As a woman who has lived the path of the Sacred Feminine since age 20, I have seen the revival of ancient teachings become a "movement", one that has at times morphed into something else, something that can be aggressive, haughty, and the antithesis of true self-empowerment. With that said, a shiver goes through my spine from the writings and wisdom of Sequoia Starr every time her blog alights in my inbox. This modern priestess/healer/wordsmith/vision-conjurer is the real deal. With her background in Shamanic teachings and living off the grid to pursue her visions, it is no wonder why this wounded healer can pierce through façade and ignite a fiery seed of power in all that she touches--and do it with deep love devoid of self-consciousness or ego-gratification. When I heard about her new book on sacred sexuality, I knew I had to read it immediately...and then interview her for my own delight.
Below, in her own words, please meet the beautiful and gifted Sequoia, in all her eloquence, authenticity, and pain-filled journey to here. I am so glad she's in the world, carrying a torch for all women, all ages. The Sacred Union she speaks of is critical and essential, and this unity has been the core of my physical, emotional, and energetic healing the past 3 years. This is the nucleus, my friends, of our deeply personal and global healing and evolution. Despite the chaos of our times, humanity can have an exquisitely beautiful future!
Q: What was your first introduction to the Sacred Feminine and how did it impact your consciousness?
A: My first introduction to the Sacred Feminine was through visions I had during my travels in South America. I didn’t fully grasp what it meant though until I moved to Toronto and became involved in the community of sisterhood here in the city. I began to experience a profound shift in my consciousness, as I understood for the first time that I had been living in a Patriarchal society and it had been reflected in all of my relationships and my spiritual practice up until then. I began to realize my whole concept of spirituality was dominated by a distorted masculine concept of God and that Goddess had always been secondary. It was an incredible recalibration of my reality, as she began to rise within me. The support I received in sharing sisterhood to such a degree of love and intimacy was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and it was then my Magick started to really awaken and my life began to dramatically shift.
Q: In your own words, what is the Goddess energy and how do you cultivate it in your own life?
A: Goddess energy is unconditional love and devotion, the sensual Maiden, the nurturing Mother and the wisdom-keeping Crone. It is the fertile creative energy of the womb of the Earth and the intuitive knowing of the light of the Moon. Goddess energy is the capacity for dream and vision, for the conception of the Magick of imagination. It is the empowered Warrior Queen, the potential for a passion and feeling so vast it can both create and destroy worlds.
I cultivate it in my own life through regular practice of ritual, meditation and communing with Nature. In this way I experience the expansion of Goddess energy within me and in my life. I work with certain deities as well as allow myself to flow with the cycles of the seasons and attune to those rhythms of my menstrual cycle.
Q: We are in a turning point in known history when we are unearthing the Mother teachings and resurrecting the Divine Feminine from centuries of obscurity. What are your hopes? What would you like to see happen during your lifetime?
A: I envision a world where the woman is respected and honored, where she is valued as she deserves. One where we as a collective acknowledge the wisdom alive in our dream time, and our moon time. I would like to see a revival of the old ways integrated into this new time, a remembering of our spiritual connection to the Earth and a reverence to her teachings, a respect and gratitude for all she provides for us. I believe the repression of the Divine Feminine is linked to every problem on our planet right now, from environmental catastrophe to sexual shame and abuse, to addiction, to patriarchal and religious dogmas to the oppression of Indigenous cultures to our fears of death and disconnect from imagination. I would like to see more women in leadership roles and to hear more conversation about taboo topics. I want to see more poetry, more visionary uprising, more authenticity and sovereignty, more courage to challenge the generally accepted norm, more willingness to enter into fear and transform it. I would like to see more depth, conscious communicating, curiosity, open-mindedness and faith in the power of love to transform.
Q: Your novella, Priestess: The Initiation is a brave journey into Eros. You seem very comfortable channeling the sacred erotic. Has it always been this comfortable for you or have you experienced a long journey into your own womb power without shame and societal stigmas?
A: Thank you. My personal journey has been a long road of struggling with shame-based conditioning, from both the beliefs instilled in me by society, by ancestral karma and by certain experiences in my childhood and youth. I had a very painful youth, riddled with toxic relationships, drug abuse, and near-death experiences all rooted in shame and worthlessness. At one point I decided I had nothing left to lose and committed myself to exploring the Mystery. I started to do things intentionally because they frightened me. When I was twenty years old, I flew alone to the Peruvian Amazon for a spiritual pilgrimage and spent five years journeying through S.A. and that was only the beginning. Though I have cleared so much of the shame at this point, it still surfaces occasionally during periods of trauma release, and as I dig deeper into the Goddess Mysteries, it is simply part of clearing space now.
Shame was such a crippling feeling throughout most of my life, and a huge part of clearing it has been healing the wounds of the matrilineal side of my ancestry, by really breathing presence into the feelings as they surface and by channelling it into my writing, my art. It has definitely taken a lot of deep healing work to get to this place of comfort for sharing to such an extent in my writing. I am at a point now where it flows through me with such fervour, that it feels like I have a responsibility to share it.
Q: Give us a glimpse into one of your inspired days--from morning until night, the beauty and epiphanies along the way, your routine and your process.
A: On an inspired day I find myself in a sort of bliss state, and creative energy flows with ease. I would wake up by acknowledging everything I am grateful for and then move into my morning practices. I could happily spend the day reading or writing, spending time with friends or creating a new offering to share. Often my inspiration flows from very real dreams or visions I have, or simple experiences of connection. For example, I could spend hours in the park meditating with Nature and find I begin to receive messages in return, that there is a psychic communication that happens. In the evening I may go to a local ecstatic dance, offer divination readings at an event or share in ritual space with sisters or a romantic partner. The way I live my life now has become a constant source of inspiration for my work and my art. This includes integrating past experiences of intimacy, trauma, travel, etc. with a new understanding and translating it into teachings.
