“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” ~ Socrates
I am a lifelong spiritual seeker. My interest is vast and eclectic and I am not an expert in any given area – but rather a synthesizer and weaver of many disciplines. I believe all rivers flow to the ocean.
I have studied with many mentors in various wisdom traditions over the years (see lineages below) and am an avid self-directed learner. I believe a “good” education comes in many forms – the most powerful of which is the divine mystery of direct knowing/experiencing.
I hope this autobiographical sketch gives you a sense of how my life evolution informs the work I do in the world now.
C H I L D H O O D
I’ve been sensitive to subtle energies all my life. As a child I lived in a vivid relational world alive with countless beings (embodied and disembodied, human and non-human). I explored cultivating my magic practice from a young age, but mostly kept it private from my wider social network out of fear of judgment.
I was a artsy young person passionate about personal expression through music, art, and performance (still true!). I’ve also always had a very strong affinity to the “natural” world and loved getting outdoors and exploring wild landscapes.
I grew up in Kansas in a socially progressive and mostly secular household. Relationally speaking I was raised predominately by my mother, who walked between the conventional and alternative healthcare worlds as a lymphodema therapist, yogi/transcendental meditator, and herbalist hedge witch, which had a big influence on me as I grew up.
In high school I was an honors student who was involved in a bazillion extra circular activities such as choir, drama club, track, basketball, various art projects. I was very energetically sensitive and empathic, but not able to hone these skills yet. I struggled with boundaries in romantic and sexual relationships, and began using marijuana and experimenting with psychedelic to tend my wounds. I didn’t feel safe expressing the fullness of my inner witchy queer nature out of fear of social exile. High school was also when I became aware of the distorted power dynamics of cis-white-thin-ablebodied-pretty privilege and the objectification of womxn and bodies, in a very personal sense.
E A R L Y 2 0 0 0 ‘ s
I am very privileged to have had an excellent liberal arts undergraduate education from Knox College in Galesburg, IL, where I studied eastern philosophy, environmental philosophy, paleoanthropology, gender studies, feminism, human sexuality, Native American studies, systems ecology, and traveled abroad on two semester-long field research programs to Tanzania and Costa Rica. My extracurricular activities included co-hosting a college radio show, being involved in the experimental dance community, making short films with friends, and performing original music whenever possible. I eventually decided to major in biology because I fascinated by the interconnectedness of the material world. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Biology in 2003. During my summers I volunteer doing wildlife rehabilitation for a local shelter. I moved to Minneapolis in 2003 and have lived here ever since.
M I D 2 0 0 0 ‘ s
During this time in my life I engaged in a lot of self study of mind-body-spirit therapies and meditative practices, western herbalism, food therapy, energy healing techniques, social/environmental justice, feminism, anti-capitalist philosophies, as well as personally experimented with ceremonial/ ritual/therapeutic uses of psychoactive plant medicines.
I also indulged in the sex drugs and rock-n-roll lifestyle, along with a good dose of emotional and relational drama – with lots of camping trips to the north woods sprinkled in to keep me grounded and inspired. When my Saturn returned in my late twenties (and the band broke up), I decided to figure out my life (still in process!) and go back to graduate school.
2 0 0 9 – 2 0 1 2
I began what would become a four year process of deep and intense academic education in multiple holistic health frameworks. I first thought that I wanted to go back to school for a masters in nursing and completed the nine fundamental courses needed to meet the requirements to apply to a program at the University of Minnesota. But my the time I was ready to apply, it had become clear to me that the conventional healthcare route was not my soul’s calling – because I had also been taking a lot of courses through the Center for Spirituality and Healing. This felt more like home to me at that time.
I enrolled in the general Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Integrative Therapies & Healing Practices program and took courses in plant medicines, ethnobotany, shamanism, reiki, systems healing, forgiveness and restorative justice, functional nutrition, yoga, ayurveda, Tibetan medicine, and traveled abroad to Dharamasala, India to study at the Men-Tsee-Khan. I was one credit shy of completion when I shift my credits towards enrolling in the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Integrative Therapies & Healing Practices: Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coaching track, which was another two years of study. Also, at this time, I decided to enroll in a three year Masters in Oriental Medicine program from the College of Oriental Medicine at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, MN.
Over the course of my clinical rotations while at both schools, I provided comprehensive care in multiple diverse settings throughout the Twin Cities area including Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s Penny George Institute, Fairview Hospital, Courage Kennedy Rehabilitation Institute, Aliveness Project, and Salvation Army Free Integrative Clinic, Pillsbury House Integrated Clinic. I graduated from the health coaching program in 2012 and from Asian medicine school in 2013.
2 0 1 3
During this time (as well as while I was in grad school) I continued to receive education in earth-honoring ways of healing and spiritual practice from various community teachers – as well as self-directed learning. I explored the worlds of neoshamanism, different forms of pagan revivalism, and started to edge into what would become a sustained and on-going ancestral healing process for me.
I was also beginning to actively unpack my white privilege with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement – and starting to take a critical look at how whiteness shows up within the spiritual-wellness industry and higher education – personally and systemically. This process also began to shift and deepen my feminist/womanist and anti-capitalist worldview.
I began co-teaching graduate courses through the Center of Spirituality and Healing in the Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coaching masters program (five semesters) and Fundamentals of Shamanism and Shamanic Healing course (two semesters). I also co-taught a graduate Accessory Techniques course at Northwestern Health Sciences University (4 terms). I am very grateful to my mentors who call me into these opportunities to grow and expand in my knowledge and develop my skills with holding group space for healing and eduction. And, these teaching experiences informed my perspectives around social/racial equity work and representation within higher eduction.
