Remembering the bones of my ancestors, remembering myself…

by Nikiah Seeds

It all starts with family and a desire to understand ourselves better, or perhaps to know ourselves differently…
I have always been interested in where I come from, in family stories and history, but sadly  like many North American’s this information has not been easily available to me.

The moment my ancestors got on boats and travelled from their homelands of Romania, Scotland, Ireland and England much ancestral connection was lost, and I am not alone in this reality…

Most of us who live, work and call North America home and have done so for many generations are not actually, originally from here, our family members once were immigrants looking for a better way, or perhaps escaping poverty, starvation or in fear for their lives.

Those who left brought with them many things, deep grief being one of them, grief for what they had to leave behind, for the foods they loved and may not taste again, grief for the family left, their folklore, and the land that gave them a sense of place in the world.

They also brought gifts and personal stories and for some of us, these small precious things were lovingly preserved and handed down, but for others, because of so much grief, it was best for our ancestors to just move on and let all of it go…this is the story of what it is to live in a place that is not our ancestral homeland, and of going back in search of ancestral similarities….
​This kind of pilgrimage is what I have been interested in exploring since I was 25 and my dear friend and teacher Pookinak an Ojibway woman, lovingly directed my mis-guided projections of longing for the ways of my own ancestors onto her traditions as I looked for a spiritual place to call my own.
The moment she told me that I needed to discover who my own people  were, it was like a light bulb went off and I started with a flurry of phone calls to my parents and grandmother…

At that time however not much information came forward as far as stories go, but I told that this line is Ukrainians from Romania, and I realize now that it was mostly because I did not know the right questions to ask, so it would take me another two decades to fully understand what to ask, and why I was asking in the first place…..

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Wearing my ancestral Ukrainian belt. {Images by Infinite body Photography}
Each ancestral journey is an extremely personal one, it is after all not just about our ancestral  family, it also goes into the deepest depths of our family of origins and explores not just where we come from, but why we are the way we are, and why our parents and grandparents became who they are, and it takes us on a journey that many of us often wish we have not taken at first, because as my grandmother put it when I first started asking questions” Nikiah we come from peasants and poor people–you will not find royalty here!”
​Not that I was looking for some sort of royal line, but the reality of our ancestors is often not a pretty one, and if we go in with ideas of poetry, then we are going to be greatly set straight!
​That is not to say that there is not beauty and wonderful gifts to discover, but more to say that the recent history of  the ancestors is not pretty no matter where you come from and is more often one of starvation, colonization, oppression, and many, many wars.

But I digress, because before I could even set one foot into the door of understanding why I come from a lineage of mothers who all too easily abandon there daughters and fathers with heart disease and a stubborn streak that would shock the most stubborn of political leaders, and also a family with poetry in their hearts and the ability to cook anything thrown a them and make it taste good, I first had to turn to the spirit world, and I had to forgive it all…. 

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Image of my hands by Infinite body photography
By the time an ancestral tip to Romania was decided on and booked I had failed at least three times to book something to Ireland which is one of the places my ancestors came from, and had been working with a Romanian ancestral spirit helper for close to a decade.
I had also become a beekeeper after she showed me the ways of this line of ancestors as stewards of bees and medicine workers with honey and propolis, and I had learned how to clear my ancestral lines and heal them not just for myself but for others as well..
But all along something felt not quite in place and I understood that it was because I needed to visit the lands of my ancestral peoples, so I was confused as to why Ireland had not worked out yet because it should have been easy, and I found myself in England many times over the years with easy flights over, but not once did it happen, so I gave it up and decided to ask for guidance on where I needed to go first and was told Romania. I now understand why….
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Image of grandmother rattle made by my dear friend Denis Gobeil was taken by Infinite body photography.
I remember my great grandfather Michael Czutuk like it was yesterday, he was a lumbering old man, with a deep love for pickled anything, but especially beets which my nanny informs me she took a jar to him at his old age home every week, including a fresh jar just the day before he died, so I like to think he was feeling happy and cared for right up until he passed.
I remember his sweets and giant hands, and I also remember his funeral as it was one of the first I ever attended.
What I did not count on with this ancestral trip to his birth place was that it was going to be so intense, joyful and deeply grief filled…

