I met Audrey Jeanne in middle school. (Her mother was my 8th grade english teacher!) I was always taken with her bright, thoughtful energy, but it wasn't until a photography class at the end of our senior year that we started to connect. Since then, Audrey and I have gone our separate ways while following a strikingly similar path. I've been keeping up with her journey through facebook, always excited to see what beauty she is bringing to the world with herbalism. Recently, Audrey launched her online shop, BellyWomb*Botanicals and Indie Fertility. It's a practice dedicated to natural and radical fertility through herbs, cycle tracking, workshops and retreats. Audrey is currently working on an online course for learning how to track your cycle using FAM (Fertility Awareness Method) and is offering 15% off her Wild Carrot Seed tincture by signing up for the Indie Fertility newsletter (email opt in is at the bottom the of Indie Fertility homepage). I believe that Audrey is offering up a really unique and much needed magic and I'm so incredibly excited to witness and support her practice.
It's funny, I have cycled through several bags in the last month because they have all been so well loved that one after the other their straps have untethered! As crafty as I like to think I am, I am hopelessly lazy when it comes to mending things. This bag though has been with me for a few years now, at it's my staple. It conveniently goes with anything and I can stash in it everything.
When Spencre asked me to share what was in my bag for this blog series, I had to giggle because what was in there was so perfect. For the last six years or so I've been on a somewhat secret mission in the realm of women's health. When I was in college, fueled by the 2012 election stress, I dove in deep to explore women's reproductive rights and sexual freedom. I wrote a zine called Radical Fertility for my senior project and then promptly fell into the existential black hole of "who am I now?" after college.
In the years that followed, I had some pretty profound experiences in which I found myself called to explore my body as its somatic intelligence in deeper ways as both a dancer and massage therapist. I also continued to study with midwifes, herbalists and all sorts of witchy women in an effort to better understand my own female body and how it relates to my sexual/reproductive health as much as my creativity, spirituality and personal power.
Slowly, I wove together my activist and my healer self and now I offer a broad spectrum of holistic care for women (both locally and online) as a Fertility Awareness educator, herbalist and Maya Abdominal Massage practitioner. My bag pretty perfectly reflects that ongoing exploration of women's bodies and wisdom.
Honestly, I have like three books in my bag right now! I've got a 9th house Aries moon, so wisdom-seeking is pretty much my favorite pastime. But this book landed in my lap when I began exploring the plant-lore around herbal abortion in an effort to help women wade through the overwhelming amount of information online and to feel comfortable managing their pregnancy release at home (when it is safe and timely to do so). It also covers everything from yeast infections to cancer, so it's quite handy to have around for ladies who want to keep it natural down there.
2. Super Salve Sun Salve SPF 27: I love this convenient little tube of green goop that is also high in SPF and made by a rad company that I fell in love with when I was living in the Southwest. It's great for my face and lips when I am out foraging around in the summertime sun. I really stink at putting on sunscreen and I hate the chemically stuff, so having this on hand has been a real face saver.
3. Journal + Pen: I really can't be without this. And when I am, I am always so bummed. Seeds of inspiration don't hang around long without fertile ground in which to take root. I jot down everything from my to-do list to passing poetry to hella-emotional rambles and rants. It keeps sane my hyper-active mind.
4. Dong Quai tincture: Oh what a splendid plant for womb*bearers! I have always had very irregular cycles and it wasn't until I found an acupuncturist who could help me understand my natal blood deficiency and lack of energy flow to my reproductive organs that I was first introduced to Dong Quai, or Chinese Angelica. I worked with the plant first in a formula, but recently decided that I really want to get to know this plant one on one and see how it effects my mind-body-spirit as a simple.
5. Tiger's eye: I made this necklace a few years ago when I was working with stepping into my power and staying grounded and protected when doing healing work. Even after I made it, I didn't wear it. In fact, I almost got rid of it on a few occasions. Ever since I was a little girl, I always half worried half wondered if objects were animate. When I thought to give this stone away, something tugged deep in my belly and said, "not yet." Even as I have purged and moved my possessions countless times, I am getting better at listening to the voice of each object, knowing when to let go and when to hold on. I've been wearing it or keeping it near me now and as I have been working to heal own cycles and sexual health, I've found tiger's eyes to be a really strong ally. It gives daring to my day and opens up sensual feeling and expression, granting me full permission to purr and prowl.
6. Ginger flower essence from La Abeja Herbs: On that note of sexual healing, I recently picked up this ginger flower essence from herbalist Sophia Rose. If you feel called to flower essences and you also want to do some healing work around your sexual self, I really encourage you to check out her description of this essence, as it really spoke to me and also to the experience I hear echoing on the collective level for a lot of women who are reclaiming a sense of safety, comfort and sovereignty in their sensual self expression.
From Audrey about her practice, Indie Fertility:
I teach natural fertility management and holistic self care for women across the broad spectrum of our sexual and reproductive wellness, including education and support for women looking to release an unintended pregnancy at home. I work in the healing tradition of the Wise Woman Way to help women heal the deep roots of reproductive health issues through my Holistic Cycle Support Sessions. I craft specific herbal formulas to help women manage health issues ranging from PCOS and endometriosis to amenorrhea, infertility and chronic UTIs or yeast infections. My online store is new and slowly building, but my intention is to offer herbal products for women ranging from DIY feminine hygiene kits, menstrual support, natural spermicide, and herbal body oils for womb massage. I will soon be launching online classes as well, the first of which will likely be for those looking to learn how to track their cycles and manage their fertility naturally using Fertility Awareness.
Find Audrey online at indiefertility.com and on instagram at @bellywomb.botanicals