDreamer had a hand in this doll exchange x

grandmother doll Sacred Familiar

This Week's Medicine Inspiration

Crystals for Sacred Familiar Medicine Dolls A couple of days ago I chose these crystal treasures for new medicine dolls. I am in awe of the dolls and their ways of teaching - I am learning more about the mineral world with each doll. This week we have been foraging and gathering plant medicines for dolls in Sherbrooke Forest, Mt Donna Buang and in the Redwood Forest in East Warburton. Inspiration everywhere x

Fern heart by Sacred Familiar

Tree Sherbrooke Forest by Sacred Familiar

Moss from Sherbrooke Forest by Sacred Familiar

Redwood Forest by Sacred Familiar

Redwood Forest by Sacred Familiar

Tree Sister Medicine Dolls - Seeds of Change

Sequoia Sisters medicine dolls sacred familiar The medicine dolls are cunning folk - they have strong intuition of their own.

Recently I gave a doll called Seeds of Change away free to the first person to claim her at the end of our DollMarket day. She was one of the last remaining dolls and I felt her spirit telling me that she was to be a gift. Within minutes, a woman named Gillian contacted me letting me know that she was interested in Seeds of Change and I told her congratulations. The next day Gillian got in touch to say that she had gone to our website to show her children their new doll and found out that the doll had been a free gift. She had thought that she was bidding for the doll and the fact that there was no charge was a total surprise.

A few days ago I received a longer message from Gillian telling me that her family had received Seeds of Change & that she had already begun giving them new hope. She then told me that they had been one of the families that had lost their home & everything they owned in the Victorian bush fires last February. It had tested them severely but they did not feel unlucky, instead, they felt extremely blessed that they had all survived unharmed. But their hearts were missing their land and it was very hard not being able to return. With the doll's arrival they received the sign they were waiting for to finally move back to their land & begin to build their new home and lives again.

I remember creating the Seeds of Change doll purely for my own enjoyment one night. I had received some very fine and luminous silks and dressed the doll in her glittering but fragile golden threads. I then lay a large piece of Red Bellied Black snakeskin over most of her torso to balance the sense of fragility and surrounded it with leaves and branches. She has a carnelian stone over her heart, amethyst over her solar plesux and wears Kookaburra and Crow feathers in her hair. When I look at this doll now I see that she was already being made for Gillian and her family. I see that so much of her was linked to their story of courage and rebirth.

So much love to you & your family Gillian as you begin to plan the seeds to birth this new life. 

Seeds of Change Plant Medicine doll

Medicine Doll Market and DeerHeart Giveaway

DeerHeart Medicine Doll by Sacred Familiar A couple of nights ago I had a dream about a dollmarket - not a market that sold dolls but one attended by them! When I woke up and remembered the dolls moving about on their own I realised it was time to send the collection of dolls that I've made over this winter in the forest to their new homes. I will hold a Medicine Doll Market Sale beginning at the New Moon this weekend here at our website. There will be special offers and discounts and I will offer some dolls that have never been available before, they've been like little overseers in my doll workshop who give me hints about what to create and particular plant medicine to choose.  It's time for them also to go to work with new weavers and creators.

One doll that was intended to be in the sale is DeerHeart, the doll you see above. She is a doll that is very close to my own heart and I feel like she embodies the spirit of Sherbrooke Forest. You can see some photos taken during her creation here. But I just couldn't price her or sell her - and so I have decided to do something better and give her away. We really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to subscribe and we will choose a subscriber randomly at the exact point of the New Moon this weekend - in Melbourne, Australia that will be 8.42am this sunday 27th July. I am so curious to see who will be her new keeper. Yesterday I heard from the woman who found the medicine doll we left in the snow at the spring at Mt Donna Buang 2 days ago, I was happy to find out that she creates her own jewellery. Blessings on your creations together Tsugumi!

Have a beautiful weekend everyone, tomorrow I will meet with my sister to being tracking the almost covered-over footsteps of our ancestors. I feel excited about us coming together to mend our family cloth and begin  searching for the missing threads.

Medicine Dollmarket at Sacred Familiar

DeerHeart and the Wait for Snow

10410140_750726241636863_5246867140363133286_n Tonight we are waiting for snow in the Dandenongs, my fingers and toes are crossed. It only snows very rarely in Sherbrooke Forest and I would love to see what this magic forest looks like in a veil of snow. While I am waiting I've been working on a doll called DeerHeart. She is a huge doll, tall and robust. I keep sensing there is something more to be added or to find out about this doll.  I get the feeling she's got some big medicine to share and I am curious to see what the night brings. Sweet snowy dreams weavers x




a walk with us in Sherbrooke Forest

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This week felt so light after two weeks of wild storms and heavy rains. I couldn't help but feel the invitation from the trees to leave everything behind and walk, look and gather. Here are some photos taken on our foraging journeys, gathering plant medicines to place in our dolls and medicine bundles for healing. Wherever you are I hope this helps you to feel the green and nourishing love of the earth.

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Winter Sisters Doll Instagram Giveaway

Winter Doll Giveaway Hello everyone, in case you had missed it, we are having a Winter Sisters medicine doll giveaway to our followers on Instagram right now! This is a giveaway of 2 sister dolls - one for you and one for a friend too. They hold plant medicines of Oak and Elm Trees with hearts made of Mountain Ash resin (the tallest flowering trees in the world). The Green Sister holds the Emu feather in her and and the Blue Sister holds the feather of a Tawny Frogmouth Owl. They both wear crystal quartz over their hearts surrounded by moss gathered in Sherbrooke Forest.

To enter this giveaway all you have to do is: follow @sacredfamiliar  and repost the photo with hashtag #sacredfamiliardollgiveaway  

Giveaway closes at midnight tomorrow night and the winner will be announced on the morning on 2nd July. Good luck to you and your winter sister xx

winter sister 1

winter sister 2