Image of his mom Bella and his sister Paraska on my ancestral altar.
From the moment we landed in Bucharest it was intense, as this is a city filled with many, many dichotomies and peoples, and as we rode in the back of the taxi after a crazy time outside the airport in cigarette smoke filled air trying not to get ripped off, but also not wanting to  piss off too many taxi drivers we found one to take us, and he drove fast through the rainy city speaking in broken english and hardly looking at the road.
He dropped us in front of an area that looked abandoned in the dark with graffiti everywhere and it was almost impossible to imagine that the nice Airb&B wen rented might be in one of the buildings, and as we stood there exhausted and smelling like stale cigarette smoke we were sure we had been somehow duped…
However inside that old building was indeed the nice apartment we rented and indeed by the light of day, the view of the river and parliament shown on-line was there, it was just nestled into what we would soon discover about Bucharest, an edgy and graffiti filled place containing both beauty and ugly.

Bucharest
On our first day it was clear that the people in Bucharest were not culturally the same as the soft english town we had come from in Cornwall, and they often literally scowled and were unhappy when asked for directions or an extra napkin or water at restaurants and I worried that this would be the same for the rest of the trip I had so longed for, and brought my family on with me…
However once we met up with our guide and began driving out to the countryside everything changed, the people and the deep knowing that I was home…
I understand now that Bucharest like most big cities, is full of people from many different countries, and there were lots of Russians, Hungarians and Polish folks, folks from everywhere really, including Romanians from the countryside looking for work and most of them are not happy, but who am I to say why folks are the way they are….
And so began our journey driving into the Carpathian mountains as we drove across Romania from Bucharest and into Transylvania and finally arriving in Bukovina the birth place of my great grandfather.
The deeper we got into the mountains I began to feel a sense of peace come over me, and I sat in awe of the beauty of the landscape and richness of the land…
There was a bone deep remembering that started to happen within me, as if I was waking up to the genetic coding within the cells of my body, and things began to feel familiar, especially the smells and foods, which lent themselves perfectly to this cellular awakening…. 
We stayed in small pensiones that dotted and fit snugly into the carpathian mountains, where the food was cooked fresh daily by the owners and was served in courses starting with soup that was so good we would have been happy with just that for the meal, but it was quickly followed by a small and fresh salad of cut tomatoes and cucumbers with dill and either beans or polenta and of course lots of meat, usually pork. Most, if not all of the food was grown locally and the owners took great pride in serving it to us.  Before all this though,  the tradition was to share some of the homemade local hooch that would sear the hair off your chest called Palinka which is traditional to the Transylvania Region and made from apples and or plums.
Breakfasts were the same, way too much food, and courses of cheeses and meat, followed by the most divine dough pastry things that when filled with the homemade jams were so good we ate too many, followed by strong coffee and usually rolled out and into our day fattened and happy..
It is said of Romania that when god was giving out gifts to the land–things like oil and precious metals, fruit trees and lush fertile soil there was an accident and St Peter dropped them all in Romania, but God said–“Not to worry because the people will not realize what they have”

​This seems to be the case for Romania as they have not exploited their land the way many other countries have, and even the “tourist” places have not been turned into giant parking lots with chain restaurants and coffee shops dotting the area, rather the tourists are mostly Romanians on vacation enjoying their own land and everything around any kind of tourist area is owned by locals who make their living making home made food, treats and serving strong coffee to those wanting to enjoy.
We deliberately avoided any kind of massive tourist area which seemed to be specifically around Bran’s castle–which as we learned was not the nicest castle in the area by far, and the prices were double the amount for a smaller cramped space, and besides that Vlad the Impaler did not even own this castle–it is just the one that Bram Stoker decided to set his novel to…

Instead we stayed in a small place next to where Vlad was actually born and went inside a stunningly beautiful castle where he actually lived and learned about the actual history of Vlad and many other invaders that seemingly over centuries tried, to no avail to take Romania over…..

