spirit doll

Autumn Equinox Medicine Doll

Autumn Equinox doll by Sacred Familiar A huge thank you to everyone who joined in our medicine doll circle in the forest at Autumn Equinox. This is the doll that was created in our ceremony dedicated to the Stag, Fox and Lyrebird. She holds an Acorn and Wormwood with Fox and Deer medicine inside her body. The intention she holds is stillness and acceptance of yourself as you are. You are Love.  She is made from pure Australian Merino wool and her hair is created from Ramie – a plant fibre from the nettle family.

I completed her this morning after dreaming of a Stag running beside me.

Gently, Gently in the Full Moon

Tarot with Sacred Familiar Happy full moon friends. The moon will be in the sign of Libra for most of this weekend - a long weekend here in Victoria. How is the moon affecting you? I had the message to be quiet and rest and turn off all other sounds to listen to the forest for longer periods in the day. I think the amount of electrical noise that is around us can be much more than we realise. I pulled this card from the Vision Quest Tarot today and I can see that it's not a time for decision making it is a time of resting and trust. Creating an inner peace within to see what that creates in my surroundings. And beside the Two of Air card is a fascinating stone that my dad found in his backyard in Tasmania. It is a very deep dark smokey quartz in the shape of an egg with a kind of scrying window at the top. It feels very heavy and comforting to hold - solid. And it looks completely black but if you hold it to the light it is actually completely transparent. Maybe waiting and seeing things in a different light can help us make better decisions too. Just like the balance of black and white in the magical Magpie feather.

Acorns with Sacred Familiar

This week I have been receiving a lot of signs from animals in my dreams to come away and go deeper into the forest, to keep moving away from the city. In my dream my little cabin was parked on the corner of Flinders Street in the city! And I had neglected my animals. This was a sign to me that I have been engaging too much with the 'busyness' of business and communicating too much (I was on the phone in my dream). The animal in my dream that came to teach me this was a very angry Red Bellied Black Snake and I had only just finished adding this snakeskin to a medicine doll the day before. The snake was arched up like a cobra in my dream and biting my legs - it didn't actually hurt me I knew she was 'waking me up'! Why live in the forest and still act like I'm in the city? It's a tricky balance to run a business out here in the forest and I've still got lots to learn. So this weekend my aim is to relax and make slowly. Message received from Snake!

Here is the Snake Spirit doll that brought the dream to me. A strange unfolding of the dream was when I showed this doll and spoke a little about the dream when I posted about her in the AnimalSpirit Dollmarket and I found out that a dear friend, Mishele who had given me the amber she wears in her heart and peach resin at her feet, had had a very similar dream of snake too. I love how the medicine keeps showing me the weavings that go far beyond what we think we can see.

snakeSpirit medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

And finally the doll below is another medicine doll birthing for the next online DollMarket and one that is very close to my heart.  She is still only half-made and was begun in a ceremony on the land of the Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter to honour the souls of the koalas that have not survived in the past. It was a releasing ritual held with the brave wildlife carers who volunteer their time and love at the shelter and have seen so many sad stories. Tony and I wanted to give them peace so that they could let go of the heavy past to feel joyful about the new koala stories and spirits to come. They each made a doll to help them to let go so that they could give even more love and strength to the koalas they help in the future.

I think it's so important as carers to have spaces to not only rest and let go but also to play. I see this in so many of my clients who are teachers, social workers and nurses. We need to remember that we are allowed to be joyful even when we face such hardship in our work.  And so for anyone who spends time with animals, children, the elderly and disabled - anyone who helps those who cannot help themselves - we thank you. I hope you find some peace on this long weekend to not only rest but play too.

medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

Medicine Dolls Made in our Workshop!

Medicine Doll made at Sacred Familiar workshop One of my favourite things about teaching dollmaking is to see the photos of the dolls made during and after our gatherings. This month we held a full moon doll workshop in the forest and look at the results! How amazing are these dolls?!  Their weavers also received many messages and assistance for their own path even when they created dolls for their loved ones. That's the beauty of creating with intention to give to another - we receive the blessing too.  And I particularly love that the tradition is already being passed on to the families and children of the participants - weaving the new circle. Thank you to everyone who joined us in our dollmaking circle in the forest and thank you to Louise, Lee, Robyn and Eliene for sharing photographs and stories of your beautiful dolls and their healing stories. We will hold our next dollmaker circle early in the new year. Welcome dollmakers, keep sharing the love xx

The dolls above and below were created by Louise. The doll above was made during our workshop:

'Meet Fireya resting in my beautiful elephants ear plant. She brings messages of courage and trust to all who walk their own path," Louise.

