Willow is a healer living the central mountains of Colorado. She has studied and experienced a variety of healing arts, wisdom traditions, and systems of self-empowerment for the last twenty years. She has a formal education in Interdisciplinary Rhetoric. Her assimilation of this discipline is that it is the study of how every aspect of our world has layers of endless communication and connection with everything else, and the ways in which we can re-envision it to change our world.
Her ideal client loves the deep dive and intuitively knows they’re here on the planet for something greater. Whether it’s about your soul purpose, trauma work, creative empowerment, activating gifts and abilities, or just sweeping out the mess clouding your vision, she can facilitate you to expand your world.
What do you do?
I am a seeker first and foremost. I dive right into anything that lights me up. I am a shamanic practitioner, Reiki Master, astrologer, sacred storyteller, medicine woman, a worker of light and shadow, and unsurprisingly, I am also a poet, an artist, and a writer.
I have spent the last 20+ years of my life gathering tools, trekking through my own light and shadow, and creating processes for working with Spirit and with the cosmos. I have had much, much mentorship along the way from too many teachers to even list with appropriate dedication.
Most healers living in this time are performing some aspect of midwifery to the world that is coming next. My vision is to raise consciousness and empower people to heal themselves and live in their own authentic truth. And there’s so many ways to accomplish it. We all have a unique set of gifts and experiences for a reason; we aren’t supposed to show up in the world like anyone else. I facilitate my clients to be who they really are.
Q & A with Willow
I’ve heard of light workers, but what is a shadow worker?
I’ll start with the definition of ‘shadow’ from the one who coined the term, Carl Jung:
“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.”
In other words, it’s parts of yourself that you have repressed and rejected. It is the proverbial skeletons in the closet. Everyone has shadow aspects. You can’t escape it as a human on this planet. You can become aware of them and you can integrate them. Different traditions go about it in different ways. But if you’re unwilling to see that you have shadow sides, and you’re unwilling to work with them, you won’t get far, at least not with me as your guide. Shadow integration is real work, and you may not choose that work with me. I am not meant to be everyone’s guide for that (or anything else for that matter). But you do have to accept it and be willing to be aware that you have it. Anything you do with me is going to be depth work, and they are always somewhere in the depths.
As Carl Jung also says, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
Right now you may be equating light and shadow as corresponding with good and evil. That’s the duality of our world talking. They are both rivers of consciousness, each one necessary parts of our evolution. They snake around the inner landscape, connecting and disconnecting from each other at different points. It was likely necessary for your survival to cast out an aspect of yourself and lock it away. You don’t consciously choose it.
P.S. In shamanic tradition, for the purposes of soul retrieval, there is difference between shadow aspects and soul parts.
I heard you have to appointed shaman by your community in order to call yourself one? Also, isn’t it cultural appropriation?
If you live in the western world, you have likely had numerous shamanic teachers along the way, not to mention your ancestors and helping spirits as teachers, and you very likely do not have a single community for which you belong to who unanimously shares your beliefs, your world view, and for which there is an established social and spiritual structure of everyday life; so, who is going to do the appointing? Very, very few would get to do the work they’re called to do if that were the only way. We do not live in that way.
People performing the role of shaman have existed in many cultures around the world. No one owns it the role. The etymology of the word “shaman” is a longer discussion, but suffice it to say it is Russian loanword originating from the Siberians and Tungustic language (šaman). However, a fair amount of the English language is made up of loanwords from other languages that we must use because there is nothing else, and this is no different.
Academic researchers mostly agree that the role of the shaman refers to someone who, through the use of trance states in non-ordinary reality and helping spirits, can create change in ordinary reality from what is done in non-ordinary reality. From there, many more opinions arise. Shamans perform a role that is vital to themselves, to others, and to the communities they participate in. Now maybe more than ever, those who can walk between worlds are needed.
It’s my belief that rather than taking a nearly universal practice and sequestering it off as a closed practice, we are better off just honoring and respecting what it actually means in order for the role to keep its integrity.
Should my path change and I no longer journey into non-ordinary reality with helping spirits in order to effect change in ordinary reality, I will drop the title.
But for now, it is part of the work I do.