Finding myself in others:
Anyone who knows me knows that my love language is Gift giving and I have to say, after coming to Romania I feel that this must be in part where this comes form in me, because everywhere we went the people were generous to a fault!
One evening in particular we landed late-ish to a pensione and worrying about having some milk for our tea in the morning I was trying to ask for a small amount of it from the owners because I accidentally had bought a yoghurt drink instead of a small bottle of milk at the shop–not thinking, Zahra looked at the bottle and found the word for what she thought was milk and used it–15 min’s later they returned with two tubs of yoghurt!
Embarrassed and knowing we would never have time to eat it, I tried again to convey what I meant and this time I pretended I was milking a cow.
Another 1/2 an hour went by and thinking that we might have to have our morning cuppa black or try yoghurt in our morning tea a small knock came to the door and when I opened it the small older lady of the house handed me two giant bottles equal to 4 litres of milk!
Before that though she held them up to her cheeks to show me that they were warm–and I understood–she had literally gone and milked her cow and brought it to us!!
With tears in my eyes I gratefully accepted the gift and immediately drank a small glass of the warm delicious stuff..
But the story does not end there! another 10 min’s pass and we are finally just getting over the enormous gift she has brought when another knock comes to the door and there she is standing with a plate of freshly made crepes filled with homemade cherry jam!
Tears are pouring out of my eyes at this point and I am well beyond words, so we take the plate and saying thank, you thank you, and stumbling over the Romania word 
mulțumesc {meaning thank you} over, and over devour the warm crepes in stunned joyful delight!
​There is something deeply soul filling about being given food that means so much and was made by hand from the heart.
My heart will be full from this offering for many many years to come…
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Freshly warm cow milk and handmade crepes -yum!
Magic, Folklore and Ancestor honouring:
There is an abundance of magic found in Romania, enough to last me a lifetime, and as I continue to learn and deepen into understanding the old traditions, weaving, and songs of these ancestral lands I am finding myself there more and more.A big part of this trip for me was the deep connection that I have been developing with my healthy ancestors in this line for many, many years now, one of which is an old beekeeper grandmother who has been showing me the old ways of sacred beekeeping and as I mentioned above, one of the reasons I got into beekeeping myself almost a decade ago, so to discover that all of the monasteries were actually run by nuns who also kept bees and made their own candles, {you know the ones they sell for pennies to light for loved ones} was a delight!
These candles  were bought all along the way and many were lit for dead loved ones, ancestors and wishes for dear friends..
I also came home with a precious handful of them for sacred work here.
We were also fortunate enough to  to be taken around back of one of the monasteries to visit the bees there and see the nuns working, as well as to visit a local beekeeper who was all too happy to sell us some of his honey that had literally been harvested the day before! These things were lovingly tucked inside of my suitcase and brought back for sacred use and ceremony…
Again, I am a bit at a loss for words here, and for now have tucked these memories inside my heart from further digesting and processing…
If you look at the image below one of them is of two small cups, one filled with the fresh cows milk gifted to us and the other with palinka, both of which were made as offerings to the local land spirits and my ancestors in deep gratitude for our time spent there and the legacy of who I am because of them….

There are so many layers to a trip like this I cant even begin to start talking about them in any kind of meaningful way, other then to say that there were many synchronicities and intense moments, such as a tearful moment shared with the creator of a sacred and wonderful place in Maramures called the merry cemetery where I had a chance to meet the woodworker and artist himself who hand carves and paints all of the famous headstones there, and see his workshop and current work, for which, the whole time we were speaking I kept staring at his eyes because they felt so familiar to me, and finally when it hit me that they looked very much like my fathers eyes I began to cry and then I could not stop..​Briefly I will share this–my father would have loved this trip and the food and the sights as much as I did, it could have been something really powerful to share with him, but sadly he and my mom joined a religion before I was born {JW} that has not accepted me since I was 15 when I left, and they grieved my death, so sadly they have nothing to do with me or my family and have not for a very long time…
I have forgiven them for this choice, I did so long time ago, however the grief of knowing that someone is alive and choosing to not engage can sometimes feel more painful then if they were dead–because at least if they were gone there would be no wishing and hoping that things would change–and I have learned over the past 30 years that no amount of hoping will change their {brainwashed} minds.
The image at the top of the above collage shows me with tears in my eyes smiling for the joy of the moment and deep grief because of what could have been, but simply is not.
Knowing what I do about death and the function of working with healthy ancestors as well as how to work and heal/cross those who are not well I also understand that this deep rift on both sides of my family comes from old ancestral patterns that I have agreed to heal and stop with my line, which means that I needed to deeply forgive and accept in order to become a good ancestor myself as well as for our children so they too can have a good chance at becoming good ancestors.
Michael Ctzuk may have been my great grandfather but he was my dad’s grandfather and I know there was deep love between them and many many similarities, I know that having spent my first 9 years on a hobby goat farm with chickens and pigs was my fathers dream, and all of the things that I too cherish about living off of the land {I have had bees and chickens at one point–in the city no less} and cooking/canning my own food is shared with these two men and the women who birthed them and on and on all the way back through the line of my Romanian/Ukrainian ancestors.
The grief runs deep here, and I let my tears fall many times and was deeply held by my family as they embraced me and wiped my tears and allowed me to talk about it all as much as I needed to come once again to peace…
My beloved husband Sohrab even cried a little with me, for he is so close with his family I know he cant even begin to imagine what it is like for me, but he loves me and I know it hurts him to see me sad and grieving.
Our daughter held my hand and wiped my years and offered me some tea and sat beside me holding me, and never once moving or shying away in discomfort and I could see and feel that her steadiness in holding space is going to be one of her greatest gifts.