2 0 1 4 – 2 0 1 5
I met my current partner and within a year, we had a house and a baby. This was a big initiation for me on many levels. To cope with the dramatic lifestyle change and all the stuff that comes up with parenthood/partnership, I began going to weekly somatic therapy sessions, which I have continued up until present and consider this approach very effective and transformational for me, both personally and professionally.
I kept working at clinics and teaching at the UMN. But tandem to this I was also beginning to dive deeper into my understanding of healing trauma, the process of ritual ancestral healing, the nature of consciousness, quantum healing, parapsychology and biofield research, exploration of various ancient wisdom traditions and spiritual practices, channeling and intuitive practices, somatic and embodiment practices, social/racial/earth justice, and cultural healing.
I started my Instagram account @scinn.laece – initially as a personal account that as slowly evolved to integrate my professional identity over the years.
And just before the year ended, I decided to shift my clinical practice fully into Tall Reeds Healing Arts!
2 0 1 6
I also came out of the broom-closet at a witch in the early spring of 2016 after a powerful healing and ceremonial experience with Grandmother Ayahuasca. Shortly after this, my ancestral spirits gave me the assignment to form a local open coven to honor the moon cycles and create space to uplift the divine femme energies. It was called Moon Sisters MPLS – and we gathered every dark/empty moon for almost two years. It was a wonderful and challenging experience for me. I learned so much from holding that space.
I continued to explore and evolve in my feminism/womanism and social/racial justice ethos. I allowed the process of creating intentional womxn’s spaces and my experience of motherhood/parenthood to continue to shape my understanding of systemic oppression and intersectionality.
2 0 1 7
I became nationally certified health and wellness coach through the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching. As well as continued my education and coaching in social-racial justice, ancestral healing, somatics, ritual, sound healing, traditional lineage customs and practices, sexual healing, feminism/womanism, decolonization, 5D paradigm shifting, and magic practice.
I also co-created and facilitated my first womxn’s ceremonial retreat and began to write for witchy publications and speak on podcasts that felt resonant.
I began to record my first solo album of original music and stoke the fires of my creative expression in a more direct way.
2 0 1 8
I came out of the queer closet as a pan/eco sexuality fluid non-binary being who is passionate about personal sovereignty and expression. This felt like such a huge relief – and I want to acknowledge that my ease with this move is the result of all the work that has been done (and continues to be done) by the queer community. I also began to explore non-monogamy and decolonize my relationship structures. This process is on-going and evolving.
I continued to teach courses at my practice and within the community that felt aligned with my personal interest and path. I had the pleasure and honor of offering classes at Spirit Weavers, Moon Mountain Gathering, and several other womxn’s spaces – and I’m very interested in how to make these spaces safer and braver for all femme identifying peoples.
My spirit team and ancestors gave me a new assignment to create my Tending the Witch Wound program and begin to explore the conversation of decolonization from a cultural perspective and acknowledgement of a meta-pattern of disharmony (and disembodiment) that is present for all colonized peoples. This assignment was also informed by a series of clairvoyant visions of energetic patterns that I had been receiving in my clinical practice with clients. So far this program has acted as a healing spell and a gift for me to create and teach. I’m not sure where it’s taking me, but it feels alive.
I also continued my on-going education and training, seeking out a lot of online training from teachers and healers who are themselves synthesizers of medicine ways (again see lineage list below).
2 0 1 9
In my studies, I am very focused on developing my skills with ancestral connection and healing, somatic and embodiment work, subtle energy perception and manipulation, channeling, creative personal expression, sound healing, ritual – and continuing to dig into the history/herstory of the European witch hunts, the rise of capitalism, and the colonization of body/land/culture.
I continue to teach my program Tending the Witch Wound, as well as develop new in-person classes such as The Medicine of Wounded Healers and Embodied Lineage Healing for Spiritual Activists. It is my intention to continue to offer more classes and events this year through Tall Reeds on topics that feel aligned and ready to share – as well as teach more in the local community and nationally at gatherings. And of course, I am continuing to connect 1:1 with folx in a variety of ways, which is my most beloved intimate work.
I am also on the co-creation team that is organizing the Come-UNITY Village at this year’s Spirit Weavers Gathering, which is an effort dedicated to creating brave space for equity work within the gathering.
On a fun note, I release my first solo album Deer and the Snow on the full moon eclipse in January under the name Scinnlaece and have begun the process of recording a second album (projected release late summer 2019). It’s magical and I’m very proud to share it with you.
To be continued….
L I N E A G E S
These institutions, organizations, and individuals shape and influence my eclectic path, formally and informally. Some of these relationships are intimate and embodied, others distant and/or virtual, and the list of my teachers within each institution is too long to include here. Ultimately this list is simply meant to give you a flavoring of my philosophical orientation, interest, and a snap shot of my education. I consider these lineages as influences and do not subscribe blindly to any one tradition. However, I am deeply grateful for the generosity with which all of these rivers of knowledge flow to and through me – and I invite and encourage you to explore these resources and support these people!
Note – this list doesn’t include all the authors of books that rock my world, but a select few authors/teachers who have really shifted my perspective in a critical way. Also, I want to give a shout out to the free resource of YouTube presentations that have floated me through passages where I had a strong desire to learn but no cash to pay for education.
E X T R A S
My music project: Scinnlæce
Personal blog post: A healer’s quest for connection