Hello, my name is Madrone and I’m so glad that you
found your way to Taproot Journeys!
I am an End of Life Doula, teacher, and facilitator. I am dedicated to creating a conscious community through mindfulness. My passion lies in creating spaces for you to talk about death and dying, grieve your losses, and let go so you can fill up with the joys of life. I am a skilled community weaver who strives to re-imagine and birth a world that sees all humans and non-humans (more-than-humans) as interconnected in one web of life.
A taproot is a primary root that grows vertically downward and gives off smaller lateral roots. It is the central element or position in a line of growth or development. Taproot Journeys offers you opportunities to explore how your taproot has been nurtured or neglected and how you can grow one that is stronger. Having a strong taproot allows you to hold strong as your life shakes. Mine is rooted in community and ceremony. Read about how others have benefited from growing their taproots here.
MADRONE AND THE PHILOSOPHY
OF TAPROOT JOURNEYS
Cultivating a strong taproot—woven together through community and ceremony—has held me for much healing work in my life. I want to share this passion, and I am guided to hold your hand as you walk through various thresholds in your life. Thresholds mark our progress in life. They represent movement on our path. We walk through many thresholds in our earthly lives. Another way we could talk about thresholds might be to call them rites of passage or initiations. Some examples might include turning 18, graduations, birthing children, losing our parents, and so forth.
Imagine or remember all the shifts you experienced with the loss of your parents, the death of a childhood pet, the loss of your first animal companion as an adult, moving to a new state, starting a new career and the list goes on. Even if the threshold we cross is eventually positive for us, it is often filled with some grief.
It is my complete honor to hold space for these transitions and to help you walk through the challenging parts of life with embrace versus apprehension. Embracing struggle and challenge helps us to align with life. When we can open to all the lessons that come from these rites of passage/thresholds, we connect further to universal wisdoms understanding that part of life is loss, and death, just as much as it is joy and happiness.
Taproot Journeys is part of the dying well movement helping people be at peace with death in all ways whether it is before they take off their own earth robes or with their loved ones.
With death comes grief, the glue of community. “Showing up” in the vulnerability brought to bear by grief is one of the most intimate acts experienced during earthly lives. And yet, grief is still one of the most difficult and challenging emotions that humans experience. It is a great teacher and a great equalizer. It moves us to knowing and feeling grace and helps us let go of control.
I believe that the grief process done well, and even with drama, is one of life's most potent gifts, filled with more growth than we can imagine. I’m here for it and I want you to be here too! My goal is to support you as you struggle to thrive and not simply survive.
I invite you to join me in the movement that de-stigmatizes grief, death, and dying. Part of this movement is to acknowledge grief that is disenfranchised. Disenfranchised grief is “grief that goes unacknowledged or un-validated by social norms.” For example, the loss of our beloved companion animals or feelings of eco-grief.
We should think of death as not only leaving our physical bodies but that we die-off to what does not serve us in life. We can do this repeatedly as we evolve into our soul’s purpose as humans-being.
I have found that the training we need to learn to trust our intuition, our heart, and body wisdom, can be found in circle, ceremony, ritual, educational workshops, breathwork, and other modalities that work to center our interconnection(s). We practice these skills all throughout our lives so that when we come to the end of our time here, we have the mussel memory to walk on feeling at peace and in love with life even as we are dying.
You can read more about what I offer elsewhere on my site, but here I want you to know a bit about me. Below I have highlighted some meaningful aspects of my story. These truths below have been woven together over many years strengthening my own taproot. I’m gonna start when I was a baby so hang on!
Madrone with her Nephew
I was born in Virginia but was only there for three years of my littlest life. My Mom is a second-generation Lebanese American and my Dad is a mix of Irish, Scandinavian, and Western European. I grew up sharing life with a younger sister and brother and am now loving the role of Aunt (A.K.A. Bajan and Tia) for three amazing nephews. Our next home would be in Allentown, PA. I lived there through sixth grade moving to St. Paul, MN for the rest of my primary education. I think of MN as where I grew up and am proud to be from a state that values education, art, and is progressive in many ways. After college, I have lived mostly in the four corner states.
Since I was a teenager engaging with the Women’s Movement, I have had many years of involvement with various social justice causes. This experience has created a strong intersectional social movement foundation for me as a teacher/scholar/priestess whether it is in a classroom, focused training, drum circle, consulting session, or a shamanic breathwork workshop.
I have three degrees in Communication Studies; an undergraduate degree from Northern Arizona University (1997), a Masters from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (1999) and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah (2007). People are sometimes intimidated by educated womyn, especially ones with these three letters after their name. It's true, earning my doctorate was indeed one of the proudest moments of my life and one of the most challenging; however, it's only one aspect of who I am.