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The healing of lineages is grief filled and yet powerful work.
There were many profound moments, too many to recount here, but there was one special place that is still sitting dearly in my heart and that was our time spent inside of an ancient bear cave, however I have decided that will require it’s own long post at some point…so stay tuned!
What I have taken away from this deliberate time spent in Romania was a deeper understanding of the country itself, the history of many wars, invasions and peoples travelling through it, and finally of communism and its affect on the country before it too was overthrown….
The poeple here are rightly proud of what they have, because most everyone owns a home and property taxes are very low, so each family have a home with a garden and fruit trees, especially those who live outside of Bucharest.

I know I have not mentioned much about two things that tend to come to mind when folks think of Romania and that is Vampires which I touched on a little above and the Romani people here derogatorily refer to as the Gypsies…

So I would like to say a bit about this…

It is important to understand that the poeple referred to as ROMANI” or Gypsies are not Romanian–because these are two different peoples from very different areas of the world!
“The Romani are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group who live mostly in places such as Romania and all over Europe and the Americas and originating from the northern Indian subcontinent, from the Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab regions of modern-day India. Genetic findings appear to confirm that the Romani “came from a single group that left northwestern India about 1,500 years ago”.

The fact that so many of them settled in Romania is a coincidence and does not make Romanians, Romani by default….
The one thing that I learned also was that not all of them are poor, many many of them are very rich and we passed through as rich area of the Romani people in the mountains and their houses are spectacular! These people made their money due to hard work and the skill of working with metals, mostly making the most elaborate and wondrous roofs, ones that we saw all over Romania, but most especially evident for the Romani people because their homes looked like temples!

