The Healing Journey is a series born out of the reality that we all have our own path to healing. When we share our journey two things tend to happen, we often find freedom in sharing our stories and we always inspire others. There is power in speaking up and it is time to tap into that power.
The mission of The Healing Journey is to provide a platform for women to connect, inspire one another and empower each other. Together we will stimulate conversation, create awareness, healing and stand together knowing that each and every one of us are unique, gifted and powerful.
It’s interesting how paths can cross, part and cross again. I’ve known Odessa Thornhill for many moons and am so very grateful that our paths have crossed once again.
Odessa Thornhill is a Multi Disciplinary Performing Artist, Naturopath and epic healer. She integrates intuitive wellness therapies into her multi-layered, transformational healing classes, programs, one to one sessions and performances. Her work is incredibly unique.
I am so very excited to introduce you to the multifaceted, all-powerful, awe-inspiring
For those who don’t know you, what is your story?
My name is Odessa. I am a multi disciplinary singer, poet, dancer. I am also a licensed Naturopath, Registered Natural Therapist Practitioner, Spiritual Intuitive and Womb Wellness Specialist.
I support and guide women on their healing journey who are actively searching for a deeper understanding of themselves and their environment. Women who are hungry and ready to do the inner work. Women who are committed to creating stronger connections to spirit, purpose and to their heart’s deepest desire.
I was initiated into this healing work by virtue of my serendipitous birth. Some of my earliest memories are of me in kindergarten at 5 years old, massaging the shoulders of my teacher while she read to the other students. I also have memories of sitting in class cutting my mother’s pillowcases to make mini tissue filled pillows for my teachers. I’ve always been naturally drawn to people in pain and discomfort, wanting to help and soothe them in any way possible.
How did you get into the deep healing work that you do?
In my teenage years I had a very strong desire to become a cardiovascular surgeon. I learnt at the beginning of my 20s that I would follow the path of non-invasive alternative/traditional medicine and natural health. When it found me, I knew instantly this healing space was where I needed to be. I had the curiosity of a child and really just wanted to know more… about the spirit, more about the body, about how we can heal and how to facilitate true regeneration. I allowed it to consume me. I was searching feverishly, asking questions, reading books about experiences that were completely out of the box to and unrealistic to most, but it made sense to me. I was studying and applying the work on my own.
When I was introduced to my teacher, I knew this was who I would be learning from. They say when the student is ready the teacher will appear, I’ve always been one to follow Divine Inspiration even before I consciously knew what it was. After a few healing courses with different instructors I knew when had I found my mentor, and committed myself to her. I didn’t second guess my decision, nor her capacity. My initiation had begun.
When did you become aware of your womb/ womb space?
I officially became aware of my womb space, as the sacred gateway that it is, with my first child at 19. Around the age of seventeen I had picked up one of Iyanla Vanzant’s books and read her quote for that day; “What is this question of womanhood?” I repeated it to myself, not quite understanding what it meant or what the answer was.
Growing up I had experienced physical, emotional and sexual violence which led to extreme mood swings, pent up rage, self sabotaging talk, self esteem issues and really bad habits all around. I had also developed a very strong affinity to masculine behaviour. I was rough, I was loud and played sports with the boys, and yet always had a longing to be a little more delicate and refined. When I reflect back, becoming a mother was nowhere on my radar. So finding out I was going to have a baby girl, and still not being able to answer that question of what womanhood was what began my journey into womanhood and into my womb-space. I needed to offer my unborn child something more than what I had experienced; growing up as a young black woman.
I had taken up yoga while pregnant. While practicing at home one evening, I fell asleep and that night had an inner body experience that moved me beyond words. I was travelling inside of my body and visited inside of my womb. I communicated with, surrounded and embraced my unborn baby. I woke up knowing I was going to have a daughter and confirmed it a few days later at my Doctor’s appointment. Many things changed from that moment onwards. I still didn’t have any concrete answers, but this business of womanhood was showing me its capacities and just how much reverence it required.
What experiences have been catalysts of change for you?
I have a few life long injuries. At the age of 7 I fractured my coccyx and as a result experienced severe growing pains throughout all of my childhood and teenage years. Sitting for any period of time without feeling shooting pain throughout my pelvic floor and up my spine was impossible. When I actively began studying alternative medicine in my 20s I had already been introduced, at that time to Yoga as a form of therapy which had radically transformed my life in such a short period of time. Naturally my focus was about connecting to and healing my hips, sacrum, coccyx and spine.
