Name: Colleen Emery
Occupation: Master Herbalist and Owner of Emery Herbals
Tell us about yourself!: I like to describe myself as someone who is ready and able for a challenge but loves the smoothness of carefully laid plans. I am pragmatic, organized and honest. I value the simple things in life, a warm cup of herb tea, a stoked wood stove, quiet times with family. I have lived a dynamic and changing life, both in large urban centres and in extremely rural and remote locations with basic means and amenities. My connection to the Earth is what keeps me inspired and focused. I have been married for 16 years and we have a wonderful 13 year old daughter. We live in an off grid cabin in the West Kootenays of BC, Canada. I own and operate the local herbal dispensary in the village providing access to healing services for my community as well as distant clients. I teach many workshops and have an active apprenticeship program. I am inspired by strong women doing incredible work.
What is your definition of what a “wild woman” is?: A wild women is someone who has met her dark side and embraced and integrated those qualities. A wild women is in touch with all sides of herself, is her own ally, independent and has a strong relationship with Mother Earth.
How would you describe your life was like before starting your journey of being a wild woman?: My life prior to living in harmony with my wild women self was stagnated and laboured. I hid myself from myself and others, being uncertain that I could share who I was without judgement, without shame. I lived in a urban centre of a city in Canada, living a hard life of anger and sadness. There was always a portion of me that needed more, more of something I wasn't sure of, but more. Through a series of transformational events on the rugged coastline of BC I realized what this was and it was nature. It was rekindling the strong connection to nature that brought out my confidence to share my wild woman. My life took a pivot and I changed everything, I moved into a more peaceful community, I began to garden, I went to herb college, I met my love and partner, all things evolved after that fateful trip.
What were your biggest insecurities before engaging your inner wild woman?: My relationship with my body, my lack of confidence in my body and appearance were limitations that held me back initially before embracing my wild women. She was like a caged animal before I embraced her, would lash out, be wild without control, often putting me in dire or dangerous situations. I began to find the beauty in my strong body, allowed my strength to shine and my wild woman was set free.
What is your life like now that you are actively engaging your inner wild woman?: It is true and divine to my calling. I feel entirely authentic and a sense of honest connection to my right livelihood. I love my wild women, she is a true partner in my world, in my reality. She brings a deep connection to my ancestral knowledge, she protects me and my family. She has capabilities that allows me to thrive in the wild, in nature where my soul in complete and whole. My days are spent in deep immersion to my calling and I have my dark side, my wild woman, to thank. I have such gratitude for knowing her and bring her into my light. I see now that life cannot be complete without this integration. There would have been a loss of something, missing of something, that constant search for completion would still be happening if I had not embraced her.
What are your five most favorite aspects of yourself as a wild woman?: Honesty: My wild nature will not allow for falsehoods, they interrupt my path. Integrity: I am committed to my path, I do what I say I am going to do, my wildness depends on this. Passion: It drives me to make decisions, make innovative changes in my business and relationships. It was kindles my inner fire. Curiosity: I never want to stop learning, stop uncovering ideas and creative adventures. My wildness drives me to learn more do more, be more. Loyalty: I am the Mama, I am the protector of all things from our natural world, I am loyal and committed to all things that matter. My wild woman is highly protective of those I love.
What was the biggest realization, experience, or transformation that most helped you to start unleashing and embracing your wild feminine nature?: That she is me, that she was this part of me that I was desperately trying to hide at the same time as trying to embrace her qualities. I met my wild woman in a Shamanic journey during a healing session. I was led up a path to a hut high in the mountains, when I arrived she brought me to a fire in the middle of the hut. She was beautiful, dark skin, grey hair cascading down her back. We embraced and I cried. We danced and sang and held hands. The entire experience changed me. I am beyond grateful for her, she is my protector, she watches out for me, motivates me, keeps me in check to my destiny. I love her so much.
What is your favorite part of expressing your wild feminine nature?: That it is the honest expression of who I am, my authentic self, it is the place I feel the most real.
When do you feel the wildest?: In Nature. No question. Its in the misty Mountains, surrounded by the animals, birds, herbs and trees with my daughter and my husband.
Why did you decide to participate in Wild Women Unveiled.: Because I love your work Alexandra! I am really inspired by your vision. I wanted to share my story, being in my forties has brought me to a place of great joy and grounded-ness while embracing my wild feminine nature.
What is your message to other women out there who are just beginning their journey as a wild woman, or haven’t started yet but feel the call of the wild woman speaking to their soul?: Be true to your nature, listen to your instincts and be honest with yourself.