Hawai’ian Ancestor Doll – why we cannot wait to be perfect

vision Quest Tarot with Sacred Familiar

Recently I was asked by a friend who is also a maker and artist if it is a good thing to create something for someone else when we ourselves are feeling down or unwell. I understand this question, I used to worry about the same thing and very strictly only created when in my utmost health. But one day I created a doll for a woman in great need of assistance, she was suffering panic attacks and I wanted to make her a doll right then when she needed it most. On that weekend I was in a state of grieving for someone in my own life but as I sat with the soft wool in my hands with all that colour around me – my favourite part of dollmaking is playing with colour – I realised that I began to feel a lot brighter and happier. What I discovered at the end of the creation process was that not only had I made a very beautiful and joyful doll, I was feeling so much better. I have found this to be one of the significant benefits of creating a healing doll for someone else – we receive that healing too. We heal ourselves through the practice of creating and I feel especially that in the act of sending good wishes and intentions to another, we receive the same blessing. A blessing doubled.

Last week, particularly around the Full Moon in Cancer, a Wolf Moon and first full moon of the year, the intensity of energy was enormous. Two astrological posts that I found very helpful to understand the energy at the moment were by Hare in the Moon Astrology and Mystic Mamma. Recently I have been dealing with an old back injury that I used to get when I was much younger. I have come to understand it is emotional and caused from ‘holding on’ and ‘holding back’.  Just before the full moon I felt whatever was lurking down there in the depths for too long suddenly and terrifyingly rise to the surface – it was as if a sleeping volcano had suddenly awoken. At the same time, I was weaving a doll for a beautiful Hawai’ian sister, Wai’ala. I asked myself: can I make this doll when I am feeling so much of my own fear? Hesitantly I began preparing the medicine bundle to go inside her doll. As I did, I kept hearing the word ‘orchid’ and getting the message to include this flower for her. I knew I had 2 orchids grown with love by Tony’s mother but for the life of me I couldn’t find them. Finally I gave up and began to close up the bundle. But I kept hearing a woman’s voice very firmly telling me to keep looking! She was not one to be argued with and so I looked again and finally found the orchids – in the last package of course! I placed them inside the bundle and I could feel right away the doll was happy.

When I shared the message with the Wai’ala about being told to find the orchid, she wrote:

‘It’s local folklore that our Hawai’ian goddess Pele loves and treasures orchids and it’s been said she moves her lava flow around certain ones to save them and consumes everything else around them; preserving them alive in a surrounding sea of lava. I have great joy that the medicine doll requested one’.

Medicine doll by Sacred Familiar

Ancient Oceans medicine by Sacred Familiar

On the night before the full moon I dreamt of an elderly man coming forward with a carefully wrapped box. Inside the box he said was an ancient crustacean. I felt very honoured but also scared to be it’s keeper as if it was too precious and I was not worthy. I was also unsure how to keep it. I was then shown through a series of lessons on how to care for myself more and how to honour and protect the precious animal and mineral medicine gifts that I receive. I was also shown how to release what I had been holding on to. When I awoke from the dream it was as if I was still living in it, it was full moon and I was aware that I had work to do and instructions to follow from the dream.

I woke up and began to finish the medicine doll and as I wove the colours into her dress I saw that she would be holding a crystal skull to represent her ancestors and adorned with fossils of ancient oceans. As I placed the fossils into her dress I realised that the elder in my dream was one of Wai’ala’s ancestors. In the weaving of the doll for his granddaughter I had created a space where he could enter my dream and assist me. On completion, the doll told me her name was FireOrchid Flowing Water Woman. At first I thought that her name was too long, I tried to shorten it to just FireOrchid but the doll was adamant again, she was also FlowingWater. I placed her in a large medicine circle with all of the medicine dolls, my personal dolls too and also all of the animal, plant and mineral medicines that go into the creation of each doll. I held a ceremony at the full moon singing gratitude to every creature, every being, my ancestors, Pachamama, my animals guides and all that help me to create the medicine dolls.

The next morning I awoke to read a new message from Wai’ala:

‘I am so greatly honored, and full of bliss that while bringing her into creation my ancestors visited you and helped heal you and grow your natural talents. Their gift of the crustacean is so beautiful and inspiring. I’ve been seeking a stronger or more open connection with them, and felt a medicine doll would facilitate that amongst many other things, but I think that facilitation alone maybe most healing. It sounds like that connection was forged in many many ways. I have so many blisssful comments on all the details and beautiful work….but I’ll only ask; Did I ever tell you what my name Wai’ala means?? It’s my grandmothers Hawai’ian name and it translates to English as, fragrant flowing water; flower water, or commonly known as Flowing Water.’

I was blown away by this – I had no idea of the meaning of Wai’ala’s Hawai’ian name or that this doll was intended to open the pathways of ancestral medicine. To receive this message was the just one part of the huge healing I received from Wai’ala and her ancestors – another was meeting this little tawny frogmouth. They have been walking with me this whole week and they are strong teachers! I am happy to say that I am practicing more gratitude and discipline around my medicine practices and have even released my hold on certain medicines that I was informed were not for me. It has left me with a sense of trust in what I’m doing and deep honour of the animal world, even the ancient creatures who are no longer existing in the same way on our earth but are still here in other forms.

I think sometimes we wait to be perfect to make something beautiful. If we do this, perhaps we will never create anything at all, thinking that we aren’t there yet or aren’t worthy. I feel that would be very sad for all of us and especially Mother Earth. Each creation is a ripple of love, a teaching from the mother in birthing with love. In these changing times there is so much healing and assistance available to us, especially when we create with the intention of helping another. We are all a little broken at times, we are flawed and a little ragged. We are all human and we are all in this together. Our shadow helps us to keep connected to compassion and empathy and when someone comes to us and they are facing their own dark night of the soul, we may know exactly what is needed. Because we have have been through it ourselves, we can give them hope to keep moving forward.  A tarot spread that really helped me to face my fears during this moon time was a shadow reading I call ‘shining a light on the scary’.

My deepest gratitude goes to Wai’ala! I look forward to hugging you in person under the Redwoods at Spirit Weavers Gathering! And my deepest gratitude to your ancestors. I am honoured to share their message:

‘Let go of what is not needed, protect what is sacred, remember the living ancients and trust in yourself.’

Thank you FireOrchid Flowing Water Woman.

Medicine doll by Sacred Familiar