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Ritual-based beauty for your inner shaman. Ceremonie integrates shamanic and other earth spirituality rituals with plant science to offer safe and effective skin solutions and increased well-being.

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Ceremonie offers the latest news and musings on beauty and skincare, shamanism, spirituality, wellness, rituals, vibrational therapy, healing modalities, and other ways to raise our vibration.

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UNDER THE NEW MOON: DECOLONIZING, GROWTH, MANIFESTING

Mimi Young

Sometimes, my own fears and irrational habits surprise myself. I have internalized oppression of general Chinese/Taiwanese culture (not to mention cultural purging that modern China has experienced) and Christian patriarchy; being a female in a white-centric worldview also adds nuanced complexity. So many painful and limiting layers. So much living small and self-oppression. But I'm hopeful. I think the first step is awareness, then release, and lots and lots of patience and self-love. I find using shamanic and ritual-based practices effective in identifying the limitations as well as work through them. (For those who know me and my work, I’m all about integrating the spiritual with practical, everyday life. Spirituality without real-life application is lip service).

I did a powerful New Moon ritual last month and invited spirits allies I have a relationship with, and my deceased grandfather (who had escaped China during a tumultuous and pivotal time and fled to Taiwan to seek political freedom) to surround me with support. It was as much of a spell to commit to personal growth as well as a surrender of me being comfortable enough to walk with my demons and call them my friends. You’d think my personal and professional work shamanically journeying would make me more open to Spirit, but this lesson of trust, trust, trust, is something I am still learning how to do.

I then wrote down some goals - all of which were completely impossible to achieve in my rational mind. They were (in my mind) lofty goals - some likely would take a year to achieve. I had deliberately put down ambitious goals because it was a challenge to live big - to show up in a way where I am not downplaying who I am, where I can embrace where I came from. What's incredible is that I just reviewed my goals these past couple of days (as I prepare for a New Moon ritual tomorrow), and all but 2 goals (there were 8) - have manifested - shifts in how I relate to work, to my relationships, to my health. I am overwhelmed with breathless awe and inexplicable gratitude. I am also pinching myself ever so often wondering why I waited so long to show up fully. What was I so afraid of? How can I call those demons ‘bad’, when the devil’s work in whispering lies is to invite us to explore our greatest truths? Releasing duality, layer by layer, is so liberating. As I let go of what I cling to, my hands are freed to invite new, prosperous, and loving realities in.

Happy New Moon, beloved tribe.
 

Mimi Young
founder + plant spirit medicine practitioner

For those in the Vancouver area, I would love to see/meet you at an upcoming Ceremonie Workshop!
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Image credits: Me, taken by Heather Pennell of The Essence Oracle

HOW DID I BECOME A SHAMANIC PRACTITIONER?

Mimi Young

shamanic practitioner

Many have asked me this question, or how did I choose to be involved with plant spirit medicine. As someone who has remained out of the public's eye, and has stayed quietly behind the Ceremonie brand, I am also beginning to become more visible, adding a distinct personal element to my work that didn't exist before. We learn so much from stories, including our own, and so I share it here:

It's has been a long journey that involves evolving through archetypes to develop an ever-increasing understanding of myself and the worlds (seen and unseen) around me. I come from a home where my mother is a devout evangelical Christian and my father, an equally devout atheist. The paradigm I was raised in was black and white - be it if it was rooted in science and the rational, or religious conditioning and tenets. Deep down, I had always connected with spirits and mysticism - my first friends, as a young child, were the great Cedar tree spirits - Grandma Tree and Grandpa Tree, as I had called them (and still do). I also spoke to fruits and vegetables (I even named a doll Celery). The rational world crept in, pressing me and I naturally lost touch with these allies for some time and became well versed and articulate in more widely-accepted world views. It can be easy to look back at those times as conforming, asleep, or a victim of patriarchy, but I also see those decades as preparatory, as many myths and archetypes that exist in Judeo-Christian were taken from older, pagan practices. In my own story, I simply learned them in chronologically reversed order, as many people today do.

After I gave birth to my first son, the Wild Woman stirred within. Some call her Lilith, some Kali, some gave her the generic name of Witch. I called her Jezebel. She frightened me. She asked all the right questions and didn't care that she didn't have a tidy answer. She was raw, brave, wildly intelligent, could smell lies from miles away, was fiercely loyal to her loved ones, and I was scared  to death to even entertain a cup of tea with her. I was secretly afraid that she would somehow seduce some sense into me and I would lose full control of who I am. I knew that she, as the Destroyer, would kill me. 

Simultaneously, my husband and I were wanting a second child, but had difficulty conceiving and keeping the pregnancies. The timing wasn't right.