Medicine Doll made at Sacred Familiar workshop

Medicine Doll made at Sacred Familiar workshop

The dolls above and below were created by Lee. Lee created the doll above for her friend Betsy in our workshop:

'I feel her message is about making yourself a priority and from that all will flow. I loved learning with you, thank you again for sharing,' Lee.

And below are the dolls that Lee created with her youngest daughter Lilia. Lilia's doll is the one in blue - she's so wise and beautiful Lilia, thank you for sharing!

Medicine Doll made at Sacred Familiar workshop

Medicine Doll made at Sacred Familiar workshop

Meet Daisy and Monkey - medicine dolls created by Robyn. She made a doll for herself in the workshop and a doll for her husband Geoff when she got home and is looking forward to creating dolls for her children.

"Here is the start of our family. Meet Daisy again and Monkey. This is Geoff's doll. He's a lovely wizard that wears the earth as a coat. His coat bears ocean and earth, cloud, lightening and storms, yet underneath on his base there is a peace symbol to represent all the calmness. His heart is the sun which is full of love and radiates across the world. Geoff has always been my personal weather man. He has a magic citrine wand on a staff of sage  sticks and wears a Tibetan sanskrit writing pendant of hung meaning walk the talk. Inside there is a turquoise to help speak the truth with love and integrity, herbs for sleeping, bottlebrush for changes,purple peace symbol for inner peace and tolerance, skin herbs for healthy skin. Thanks again. Daisy is Strong and her medicine has been working with instant effect,' Robyn.

Medicine Doll made at Sacred Familiar workshop

And finally we share 2 potent medicine dolls created by Eliene. The doll above was created for her beloved, Catherine.

'Hi Julia, I loved the workshop... the doll I started at the workshop changed a lot over the next 24 hours. During this time she told me that was The Herbalist. She became rugged up (scarfs etc) and I knew she came from a very cold country... Catherine loves her. The one for myself didn't as for any more than rose leaves. Her spirit is strong. Thanks for the experience as I am enjoying connecting with my inner child...' Eliene.

Medicine Doll made at Sacred Familiar workshop

SolarSisters Medicine Doll Market

SolarSisters Medicine doll market with Sacred Familiar Hello everyone, we are holding a final online medicine doll market: SolarSisters Market - taking place as a Facebook event on Friday 5th December starting at 7pm (Australian time). At this market we will be introducing many dolls and their new freshly revealed faces. Including the doll you see below: RainboWeaver the Welcomer.

We are so excited to be also sharing this market with 3 guest weavers and beloved sisters: Alice Savage, Sadie Jean Tansey and Natasha Heard. They are creating some amazing one-off creations just for the SolarSisters Market. We hope to see you there!

Medicine Doll by Sacred Familiar

Seeing with Eyes Open - Gift from the Trees

Medicine Doll by Sacred Familiar Medicine Doll by Sacred Familiar

Last weekend Tony and I sat in ceremony with the plants in the forest for 2 days and nights and when I came home I began to see and feel the spirit of the medicine dolls in a new way. I could see their eyes and that they wanted more of their faces to be seen. This was so exciting to me as I have been waiting for the time when this would come. It's as if the GrandMother dollmakers have taken me to different room in the apprenticeship!

The doll above is the EnchanterVervain. I loved her as soon as I created her but didn't realise how much until it came time to sell her. I found it very difficult and something didn't feel right and so I thought she must be a gift for a friend who needs her. Little did I know that on the weekend as I left the house to attend the ceremony she called to me to bring her too. And I'm so glad that I did. She told me that she is my doll and then she began to teach me a deeper level of connecting to spirit as I worked that would also stop me from feeling stressed and distracted when I was too busy. And then she began to show me her face. When I got home I made just a few touches with the felting needle - and there she was! This is the new way for me now. I look forward to sharing the faces of these new plant medicine women with you all.

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.

Into the ForestWild - Medicine Doll for the Magdalenes

Wildgirl Shadow healer medicine doll by Sacred Familiar Sometimes people ask me what to do with their medicine dolls once they receive them and that's a hard question to answer because the relationship you have with your own doll is so personal and really the way of working with your doll is limited only by your imagination. So today I thought I would share a story of a particular doll that I call WildGirl and how she helped me to let go of fear.