Another initiation into healing at that time came from reading Swami Muktananda’s Play of Consciousness and Queen Afua’s Sacred Woman. I had come across these books because it was the right time for me. Swami’s book was a glimpse into the unfamiliar but extremely familiar world of meditation. He describes his extraordinary experiences and travels into other worlds, through the light of the blue pearl. And I, having never heard of this before, was a familiar with all he spoke about. It resonated with me as Truth. It all made sense to me.
Queen Afua’s book Sacred Woman was the preliminary gateway entry and answer to that same question I had set out to understand a few years earlier. I was excited because these tomes moved me in the directions I was exploring, I was still pondering that question of womanhood, and wanting to be more feminine. My questions were becoming more textured: Who was I? Why did I have the experiences I had? Why did I manifest as a black woman and why was I part of the creative cycle of birth life and death?
I began to meet other women on their own journey to inner peace and healing and shared these unique teachings I was integrating. While learning, encouraging others something unidentifiable yet so profound was happening to me. I was entering into the season of my chrysalis.
What does the Divine Feminine represent to you?
The Divine Feminine represents the vast and ever expansive triple dark blackness pool of unknowingness, it is origin of the impulse of potential, it is where creativity is ever becoming. This is where I go when I’m with myself.
I love people, but am an introvert’s introvert. I love to be by myself (preferably in the shower in the dark), with my thoughts and imagination. I love to create things, I actually need to create things, and the Divine Feminine represents this state of being, where creative potential exists in perpetuity. It’s poetic. This is where I extrapolate my ideas, lyrics to songs and melodies for these lyrics. This was where I connect with my womb space before, during and after pregnancy. The threshold entrance to this sacred place becomes wide open. I feel its vastness as though I am a kite floating in the wind with just an anchor at the opposite end of my string to bring me back to this physical existence. It is through its being that I am able to connect with the universal energy field and transmit a healing energy to people. It is here – in the space of the divine feminine – that I connect with when I work specifically with women and their wombs. It here that I go when working with women who want to strengthen their ability to receive and carry babies.
This space is also a place where one can get lost, where one can feel completely stuck and engulfed and feel overpowered by their fears. Unable to move beyond them. Some refer to this space as pure presence, and as The Void.
The Divine Feminine is the soul quality that everyone is talking about but doesn’t quite understand. In my experiences, the Divine Feminine on earth is Embodiment of soul consciousness and how it appears in your everyday life. (NB* Soul is not a human quality, but humans strive to develop soul quality. Soul does not *feel* good or bad as most people think. Soul is concerned with the next evolutionary task and what is good for the group collective. That is all).
I have come to understand that I live on the threshold of this void as a gatekeeper, a Womb Priestess. There is much joy and very deep pain at the threshold. I literally feel those wounds of humanity in my womb and in my heart when the energy around is dense with change and transformation. I didn’t understand it for a while, it just felt as though I was living in an unstable magical yet dauntingly potential negative space, but yet was able to see people ‘as they were’ and connect to them from there, in their wounded place. I am able to help them to connect and nurse those wounds while supporting them as they develop the ability to learn the lessons of their true purpose, hurts and fears. She (the divine feminine) means so much more, from a planetary and evolutionary perspective, but for the sake of time and space, I’ll leave it at where we are.
We had quite the conversation on “jumping on the bandwagon” and what it takes to really do the work. Could you share your thoughts on this?
Ah, the bandwagon. So, like chia seeds and açaí berries, being vegetarian and removing gluten from your diet, things come up as the new fads. For example; these days every woman wants a yoni egg; is looking to do more vaginal tightening exercises; have deeper orgasm and heal their wombs from any residual hurt and trauma and I think this is great.
The energy of the feminine has been gravely suppressed. She is presently awakening via these desires and actions women and men are taking to heal. She is being anchored onto the planet by many who are waking up to her presence.
Looking closer at the womb center and our emotional life and then expanding out into the world around us, we can see that most of humanity is focused on the feel good portion of emotional existence (lust/love/idealization of our lovers) and the tensions involved (power manipulations/victim/martyr stuff). We as a collective have a generally superficial understanding and association with it (our emotions), meaning most people are very caught up with feeling good and avoid anything negative. Most are unaware of, unprepared and unwilling to do the heavy lifting required to truly get to the ‘core’ of their emotional experience and learn to be present, and in active in relationship with everything they are.