I am part of a group of academics who identify with our homemade term “pracademic.” This means we are activist-focused. We are interested in the practical applications of our theories and education. In this way, my educational background has served as a solid foundation for the offerings of Taproot Journeys. My education combined with years of practice in community ceremony and circle gives my clients confidence that my services offer a nuanced range of expertise.
When it comes to teaching Communication Studies I have taught a variety of college courses including:
Gender and Communication
Mass Media in Society
Race, Gender & the Media
Communication in InstructionRhetorics of Nature and Environmentalism
Gender and Nature (Undergraduate and Graduate level)
Media and Environmental Studies (Graduate level)
Learning Success Strategies
Methods of Interviewing
Communication Theory (Undergraduate and Graduate level)
Teaching communication courses for 22 years has given me a strong skill set to offer progressive organizations that want to be cutting edge. Imagine how much your company could grow if you showed your employees you understand that their business life integrates with their personal, spiritual, and community lives. Cultivation of a strong taproot must include a culture that is rich with employee diversity and appreciation. When we incorporate an integrated approach to our work-life our success can only grow.
I have published a variety of articles focusing on environmental communication (specifically internatural communication), social movements, and gender/feminist studies. In everything I study I am looking at how issues of power function in culture. My philosophy is centered on the importance of challenging existing worldviews—i.e., critical reflection. My education has informed my activism and my activism has primed much of my educational focus. Together, this foundation of study helped me open doors to alternative understandings of the natural world and our interconnection within this web.
See my CV for more of my educational achievements and publications.
"Our connections to the animate world are real if we allow
them to seep into our consciousness." –Madrone
TRAINING AND CIRCLE EXPERIENCE
I have always been a seeker of alternative ways of healing ourselves and viewing the world. In 1997 I was fortunate to attend my first full moon ceremony at The Temple of Goddess Spirituality. The path of the goddess strongly resonated with me and I kept going back throughout my time in Nevada. In 2003 I started my Ph.D. work in Salt Lake City. I was lucky to find a group of Dianic witches who held goddess circles each month for the public. I attended regularly and volunteered when I could. It was noteworthy that they were a legal church in the state of Utah. Prior to this, I had been in a private circle of about 10 women when I lived in Colorado. By this point in my life, I had become steeped in neo-pagan ways of thinking, practice, and viewed myself as an eclectic witch or an eclectic pagan. In the summer of 2006, a dear friend and “spirit Mom” of mine invited me to a woman’s gathering of about 60 womyn in Washington State. I wrote the following about my experience:
COMING INTO MY POWER: A TALE OF COMING HOME
I begin in the circle by declaring a new name as a sign of my re-birth. Feeling like a phoenix rising from the ashes I am now Madrone. A tree rooted deeply and anchored to the earth mutually supported by circles, systems, and connections that I am soon to experience and that will be with me for lifetimes.
This community of womyn I had just met acknowledges a major accomplishment that had passed by relatively unnoticed in my everyday life. I am embraced in the circle, enmeshed together in the web yet still able to shine on my own. I am moved to tears and think, “It can’t get any better than this and it is only the second day.”
Feeling fuller now, each day I am amazed that the journey continues to wind ever deeper and I learn more about myself and my attunement to the natural rhythms of the earth through the mother drum Otter Woman, the energies of womyn in purification, and through listening to the shadow. I am completely unplugged from the matrix of unnatural rhythms.
I am held and rocked by many and by the last day I conjure enough energy to let my voice out in a most needed and forgotten manner. I scream three times from the core of my be-ing with the Tahuya river and the arms of a dear friend wrapping my spirit with love as the movement of the water carries away some of the pain. I am renewed.
The experiences of this week-long “spiritual boot camp” have enabled me to see in ways that I was not accessing previously. I believe that I have always had such sight but this journey was the “switching on” of required vulnerability and risk. I am beginning to re-member what was lost. I have experienced true empowerment: working to raise the power of my being and all beings on earth. I continue dancing, learning to trust my intuition, conjuring justice in the sacred web.
This experience significantly changed my life. These womyn had been taught many different spirit paths by many teachers and all were of integrity and respect in the ways they had learned. I soaked it all in. Through this community not only have I received great gifts, but I have also been able to hone my facilitation and creative ceremony skills through the honor of being in service by leading a variety of rituals including water lodges, water ceremonies, GiveAway ceremony, Maiden Ceremony, Intention Bundle ceremony and so forth. I now have the opportunity to offer this ceremonial experience to Taproot Journey clients.
