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What qualifies me to teach?

I wrestle with this question the more we see a rise in self-appointed wisdom teachers. Uninitiated people initiating people.

 

I’ve had some pretty brutal experiences in my apprenticeships with spiritual teachers. Some gucky….

 

As I formulate my own body of work more, transparency is at the heart of my creed.

 

My background is both academic and experiential. And so I’ll offer details of both here.

Over the years I have been deepening my work on myth, folklore, ritual and the history of religion with an MA in the Poetics of Imagination, along with courses at Oxford and Pacifica. Please see below for a full list of my credentials.

 

I am now a full-time writer, self-publishing weekly Sunday pieces on my Substack. and also teach and offer remote healing work.

 

I am currently writing my first book.

Spiritual Studies

My great, great-grandmother was a curandera, a healer in Northern Spain. Though I never met her, and she didn't pass on her craft, my grandmother always called me la bruja of the family: the witch. 

With the folk knowledge in my family all-but lost, I sought it elsewhere. 

When I was twenty-one, in 2013, I lived in a nunnery in the desert of Rajasthan for four months. I was studying with Jain nuns, who taught me how to meditate and teach meditation, along with Jain philosophy. They instructed me in a rigorous daily practice that I undertook for a year. 

My first apprenticeship into the healing arts was through two Peruvian shamans, Don Cesar and his son and apprentice Julio. I lived with them in their village in Catacaos for 6 months in 2014. Don Cesar was in his eighties at the time, and Julio in his fourties. They taught me how to diagnose and track illness in the body, how to clear the energy field with flower water and plants, how to use the breath to blow away disease, how to communicate with spirits, the ceremonial uses of San Pedro and how to move energy. They also taught me the rituals around their healing traditions, which are centred around an altar, or mesa.

After they initiated me into the tradition of their lineage, I felt a deep longing to find these ways in my own heritage. Back in Europe.

In 2015 I did a three-year certified training in classical shamanism as per the Foundation for Shamanic Studies. I have since been offering shamanic healing work for nine years.

  

That same year, alongside my shamanic training I began a 5-year apprenticeship with a mentor in womb work and women's mysteries. I do not name her because we are no longer in contact due to what ended up being a ......

Mentorship & Supervision

When I began my shamanic work, I was supervised for the first three years (from 2015-2018), by one of my dearest mentors, a Jungian scholar and mystic, Narelle Bouthillier. In 2020, I then underwent a year-long online training with her called Scriptorium, followed by a teacher-training with her and another student, in 2023 to pass on her work. 

 

In 2016 I was mentored by Suzi Crockford, an animist and hedgewitch, a relationship that has since become a beloved friendship that I deeply treasure.

In 2021, during my master's program, I was mentored by poet Alice Oswald and mythologist Martin Shaw, and worked closely with Alice as supervisor of my dissertation. 

I currently receive supervision from Emma Meadows, a shamanic practitioner and psychotherapist, and dear friend. And am in regular contact with Narelle and Suzi. 

I have been inspired and informed by so many extraordinary people in my life. Often meeting them in strange and magical ways, for very brief encounters. These include Sufi mystics, poets, scholars, shamans, and the salt of the Earth people.... 

 

He was a coastal shaman who I ended up living with in his village for six months. At the time, Don Cesar was in his eighties. Julio, his son and in his forties, who was his apprentice, also took me under his wing and taught be their craft. How to track illness, to summon spiritual power through the mesa (altar), how to clear harmful energies, divination, invoke spirits and the uses of agua florida (flower water). We worked with San Pedro, but very minimally.

 

 

I returned to the UK and, through another strange turn of events, met two British shamans who became my teachers for the next five years. One of them took me on as their assistant and was training me how to teach her work.

 

But in 2021, I learnt that they hadn’t been honest about the origins of their teachings. And instead of being an unbroken lineage, they were an amalgamation of varying traditions, thinkers, and their own work… Much had been plagiarised.

 

Discovering that the lineage was a fabrication broke me. And for a good three years, I think I’ve been in a type of mourning.

 

When I found out, I was already teaching. And I sent out a newsletter to everyone who had studied with me with the statement that I would no longer be affiliating with that work due to the plagiarism and the lack of clarity concerning the origins of. The teachings and practices.

 

Then came the blows. I received a string of pretty brutal responses from women who, understandably, couldn’t fathom that their “tradition” was untrue.

 

After all, there’s few things more dangerous than debunking someone’s religion. I think it draws out the worst in us.

 

I lost friends, and colleagues. Very few people believed me. And those who were teaching continued to do so.

 

I was deeply isolated and felt like I had been exiled from my spiritual home.

 

For three years, it was ”dark woods” time. I wondered as one lost. And took refuge in deep academic study.

 

This break coincided with my being accepted onto a master’s program, and so I gave myself to it entirely. Entering into academia was surprisingly refreshing. Something tangible, and real, and true.

 

For my dissertation, I decided to set out on searching for the roots of the so-called tradition I had been training in for half a decade.

 

My search took me to the earliest known beginnings: the priestesshoods of Bronze Age Crete.  And I wrote my paper titled The Bee Cult in Greek Myth and Ancient History.

 

I received a first-class hons and was encouraged by my tutors, Alice Oswald and Martin Shaw, to continue my research and publish it as a book.

 

And so that’s my current feat. Writing my first book. Finding the healing story.

Academic & Professional Qualifications

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Bilingual International Baccalaureate, United Nations International School, New York, 2009. Specialisation in Anthropology, Theatre and French Philosophy.

 

Anthropology and Liberal Arts, Eugene Lang, New York, 2010.

 

BA Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic, SOAS University, London, 2013. Specialisation in Anthropology, Mysticism in the Great Traditions and Sufi Poetry.

 

Transpersonal Hypnotherapy Certificate, Bournemouth, 2014.

 

MA (1st Class Hons) The Poetics of Imagination, Dartington Arts School, Devon, 2022. Thesis subject: ‘The Bee Cult in Greek Myth and Ancient History.’

 

Ritual and Religion in Prehistory, Department of Continuing Education, University of Oxford, 2023.

 

Advanced Training Certificate in Applied Mythology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA, 2024.

Writing

I self-publish weekly Sunday pieces on Substack

I am currently writing my first book 

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