Many who enter into healing work are caught up with the lower astral, feel good, psychic work – the realm of dreams, curses, hexes and lower entities also referred to as ‘psychic healing’ which is mostly developed and felt strongly at the solar plexus. Whereas this is not bad, it’s just that there are higher and more subtle levels of healing that require a level of self work for one to gain access, and most do not move beyond the astral level because it’s comfortable for them, something they are familiar with and prefer to stay within it’s safe zone, never moving much deeper or evolving beyond what is comfortable because familiar and feels good. And this is where I find most ‘band wagonists’ hang around. In quite a few cases it becomes a case of the blind leading the blind, with everyone mixed up in the preliminary, somewhat superficial levels of healing.
I question how much people really understand the nature of this work, and if they going are willing to go the lengths needed to really engage in true healing work.
Living at the gateway as a keeper requires many levels of self sacrifice.
To engage effectively with this one must be prepared and willing to go deep into themselves and face their core shadows. One must be ready to walk beyond the general boundaries of what the collective understands. It’s a lot more profound than we think.
What are your thoughts on intergenerational healing?
My grandmother, who became an ancestor a few years ago had 10 children, 7 of which survived. I also find it interesting that my mother, my daughters and I are the only direct mother/daughter descendants of her children.
It is becoming a commonly known fact that a woman carrying a fetus is also developing and preparing the seeds/sperm of her grandchildren in her unborn baby. In traditional healing it is understood that a woman imprints her experiences her onto children from the moment of conception and throughout her pregnancy. Doctors refer to this science as epigenetics.
We also have what is called Ancestral Chi: energy gifted to us from our fore parents, our ancestors. This means we each have the information of 7 generations from our maternal maternal line (mother and father) and paternal line (mother and father) giving us 14 and 14 on each side, plus our direct genes from our biological mom and dad.
It makes me think of the passage in the bible that speaks about honouring your mother and father so that your days maybe long in the land of the lord…
Science has shown us that trauma of any kind affects the collective. Example; slavery, the holocaust, witch hunts, violent and suppressive colonizations. Studies are proving how Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (Joy DeGury) affect the future generations of the collectives that experience these circumstances.
Spirituality linked with genetics reveal to us the intricate multi-levels of trauma and healing that are asking to be addressed. When we study cells, blood and bone from this perspective, it is understood that we carry the memory of every experience on this planet in every cell based on the fact that every one of is made up of the same substance of the earth for example, our bones represent the memory of the earth, blood carries human and individual karma and spiritual, individualistic and ancestral instinctive information is imbedded each and every cell.
When an individual has a particular illness it is not only determined by their immediate circumstances but by their genetic predisposition and every other level of their existence (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, etc) if you are using multidimensional healing.
Personally, I recognize moments when I act from energies that are of my parents and my grandparents, as they manifest through me to be evolved. A weird feeling, but one that holds true.
I had one specific womb-case where my client had been overusing her sexual energy in an unhealthy way. Lots of lies and infidelity on her part had led to a messy divorce. I felt her maternal grandmother’s energy had been very involved in her life during the process to which she replied remembering a lot of nurturing and baking when she was younger. She later spoke with her mother and it was confirmed that my client had been behaving similar to her grandmother, who had been extremely unfaithful to her husband: She had been repeating a negative history she knew nothing about.
What healing work have you done in order to heal your womb/ body/ self?
My biggest work has been healing womb and emotional trauma in my life. Every training I have attended has been for me first. Part of my motivation is to help others, but my focus has been to gain a better understanding of my own issues, for I am my best experiment.
It started with Reiki, of which I am a Master Teacher, and then somatic healing; working with the body to understand how to interpret the state of the organs and muscles, bones through touch and intuition. I learned Magnetism, Ra Sekhi (Egyptian Reiki), Cranial Sacral Therapy, Color and Sound Therapy, Chinese Medicine and Massage. I was and am still on a mission to recalibrate how I walk, stand, speak and view the world around me.
I also had a deep fear of pregnancy and birth. I didn’t understand why I was holding onto this profound fear and rejection of the idea of having children, so I took a training to become a birth doula which was followed by a Traditional Mexican Medicine postpartum doula training . These initiations were so crucial for me to be able to solidify my self-confidence and my ability to birth joyfully without fear. I went on to birth my last 3 children at home.
