The Earth is Magic! Check out our interview w/ Mama Medicine
Everything we need to heal ourselves is right here on Earth! Oftentimes, we are looking for ways to make us feel better mentally and physically. We look extensively for a remedy, not realizing that everything we need to live in our truths and heal our minds, bodies, and souls are available to all of us courtesy of Mother Earth! We recently confirmed this truth when we held space with Deborah Hanekamp, also known as Mama Medicine. In her new book, Ritual Baths: Be Your Own Healer, Mama takes us on a journey to rediscovering bathing as a sacred way to heal ourselves. In a candid conversation with our founder, November Nichols, Mama Medicine shares the path that led her to how she shows up in the world today.
NOVEMBER: We all come into a “healing space” at some point in our lives. Usually, there is a pivotal moment when we know. For some of us, it happens earlier in our lives than others. What was your point of knowing and what sparked your own self-healing journey?
MAMA MEDICINE: I was always a really mystical kid. I was into nature and in search of the divine, in many different forms. Being raised Baptist, I wanted to do everything in the church. Anything where there was a mention of God, I was curious and wanted to be involved. Even in high school, I studied many different religions, and was totally fascinated and overcome by this desire to be close to the divine. I had quite a tumultuous upbringing. My brother and I basically raised ourselves. When I was 17, someone very close to me passed away and then my dog did, too. My parents decided to split up and abruptly told me I needed to figure out where I was going to live. It was a wake-up call. I decided to take my power into my own hands and not to let the pain of the past become my future. So, at 17, I was in community college, worked four jobs, became a vegetarian, and started practicing meditation and yoga. This is when my healing journey took off.
NOVEMBER: How did you transform your healing journey into how you show up in the world now?
MAMA MEDICINE: I always knew that I wanted to use the resources I found to help others. I wanted to share the healing I experienced and inspire others to also do their own healing. I started what is now called medicine readings, which is a one-on-one healing experience that I facilitate. I also got into Reiki. I experimented with these intuitive messages and feelings that would come through for people and what they needed to hear at that time. And that just slowly started to evolve all while I was still on my own healing journey. It wasn’t like I was totally fixed or healed and then decided I could help others to do the same. This was what was coming through me and I was surrendering to what was working for me. I was still learning, growing, healing, crashing down, and getting back up during this time.
NOVEMBER: Most of us know that baths date back to ancient times, and that many of them were used for rites of passage, like marriages or burials. But your baths are quite different. Tell us about their origin, intentions, and healing properties.
MAMA MEDICINE: Going back to my spiritual journey, I first learned about a bath being a spiritual thing within the Baptist denomination. It’s one of those things that kept popping up for me. I noticed in the beginning, after I would do a healing session, I would always want the person to take a recommended bath. Fast forward to when I was 24, I began a deep apprenticeship in the Peruvian Amazon, studying how to work with healing plants within the Mestizo lineage. I was having a really hard time, and in this special way, my teacher brought me down to a waterfall and had me cover myself in honey from one of the beehives on the property. Then, he had me cover myself in clay and go under the waterfall. He was mixing all these plants into this beautiful cauldron and he had me come over to him and started pouring the water with all those plants in it over me as he was singing. That was really one of the most transformative experiences of my life. Before that, I was in the deepest shadow of shadowiest places. And directly after that, I felt a world of difference. That moment is really what inspired my work in a massive way. I know a lot about the different properties of plants. I try to focus on plants that are accessible as well as plants that may be a little bit harder to find but super special. And adding the element of crystals in the baths felt really important for me because it brings in the love and support of the earth. You work with the vibrational frequency of love, when you work with crystals in your bath. It’s an integration of a few different things that really inspire me. The bath, for me, has become an art form.
NOVEMBER: You just published a beautiful book called Ritual Baths: Be Your Own Healer. In it, you discuss the art of healing yourself. What part of the book touches you most deeply in your heart space.
MAMA MEDICINE: I love sharing the baths, but it’s really the intentions that are shared before the baths that speak to me the most. It all came through at 3 a.m. I was writing between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m., every day for a few weeks, and that’s how everything happened. Then, I would go to work and do medicine readings for the full day, come home, prepare dinner, give my daughter a bath, get her in bed, go to sleep, wake up at 3 a.m., and start over again. I like to use the book as a divinatory tool. I close my eyes and open up to any page. What I see is the exact thing I needed to read and that is how I pick the bath that I’ll do. When I reread the intention that is there before the bath, I’d be like, ‘Wow, that is exactly what I needed to hear.’
NOVEMBER: As we know, in new/modern construction, sometimes a bathtub is not available to us. What are some other ways we can experience these beautiful baths and their healing powers, sans tubs?
MAMA MEDICINE: You can do a footbath—footbaths are so amazing! Or pre-prepare the mixture and bring it into the shower with you or put the mixture in a spray bottle and turn a bath into an aura spray for yourself. You can still get a lot out of these experiences.
NOVEMBER: I’ve been dying to know … where did the name Mama Medicine come from?
MAMA MEDICINE: It’s working with the divine feminine energy. Not that there is a war between masculine and femine, they are both important. The mama part is working with the energy of receptivity, inclusivity, and approachability. Everyone can do this work, everyone can access this work, and everyone is received within it. The medicine part is like Mama Earth and Mama Earth Medicine.
Knowledge is power. If you use your power from within, while accessing the abundance of Mother Earth, you can heal yourself! Now is a perfect time to cultivate your zen and learn the magical role Mother Earth plays in supporting our healing. Start your own healing journey today. Check out Mama Medicine’s new book, "Ritual Baths: Be Your Own Healer" for guidance in preparing healing baths.
As mentioned earlier, medicine readings are the heart and soul of Mama Medicine’s work, which she offers digitally. You can find more information at: https://www.mamamedicine.com or follow her on Instagram @mamamedicine.