Part of a series titled HOMEWARD: a conversation with people in the community who inspire me greatly.
I met Cree the summer I moved to Colorado, back in 2012. We pretty instantly became friends and our lives have somewhat cosmically woven back and forth into each others since. I immediately thought of Cree for this series because of the way she speaks to healing (especially with femme bodies) and how it is rooted in so much- from the natural world, to deep compassion, her Mexican heritage, and so much more. Receiving her newsletters at the start of her business Wise Woman Sanctuary, always felt like a big warm hug in themself, and I wanted to share her wisdom and being with you all. I think we can all make space to learn from healers right now. Especially for my Front Range, Colorado friends, meet Cree!
Name: Cree Cornejo
Preferred Pronouns: She/my
Occupation/Title: Traditional Healing Artist
Homeplace: Nederland, Colorado
Bio: Cree is a Traditional Healing Artist based out of Colorado. She performs intuitive bodywork sessions that weave the wisdom of the divine with structural technique. She also crafts sacred oils and remedies with her signature seal where each medicine is vibrationally charged beneath the new and full moon, harmonized with drum and rattle, and blessed and prayed over before it is sent to the recipient. Cree considers herself a compassionate healer above all, listening to one body at a time.
Are there any rituals you cultivate in your home? If so, what?
I grew up living in Mexico for half of the year where my parents are from and where my abuela & abuelo still live. Every morning, my abuelita Chila was up at dawn grinding down masa for the day and because I was a quiet young one, my abuela didn’t mind having me in the kitchen sitting on the rough rock counter and simply watching. Neither of us would speak, and only the constant, rhythmic grind of corn against stone could be heard as the sun turned from warm to hot.
This is what I came to know as ritual ~ work that is infused with so much tenderness and reverence that it alchemizes into the sacred, naturally. Therefore, all that is done gently and with care becomes ritual, as I learned from my beautiful abuela. Making hot cacao in the morning is an act; stirring the pot slowly, adding in the spices while humming, watching the dark brew pour from pot to cup, sensually — is a ritual, and one that I hold very dear to me.
What has been your favorite uses for these pieces?
I was taken to the Field Tumbler as my buddy around the house. With its sweet thumb groove, it nestles perfectly into my hand while I go from my kitchen to creative space to healing office throughout the day. I also quickly fell in love with the Board that most often serves as an altar-style base where I place candles, wild-harvested sage, and a crystal during healing sessions.
What does the word “vessel” symbolize/mean to you?
In my work, I often refer to the Womb as a holy vessel, in the sense that a “vessel” has a most sacred duty: to hold and to carry. Much like the great Womb that has the powerful work of holding ancient wisdom and primal knowledge and the mission to carry it forward through the present and into the future, so too does the vessel. When a mother pours her love into a cup of tea and offers it to her child, this principle is seen and felt clearly. That vessel, that cup, becomes the medium through which the mother’s love will be held and carried until it passes into the next vessel, the child, and how that child will then become a vessel for that love, and so forth.
When speaking about a holistically sustainable future, what do you feel is a step we all need to be taking to truly get there?
My perspective on sustainability is tied into the holistic understanding of Consciousness. In other words, how one can interpret the body as a microcosm of the earth and how in this way all that is done to the earth is done directly to the Self. When there is any kind of denial or separation of the Self there is undoubtedly also a lack of sanctity towards the Self, and thus it will be reflected in the external world. A very simple analogy, but one that provides clarity, could be how one knows that if she is consuming a highly unhealthy amount of say, sugar, her body will begin to react negatively, over time. First, her mood is off, then her heart is pounding in anxious highs and lows, and over years of this mistreatment, the whole system begins to take on the wear tear and with cells decaying much more rapidly, her inner ecology has had serious havoc wreaked upon it and comes the inevitable early shutting down of the entire environment. This person can have knowledge that her constant unhealthy consumption is literally diminishing her life but until she recognizes this head on, she will continue to pollute her own system. Quite a basic metaphor, but one can see that without the awareness of the neglect towards the internal, towards a most sacred systems, such as the human body, the mind, the spirit, how could one possibly even begin to truly have a fundamental sense of care for the external system, the natural world?
What books, albums, places, people, or artists have shaped your personal bibliography?
