Defending Sacred Lineage: Discerning Cultural Appropriation in the Wellness Industry with Rachael Hägglund


Rachael Hagglund, a medicine woman who specializes in supporting pregnant and new parents through healing ceremony, is back to teach about discerning cultural theft in the wellness industry, and through doing so, reclaiming our birthright of belonging in the natural world. 

Our conversation explores: 

  • responsible ways to seek wisdom from outside lineages with discernment
  • what happens to medicine when it’s whitewashed through cultural appropriation
  • our responsibility as practitioners and as seekers (and both) to challenge the status quo of commodification of the sacred
  • how to be in discernment by looking at a practitioners relationship with the medicine
  • healing intergenerational trauma by challenging entitlement to what we “want” in healing
  • unlearning we can own teachings, lineage, the world and moving towards a grounded relationship with lineage
  • how Rachael works with clients to come into communication with their ancestors and the spirits of  Nature
  • leaving a family legacy of rich connection with ourselves as Nature, reclaiming our birthright of belonging in the natural world 

Rachael is a medicine woman upholding and protecting sacred lineages and healing traditions. She is a Mesa Carrier and has been initiated into the lineage of the Q’ero Paqo and shaman Don Alejandro Apaza. Her introduction to the healing arts began as a child when her family lived at the Satchidananda Ashram where she was given the name Rashmi, which means Divine Light, by Swami Satchidananda. As a teenager, she trained as a yoga instructor with Vimala Fields and later in her twenties, she served as a birth doula. She claims her place as a birth keeper in the community, protecting the sacred rite for families through supporting pregnant and new parents in her healing practice. Her work weaves her own intuitive wisdom and the earth-based teachings of the Q’ero to create offerings that are rich in womb healing, ancestral mending and healing through reconnecting to the rhythms of nature. She also loves self-studying herbalism and wild crafting plant remedies. Rachael is the mother of two children and along with her husband, Mattias, loves parenting from the heart and supporting their children’s rich connection with Mother Nature. Her own births were wild initiations and she views her children as her greatest healers and teachers. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University.

More Information

Visit Rachael’s website to learn more about her and explore her offerings

Connect with Rachael on Instagram and follow The Medicine Path on Instagram

Rachael is offering 15% off a 60 or 90 minute Healing Ceremony for listeners with code MOTHERING15  valid through Dec 31 2021


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Drafted by AI. Please excuse typos.

Allie  00:00

This week I’m talking with Rachael Hagglund. She’s a medicine woman upholding and protecting sacred lineages and healing traditions. She’s a Mesa Carrier and has been initiated into the lineage of the Q’ero Paqo and shaman Don Alejandro Apaza.

Allie  00:00

Welcome and welcome back. This week I’m talking again with Rachael Hagglund. She’s a medicine woman upholding and protecting sacred lineages and healing traditions. She’s a Mesa Carrier and has been initiated into the lineage of the Q’ero Paqo and shaman Don Alejandro Apaza. Her work weaves her own intuitive wisdom and the earth based teachings of the Kara to create offerings that are rich in womb healing, ancestral mending and healing through reconnecting to the rhythms of nature. Last week, she talked about her own mature essence and her growth and transformation through mothering. Now, she’s back to talk about how she works with mothers in our practice and to dive deeper into the importance of discernment and being in right relationship with one’s healing lineages. Some important takeaways include how right relationship with healing and reckoning with histories of white supremacy and colonization, including those in the wellness industry can help facilitate a practice of reconnecting with nature. The future lies on the wellness of mothers. Welcome to rewild mothering, a weekly podcast for soulful mothers to help us mother from our deepest wisdom, our vital energy and our most authentic natures. Each week, in just about 15 minutes, we weave together modern research and ancient wisdom to channel the transformative power of mature essence, the developmental transition of motherhood. I’m your host, Allie Davis, maternal wellness therapist and a mother walking this path with you. Thank you for being here. And let’s dig in. Can you speak a little bit more last week you were talking about how we have to reckon with our own lineages, and then in a way, you know, introduce our ancestors to ancestors of land, so that we can remember how to speak the language of Mother Nature, you really brought up some important points about appropriation and that there’s a responsible way of doing this work.

