The primary purpose of our space-holding & healing work is to strengthen the connection you have with your own indigenous medicine, ancestry, and wisdom. Valerie holds sacred space, facilitates sacred circle work for groups; shares space, healing tools and stories for people going through spiritual crises, and facilitates ritual and ceremony. Her expertise comes through a shaman’s illness, professional training, and lived experience (see below).
Space-holding & Healing Offerings
- Sacred circle work
- Peace circles for families, groups, organisations
- Healing circles for nourishment and well-being
- Restorative justice circles for conflict resolution
- Spiritual growth & awakening
- shamanic journeying/meditation
- dream and visionary work
- soul retrieval healing
- navigating spiritual crises/kundalini awakening
- cross-cultural healing
- healing trauma, grief/loss and violence
- Ceremonial, ritual, and indigenous identity revival
This work is done via gift economy or apprenticeship, because healing primal energies and survival wounds requires honouring our inherent worth which does not occur within a capitalist economic market. Contact us to discuss further.
Valerie’s Lived Experience
My healings, awakenings and navigations of grief and loss have been quite intense. I am the child of two lineages steeped in trauma and conflict: an Ashkenazi Jewish-American mother whose ancestors fled pogroms in Eastern Europe, and a German East Frisian father, an Indigenous man from Northern Germany. I was raised until age 5 by a lapsed Catholic Irish-American nanny. I was born on Shawnee land in Ohio, U.S., and from infancy until age 15 was sexually abused by an uncle. I bonded to my nanny as a mother, which created resentment and jealousy between my birth mother and me, and a cross-country move separated me from my nanny, creating a big abandonment wound. As my father was the first in his family to move off country, I inherited his abandonment of country wound too.
From ages 5 to 22 I lived in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., a city with a history of genocide, slavery, civil rights, and immense racial tension for over 300 years. It is the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., and home of the largest Confederate Memorial in the U.S. I lived on ceded Cherokee land, the start of the Trail of Tears, in a community that was heavily Christian. I lost many childhood friends who failed to ‘save me’ from being raised Jewish.
Throughout childhood I had problems with my digestive and hormonal systems, and from age 18 to 33, I endured intense physical health challenges, with my digestive, hormonal and nervous systems dis-functioning and shutting down. My body was so full pain, trauma, and loss, I could not digest or hold what I had experienced, nor be present in my environment. I did not know myself, and did not realise it. I had poor boundaries and was in many codependent and abusive relationships, including with my family of origin.
Because of an interest in justice and meditation, my family pushed me into law school, though the Western legal system is not my idea of justice. Determined to be of service, I spent years doing pro bono and low-paid work around the world with a focus on child advocacy, community building, and conflict resolution. In India I drafted a law to criminalise child sexual abuse that passed in 2012; in South Africa I led a small non-profit focused on community building and did conflict resolution with a rural Zulu communities; in Australia I worked with survivors of clergy sexual abuse, which ultimately led to a Royal Commission and systemic reform; and in Peru I worked with an inner-city restorative justice program.
After multiple near-death experiences, I met my life partner Lukas in Australia in 2011. Our journey to be together has been hard work, and that has helped us both to realise our worth. We travelled South America to be together when my Australian visa ended, and I finally felt safe and distant enough from my family of origin for repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse to emerge. It was like a cork full of chaotic energy popped open and challenged all my ‘knowns’. Though my life started to make more sense as dissociated and lost soul parts emerged, it was an intensely painful and dramatic process of awakening. As I healed, every family of origin relationship and many others with close friends and trusted mentors has faded away. The period of most profound grief and loss I weathered was when my father, nanny, and best friend all died within seven months, my husband moved across the country for a job, and the professor I moved across the world to study for my Ph.D. with behaved unethically, so I needed to work with someone else.
Many spiritual gifts have come to me through all of this pain, trauma, and loss. I have learned about the medicine wheel, altar practices, and shamanic journeying; participated in plant medicine ceremonies in the Amazon; did a silent meditation retreat; danced three dry-fasting Native American healing ceremonies; apprenticed in sweat lodge-keeping; studied grounding, movement, music and performance as medicine; and learned wilderness, survival and first aid skills. I also earned a Ph.D. in social work and did three research projects related to indigenous healing of sexual trauma.
For most of my life I lived in denial about my value and worth. Through healing and awakening I have been learning to become myself, to be free and courageously speak my peace, embody self-determination and dignity, and live interdependently with all earthly beings. My cosmology, identity, and placement continue to become clearer as I adopt and am adopted by the land, people, and ancestors of Australia. I find myself in flow, entering spaces where I am needed, navigating life through indigenous science. Increasingly I feel, for the first time in my life, that I am home here.