Who do I serve?
I generally offer healing for my family, friends, and members that I’m in spiritual groups with. This may change once I become a registered social worker, in that I will only be able to offer “traditional” healing to them and not anything that can be described as social work or counseling. I also serve particular communities and offer healing work to them. The main community I support is anyone who has ancestry from what is colonially known as the Philippines. The secondary community I support is anyone who has identities and experiences that are not heterosexual and/or not cisgender, and who also identifies as Black and/or Indigenous and/or a Person of Colour (often under the acronyms of QTBIPOC, QTIBPOC, and 2SQTBIPOC). If you fall outside of those communities, I can still offer healing to you, just know that I prioritize my communities because of how they support me and receive very little support or access to the kinds of healing they want and need. This means that I tend to book community members first, and those outside of those communities will be put on a waiting list or booked further down in the month.
Where do I serve?
Currently, as of September 2018, I mostly serve within the Tkaronto/Toronto region, in the territories of the Tionontati, Wyandot, Haudenosaunee, and Anishinaabe. Anywhere that I can get to using the GO Train is acceptable, and I prefer to travel to people personally, as my home is not particularly accessible to receive visitors. On occasion, I will travel to the Odaawaa/Ottawa region, in unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory, but because it is not on a regular basis, I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to see you when I visit. I can do some forms of healing long distance, over chat, Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook video, or the phone– though that would mostly be emotional support and active listening. If you would prefer I come to visit your town/city, contact me to organize a weekend pay-what-you-can retreat for your local community and I would be happy to run group rituals and sessions with your people.
When do I serve?
Currently, I have a part-time job and I do not offer healing all the time. If you would like spiritual and religious healing sessions, Tuesdays and Fridays are best, with occasional Sundays for emergencies. For all other kinds of healing, I can visit you or meet with you on whatever day is most convenient for your schedule. I need at least 48 hours to book in advance, though if I am having a particularly busy month, it may take two weeks for me to visit you in person.
Why do I serve?
Everyone and anyone has the capacity to heal. I believe that healers are vessels for the work, and healing works through them. I also believe that though we all have capacity, we all have different gifts to offer based on life experiences, training, and inheritance. I serve because of the gifts I have in working with spirits and energy, partly inherited from my great-grandmother Sabrina Oppiana Estrella, my great-aunt Adelina Estrella Albaniel, and my grandmother Lorenza Olivario Estrella. As a baby, my family was attacked by an aswang, and in surviving that attack, it initiated life-long sickness that would eventually lead me on a path of compassion for others and learning as many ways as possible to heal myself. Whatever I have learned on my healing journey, I share freely with others.
What happens in a healing session?
The first thing I do is try to make you as comfortable as possible by asking questions. Are you okay with eye contact? How is the volume of my voice? Am I sitting too close or too far? Do you want me facing you or beside you? Do you want to be sitting, lying down, or on the floor? Do you want me to be in a closed space or do you want the door open? Do you prefer to be touched, i.e. your hand held, or do you prefer no touch at all? Would you like a blanket? Would you like some water or tea? Would you like to rearrange anything in the room?
Once it’s established that you feel as comfortable as you can in the environment we’re both in, I then talk a little bit about transparency, confidentiality, and the taboos that I’m under. I will tell you that according to the laws of the land, I am obligated to report to the authorities of the land if I find out about active suicidal ideation, active intent to harm, or harm to a minor, otherwise I could be prosecuted and jailed, so please consider carefully what you disclose to me. I have spiritual taboos where I cannot set a price for spiritual healing and accept donations only. I also cannot eat meat unless I have killed and prayed over the animal myself, or it was killed and prayed over by people I trust. I cannot partake of any drug (including alcohol, coffee, chocolate, green tea, black tea, etc.) unless prescribed by a doctor or unless it is part of a ritual. I also cannot do any form of healing if I am severely sick or injured in any way, to ensure that that energy does not pass to you. If we happen to meet outside of the healing session, I will not approach you to respect your privacy, unless you approach me first. Once I become a registered social worker, there may also be other regulations that I will have to disclose to you so that you understand the limitations that I am restrained by in our healing work together.
After that, I ask you what healing means to you. If you need more probing questions, I may ask specifics, like what kind of healing have you received in the past, what did you like, and what did you not like. Do you prefer Western healing in the form of counseling and coaching? Do you prefer spiritual, religious, traditional, pagan, and/or indigenous forms of healing? Do you prefer healing justice work?