Rachael  02:02

So so many of us today are disconnected from the healing lineages of our ancestry. And because we don’t have access, or we don’t have the wisdom, carried down from our grandfathers and grandmothers, we often seek wisdom from outside sources, are outside lineages. And I think it’s really important today to be in discernment, of when you are receiving healing and teaching is the practitioner is the teaching offered in a way that respects and honors the original carriers of medicine. Because I think so often today, we see these healing traditions, washed of their tradition and offered in a way that disconnects it from the culture that it exists within. And that’s really harmful. Because what happens then is that the medicine becomes appropriated and diluted, and the cultural context is gone. So what happens is, the culture that carries it is erased, and the medicine becomes whitewashed, essentially, to be made marketable to the Western world. So it’s really important to look and to be in discernment. Is this person offering something that is held within a lineage? And do they hold it within the lineage? What was their teacher? Like? What was their relationship to the original carrier? Or were they an original carrier? I think that what happens today is that so many healing methods are marketed to people. And because people when they are in a state of needing healing, they often are not in a place where they have the extra capacity to go against the status quo. And I think most times, what’s offered is not offered from a place of integrity, it doesn’t mean that the person offering it is doing it on purpose, but it means that they’re not passing down a real tradition. They’re not passing down or holding a real line. They’re participating in the commodification and the colonization of what should be kept sacred.

Allie  04:24

Yeah. Could you share with listeners like that discernment process of making sure a practitioner or oneself is in right relationship to the medicine as you say.

Rachael  04:37

So a way to be in discernment is to look and see if the practitioner or the teacher is in relationship with the original carriers. That’s one way and I know that not everyone is able to be in relationship to the original carriers of the medicines, but you want to look at their relationship to the medicine in general. Are they working in a way where they’re providing cultural context? Are they working in a way where, where their offerings are reciprocal with the people that they come from? Are they working in a way that doesn’t revise, edit, or dilute the medicine in a way that to make it more marketable to the Western wellness world, because that happens a lot. And I think it’s really easy for people to be deceived, because when you’re in a place of needing healing, you just kind of need to be held sometimes. But if you participate in healing in this way, you’re not even really receiving true medicine, you’re participating in your own oppression and in the oppression of the culture that it comes from. And essentially, cultural ratio, I think, what happens is that many of us don’t even know what it means to uphold a lineage many of us don’t even know what it means to receive something sacred. And so we’re asking people to do something, but they haven’t maybe necessarily seen before. And that’s difficult. But do the digging to the work, if someone claims to be offering something that is something like maybe if it’s presented in a new age way, and it seems as though it’s been channeled or created, dig a little deeper, oftentimes, it comes from another tradition that is erased and pushed to the back. And we see it all the time. Yeah,

Allie  06:44

I mean, it is, I think of it as the mcdonaldization of culture. Absolutely. And it’s driven by that marketing, and by that attaching to actual real needs. So how do you understand our processes of healing personal and collective intergenerational trauma to address these histories of colonization and white supremacy within ourselves, and in our collective,

Rachael  07:10

I see a major responsibility in the role of the practitioner here. Because I truly believe that many of the people who are appropriating and participating in cultural cultural left aren’t necessarily even aware, that’s what they’re doing. I think that they’re working from a place of, they feel a certain entitlement, or they feel a call to offer healing. And they feel a certain entitlement to be able to receive an offer whatever it is that they feel called to do, even though because of white supremacy, and colonialism, many people feel entitled to whatever it is that they want. And they don’t think about the cultural ramifications of how they’re participating in the colonization of the medicine. So I think that it really has to come from a shift in healing, and colonization, healing and commercialism, capitalism, and returning to a heart base, grounded awareness and what it is that we’re offering. So I think it’s going to take a lot of people really going against the status quo, to unlearn relearn, shed the ego, and go into a place where we’re doing the deep work of unlearning that we own the world or that we can own lineages that we can own the teachings. And coming into a place where we are standing more humbly and grounded. And working in relationship with medicines and lineages. It will take a lot of shedding of selves, people will have to really, really lose their ego here, because many people who have established practices who are offering healing that they might think is an integrity now will I hope come to realize that what they’re offering is in fact, not healing. It is cultural appropriation under the guise of healing, which actually heals no one. And I think that it’s gonna be something where it’s like very, like, you know, like, there’s many things to come into play. But I think that, you know, the consumers, people who receive healings and teachings will have to grow in their discernment and learn and ask for better, but also the teachers are going to have to really shift and change and evolve. Not everyone is meant to carry a sacred lineage. Not everyone is meant to be a keeper in this way. And I think that it comes from practitioners really, really going deep and thinking, like asking them asking themselves, am I offering healing? Or am I appropriating other cultures is My call to heal others coming from a place of needing to address my own healing, or is this a lineage that I am in relationship with, is what I’m offering in integrity on all levels. And I think that’s just really important. It’s difficult. It’s not pretty work. But it is very necessary if we hope to change the trajectory of this conglomerate of a wellness industry into something that is in relationship with what it appropriates and steals.