My new found love for weaving and my old love and deep appreciation for textiles feels as old and ancestral as the hills and I am aware that this probably not only comes from my Romania side but also the Scottish and Irish and probably even the English ancestors and their blood that runs through my veins, but I can say this, there has always been something magical and mysterious to me about the elaborate symbols that find their way onto the decoration of eggs and the embroidery found on the belts and blouses and altar cloths that grace most every home in the Ukraine and Romania.
In fact I literally could write an entire post solely on the sacred meanings of these symbols along with the great may images I took during our time there of the houses painted with these symbols and looms and weavings I saw.. however this is already a very long post even for me!
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Holding an old Distaff with hemp wound on it, a local spinner and images of the many textiles, eggs and beautiful things I brought back with me.
This ancestral pilgrimage exceeded all of our expectations and will stay with me for a very long time to come, in fact since arriving back there have already been a few sacred nods my way as I read over an old journal filled with journeys with my ancestral grandmother and realized that just before I left she held out a small jar of fluffy yellow flowers and told me to look for them in Romania…
During our time there I had a moment in a giant field of sunflowers where I wondered if I had seen these small flowers wrong and that perhaps they were sunflowers, only to realize that I had not seen the fluffy yellow flowers in my journey wrong, but that they do indeed exist and these small yellow flowers are sacred to the Romanian people at mid-summer, so although we had missed the festivities by only a few weeks there was so much for me to learn about there sacred flowers and their herbal and folkloric meaning…
These flowers are called
Sanziene.
“Each year, on the 24th of June, Romanians celebrate the pagan holiday of Sanziene. Along with the FatesSanzieneleare part of the big and charming family of Iele – gracious fairies with magical powers. Unlike the most of Iele, Sanzienele are always good and kind to humans. It is said that on the night before their day, they use to fly over meadows, smelling and touching the wildflowers, enriching them with special healing properties. Sanziene is also the Romanian name of a wild yellow flower, commonly known as the Lady’s bedstraw, frequently used in ancient healing potions.
Sanziene’s Day has its own 
specific rituals, mainly focused on love spells. In some regions, especially in the countryside, it is common that the young girls to play the role of Sanziene. One of the girls is chosen to represent Dragaica, the most powerful Sanziana. After she is dressed in white and embellished with golden wheat spikes – the symbol of Sun and Summer – she must gather all the other girls into a big circle and dance. Then, they all go collecting Lady’s bedstraw flowers and create beautiful wreaths. In some regions, the girls throw their wreath in water while chanting their wishes of love. In other parts of the country, the wreaths are thrown over the house; if the wreath stays on the roof, the girl will marry soon, if not, the girl still has to wait.”
Romania gave me many precious things, sacred salt from a salt mine we visited, honey and juniper, she offered us experiences and literally the milk and honey of the land there and most of all I carry home with me a deep and wild memory of the sound of sheep bells in the morning along with the sweet chatter of birds on a rich and fertile land that rightfully so should be cherished and kept away from the capitalist eye, so that it can remain in the same way it has for hundreds of years, because the truth is, to visit Romania is to step back in time, where the ancestors are close and the people kind…..
My blood and bones will never forget what it was to eat, sleep and play there if only for a short time…
Thank you my ancestors, thank you land spirits, thank you mother Romania….

Nikiah

1 Comment

  1. Kelli Bell on November 6, 2019 at 4:52 am

    What an amazing journey. Thank you for sharing.

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IMBOLC
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has been a quiet day here today as I learn how to spin on my new country spinner for making chunky art yarns, and I am so excited to master this new form as it is my goal to weave more with my own hand spun and hand dyed yarns. (If you are a spinner and have any suggestions I am all ears!)
It arrived this week and I assembled it on Imbolc eve which somehow felt auspicious as we inch ever closer to the end of winter.
Of course today we woke to a light dusting of snow which also somehow felt fitting as the mantle of winter slowly lets go of its hold..
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Imbolc-meaning in the belly or the belly of the mother in reference to pregnant and lactating ewes this time of year in Northern Europe.
However here in the west in many places we are still very much in the grip@of winter.
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Over the years I have marked Imbolc in many different ways from a weekend of ceremony and creation to small family gstherings@and everything in between. This year is very quiet and somehow perfect for my slow returning creative fire that although at times has burned bright within me has been waning a bit as I mentioned in my previous post about how hustle culture has slowly been draining me over the years.
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Having said that I am ever so slowly and quietly re-kindling my creative fire and allowing the slow turn of the seasons to guide me as I go.
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What has your winter been like this year?
I would love to know of you have any great Imbolc traditions that you do?
I am a big fan of shortbread so there will be a nice pan of that happening shortly with offerings made to Brigid, and the beautiful spirits of the land I live on.
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Blessings of the season
Nikiah
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#imbolc #imbolcblessings #shortbread #spinning #countryspinner2

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Greetings everyone,
I have been away from this space for awhile on a bit of a social media detox as well as sitting with what was coming up for me with regards to my creative life, social media…
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I have been reflecting on my journey with being an entrepreneur, and how deeply embedded my creative life has been within it, however as I began to look deeper and deeper at what was happening within my creative world, or rather, what was not happening, I began to see how my use of social media was tied to it, and how the hustle culture of posting constantly in order to gain exposure was killing my creative voice.
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Its a complex mix of being both a spiritual person, a creative and a business woman, which is a strange mix if you think about it!
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As I sat with what was coming forward I realized that writing might be helpful as I processed what was coming up and so I decided to write a blog post, which ended up requiring two parts to fully track it all.{Link in Bio}
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Anyways if you are interested in some of these musings pop over to my blog as I will be writing more over there in the coming months as I give myself more distance from social media and allow my creative voice more room to play and flow…

