A space of healing, of talking, of understanding: the women at this discussion share their own stories, their own understanding of divine femininity and how they got to where they are today. Behind their reasoning for the panel, Moskehtu Consulting Firm states that Indigenous women typically face higher rates of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Chenae Bullock, founder and CEO of Moskehtu Consulting Firm, hoped that this panel would not only provide an opportunity of empowerment for women globally, but more specifically a push for Indigenous women to continue their involvement in the protection and promotion of their culture, language, and traditions.
Who is Chenae Bullock?
Enrolled member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation Tribe and descendant of the Montauk Tribe from Long Island, New York, Chenae Bullock holds the titles of founder and CEO of Moskehtu Consulting Firm, managing director of Little Beach Harvest (the Shinnecock’s first cannabis wellness company), author of 50 Plant Medicines: Indigenous Oral History and Perspective, and auntie-mom to many.
On Monday February 13, her firm Moskehtu Consulting held “Divine Feminine Medicine: A Virtual Discussion” featuring ten women including Bullock herself who hoped to help others on their path to transformation.
The Panelists: Indigenous Leaders and Entrepreneurs on The Divine Feminine
The panelists chosen to speak on the Divine Feminine and Indigenous culture came from many different places across the United States and Canada, representing tribal nations such as the Unkechaug, Dine (Navajo), Seminole, Shinnecock, Mashpee Wampanoag, Afro-Taino and Tuscarora-Taino. They included:
- Chenae Bullock: CEO and founder of Moskehtu Consulting Firm, managing director of Little Beach Harvest, author of 50 Plant Medicines: Indigenous Oral History and Perspective
- Alyssa "Sparrow" Williams: founder and owner of Sparrow’s Crystal Gift Shop
- Junise “Golden Feather” Bliss: clan mother of the Mashantucket Pequot Line of the Simeon Simons and enrolled member of the Seaconke Wampanoag Tribe
- Carlena “Two Feathers” Carter: clan member, grandmother, and recent great-grandmother
- Ahsaki Chachere: founder and CEO of the first Native-owned cosmetics and skincare line Ah-Shi Beauty
- Tomasina Chupco: member of seminole tribe of Florida, founder of jewelry brand Indigenous Intentions
- Brailyn Frye: mom of three, baker and dessert maker
- Pura Fé: singer-songwriter, musician, oral storyteller, and activist
- Esther Lee “Quiet Dawn of Winter”: certified health, wellness, and lifestyle coach
- Ariel Price-Perry: member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts
- Safira Yas-iin: certified doula and midwife assistant
Divine Feminity: We Define It Ourselves
Divine femininity is a description that is personal to each of us; what one woman understands as divine feminine might be different from what another woman understands as her divine femininity. Here are some understandings of the phrase from women on the panel:
- “Divine feminine energy is walking in your truth” (Junise Bliss)
- “Being a nurturer” (Pure Fé)
- “Honoring yourself in your entirety” (Tomasina Chupco)
- “Fierce, strong, soft, everything at once. We are the light. We are put on this Earth to help heal, guide, and keep going for generations to come” (Alyssa “Sparrow” Williams)
- “Living in your purpose and sharing that purpose with others” (Ariel Price-Perry)
- “Being the vessel for the divine through my feminine energy is the divine feminine energy; that’s the divine feminine medicine” (Chenae Bullock)
So to me, the divine feminine is your whole being– mind, body, and soul– living to your fullest, most complete self to get to the point where you are able to lead, nurture, and guide others toward the divine feminine.
Being Black and Indigenous In A Capitalist World
As divine feminine women, some of the panelists shared what it has been like being Black and Indigenous running a business in our current capitalist society– a system that often comes into conflict with Indigenous ways of life.
Ahsaki Chachere, founder and CEO of award-winning cosmetics and skincare brand Ah-Shi Beauty, talks about what keeps her going despite the lateral violence that Indigenous women, and women generally, experience. “Business is ruthless and cutthroat: a colonized system that prevents us from doing amazing things,” said Chachere.
