Sarah M. Sophia, B.A. (Hons), MA, has been a student of Plant Medicine for 18 years. After dedicating several years, and three graduate degrees, to the academic study of the therapeutic import of shamanic states of consciousness and of psychedelic medicine, she was led to Quechua Maestro Juan Naupari in 2005 and began a long course of apprenticeship and healing with Grandmother Ayahuasca - one which would result in the healing of a decade-long battle with a chronic, debilitating illness; the resolution of complex-post-traumatic stress disorder; the healing of a lifelong eating disorder; and the eventual transmutation of complicated grief disorder.
Sarah holds graduate degrees in Classical History & Philosophy, Religious Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies where the focal point of her SSHRC-funded research was Transpersonal Psychology, the therapeutic import of shamanic states of consciousness, the rise of cross-cultural Vegetalismo in the early 2000s, and the globalization of Ayahuasca. She has additionally trained in Relational Somatic Therapy and, since 2016, has devoted a large chunk of her studies to working with a team of counsellors and therapists striving to understand the connection between Plant Medicine healing and deep trauma resolution.
Since 2009, she has worked within the framework of North American Plant Spirit Medicine. In addition to having undertaken isolation diets and built relationships with a handful of Amazonian Teacher Plants (i.e., Bobinsana, Noya Rao, Amazonian Black Tobacco), she predominantly works with a group of 25 North American Power Plants, more than half of which she has undertaken long “dietas” with, each ranging from 3 to 8 months in duration. Sarah carries more than 100 personal shamanic power songs, ceremonial songs, and icaros – gifts received from the Plants and Spirits through her 14 years of dieting with Master Plant Teachers.
Sarah additionally apprenticed with Cree Elder, Okimaw Piesew Awasis, who hails from a family of traditional Medicine Carriers whose native lands are located around the Thunderchild Reservation in Saskatchewan, Canada. In 2016, she received the great honour of being passed a traditional First Nations Medicine Bundle, a Sacred Pipe, and the rites to pour Sweatlodge. Her ceremonial names, “Blue Thunder Woman” and “White Lightning Bear” were received through this lineage, as were the rites to carry certain prayers, teachings, songs, and ceremonial tools.
Her approach is one that is grounded in the local medicine signatures of western North America and held within the web of local Plant Medicine wisdom. It combines certain traditional, indigenous understandings of medicine and ceremonial practices with “western” psychoanalytic and earth-based practices. Her retreat offerings, courses and counselling practice cater to the unique struggles and challenges confronting individuals who have been weaned and raised in “western” (namely North American and European) socio-cultural contexts.
In her therapeutic practice, she works within a wholistic framework – one which acknowledges that each individual is a complex web of intersecting dimensions which includes the physical body, the emotional body, the mental body, and the energetic-spiritual body. To support and guide an individual along the Evolutionary Path (i.e., the Path of Personal Development & Healing) is to treat all facets and dimensions of the individual. Some of the core modalities woven through Sarah’s practice include those born out of her study of Relational Somatic Therapy, Inner Child & Core Belief Work, Shamanic and Energetic Practices, and Psychoanalytic Inquiry.
Over the course of the past decade, in addition to working with hundreds of private clients, she has additionally facilitated dozens of Trauma-Resolution Group Retreats and offered two popular programs in Intuitive Development and Plant Spirit Shamanism.