I will also be sharing these posts with folks who subscribe to my newsletter
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#hustleculture #hustlecultureistoxic #creativity #spirituality
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Softness, Slowness, Stillness,
I am beginning 2023 on this note, and I am also...
Ditching the Gregorian calendar for the lunar one and easing into what 2023 will bring me..
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In part this means that I am taking it slow, sleeping and swimming and continuing to spend some time away from social media, for another week at least. I am also wanting to start this year out slowly because I am amping up for some big changes in 2023 which will take a lot of work and movement, as well as some exciting travel and other plans that are filling up the year fast!
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One of my favourite things to do each year has been to work with a word. Last year my word was mastery, which I believe was also my word for the year before, and which will probably be with me my whole life.
However this year there is no burning sense of a word that is pushing through like in past years, and I am guessing that is because I am still in transition in many ways.
Perhaps transition is my word!
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2023 will bring some big exciting moves, such as selling our home in Vancouver and some other exciting big things that I will share as they come into form.
Knowing this now though has me feeling a mix of excitement and also a bit of unsteadiness as I go into a new year knowing now that more change is coming, even if it is good, exciting stuff!
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Do you choose a word for your year? If not, is there something that you like to do that supports your soul as you move into another calendar year going forward?
I would love to hear.
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Today I am dreaming up a new line of weaving work that I am excited to begin and taking it slow...
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Blessings for 2023 everyone!
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Image taken by @_infinitebody_
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#newyear #wordoftheyear #stillness #quiet #transition
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Today I make offerings to my ancestors thanking them for this life I have.
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I recently found out on the cusp of my trip to Ireland that my great grandmother was originally booked on the Titanic!
Sadly/happily her mom got really sick and she missed her boat, deciding to take the next one instead in order to be at her moms side.
It was because of this that I am here, and because of this she came to Canada.
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It is for this reason and a million other things that went into my existence, that I am so grateful for all of my ancestors for.
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I am also thankful today because both of our kids are officially here, making it in time between the winter storms taking over Vancouver and Toronto!
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Yuletide blessings
Nikiah
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I have been in love with this beautiful book by my friend @carmenspagnola.
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It’s been wonderful to use it for inspiration and recipes during this Yuletide time.
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Today I am planning to make some cookies to share with my ancestors and family as we slide into this beautiful liminal space.
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What you you all doing? Send me some inspiration! 🌀
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Lots of love
Nikiah
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The longest night of the year, brings the return of the sun, also marking the beginning of the tile referred to as Yule.
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From Dec21st -Jan1st we mark the 12 days of yuletide which I love.
For me it’s all about setting intentions, making offerings and visioning for the year ahead.
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Each day for 12 days I might do any one of those things, as I like to keep things simple and in the realm of practical magic.
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Today, the winter solstice I begin with intention setting and spending time with family as is the tradition in our bodies.
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We share a big meal together, then light a fire and write either an intention for the year ahead or something we are ready to let go of and give it to the fire along with offerings and a lovely Yule log.
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Lastly we exchange small handmade gifts and I always get everyone a new set of comfy pj’s ❄️
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Over the years as our kids have grown I to adults they too have taken over the tradition and made it their own, so while our daughter is not here this year as she is knee deep in exams I know she and her roomies will mark the day in their own way.
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I would love to know what some of your traditions are or perhaps if you are new to creating your own tradition here what are your plans?
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#yuletide #wintersolstice #traditions #ritual #babayaga #winter
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Winter Solstice shawl.
This is my last shawl of 2022 and I am thrilled with how it came out, so much so I have been deeply tempted to keep it!
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This one invokes images of quiet snowfall, winter nights cozied in and the softness that snow can bring to the landscape.
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I was also inspired by winter foxes that change their colour for winter, and snowy owls in quiet flight over the landscape...
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This piece is now listed and available in my online store--link in my bip if you are interested.
Much love
Nikiah
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#solstice #wintersolstice #sacredshawl #weaving #snowyowl #foxmedicine
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Loom as altar.
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Since the fall I have been going daily to my loom as a form of spiritual practise.
However it was not until recently that I have been able to find the words for it.
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In many ways weaving has become a form of spiritual practise for me, and although I am still deepening into my own understanding of what it is to me, for now, this is what it has become in it purest most simple form.
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Today a new storytellers shawl came off the loom and with another already in my mind to start taking form..
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This piece holds a similar energy to one I made a few months ago, holding the essence of dragonflies and hummingbirds…
But mostly it was made for the king winter months as we cozy up by fires and in warm homes and read books or if we are lucky we tell or listen to great stories!
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I will list this piece in my online store sometime tomorrrow..
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In the meantime a new one shall take its place in full winter whites..
I am feeling the call of the white fox, and the white winter owl..
These two hold a kind of magic as they shape-shift from one colour into winter white so they are camouflaged against the snow…
More on that to come as the piece takes form.
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Also I would love@to know-do you have a hobby or creative outlet that borders on spiritual?
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Lots of love
Nikiah
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#storytellers #hummingbirdmagic #dragonfly #sacredshawl #weaving
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GIVEAWAY EXTENDED TILL MONDAY!
WINNER IS @copperwildpottery
This is just a little reminder of our awesome giveaway that is happening right now and ends on Monday Dec 12th!
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@carmenspagnola and I have paired up to give away a copy of her fabulous new book @thespiritedkitchen and I am giving away another of my 10” Red Drums.
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Here is how you enter:

1. LIKE this post and leave a comment tagging a friend-or two for extra entries!
2. FOLLOW @redmoonmysteryschool + @carmenspagnola
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And for even more entries:
SHARE the Podcast episode 'Embracing Sovereignty at Midlife with Carmen Spagnola and I /Nikiah that was released on June 10th 2022. {Link in bio}
Be sure to tag us so we can see! (You can do this by taking a screenshot of the episode in your podcast player or sharing directly from Spotify to your stories)

TERMS & CONDITIONS:
- Only one winner will be selected
- Giveaway will run until 11:59 EST December 12th 2022
- Winner will be randomly selected and announced on our stories by Dec 12th 2022
- Giveaway limited to US and Canada
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#giveaway #ancedtralhealing #kitchenwitchery #reddrum
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I had a little “reel” fun with this one, especially using this song :]
Anyways this is a little update on my Earth Ochre shoulder stole/Altar cloths as I have made two more which are now listed on my site.
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These pieces are inspired by my time in Ireland and the stunning red ochre I saw there while on the coast of Northern Ireland in an area called the Giants Causeway.
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These two pieces were created to be worn either as a shoulder stole for ceremony or beauty, you get to decide, and are easily transferable to your altar, for ceremony or beauty-haha you decide!
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Each comes with a small vial of hand ground red earth ochre in a vial, which can be used for making paint, or using in ceremony. Your package will come with a recipe for making earth ochre paint.
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Hope you love these pieces as much as I do!
Nikiah
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#ochre #redearth #ceremony #altar #priestesspath #weaving #ancestors
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Weaving another red ochre earth alter cloth/shoulder stole on my Saori loom.
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These looms are from Japan and their name Saori, in Zen means beautiful imperfection. “Sai” means everything has its own unique dignity and “ori” means weaving.
These looms were designed to support more humans weaving in a counter to all of the machine made cloth. They were designed so that they were accessible to every body, meaning that folks with disabilities can use them with as much success as able bodied folks which I love.
The whole point is Saori weaving is to be the antithesis of machine made cloth, and to embrace the perfect imperfection of human made beauty.
This to me is my kind of loom, and philosophy.
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My teacher Yukako has been slowly teaching me the ways of this loom for the past couple of years and I am loving how different it is from my rigid heddle loom.
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SAORI's 4 Principles