If you prefer more Westernized approaches, I explain how I use anti-oppressive practice (AOP), narrative therapy, cognitive and dialectical behavioural therapy (CBT/DBT), somatics, peer support, emotional release, and the arts. This means that we can discuss how outside social forces contribute to your problems, talk a lot about how you see yourself and how that can change, discuss ways to unlearn behaviours you no longer want and re-learn behaviours that you would consider more positive for you, have me as a supportive and validating ear, work with pain and triggers in your body to uncover and release painful memories and incidents, support you in expressing your emotions through sounds/weeping/body movements, and creatively working on your emotions, memories, or problems using a variety of art forms.
If you prefer more spiritual approaches, I explain that I begin by giving an offering and prayer to the Creator/God, Ancestors, and Guardian Spirits/Angels of you and me, as well as to the spirits of place and the Land. I then ask you if I can cleanse the space we’re in with smoke, water, salt, sound, or my samod/walis tambo so that we can prepare our spirits for healing work. After the cleansing, I ask if I can do hula/palad/divination, which means I am asking permission for your Ancestors and Guardian Spirits to communicate with mine using my divination tools to send messages to us both regarding your healing journey. These divination tools look like cards I have drawn myself that is loosely based on the Tarot, glass beads, shells, cloth with intricate drawings on them, breaking a raw egg in a glass, burning candles on porcelain plates, pieces of wood and string, and looking at your palm. While doing divination, I will most likely explain to you a Bisayan/Bikol creation story as part of the teachings of the divination tools and how the spirits are speaking through them and to you. Occasionally, a spirit may be “channeled” through me or speak through my mouth.
If you prefer healing justice work, I combine both approaches that I described above. For more information on healing justice work, please read this amazing article by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha: http://micemagazine.ca/issue-two/not-so-brief-personal-history-healing-justice-movement-2010%E2%80%932016
Regardless of what approach we start with, I will then ask you what you would like to work on for this healing session. We can work on any and all of the following (though usually one thing per session depending on how much time we have): emotional concerns like grief and rage, behavioural and social concerns like addictions and codependence and managing abusive people in your life, negative/dangerous ideation, soul wounds/trauma, energetic/psychological support for physical healing, curses, hauntings, dreams, and more. Or perhaps a (w)holistic approach that covers multiple areas. Depending on your answer, we’ll figure out together what options we can use. This can range from handouts with exercises, the use of crystals, herbs, affirmations, sigils, touch, bodywork, energy work, chanting/singing/praying together, lighting candles to saints and/or deities, referrals to support groups, the creation of charms/talismans, and strategizing for collective and direct action against oppressive institutions.
We would end the session with a check-in of how it went for you, and whether you would like to book another session now or contact me later. If we did any form of spiritual healing, we would thank the Creator and all the spirits that worked with us, and then cleanse the space and each other. I would then ask you to take the offering and place or bury it by a tree close by or near your home.
If you were attending a weekend retreat that I was facilitating, it would very much be a spiritual approach, though with planned group ceremony, arts-based activities, food, breaks, and spending time with the Land.
Whether after a retreat or one-on-one session, I will try my best to follow-up with you, or make myself accessible to you if things come up for you while healing, and whether further support is needed.
How do I receive payment?
I cannot set a price for the spiritual healing work that I do, though once I become a registered social worker, you can book me as a social worker using a sliding scale that I will advertise. This is because there is a tradition among my family and my people that if we ask money for spiritual healing, it becomes more difficult for us to be a vessel for the healing work. However, if you are pleased with the spiritual healing you received, please donate to my Patreon so that I can support my Elders, teachers, and community healing work. I also accept an exchange of goods and/or services, depending on what is being offered. Please check in with me before you offer something– I may not have the time in my life to take you up on it or space in my home to store it. Meals or assistance in chores around the home are always welcome. Please try not to donate to me personally (this does not include my Patreon) until you know for sure that the work has been successful or is complete in some way.
Am I the right fit for you?
Now that you’ve read through everything, I want you to consider if I’m the right healer for you. Do you have regular access to other Western counselors or spiritual healers and are not from the communities I serve? Perhaps you should seek those people out, so that it makes space for folks who have a greater need. Are you curious and want to try me out for “entertainment”? Please do not do this, as I could have been spending time with folks that are suffering or in distress who need healing. Are you anti-spiritual and/or bigoted in any way? It will be difficult for you to take me seriously and consider my support valid, and you may be better suited to seek help from someone else. Do you want me to heal someone other than yourself? I cannot do that without their consent, so please have them contact me too. My mannerisms can also range from gentle and loving, to clownish and teasing, to grave and intense. This could be due to the spirits I’m working with at the time, or the mood being created between the two of us. If you have a very specific concept of what a healer should look like, talk like, or act like, I may surprise you, and not in a way that you would like, so please consider that and be upfront if you feel uncomfortable or if we’re not a right fit once we meet. I will do my best to refer you to other folks once I understand further your boundaries and needs.
If you have any further questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Diyos Mabalos!