sherbrooke forest

Medicine Doll Workshop - Autumn Equinox and Animal Medicine

Stag Woman by Sacred Familiar Dollmaking circle March with Sacred Familiar

We invite you to join us in the magical Sherbrooke Forest at the Autumn Equinox to create a medicine doll that will become a bridge to help you to connect with your animal totems. Autumn Equinox is a sacred time of crossing the threshold into the deeper and quieter months of Autumn and Winter.  The changes experienced by Mother Earth and her seasons are mirrored in our bodies and spirits and listening to the messages from our totem animals can be very important to help us be aware of our own transformation and dreams. Together we will handcraft dolls from pure merino wool to carry plant medicines, wishes and intentions and the medicine of our spirit animals.

This is a deeper medicine doll circle where the focus will be on animal medicine and totems. To begin we will be tuning in and listening to 3 sacred animals here in Sherbrooke Forest: the Fox, Stag and Lyrebird. The doll will teach us how to receive messages from these and other creatures as we engage in the ancient and healing ritual of sacred adornment and symbol reading. We will weave ceremonial headpieces for our dolls and in particular Stag Horns to connect to the mythology of the 'StagWomen' - creation of stag horns and headdresses will be from both wool and branches found by us in nearby Sherbrooke Forest.

This may be the last circle I hold until Winter as I am travelling to America in May to teach about the magic of the doll at the Spirit Weavers Gathering in the Redwood forest. This circle is open to everyone including beginners but is particularly useful if you would like to develop your skills in medicine adornment. We will be creating antlers and forest crowns with branches and leaves found in the forest. We will also hold a seed blessing ceremony with the sacred acorn that will go into the belly of your doll and I will also be offering for the first time in a doll workshop the Faerie Rites passed to me from Ireland.

The medicine we will be working with is the Fox, Stag and Lyrebird and if you have any special medicines you would like to add please bring them along.

Autumn Equinox Dollmaking Circle -  21 March 2-15

Animal Medicine Totems and Medicine Doll Ceremony

12 - 5pm, Autumn Equinox Saturday 21st March 2015
Kumbada Studio, 6 Ridge Road, Kalorama VIC  (map)
Cost: $120 (includes all dollmaking materials)  limited places  Bookings

The medicine doll is an ancient being familiar and beloved to many cultures around the world. When we create a medicine doll we reconnect to the ancestral medicine of healing and enchantment – to weave life and love into creation. This act of creation is not something outside of us but a natural gift to birth and weave a bridge to the source, to the ancestors and to our own spirit – the dreamer within the dream. In our doll enchantment ceremony we will learn how to craft a medicine doll from felt and wool and plant medicines. In circle and ceremony we will call on the wisdom of our grandmothers and the ancestors who are midwifing the flow of beauty and healing through our hands and hearts. Your medicine doll will become a sacred vessel of your own intentions, dreams and wishes for yourself, your beloveds and for Mother Earth. And she will return home to live with you as a spirit sister and holder of the dreams and connections made in our sacred forest circle at the Autumn Equinox.

StagWoman Medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

StarTribes Medicine Doll by Sacred Familiar


medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

Create your own Medicine Doll Workshop

Medicine Doll workshop by Sacred Familiar

Create your own Medicine Doll - Art of Enchantment workshop


1-4pm, 8th November  $80 / $70 concession  (includes all dollmaking materials)

Kumbada Studio, 6 Ridge Road, Kalorama (map)

Limited places, contact Julia to book 

Hello friends, we are happy to announce a final Medicine Doll workshop for 2014. We welcome you to come and play with us in Sherbrooke Forest! We will supply all dollmaking materials including plant medicines. Please bring any specific treasures you would like the doll to hold inside her body like crystals, talismans or plant medicine that you love. The doll may be for yourself or as a gift for someone you love. The workshop will be held at Kumbada Studio (The Church), 6 Ridge Road, Kalorama VIC from 1-4pm on Saturday 8th November. Places are limited so please get in touch if you wish to join this final dollmaking circle for the year.