1. Consider the differences between people and machines.

2. Be bold and adventurous

3. Look out through eyes that shine

4. Inspire one another, and everyone in the group
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I have a few beautiful wall hangings listed in my online store in celebration of earth ochres if you fancy a peek and this one will be listed next week at some point as well.
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Have a beautiful weeekend everyone!
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Nikiah
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#redochre #earthochre #saori #weaving #ancestralwisdom
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Ochre has fascinated me for years now, from the vast amount of colours and shades that occur naturally depending on the mineral make up of the soil to how we as humans have used it over the centuries, from body point, to fine art, from sunblock for the skin, to cave wall paintings...
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However it was not until I travelled to Africa and saw the deep red earth there that I actually understood and began using it in its many applications.
It was from that trip where while staying with family I scooped up a large handful of red soil from outside my cousin-in-loves house that had been exposed due to construction and really had a deep look at it, and in turn she helped me to make offerings and then pack it away in a small zip lock bag so I could bring some small piece of this sacred earth home.
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From that soil there were many ceremonies and of course paint was made and used in turn was given away to my students as we worked through a year of ancestral healing for which red ochre was used in a powerful ceremony of forgiveness...
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So you can imagine my delight when I was recently away in Ireland on an ancestral journey when I came across the stunning swath of open red and black earth along the coast of Northern Ireland in an area called the Giants Causeway.
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Once back home I found myself in a liminal time of flow and creativity in particular with my weavings...
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Interestingly enough I had already started a weaving before I left using black and red yarns that reminded me of earth ochre, so upon returning home this piece {which is now listed as an altar cloth in my online store} was what started it all...
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For this piece though, I wanted to weave layers that represented the layers of earth, and how when the earth opens up we are able to see all of the many things that go into making soil such as plants, insects, sea creatures, mammals, and abiotic materials factors, like minerals, water, and air and how each one will create a different colour of soil.
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I now have a small and growing number of altar cloths, and wall hangings available in my store all affordably priced so folks can enjoy them, or perhaps gift them as we slowly make our way into the giving season.
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We are home again from our epic time away in Ireland and in all my years of travel I have never once been sad to come home until now!
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Ireland, the home of my ancestors has completely captured my heart and I felt at home the moment I arrived.
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Now that I am back and integrating all that happened while I was away I am feeling a little blue, it was healing to sit with some of the images from our time and put together a little reel.
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Some of the places you will see here {In order} are:
Sliabh na Caillighe otherwise known as the Hill of the Witch or Loughcrew cairns, where we were totally alone and able to connect in a way that would have otherwise been impossible.
Bru na Boinne/ Newgrange which even at this time of year had tons of people visiting the site and again we found ourselves with a smaller group which was wonderful. The Hill of Tara which in one of the photos has the stone of Destiny in, and Uisneach, otherwise known as the centre of ireland.
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We then went up to Northern Ireland to the Giant’s causeway on the wild coastal shores and the Dark Hedges which are amazing shots of the trees.
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Northern Ireland is where some of my more recent ancestors are from and it’s been powerful to spend time here on the land and to take it all in.
The ruins are from an old Castle called Dunluce.
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It was a joy to plan this trip, rent a car and then drive from Dublin to Northern Ireland stopping along the way to see things as we were called, I am blessed to have been able to do that.
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I was able to lay offerings for my ancestors and in a small way come back home to where some of them are from. I also learned a lot about my family, such as learning that my great grandmother had a 3rd class ticket for the Titanic leaving from Belfast, but because her mother fell ill she stayed close to home and as a result, I am here today and she came to Canada!
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My heart is now a little bit here and a little bit in Ireland and I am already planning my next trip back!
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Have you ever been altered by a place you travelled to?
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#ireland #travel #sacredsites #ancestors #ancestralhealing
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The Willow Tree (Salix) is one of the sacred trees in The. Magic and Folklore of Trees course and yesterday I found this ancient willow tree on the land we are staying on here in Ireland, which I just had to share!
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Willow trees are associated with water and emotion, the moon and inspiration, which I must say seeing and being near this ancient Willow was beyond inspiring for me.
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In the course I share some of the folklore of this magic tree, as well as practical applications such as did you know that Willow bark has been used for millennia for fevers, inflammation and pain? Chewing the bark of the white Willow tree which contains Salicin which is a chemical similar to aspirin and in the 1800’s the bark of the Willow tree was used by scientists to help them develop aspirin.
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Willow is also associated with dreaming and it is said that if you have lost touch with your dreams making a small Willow wand and placing it under your pillow will help, or you can make a dream pillow with things like Mullen and small pieces of Willow bark to use.
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While I have been away here in Ireland the trees have captured my heart and soul especially the willow, and hawthorn which are planted as hedges here and as such are everywhere and full of brihh go t red berries..
I will write a post on hawthorn next though as I have so much to say about what some say is the most sacred tree in Ireland.
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If you are curious about the Magic and Folklore of trees course pop over to my site and download a free sample chapter. ♥️🌳🌲🌳
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What is your favourite tree? Mine changes but for many years now it has been the Hawthorn.
#sacredtrees #willow #folklore #witches #ogham
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