My story begins in San Francisco where I was birthed by way of West Africa where my parents were born. I conceived Sacred Grove in Oakland from a desire to retain and relearn traditions lost to my generation growing up in the United States due to colonialism, racism, immigration, the legacy of slavery, migration, and western indoctrination.
I moved to Oakland in 1995 where I met and formed a sisterhood of young women who like me were passionate about a vision to empower ourselves, our families and other women and girls in our communities. We formed a collective of black and brown midwives, aspiring birth workers, dancers, wholistic & natural health enthusiasts and professional healers from alternative medicine modalities to exchange information and learn from one another about women's health, self-care practices and alternatives to western medicine. Out of necessity many of us turned to alternative, natural methods of healing ourselves and reclaimed medicine and lifestyle practices of our ancestors to regain control of our bodies, our health, and our destiny.
The name Sacred Grove was chosen in honor of my Liberian ancestry, inspired by the Sande Society for women. I come from at least 3 generations of midwives that can be traced. The Sande and Poro societies in Liberia are very important as ancient traditional institutions of learning in Liberia, Sierre Leone, and Guinea responsible for educating and preparing young people about the responsibilities of becoming an adult in their community. In countries where colonization and westernization have impacted indigenous language, culture, and spiritual practices, the secret societies maintain ancestral wisdom and traditions and are still passing them on to young people. Girls are initiated into the Sande Society after several rites of passages in the Sacred Grove and Boys the Poro Society. The sacred grove refers to the consecrated area in the forest or "bush" where initiation takes place and the society meets.
Audre Lorde eloquently expressed, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” However many of our mothers and women in our community still regard self-care as a luxury, not medicine for survival and sanity. Eventually, the vision of our Women of Color Wholistic Health Collective expanded to include community offerings called Oshun's Garden Wholistic Health Day Retreat for Black Women and Girls where we offered women and girls in our community opportunities to be educated about wholistic healing practices, innerstand the importance of prioritizing self-care for survival, learn about midwifery, meet healers, practice self-care modalities on themselves, and receive pampering and healing services.
Today, Sacred Grove Traditions is the mother organization for Amatìn Wellness, Inc. (YEWAS) Young Empowered Women Achieving Rite of Passage Program for Girls and Young Women of African descent and KEHLLE Rites of Passage Academy for young men. Our mission is to provide education and wider access to culturally appropriate, holistic, traditional and natural methods of healing and wellness from the abundant wisdom available in our ancestral practices throughout the African Diaspora.
An emphasis on movement.breath and the revolutionary act of rest
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