The pangs for the shadow and unknown, like contractions, only became stronger. I began experiencing rapidly increasing manifestations of clair-olfaction (sometimes also known as clair sentience), the ability to smell things that aren't physically there, and then associating them with distinct messages from the spirit world. And it was a dark walk in the desert, for I had no teacher in the form of books or workshops. I searched for teachers who have this gift, but none came on my path. So I had no choice but to listen to Jezebel. She said spend time outdoors everyday. She said look for omens and symbols. She told me about Tarot, and I committed to learning the Tarot language, a visual tongue through which spirit allies can speak to me with clarity and precision. By then, we had stopped attending church, and were promptly ostracized for doing so. We kept two couple friends from that network of well over a hundred. They were the only ones who wanted to remain in our lives. (I later released this disappointment and remarkably, I am filled with so much love - even as I write this portion of my story). And so in many ways, certain things died within me - limiting, outworn beliefs, victimhood, the need to be perfect, and like a snake, I shed and emerged. I begun to understand that the Wild Woman is my greatest protector, advocator, and mother. 

Fast forward a bit and I became pregnant again. At week 15, I began hemorrhaging, which only stopped when I reclined in bed. The first day of the bleeding, I heard the doorbell ring. When I opened the door, no one was there, but when I looked up, a large Great Blue Heron flew across me and into the expansive sky. I knew that the baby would live, despite any complications. The midwife sent me for a few medical tests and science couldn't tell me why it was happening. The instruction was to remain in bed rest until the baby reached full term. 

I am a very active person, and to ask me to lie in bed for two days with the flu is a monumental task as it is. To be on bed rest for over 5 months was a demand that challenged me in a way that I had never experienced. The idea of being removed from the physical world was enormously difficult for a type A person like me to 'endure', though by week 2, I had sufficiently wrestled with this internally, that I finally said, "Oh, all right!!!! I'll start meditating, again." So meditating I began - longer and longer sessions each day. I would break them up with an online course on aromatics and skin (essential oils, plant extracts, and other natural compounds in the context of skincare), but I did meditate roughly for 5 hours a day on bed rest. It was an immensely productive and transformative use of time. I now see this as the Universe's gift to me.

One day, during a meditation, I traveled somewhere and met some talking creatures. They said some interesting and truthful things. When I came out of the trance, I knew that something remarkable had happened. I met ancient, powerful friends. I didn't yet possess the language, but I had journeyed to the Lower World and spoke with some spirit allies. It was my first shamanic experience, and though I tried, I didn't know how to return to that realm.

My second son, Kyo, was born in the spring of 2015. The name 'Kyo' means synergy. Back on my feet and enjoying mothering my newborn and 7 year old, I had banked so much energy while off my feet, that I had the momentum to create something that can be best summarized by the Ace of  Wands coupled with the Queen (Mother) of Pentacles. I created a toning oil to help rid water retention and toxins from being immobile for so long, and the moms around me noticed, and asked if they could buy bottles to use it as cellulite oil for themselves. And so Ceremonie was born (then called Trimaran Botanicals, renamed last year). I would begin working with essential oils and enter into a conscious trance and basically was channeling their energies and personalities, and coupled it with my own trained knowledge, began formulating. It was truly alchemical. In the certified aromatherapy world, blends are termed 'synergy'. It is wondrous how Kyo helped me birth this.

While this was happening, I asked the Universe, almost as a joke (because I didn't believe it would happen), for a shaman to show up in my life to teach me. I knew it was highly unrealistic to travel extensively to Peru with two babes (and a mortgage) in tow, so I had asked Jezebel to send  someone here in greater Vancouver where I live. And she did, one week later. My formal teacher was a female shamanic practitioner, named Leona De Lang Boom. She is a second generation modern shamanic practitioner. She began when she was 18 years old, and her mother still practises it. Their specialty is in past life work and have taught me how to work with psychopomps (a spirit/creature/angels that are travel companions to afterlife as well as former lives). What's absolutely incredible is when I met mine for the first time, I fell so in love with him. He's a red crown crane, and is adorable yet strong. I didn't know it at the time, but later learned that many psychopomps are cranes. 

Ceremonie began as a clean beauty label that is focused on shamanic skin and aura care. I make the products in ritual (a blend of trance work, shamanism, hedgewitch magick, crystal therapy and moon cycles). About a year ago, I also began offering Shamanic Beauty Sessions, which are shamanic readings in the context of beauty, as well as general shamanic readings. My greatest passion, though, are my conversations (online and offline) with my clients and other members in my tribe. This sisterhood of women (mostly women, but some men, as well), ignites me to never compromise on my deepest truth, to love myself with as much vigour as a Mother Wolf, and to see the incorruptible good in others (AND THEN TELL THEM!!!). In fact, later this week, I will be offering my first spirituality/plant spirit medicine workshop series at Nectar Juicery (a wellness hub here in Vancouver, Canada), titled 'Walking The Fragrant Path: Integrating Essential Oils with Crystals, Chakras, Mantras and More'. What a wild ride, this gift called life, stranger than fiction, and wondrously beautiful. 