Over my time of making dolls I have made a few for my own personal use. It only happens rarely and I'm often surprised when they make themselves known. I created WildGirl at a dollmaking workshop that I held at Winter Solstice last year in the forest. When I teach I begin a doll to show the early steps to creating her head and her body, really very basic. I then leave everyone to weave their dolls in their own way. WildGirl was this 'example' doll. When I got home I was unhappy with WildGirl because she just didn't seem to be looking 'right'. Right? She didn't look the way I wanted her to look and strangely she rarely wanted to be seen. I kept her in a basket with my dolls that I was making for others and forgot about her.

One of my oldest childhood friends, Chris, came to visit and he looked at my dolls and noticed WildGirl and asked who's this? He was fascinated. I told him that I didn't know what to do with her. She just didn't seem to work somehow. As I held her in my hands and turned her around Chris said stop! She had her back to us and he said that's how she wants to be seen from behind. And he was right. She was much happier not showing her face, she was wild and didn't like to be looked at. That helped me to connect and feel more understanding of her spirit and I kept her with my personal dolls and didn't think too much about it.

Wildgirl Shadow healer medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

medicine doll by sacred familiar

A couple of months later I was preparing to hold a ceremony at the site of the Magdalene Laundries at the Abbotsford Convent here in Melbourne and I was feeling a lot of deep emotions not only about the spirits of the women and children who had been held there but also about my own ability to be able to help them with our ceremony. The Magdalene Laundries were terrible places set up to house and incarcerate young women and girls who were deemed to be too wild, who were orphans, or sometimes simply unwanted. They were termed 'fallen girls' and I had been feeling the stories and spirits of these women for years. I knew that if I had lived in those times, I could have easily ended up in one of these places. In fact, many of us would have been doomed to the same plight simply by having a strong spirit, different spiritual views or simply for being regarded as a 'temptation'. Hard to believe, isn't it? And so last year I realised that I couldn't ignore these voices any longer and in a small way, I wished to gather with lots of other sisters to somehow let the women know that they had never done anything wrong, that they were loved and that there was a home for them in the spirit world.

I booked The Linen Room in the Convent for the first day of Spring for this ceremony and as the day approached I felt more and more fear - was I actually allowed to do this? Could I hold this kind of energy and process of grieving that would come? It shows just how deep the control of authority has been experienced in this lifetime and the past doesn't it, that deep unconscious fear of being stopped or even arrested for speaking out and organising our own way of healing history? Six weeks before the ceremony I decided that I didn't want to be controlled by my fear and that to hold this space for the other women I needed to be as strong as I could. I thought about how I had felt afraid of the forest when I'd moved here three months before. When I arrived in the forest I would look at the enormous Mountain Ash trees whose branches alone could crush a house and at night I would listen to the noises of the forest at my bedroom window and I felt embarrassed but I was afraid - could the forest kill me? I'm glad to say that I soon realised that this was a programmed fear after living in the city for too long and not my own. And within months of moving to the forest I came to realise that Mother Nature is all I needed! I now know the Mountain Ash trees to be forest guardians and protectors. Learning this helped me to create a medicine doll ritual to deal with my fear of authority.

I chose WildGirl to be this doll to help me face my fears of the unknown and to speak out for women who had not been allowed to speak in their own lifetimes. When the women and children entered the Magdalene Laundries that were even stripped of their own names. I took WildGirl to a part of the forest that was most sacred and magical to me. It is by Sassafrass Creek and I call it the faerie dell. It is filled with a strange light that is often very hard to photograph. Here I took photos of WildGirl and you can see that her face was very hard to capture. I took her to an old tree that had naturally fallen years ago and in it's exposed roots, I buried the medicine doll deep inside. I prayed to the spirit of the tree and to the forest to take care of WildGirl and me. I asked to be taught how to be more wild in my life and particularly to have strength and trust speaking out. I was asking the trees to heal me through the doll.