Madrone at the The Temple of Goddess Spirituality
In 2010-ish I received a vision or call to create a mother drum in my community. I gathered a council of womyn from four different states, and we dreamed for a year about the birth of this new mamma drum. This drum would help our community celebrate the seasons (wheel) of the year among other healing experiences. In May 2011 we birthed Zendaya, Sacred Yellow Drum over a powerful weekend with Otter Woman and Buffalo Heart (two mother drums from WA) drumming for 6 hours while we midwifed and created Zendaya into physical form (it took two years for her name to come). We had a sunrise ceremony out at the sacred Sunset Creator and a few weeks later, after she had time to settle, we had an awakening ceremony to hear her voice for the first time. This experience was transformative for me as a priestess/community weaver and for our community. The power of community mother heartbeat/drumbeat continues to “work me” and is something we can discuss Taproot Journeys’ bringing to your community. We have been celebrating the changing seasons for ten years now.
In 2012 I joined the LodgeKeeper board (Board of Directors) of Woman’s Way Red Lodge (WWRL) and served through 2016. I facilitated an intergeneration womyns group for WWRL called Weaving the Hoop that Connects focusing on the sacred feminine. Hoops are a service project for WWRL and this one ran for six years. I have also facilitated a Social Justice Hoop and facilitated breathwork circles focused on community activists so they can heal and “fill up” in order to do the paradigm-shifting work they need to do.
In February 2018, I attended a retreat called Shamanism and Soulful Recovery led by the creator of the Shamanic Breathwork Process, Linda Star Wolf. I was so transformed by this weekend retreat that I felt a call I could not ignore to become certified in this practice. Like the Fool in the Tarot deck leaping off the cliff, I made plans to commit to attending a month-long training in May 2018. This experience further deepened my spirit-being and my healer within. I am now a certified Shamanic Breathwork Facilitator and a Shamanic Minister with Venus Rising Association for Transformation.
In 2020 I began my formal training in End of Life work. I am trained as an End of Life Doula with the University of Vermont and Sacred Crossings. I also have a certificate in The Art of Death Midwifery and one as a Funeral Celebrant from Sacred Crossings. Lastly, I also have a certificate as a Companion Animal End of Life Doula from the University of Vermont. As I said above, I am dedicated to creating a conscious community through mindfulness and embracing death is part of the shift to this consciousness. My passion lies in creating spaces for organizations, communities, and individuals to explore what is not necessarily easy but has great rewards and gifts from showing up for the journey in a healthy and beautiful way.
Much like trees that need a deep taproot to draw their strength from, in order to advance and sustain meaningful work in our lives, we must have a root structure that supports us. My path has taught me that through creating healing spaces via community ritual events that honor multiple interconnections, practicing magick, intuitive knowing, earth walking, and other forms of understanding our world that have not been accepted as “legitimate” by the dominant paradigm, we can heal ourselves and the earth.
Ritual practices that foster grounding and a re-membering or connection to our senses (intuitive knowing) provides one way that humans can re-connect to the natural world around them. This project of how we teach and nurture re-connection to the senses cannot be overlooked or underestimated if we are to shift our paradigm to view the world as interconnected.
Cultivating this interconnection is what Joanna Macy and Molly Brown (2014) refer to in their book Coming Back to Life as “The Work That Reconnects.” Taproot Journeys offers you a variety of opportunities to practice and to re-learn how to think about and to feel into the earth and its beings as having intrinsic worth, as interconnected with humans. Participation in this “work” will help you come alive and feel liberated. It won’t always be pretty. We have a lot of grief and pain that needs to be released as a collective and by ourselves.
We start our release by allowing tears whenever they flow without explanation or apology. Think about that, no explanation just the opportunity to release what is stuck, what rages inside.
"All people, all living things, are part of the earth life, and so are sacred. No one of us stands higher or lower than any other. Only justice can assure balance; only ecological balance can sustain freedom. Only in freedom can that fifth sacred thing we call spirit flourish in its full diversity."
(Starhawk, 1993, Forward)
Practicing expression of grief in circle has given me permission to extend my heartache to all living entities including the perceived pains of the earth without feeling strange or odd for tuning into the more-than-human world. Every healing we do individually contributes to healing the cellular memories of the collective, human and more-than-human, and the earth. After all, sometimes we have to embrace our shadow to see, activate, embrace, and find the light.
Ph.D. Communication Studies University of Utah
MA Communication Studies University of Nevada, Las Vegas
BA Communication Studies Northern Arizona University
End of Life Doula (EOL) University of Vermont (UVM)
Companion Animal EOL Doula UVM
Death Doula from Sacred Crossings
The Art of Death Midwifery from Sacred Crossings
Funeral Celebrant From Sacred Crossings
Shamanic Breathwork facilitator Venus Rising Association for Transformation
Breathwork Metamorphosis Facilitator with Pam Savory
Shamanic Minister Venus Rising Association for Transformation
Warrior Goddess Level One Facilitator Training with HeatherAsh Amara
Understanding and Facilitating Grief & Loss with Bill Berry Of The Living From the Heart Work
See my CV for more of my educational achievements and publications.
"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."
Starhawk (1993). The fifth sacred thing. New York, NY: Bantam Books.