Artist of the Week: Natalia Karoway from Sweet & Sacred

Posted on Posted in Artist of the Week, Be Inspired.

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JG: Ritual and ceremony have always seem to me to be very creative acts, which is one of the reasons that it’s so important for me to incorporate them in my daily life. Through expressing my creativity within daily devotion, I feel a deeper and more authentic connection to what I consider sacred. When I discovered Natalia’s world on Instagram, I saw her work not only as a healer, but also an artist. I’m so happy to share with you the beauty of Natalia’s creative and healing offering with Sweet & Sacred.

 

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NK: I am a lover and practitioner of shamanism, herbalism, and sacred ceremony.

I have a BA in Studio Art and an incredible love to create. Though my medium has changed over the years, my passion for bringing beauty into the world has never diminished. Within my shamanic practice, it is the gorgeous prayer ceremonies that light me up so fully. Through herbalism, it is the alchemy of plants turned body-mind-soul medicine that enchants me.

I have trained extensively through The Four Winds Society, Jose Luis Herrera, and The Boston School of Herbal Studies. I have also been blessed enough to receive rites of passage and training from multiple medicine lineages—and from the land itself—in the high Andes of Peru. Shamanism and herbalism merge seamlessly as a deeply empowering path and I am incredibly grateful to live as a modern day medicine woman.

No matter what project I have my hands in, my intention is to always create from an earth centered and spirit guided space and to bring beauty, healing, and empowerment to the world.

I started the Sweet & Sacred Botanica as an expression of all that I am. It is the most complete representation of my soul, fusing artistry, shamanism, and herbalism and the wonder contained in each. I take pride in creating healthy, organic, and ethically wild crafted products for ceremony, healing, and beauty. And it is my greatest honor to share them with you.

Though I am a wanderer at heart, I am currently living and loving in Massachusetts with my web designer husband where we enjoy exploring nature, sitting in ceremony, laughing like crazy, and dreaming up our next adventure.

 

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I feel so blessed to live quite a unique life and one that is unlike anything that I used to see for myself. I held a deeply rooted belief that was once dictating my daily life—go to college, get the best job you can, and live for weekends. Spending a few years post-college working for a corporate textile company awakened my desire to work creatively, but for myself. I loved spending my days brainstorming, looking for inspiration, and creating, but I really wanted to be working towards my dream—not someone else’s.

I spent a few years really on a journey of finding myself. I think we all need that opportunity—to play, learn, explore, try things on and shed some others. I can see how each stop along the way has influenced where I am today and even this place is still one of evolution. Once I found shamanism, something clicked for me and I really discovered my medicine and a foundation on which to build the rest of my work.

Today, I am my happiest when I am deeply involved in creative projects. Over the last year, there have been no shortage of long term, super elaborate endeavors and I am so grateful for that! Writing Living Sacred Ceremony was a good year of work and the kind of project I thrive with. Being a visually creative project that included shamanic ceremonies and teachings just fit me like a glove. I was able to work with my BFF Addie as the photographer and that was so amazing. She just gets me and is so good at her craft. My husband is a designer and he usually does my book layouts, but he was busy with his own epic project, so I took on the design of the book as well. I had a ton of fun with it!

 

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{Living Sacred Ceremony}

Once Living Sacred Ceremony was launched, I was poking around for what was next. I’m not a big fan of rest—I get bored! I was diving really deep into my herbalism studies and making tons of plant medicine. I had also been in process of opening an etsy shop as a service project for my dearest shamanic teacher’s non-profit, Andean Research Institute. At that time, I had my own surge of inspiration for a little shop that I could create with ceremonial objects, herbal therapeutics, and earth based beauty items. Out of this, the Sweet & Sacred Botanica was born!

So these days, I commune with plants, turn them into luscious products, work on branding and marketing, and pray that I get to share my work far and wide. And of course, there is always a healthy dose of my own ceremonial work, throughout the moon cycle, the changing seasons, and whenever the call is felt.

 

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{Where I find inspiration today}

I just might spend a little too much time on instagram! I’m such a visual person and scrolling through beautiful photos just captures me. There are so many amazing ceremonialists and herbalist all over the world and instagram is the way I connect with their work. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, there is something more gorgeous and more unique than ever that I will discover on there. It helps me continue to raise the bar in my work and to not get complacent.

More spiritually, I find inspiration through shamanic journeywork, dreamwork, and from time spent in ceremony and nature. I get incredibly clear working with the rhythm of my shamanic rattle—creating a strong intention and taking a journey to find the answer. It works like a charm!

 

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{Daily ritual}

Each day, I make an effort to give an offering of gratitude to pachamama, the spirit of our mother earth. I call to her and say a prayer of gratitude that acknowledges all of the blessings she provides. I give a small handful of tobacco and other sacred herbs as a physical carrier of this prayer. In the Peruvian shamanic tradition, ayni, or sacred reciprocity, is a foundation of all life. I work to not take the beauty of life for granted and to stay in ayni with all. I also check in with my plants and see what they might need or what they have to give. If they are ready to share their medicine, I always leave an offering to their spirits before I harvest, again, in gratitude and ayni. Oh, and I also check in with any of my in-process herbal products, shake them up as necessary, and pray that they will be amazing healers to anyone they have the opportunity to touch. Other than these, the rest of my day is pretty fluid, the way I like it!

 

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To learn more about Natalia and her work, visit her website Sweet & Sacred, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Check out Living Sacred Ceremony to infuse your life with the beauty of ritual and to celebrate gratitude as an invitation for more blessings.

 

JennGrosso-Bio-Photo-e1402961929559Jenn Grosso hails from a far and distant land impervious to the mundane and the conventional. Her eclectic interests always begin with an overwhelming curiosity, which catapults her into fanatical investigations and explorations. With a penchant for all things beautifully extraordinary, Jenn recognizes the importance of honoring her shadow self and the medicine of everything around her. Embracing her inner sacred creative, Jenn plays host to the dance of shadow and light, while smiling at the fleeting nature of it all.

Shamelessly wearing her heart on her sleeve, Jenn can typically be found with a book in hand, mala around her neck, and skipping to the beat of her own drum. Connect with Jenn on her blog Perilsoftheliving, Facebook, Instagram and on Twitter.

 

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