I continued my journey with Crystal Healing, Yoni Steaming and Abdominal Massage. Yoni steaming taught me how to nourish, tone and love my reproductive system with herbs and heat from steam. I learned about herbs and food through Phytotherapy, the Healing Diets program from SNH and Multi-Dimensional Nutrition and Pathology helped me to see the various levels of nutrition I was needing. What kind of nutrition does my being need? Sun? Ether? More Water or Fire? More minerals? Whole grains?. We are not just physical, so in my work and studies I concern myself with how read and to calibrate the whole person. One level affects all others. As I began to heal, other around me benefitted because of my ability to teach in simple, practical ways through example.
What is the importance of womb healing to you as a mother?
I am 4 children into motherhood and am still learning what it means to be given the choice to accept and nourish life to the best of my abilities. I am learning that not every womb can accept babies. Not every womb carrier wants to have babies. There are wombs that have miscarried and wombs that have had abortions. There are wombs that accept to carry then create hostile environments that house their babies. Wombs that have experienced grave violence within hospital walls. There are wombs that long for babies and are unable carry them. There are wombs rife with disease and hormonal imbalance, wombs that have been sexually assaulted and are left with the secrets, pain, dark memories and sometimes offspring from these experiences. There are empty spaces where wombs once lay- they have been surgically removed. There are wombs that are tired and spent from over exertion of sexual creative energy. There are wombs that have transitioned into Queen Elder Mother phase and serve as a cauldron of wisdom..
I will always reflect on what I am learning as a healer and what influences and impressions I am passing onto my daughters, my sons, my partner, all of my children’s friends and any loved ones or strangers who will meet me in my home and spend time in my presence.
The hips are the cradle of humanity and traditionally speaking, no one can enter into this existence but through a woman. Our stories are many and our need to connect, dive deep within and be healed is essential if we are to raise up our nations to be great and mighty.
What is your message for anyone in the midst of or about to enter their healing journey?
Be gentle. Be gentle to yourself and be loving to every part of who you are because healing is not linear. You cannot and will not be able to maintain clean a neat facade while on this journey, it can and it will get down right ugly sometimes.
In the middle of change and transformation all of you comes out to play – your judge, victim, martyr, tyrant, your nasty and ugly, your maimed and injured, and the best parts you never knew existed. We must learn to embrace all of these aspects because they belong to us.
As high as we go into the light is as deep as we go into the shadow. The process of transfiguration, transmutation and transformation is a beautiful one. It is the story of the caterpillar, the butterfly and the enigmatic chrysalis.
You will learn things about yourself that you didn’t know. And if you really allow life to move through you with the least amount of resistance, your path will unfold and you will behold the true beauty of love that exists within life and it’s many facets, embodying it’s richness with an open heart preparing you to for anything.
I didn’t know that I was going to be here. I thought my talents and healing capacities would have brought me in a particular direction but I was sent down a completely different path and I understand now that had I fought those seemingly devastating changes to my plans, I would not be able to connect with my purpose and my passion in a purposeful and fulfilling way. Nor would I be able to supportive others from this place of authenticity.
So, my message to anyone reading this on their healing journey? Be gentle, be loving and embrace what life sends your way. You will thank yourself for it when all is said and done 🙂
Odessa, thank you for reaching in deep and sharing your experiences with the community.
Want to connect with Odessa Thornhill?
If you would like to connect with Odessa or find more about her work, visit her website www.cultivateyourown.com. You can also follow Odessa Thornhill on Instagram, Twitter or find her on Facebook. Join Odessa’s community in her Healing Group on Facebook.
Womb Wellness & Workshops
Looking for support in your womb healing journey? Click on over to the Womb Wellness Program. This is a program that requires you to dig deep, to face what is stored in the womb and work with it to heal, release and receive. The program combines integrative health coaching, deep womb work and Reiki to support your healing. Read more…
Not ready for the full program? Check out Womb Wellness 101. A series of workshops that educate and empower women not only to reconnect with their bodies but learn how to heal themselves naturally. Together, we look at simple ways to make changes in our lives that benefit our health and wellness. From what foods promote womb wellness to how to decrease your PMS symptoms, Womb Wellness 101 will encourage you to take a proactive role in your health. See what WW101 is coming next. Read more…
Want to share your Healing Journey?
If you are interested in sharing your Healing Journey along with Odessa Thornhill and other powerful Goddesses, please email info(at)clarekenty.ca with “The Healing Journey” in the subject line and include a little about yourself and your story, or fill out the form below and I will contact you. Please be aware that The Healing Journey series is primarily about womb healing and womb wellness.