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

Hello Spring - Fern Magic in Sherbrooke Forest

Blossoming fern Sherbrooke Forest by Sacred Familiar Hello Spring I feel more than ready for you! Are you feeling that way too? It's been a pretty deep and introspective Winter and I'm curious to see what's waiting to bloom. I've decided to dedicate myself to the craft of dollmaker in a committed way this spring - lots and lots of dolls in the dreamworlds waiting to have life breathed into them.

I've been thinking about the breath and how important that gift of life - oxygen - is to us. Yesterday we went for a long walk following Sassafras Creek and I could feel my lungs getting a good clean. I loved seeing all of the ferns ready to unfurl. The fern is such a plant emblem of Sherbrooke Forest and the Dandenongs and the more time I spend walking amongst them the more I become fascinated. So many different kinds.

In herb lore, ferns have long been associated with faerie magic and healing and also invisibility and protection. I notice that they help me to breathe deeply and have such a light etheric energy that I let go of stress easily around them. There is a point where the ferns begin on the road up to Mt Dandenong and I've watched people I'm travelling with visibly release a long breath out and relax as they drive through the fern veil. I also noticed how even though their presence is soft and etheric, their energy is strong and I had a lot of realisation and transformation take place walking and sitting with them.

Lately one of my latest obsessions is the formation created inside the Tree Fern, perhaps it is the lungs or heart of the fern itself. When the trunk is cut open we see what looks like some kind of shamanic totem or magic portal and of course it looks like the birthing portal. How amazing is Mother Earth and her divine designs?! Are they faerie doorways, do they grow at night large enough for us to pass through - what are they birthing? I don't think it's any coincidence that I am becoming aware of them at the same time I am dedicating myself more to dollmaking. These doorways are perfectly sized for the dolls to enter and exit. Curiouser and curiouser...

Commitment and breath - they are the 2 keys I am working with in the season of Spring. What new dream are you ready to commit to? What beliefs do you hold around that word commitment? It can be a heavy word if we think about all the ways we are over-committed or committed to situations that no longer serve us. A good way to feel the lightness and beauty of the words commitment and dedication are  to put the wishes of the inner child at the heart of your decision. What does the Child want to commit to?  I'd love to hear about THOSE dreams!

Fern in Sherbrooke Forest by Sacred Familiar Fern in Sherbrooke Forest by Sacred Familiar Fern in Sherbrooke Forest by 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

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

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's Return with Plant Medicine

Redwood Circle Hello everyone, you may have noticed it's been a bit quiet here of late especially over Autumn. I felt a strong desire to be in the forest as much as I could - watching and learning. At the start of winter I decided to move our site to Wordpress and that has been an enormous learning curve and I still only feel like I'm at the base of that mountain, please hang in there with us as I try to get this site looking a lot greener and organic! So what have I been doing in the forest exactly? Learning about plants and trees and watching how they are changing in every week. It's really phenomenal in Sherbrooke Forest at the moment. This forest is really an Autumn and Winter world. Or maybe that's just my own perception but it does seem to have the largest and widest collection of mushrooms that I have ever seen.

We also have a new member of our family - Fox! He is a Shetland Sheepdog or 'sheltie' and he looks like a fox and he feels like a fox and so he is called Fox. Here he is on the weekend helping me to gather gumnuts. He looks pretty focussed and I think he can't quite believe the turnaround in events after leaving the dog shelter. We are so glad you have brought your golden magic to our world, Sir Fox.


This week I am preparing for our plant medicine doll workshop where we will work with the spirit of 9 sacred trees and make a Winter Soul Mate medicine doll and write down her medicine story. Here are some photos that I've taken in Sherbrooke Forest over the last 2 months. Can you guess the trees that will make up the sacred nine?

Moss from Sherbrooke Forest

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Gumnut and Banksia Archway