 

A spirited Samhain to everyone,


Mimi Young
founder + plant spirit medicine practitioner

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Terra Incognita – Unknown Land

Mimi Young

ceremonie_shamanism_masks_night
Instalment two by Alena Walker shares a topic both personal and universal: individual identity defined through spiritual and physical travel. Here, the wordstress weaves imagination and the manifested, spirit and flesh, myth and certainty, human and diety, and concludes that all are facets of expression of the Unknown rather than polarized concepts. Adam Harteau's indescribable images inspire. 
-- Mimi xo
Shamanic Practitioner + founder of CEREMONIE


“I was first greeted by a dark, canine figure with glowing eyes and a pitchy voice. He neither claimed nor denied being your guardian, but he later morphed into a figure we all know - the great Anubis. He had said that you have an ability, and will always receive assistance to delve into the unknown.” I didn’t fully understand what this meant when Mimi relayed it to me after my Shamanic Reading, not in the way that I do now, on the eve of setting out into the world with one-way tickets. It is one thing to grasp the notion of the Unknown with reasoning alone – but it is quite another to feel the pulse of it in my veins and it’s weight in my body while I carry it in my bones.

I’m writing this the day before I set out on a journey that will be take me to Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina and onwards to New Zealand, where in-between I’m free to roam with my partner, a backpack and a tent as my companions. I’m putting emphasis on necessity and less on convenience. I’m searching for questions and I’m happy to learn the answers, but I’m not seeking absolute truths, only experiences that will allow me to grow avidly with the air beneath my wings.

I find myself asking – why do I travel? I’m not the first person nor am I the last, but what I’m cultivating on the precipice of this transition are the reasons why so I can root myself in intention.

It’s time to embrace a readiness to walk away from ideas or habits and in lieu of the old, I have room to grow and pursue a better version of myself. I consciously choose to experience life on the road, to pare back my possessions and to abandon routine in favor of new ones.

As Mimi had written in a previous post, “death of our egos, death to our agendas, death to our defaulted, desensitized selves.” I enter this period to connect with what matters, to grow deeper into myself and to set about pursuits that bring me the purest joy. I’m setting out to switch off and switch on, to relearn, rewild and retune.

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My Shamanic Reading reiterated what I should always remember – “identify romanticism and let it go.” We have forgotten to value mess as much as we value beauty. We’ve become so accustomed to seeking perfection in our lives that we seek it on our social media feeds, our relationships, our friendships and we cast unforgiving gazes over our own reflections. There is no searching and no discovery, no messiness and no humanity. We’ve entered a time of mass vanity and romanticism on a wider scale, from the advertising that lines our peripherals to the feeds of content that we filter through digital devices. I’m craving a different kind of expression – an honesty that is frank and open, and that doesn’t block out trial and error nor sift out the banal and difficult in favour of the refined. Discomfort, hardship and imperfection are aspects that need to be honored without dressings or decorations.

It begins with the Unknown. Starting with a spiritual consideration of what I hold close materially and saying goodbye to that which doesn’t serve me. The products we use on our bodies, the food we consume, conversations we have and surroundings we place ourselves in are all subject to our choosing. This is our prerogative.

What each country demands of me, I’ll try my best to provide it – in the achingly uncomfortable, tiring, inspiring, and invigorating circumstances that lie outside the control of my scheduling. I can’t plan in advance, I can only prepare. There’s a great knowing to be yielded from surrendering to the energy of unfamiliarity.

As borders are threatened and boundaries drawn fiercely in the face of Trump and Brexit, there has never been a greater time to look eye-to-eye and talk in new languages, to give myself to the subtleties of voices I don’t understand so that I can taste the words of foreign tongues.

 

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It’s a time to touch the earth with hands and feet and take deep, slow breaths.
It's a time to feel the wind on my flesh and be enveloped in the warm grasp of a new climate.
Lose touch with vanity however fleeting, so I can live in the physical and feel as one separated from the demands of appearance.
It’s time to sit at the water’s edge and dip in the current. It's time to allow my mind to empty in the crystal clear, where my thoughts are free to wander. The earth speak and my soul will listen.

We are wild beings and we are one.
Be bold. Be kind.
Stay free.
Touch the earth.
Meet and speak.