Books: Motherpeace by Vicki Noble, The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer, Hip Logic by Terrence Hays, Ode to Common Things by Pablo Neruda
Albums: Mama’s Gun by Erykah Badu, Blue Train by John Coltrane, Aviary: Act 1 by Eryn Allen, Kane Seven by Emily King, Pieces of You by Jewel
Artists: O’hara Koson, Hokusai, Velino myerra, Linda Lomahaftewa
What is something that has been challenging to you recently, either personally or in your work?
A common thread of challenge present throughout my life is the need, drive, desire to Be and Do more for humanity at large. There is a feeling as constant as a woodpecker’s pecking in my system that I should be expanding more in physical, mental, spiritual capacity to hold all that I desire to create in this lifetime. As far as challenges go, I am happy that this one in particular keeps my flames fanned and dancing higher and higher. In certain moments, like say with quarantine, I have taken much of my outward-pushing energy and turned it inward creating more stillness, space, and awareness for the much greater things to come.
What led you towards doing your work with healing?
There is something as satisfying as cracking the code on a lock, or putting the final brick into place, or lining up every square in a rubiks cube that comes when I am present for the healing shift that happens beneath my hands. Following that deep urge to help others feel “lined up” physically, spiritually, emotionally is what drives my sense of service to humanity. Healing is as diverse as there are colors in the world, and not a single human heals the same way, which is beyond enthralling for me. The immense vulnerability of someone on a table asking for help is never lost on me, and during a session I often reflect on the overwhelming beauty of the work itself.
How does where you live inform and influence your work/well-being?
I live hugged up against the Rocky Mountains, my home nestled under a rocky crag of powerful giants. When I lived in the Amazon amongst many elder healers, once of the very potent things I witnessed and learned was how the medicine women and men would call upon the aid of the Tallest Tree, the Deepest River, the Largest Rock, the Highest Mountain Top thus calling forward the Great Ones of the natural world. I witnessed many great healings that came from Spirit/Earth and through the Healer into the patient and consider myself very fortunate to be surrounded by great cedars, strong rocks, and rushing waters that I may call upon in my work as well. A most important aspect of my work and life is the belief that we come to this earth already in a beautiful kind of debt where we will take our whole lives to pay it off in gratitude and offerings; in receiving so much from the land we return the favor and teach others to always leave something behind when a healing has been gifted by the Earth.
When creating healing spaces for others (or yourself), what areas are you drawn to focusing on most when putting together the actual setting? Or are there certain elements of a healing space that bring you the most warmth?
Because the outside world can feel chaotic at times, or overwhelming with movement, color, design ~ all of the things happening all at once ~ I create spaces that are simple and clean, with soothing color and gentle patterns. My main elements of design are plants with dark green leaves that translate a lush, full feeling and vibration to a room. The eye enjoys truly natural things to focus on, and much of my home has an “indoor jungle” feeling. Healthy plants lend a very vibrant, living energy and especially in a healing space this can help “pad” the room with a high, positive frequency.
Tell us about a mentor you had in your life. What did they instill in you to pass along?
I lived among various elders in the Amazon jungle at one point in life, and I consider myself very fortunate to have been present for the teachings of the older women in the medicine communities. I learned much about the raw Feminine by sitting, witnessing, and listening to these women who spoke cryptically and weaved language like a many colored tapestry where one could not see the design at the beginning but once it was finished…wow, it would take your breath away the full and complete understanding of what had just been masterfully orated and created in present time.
I therefore learned how to “decondition” my body of wanting to adhere to all things linear and logical and began to fully, bodily embrace the Feminine realm of the cyclical, artistic, random, intense, and powerful. I give many thanks to the women who innately hold this wisdom in their hearts and bodies, the true wise women who are forever channeling earth and sky.
Where could we find you on your day off?
When I’m not in a healing session or creating oils and teas for my work, Wisewoman Sanctuary, I am doing my most favorite thing in the world ~ simply being. I don’t have a hard time doing “nothing.” I enjoy the radical act of feeling the sun on my skin and the breeze sweeping through my clothes. When I do sit for a time to create, I paint. Watercolor painting always reminds me of how liquid life is, spreading from one path into the next, and how you don’t even have to try hard to make it all look pretty…when you just let it be, it somehow turns out beautiful no matter what.