Q: Your senses are alive and afire; what are your daily habits, rituals, or preferences to feed your Feminine?
A: have my daily rituals of yoga, meditation, elemental energy work and self-love practice/massage among other things and am typically very consistent with it. I have always been very Earthy you could say, as a Taurus and as a very sensual woman, I have had to learn to develop an understanding of how to channel this in ways that are empowered and expansive rather than indulgent and destructive. I have always been very visual as well and tend to have very clear visions so bringing life to these through poetry and creative activity is a huge preference in feeding my Feminine as well.
Q: You speak of Sacred Union between the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine. What does this personally mean to you, as a young woman in these times?
A: To me, the Sacred Union of the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine indicates the conception of the Divine Child, so to speak, the capacity to create new life within the world and within the self. It is an arrival at wholeness, at balanced awareness, and something akin to having a healthy relationship within oneself. At this point of Sacred Union, the dual nature of existence falls away and we arrive at pure unconditional love and oneness with the Divine.
Q: Who have been your greatest teachers along your path as poet, priestess, and visionary?
A: I have had many teachers along my path as I have explored many different spiritual communities. I also really do see every significant connection I have, romantic and platonic as a sort of initiatory experience.
As a poet and a seeker, Jack Kerouac was my first teacher. He taught me to celebrate my rebellious nature, to explore and travel the inner and outer worlds, and to fill my life with stories which would eventually become inspiration for writing. In more recent years, my greatest author inspirations have been Starhawk, Margot Anand, Paulo Coehlo and Danielle Dulsky.
As a visionary, although I don’t work with them anymore, the plant medicines played a large role of teacher for me. During my original pilgrimage to the Amazon, I learned to see the world with new eyes under the guidance of the Indigenous peoples and plant medicines of Peru.
As Priestess, my sisters have been significant teachers for me, as many of them are Tantra teachers, medicine women and healers who inspire me constantly. I also spent two years serving and living in Hare Krishna Temples in my youth and learned a lot about devotion, yoga and temple service, although it was vastly different than I experience it now. I spent some time studying in the Modern Mystery School as well before committing myself to diving into the source of where my Magick comes from.
Monica Bodirsky, the founder of Witchfest North in Toronto is also an incredible woman, artist and seer who inspired me on my path of writing and witchery in a big way.
Returning to my Celtic roots and exploring my ancestry was a pivotal turning point in gaining clarity around my service as well.
I am now a Priestess of the Fellowship of Isis and training under the guidance of Rev. Anu Veda, a High Priestess of the FOI, Arch Druidess of the Druid Clan of Dana and Mi’kmaq Pipe Carrier. When I received the Initiation onto this path, I was asked to choose a primary Goddess to work with and for a variety of reasons I chose the sovereignty Goddess Morrigan. I am training more deeply in Goddess Spirituality, Druidry and Earth Magick, which is currently my deepest calling along with writing. Hosting rituals around the Wheel of the Year is something I am incredibly passionate about as well.
Q: How has the Divine Masculine manifested in your own life, your own consciousness, and how has this affected your daily existence?
A: The Divine Masculine has manifested in my own life and come into greater balance within me as I really began to connect with the archetype of the Magician. It was arriving at the understanding that I am able to provide for myself that really began to nourish it. I realized that I have all the tools that I need to weave Magick into form and that I am able to be consciously objective in order to focus and take action towards fulfilling my goals. The more I embody the qualities of the Divine Masculine within myself, the more my inner Feminine is nourished, held and safe and vice versa, and the more whole I feel. This is very much reflected in the quality of relationships in my external life.
Q: What are your deepest wishes, hopes, and dreams for womankind? What would you like to say to women your age?
A: My greatest wish for womankind is for us to return to self-sovereignty. I truly believe that Magick takes form when we claim our sovereignty, and that means being courageous enough to move through all of the shadow which hangs over it. That means being bold enough to journey into our ancestral roots, to celebrating our unique bodies and our unique gifts, in order to share this special Magick we each have with humanity.
Q: In your opinion, why is Eros so vital to humanity, to healing, and to understanding our deepest soul-power?
A: Eros is so vital to the healing of humanity and returning to our soul-power because in the current paradigm we have been conditioned to either shame and repress it or exploit it. There is a huge space in between that is rarely even talked about! Claiming our sexuality as sacred and understanding that real love is the capacity to experience this even beyond the body and beyond the physical world, allows us to access a greater connection to our own soul, spirit, life-force energy. This enhances every aspect of our life, our creative potential and overall well-being. Eros is medicine for a world plagued by fear and shame.
Q: What have you learned most about yourself by writing Priestess? How much of your heroine is within your own consciousness?
A: Truthfully, it has been a huge learning curve for me and I really learned a lot about trusting myself and surrendering to that inner guidance. I can honestly say I experienced deep healing through writing this and was at many moments challenged with feelings of shame around what was coming through me. It felt so significant though that it had to be shared with the world. I knew the way the initiatory aspect of romantic intimacy had completely transformed my own life and felt there was a strong message in this story that the world needs to hear.
There are definitely many aspects of the heroine within my own consciousness, and the seed of inspiration in the first place was born from my observation of the way love seemed to ‘Initiate’ me into a deeper understanding of myself. I have been initiated in multiple spiritual traditions in my life and I found that similarly, I experienced this soul-deep level of transformation in my romantic relationships.
I believe that with the uprising of the Divine Feminine, the reclamation of Earth Magick and Sacred Sexuality go hand in hand, that they are intrinsically connected and that in this way the world is being ‘Initiated by the Goddess’. In writing my book I began to understand this in a whole new way, as an archetypal journey into Universal Consciousness and my own simultaneously.