It is our birthright to be free in this way.
It’s time to sow the seeds of my nature.

 “What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - It's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” – Jack Kerouac

Terra Incognita is Latin for “unknown land” and while I was researching this phrase I came across the work of Adam Harteau who created a beautiful body of work comprising painting, drawing, collage, photography and mixed media inspired by his travels to Mexico, Central and South America. I think the discovery of Adam’s work - which is coincidentally inspired by the region that I’m setting out to explore– is a sign that is this exactly what I should be doing. Terra incognita, I come with opens arm.
 

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Words by Alena Walker, writer, fashion editor, and stylist born in rural Northern Ireland. A cultivator of local and international experiences, nature draws Alena close and allows her to tell stories through photography, paint, poetry, and prose. As a natural roamer and soulful artist, Alena describes her work as inviting consciousness and exceeding boundaries, "...where conscious consumption and environmental activism form the bedrock of my focus. I work only with ethical designers and I'm trying to make an impact on the world by creating consciously." 


For more information on plant spirit medicine, shamanic beauty and aura care, and all things shamanic, vibrational, and pagan, connect with us via Instagram or Facebook. Wishing all a vibrant, delightful, and flowing Lunar New Year, honouring the supreme New Moon.

 

 

 

 

 

THE WINTER ABYSS

Mimi Young

katebellm_yule2016

This achingly beautiful winter piece, custom written by our UK-based guest contributor, Alena Walker (her bio at the end), functions as dream, prayer, and love song to our glorious Mother Earth. Paired with photographer Kate Bellm's tropical compositions that drip our internal, humid longings, the images provide luminous portrayals of what humanity yearns on Mothernight, the eve of the darkest day of each year, Yule (or Winter Solstice). Together, may we reflect, give thanks, cast spells, shamanically journey, dance and sing to Gaia, our Mother, Grave, and Womb. 
-- Mimi xo
Shamanic Practitioner + founder of CEREMONIE


In winter, the thickest feeling of stillness surrounds us. In a single moment we are struck by the abyss that unfurls on the horizon. The whole world is holding its breath. Lessons don’t come only in moments of fertile beauty, in the tingle of sunshine’s sweet kiss or with the adrenal prick of hairs that engulf our flesh when we stand on a cliff edge, faces borne against the wind.

Change comes in moments of solitude, when you bury yourself in the bosom of Mother Earth, relentless in the pursuit of no clear direction. Your every step squelches in the muddy underfoot that glues you to forest floor and ice chaps your lips, freezing your breath and numbing your core.

We drift like ice sheets as we walk under the treetops’ thinning veil, which falls like a tapestry, mottled and merciless to the blowing gales. Leaves may tumble from great heights, but on the ground they become a rolling blanket worn on the shoulders of earth’s frosted floor. Let the sky cry! Let the world overflow in its tears and strip as bare as the branches while you swim in the current.

In these moments we gain clarity and connection; our identity changes at the influx. This is our opportunity for recollection and balance. Only with the darkness can we appreciate the light and only then can we appreciate its beauty.

The finite gives birth to infinite worlds in the bloom and break of growth and rebirth. We are spirits carried by the wind, picked up as soil and seed and carried across the plains in search of ourselves. It’s a change that happened because we chose to move towards it.

When left to its own majesty, Mother Earth offers everything that we need.

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The darkness is cabin fever
And we get restless in the night
In this ever-stretching blackness
We swallow our sight

We brace the cold with brittle bones
We gather in the still
Release all that empties us
Sip what makes us full

We shed our skin like crumbled leaves
Spiked umbrellas to the sky
Winter is our secrecy
Seek with smoke-stung eyes

The trees are shaved to skeletons
Our bodies like cocoons
An endless offering of frequencies
Pared of all its bloom

Our breath bellows to the celestial
As we plead and redefine
We are great seeds buried in the brisk
With pockets full of moonshine

 

katebellm_shamanicritual


Words by Alena Walker, writer, fashion editor, and stylist born in rural Northern Ireland. A cultivator of local and international experiences, nature draws Alena close and allows her to tell stories through photography, paint, poetry, and prose. As a natural roamer and soulful artist, Alena describes her work as inviting consciousness and exceeding boundaries, "...where conscious consumption and environmental activism form the bedrock of my focus. I work only with ethical designers and I'm trying to make an impact on the world by creating consciously." 


We will be offering another story from our guest contributor next month! For more information on plant spirit medicine, shamanic beauty and aura care, and all things shamanic, vibrational, and witchy, connect with us via Instagram or Facebook. Wishing all a joyful Yule filled with ritual, love, insight, and joy.