Shadow medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

I visited WildGirl often over the next 6 weeks and every time I saw her she would look more and more feral! She began to gather sticks and mud and leaves and each time I took her out of the tree she looked happier and more and more beautiful. On the morning of the ceremony I went into the forest with a dear sister, Talulah, a Shamanic Midwife of Making Sacred, Talulah, who had travelled from Sydney to support me and our ceremony and I took WildGirl out of her tree home for the last time. At the base of the tree I found a Rosella feather, a bird I see as a messenger for friendship, and when I looked at the doll she now had 2 black eyes made from mud. She looked straight at me -  she was happy to not only see but to be seen!

WildGirl joined us in our ceremony at site of the Magdalene Laundries, she carried with her the ancestral memory of the forest and the wild and natural land that still lay beneath the buildings and had been there forever. And that is what our ceremony for the Magdalenes became - a remembering or re-embering as my  my sister Kaggi Valentine of 13 Moons Blood Mysteries, calls it. Kaggi sang with wild fire her own chant for the Magdelenes in the actual laundry itself that day leading us to sing and dance for those that couldn't in the place that had been their prison. We remembered the Aboriginal girls who had also been in the laundries and the tribes that had known this sacred land beside the Yarra River for thousands of years before these modern laws and judgements. So many sisters gave the gift of their love and voices that day to sing the spirits of the Magdalenes home including beautiful songstress, Lisa Mitchell, who shared her own new songs written at the time of our gathering. I played these songs again yesterday and they are are like celestial devotionals, ancient songs to open the veil. We saw and felt some amazing things that day and I am grateful to everyone who helped weave that heart-opening ceremony especially the women who came who had family and friends in the laundries and orphanage. And to my sister, Bec RainboWalker, who is always walking beside and is a Death Doula - I know how much her spirit anchored the whole process.

Friends. That's what helped the ceremony to be as powerful as it was. Friendship helped me to speak when I was afraid. I saw that we truly can do anything, face any fear when we do it together. And that is the gift of the medicine doll. She is a Friend. She will be beside you. WildGirl is still by my side, were are great friends now. I see her in all her strange and wild beauty and she sees me.

Wildgirl Shadow healer medicine doll 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

Inspired by the Spirit of the Child

Tilda's wax doll Sacred Familiar This beautiful wax doll was created by 11 year old Tilda after being inspired by our medicine dolls. Tilda and her mum sent me an email this week titled : inspired by you. The thought that I had made something that could inspire a child to create gave me the best and happiest feeling in my heart all weekend. Thank you Tilda! I am being inspired by YOU!

The spirit of the inner child has been something that has been on my mind for the last month especially after the full moon when I began feeling such a strong sense of fear and exhaustion that it lead me to create a Tarot spread called 'shining a light on the scary'. Through having a deep and honest look at the beliefs that were creating my fears and the practices I was engaged in that were making me so tired, I came to see that the wisest part of myself was being ignored - my inner child. When I asked her what she wanted it was a simple answer: to create and create and create! And so I have decided to have a long break from teaching and working with groups to focus only on dollmaking and working in one-on-one healing sessions. This decision feels incredibly freeing and full of creative possibilities.

When I began to make dolls for what I thought was the first time last year (67 weeks ago exactly) I had no idea of the door I would be opening to my own ancestral medicine. I didn't know that dollmaking would be become such an important practice for me, yes, almost an obsession. But a happy obsession! Since I began last year I have a doll almost every single day and yet I am still just as excited to be creating dolls for others. It is a way for my inner child to speak to the inner children of others and a bridge to share friendship, comfort and the healing herbs, plants & stones of the earth. The full moon this month was in Aquarius, my own sun sign and on that night I made a dedication to my inner child to let her play. I dedicated myself to the craft of dollmaking and to creating the very best vessels of healing and love that I could. This commitment to do only what I love feels like a whole new chapter of my life.

Tilda's letter came to me not long after I had made this dedication to my own inner child. It was just the confirmation I needed. Tilda told me that she has been saving up to buy her own medicine doll and this week I get the pleasure and honour to dream and weave her in. When I asked Tilda what intention she would like her doll to hold she told me,

'The real main reason I want one of your dolls is because I want her to be my friend.'

Thank you Tilda for speaking so beautifully and truthfully for every child inside of us all. Thank you for inviting me to play and create this special new friend just for you.

Over the last year I've had a few requests for medicine dolls for children, boys and girls, and they have a special sparkle about them. A twinkle. Here are some of the dolls that are now best friends to those wise little beings.

Cosmic Cat & Butterfly Doll Wise Man doll by Sacred Familiar Merlin medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

Medicine doll for child by Sacred Familiar