Allie  10:38

You know, as So, you know, motherhood and mothers are perpetuators of culture, you know, so I think there’s a lot of responsibility there when doing ancestral work to do the difficult work of going within and reckoning with the very real patterns of trauma that we’ve been responsible for being in and also that we’re still perpetuating, in order to allow us to shift from a place of that extraction and dominance over other people, our children earth to something that is more relational and, and based in justice. Mm hmm. And I know that you work with people to do this, and work with them as a guide, through ancestral healing and, and earth based wisdom, and reconnection. So can you speak a little bit of that, like what that journey is like for someone that comes to you.

Rachael  11:33

So when I work with clients, we really work with whatever it is that they’re ready to process and shed, so I hold space for them. And we talk a little bit about what their hopes are, what their intentions are, for our time together. And as they’re talking, I am able to read their energy field. And through that reading, and through that multi sensory ability that I have, we are able to identify process, and clear different aspects, different events, different experiences that they’ve had, their ancestors have had, or maybe that they’ve had in past lives, to really come into a place of deeper embodiment, with their spirit and soul and deeper connection with the living earth around them. So it can look a lot of different ways. But it could be that someone who is really interested in working on their mother line, we can work together through ritual and ceremony to journey into the womb space, journey into that sacred womb, to really unpack and explore what’s being held there. The womb is like a second heart. And it’s a space where we hold. We hold old emotions, past experiences, generational trauma. And as we explore and move in that space, we’re able to really make space for the creative expression that is innate in all of us. And even though every person’s experience is different, some really common threads that I have with my clients is that they feel more deeply connected to themselves. They remember their rightful place in nature, they’re able to develop tools for centering and grounding. They’re able to reclaim their intuitive gifts that maybe they’ve turned off as they’ve moved through the world. And through that reclamation, they can communicate in really rich ways, with their ancestors, and with the spirits of nature and the spirits all around us. And I think that’s just really beautiful. Because the more that we come into that space of trusting ourselves, reclaiming our intuition, reclaiming our wise ways, we can move into a place where we’re able to discern what is true healing and what is not. What’s offered in integrity, what is not. And from that place, we can really change the world. We can change the world that we live in for ourselves, we’re also shaping the world for generations after us. And I think it’s really important to think about that as we journey through this short lifetime that we have here. How am I offering a legacy to my children, that’s not a legacy that’s built in commercialism. It’s a legacy built in offering yourself and your children, rich ways to connect with yourself and thus connecting with nature. Because as we connect with ourselves, we’re remember that we are in fact, nature.

Allie  14:59

I know Wild, even the term rewild is is such a colonizing term, you know, but it also is kind of meeting us where we’re at, in my opinion of this extreme disconnection. And hopefully it won’t make sense. You know, a couple generations were like, what we are what I mean, there’s no separation there.

Rachael  15:20

I mean, hopefully your grandchildren will be like, they will think that your teachings are so commonplace, they’ll be confused. And, and that’s, that’s the idea. The idea is that my children never forget the connection to nature that they were born with. And so they never have to remember, they never have to rewild and I’m sure they’ll have their, you know, they’re humans, I’m human, they’ll have their qualms with how they how they were raised. But what I hope to offer them and what I hope to offer all of my clients that I work with, is reclaiming that birthright of belonging in the natural world.

Allie  15:59

So when your work resonates with listeners, how can they connect and work with you?

Rachael  16:05

Yes, so I have a couple of different offerings. I work with clients, one on one and private sessions. And that’s called a healing ceremony. And I also offer once or twice a month, normally, with the fuller New Moon, I’ll offer a group ceremony or a group journey. And these are open to everyone. But I have been working a lot to curate this new offering that I’m very excited about. And it’s called the medicine path. And it is a portal for online connection. It’s a place where I teach self healing through ritual and ceremony. And so each month I will offer recorded in written guidance for self healing. And it’s curated towards what’s happening astrologically what’s happening in the collective consciousness so that as we heal ourselves through these rituals, we’re also imparting healing in the world.

Allie  17:07

Beautiful. Well, thank you so much for sharing with us these last two episodes. And it’s amazing that you have this opportunity for people to dive deeper into the work, and you’re holding that container and holding them through the process. So thank you so much for coming. Thank you so

Rachael  17:26

much, Ali, I really admire your work and I’m so glad to have connected with you and witness the transformational space that you’re holding from others. I deeply appreciate it and I very much witness it.

Allie  17:42

Thank you for joining us. I hope you found support, guidance and inspiration for your mothering journey. To help you on your path I’ve created a free mindful outdoor experience to help you restore deep connection and belonging in your life as you root into the wisdom of Mother Nature. To download go to rewild slash mother dash nature and I’ll link to that in our show notes. May her wisdom be with you this weekend. Always talk soon.

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