After a breath she adds, “Day-by-day, I’m working on balancing our traditional way of life and pushing forward into the modern world, so we’re not stuck in the ‘ancient era’ the world thinks we’re stuck in. I’m working on saying no to the big commercial brands– no you can’t use me as a token of diversity,” said Chachere.
Founder of jewelry brand Indigenous Intentions, Tomasina Chupco, mentioned something similar; that she’s figuring out a way to “Sell my tribe’s healings without exploiting it,” said Chupco. Capitalism has a unique way of marginalizing communities and then exploiting their marginalization through “diversity” training tactics, tokenism, and appropriation.
The solution? Bullock says, “We need to have our communities and ceremonies in all realms, so we can call on people who understand and bring them into our spaces.” This is the power of community, and of community across all realms, according to Bullock and the other panelists nodding in agreement: other Indigenous peoples at high-level positions to talk to who will understand the unique perspective and breakthroughs being made as Indigenous business leaders.
A Virtual Swag Bag for the Divine Feminine
Following the discussion, Moskehtu Consulting sent audience members who had watched the livestream a virtual swag bag filled with links and information about the speakers and their companies and causes. In addition to the diverse backgrounds of the panelists, Bullock noted in her thank-you letter that viewers of the live discussion had included representatives of the Tesuque Pueblo, Long Plain First Nation, Suquamish, Mandan and Hidatsa, Passamaquoddy, and Nanticoke tribes among others.
To continue education about Indigenous cultures and further the work of these amazing women, check out:
- Chenae Bullock’s book 50 Plant Medicines: Indigenous Oral History & Perspective
- The Moskehtu Box: A gift box focused on herbal education
- Indigenous Intentions: Jewelry and accessories
- Sparrow Crystal Gift Shop: Crystals, accessories, candles, herbal wellness and home decor products
- Ah-Shi Beauty: Cosmetics and skincare
- The music of Pura Fe
- “Pick My Brain” brainstorming and consulting sessions (including a discounted 2-hour strategy session)
- Elevate Aesthetics: Skincare, waxing, and lashes services
- Altogether Marketing: Woman-owned branding and tech company powering the virtual discussion, created by Audrey “The Tech Diva”
So, What Is the Meaning of the Divine Feminine?
The divine feminine is “To give as much as [we] can every time, because [we] don’t know if [we]’ll always be able to” says Carlena Carter; it’s to be generous with our love, give it out freely without requirement or need for anything in return– it’s being the hug, the clarifier, the messenger when someone else needs us to be.
“Divine femininity is to love on women,” said Safira-Yasin, who has helped over 500 families as a certified doula and who’s daughter is on track to becoming a doula like her mother.
Divine femininity is self-care, it’s “healing [ourselves] and [our] babies,” says another panelist, Brailyn. It’s “intentionally creating space to deal with what comes our way” and working through it, adds Brailyn. In being the powerful women we are and guiding others, not only do we reach our full potential but others do alongside us.
Against Lateral Violence: The Unity of The Divine Feminine
“Someone, somewhere is in need of a message, in need of a hug, in need of clarity on something,” says Bullock at the end of the panel.
This message is something that was reiterated throughout the questions and answers: just like we can all be the person in need of a message, a hug, or clarity, we are all also able to be the hugger, the messenger, the clarifier. That is the divine feminine we are striving to reach.
Reaching our divine feminine is to work against the lateral violence that many Indigenous people, especially women, encounter in the face of marginalization. By loving on each other, guiding each other, healing each other, the ladies on the panel say that is reaching the divine feminine, and that it is healing lateral violence.
To find the full recording of the Divine Feminine discussion, previous discussions hosted by Moskehtu Consulting, and any future recordings find their YouTube page here.
Featured image: a screenshot from Divine Feminine Medicine: A Virtual Discussion