Cycling bodies & reproductive health.
I’ve been questioning the cultural narrative about women’s bodies since my heady teen years, and really got interested in herbalism and reproductive health when a radical feminist zine fell into my hands.
It told me that plants had medicinal qualities, and that I could use them for pms, period pain and to regulate my cycle! That small, poorly photocopied booklet completely rocked my world.
In my twenties, I found my way to Southern Cross University and spent four years diving deep into health, human disease, healing, herbalism and clinical practice. Throughout the Naturopathic program I couldn’t shake my fascination with herbal contraception - the possibility of natural reproductive sovereignty.
Like many young women, I’d done my dance with the Pill and suffered the side-effects of depression and deep disconnection.
I wanted to know if there was any natural way to be in-control of my fertility without taking drugs.
I got the opportunity to write my own research project and chose Daucus carota Wild Carrot to focus on.
I published my research in the Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine and moved to Tasmania, where I worked as a Naturopath providing over-the-counter and in-session care at the oldest natural pharmacy in the country.
At the same time I interned in Biodynamic Herb farming and learned about growing medicinal plants, harvesting, processing and medicine making.
I loved my days on the farm, but something wasn’t right.
18 months and after arriving in Tassie I found I had a large ovarian cyst that needed urgent surgery.
During my recovery I began to question what I had learned about health, healing and reproductive well-being, and though my education had been wonderfully academic, I felt that something was missing.
I began to seek experiences and teachers that showed me another perspective.
Under the guidance of Dr Kerry Hampton, I learned how to interpret and understand my own cycle and safely navigate my own fertility, but it wasn’t until I met Min Mia - a Wirradjirri elder and keeper of the women’s lore - that I first gained a look at what the loss of traditional culture and the colonization of women’s bodies really means.
My time with Min catalyzed a major shift and I spent the next few years traveling and listening to the stories of people who retain threads of their traditional culture.
Hearing their stories, I began to grieve, to long for my own,
just how much of our ancestral wisdom has been forgotten?
In recent years I’ve become acquainted with the work of Dr. Sharon Blackie, and am at the beginning of a life-long process of remembering and reclaiming the roots of my own ancestry.
I am learning what it means to both belong to and be in relationship with the earth, of what it means to reclaim a sense of my own traditional teaching stories and ancestry, of what it means for me to inhabit a cycling body and what it means to honor and celebrate the rites of passage at each phase of my journey.
Remembering, reclaiming and re-connecting are at the roots of my practice, and infuse all the work that I do.
Due to growing up in the Catholic Church and subsequently unpacking and questioning the teachings, philosophy and presence of women there, I remain deeply interested in the intersection between culture, spirituality, religion and cycling bodies.
What does it mean to inhabit a cycling body? How might ritual and ceremony be supportive in honoring healthy rites of passage? How does seeing ourselves as sacred, as connected with and belonging to the earth, change our relationship with our femininity, sexuality and well-being?
I support reproductive sovereignty for all people.
Hi, I'm Gabrielle
and I’m not from around here…
I come from a line of Dutch gardeners, German grape-growers and Irish Catholics who immigrated to Australia. It was there under the screeching cockatoos that I was born and grew up, I didn’t land in Maine until 2017.
But it’s here in beautiful Wabanaki territory, that I’ve been making my home.
For the past three years I’ve lived in a small cabin at the edge of the woods, that I built with my partner - a lifelong Mainer.
Last year, Jacob and I found a place of our own, and - with the help of our community, are working hard to build our homestead, food and medicine gardens.
What is your approach to health?
My clinical practice is founded upon the naturopathic principles from which I was first trained.
These principles are holistic in nature and include;
The healing power of nature
Treat the whole person
Identify root causes
Educate and empower
Prevention as better than cure
My work involves thorough initial clinical case-taking in order understand the big picture of your life and includes reviewing your medical and family history, clinical presentation, current goals and bothersome symptoms.
I then work with you, to guide your body back to health by;
Listening deeply and reflecting your story back to you.
Helping you identify and then remove obstacles to wellness, such as; the foods, behaviors, beliefs and choices that are preventing you from being well.
Helping you identify the root cause of illness or imbalance and uncover how it is impacting your body.
Suggesting whole foods, herbal medicines and / or practices that support your body to bring itself back to balance.
Energetics: a layer deeper
Through acute listening and intuition I also work to shine a light on the over-arching energetic themes I hear in your story. If you wish, I will work with you to consider the spiritual and energetic elements of your well-being, together we can explore deeper messages that your body is trying to communicate.
Your cycle as a compass
In my work with women and wombed-ones, I always look to the cycle as the barometer for well-being. Together we explore the cyclical shifts and recurring symptoms of your cycle, we seek out the underlying causes and how these impact your overall health. A regular cycle is so much more than fertility or baby-making, it’s a guiding light, that keeps you connected with your hearts truth and reveals everything you need to know about your current wellbeing.
My recommendations depend entirely on who you are and how you wish to heal.
Shifting negative, outdated and unhealthy behaviors is hard, and I am here to support your journey.
Mostly, I incorporate whole food nutrition based in seasonal and cyclical eating and herbalism as core foundations of my practice.
I may also suggest nutritional supplements when necessary, and may refer you for extra support, testing, or medical advice when required.
My goal is to empower you to understand your own body and to promote self-awareness, self-trust and self-love in every session.
What is your approach to herbalism?
I am a clinically trained herbalist. My foundations include an in-depth study of phytochemistry, phytotherapy and clinical herbalism. I am also a passionate gardener, with experience in biodynamic medicinal plant growing and horticulture.
I marry these foundations with a firm believe that herbalism is the peoples medicine and as much as possible I encourage my clients to cultivate a personal relationship with the plants they are working with.
Many clients I see locally in Maine, already have a relationship to the soil, the seasons and the plants around them. I encourage all my clients to learn more about the uses of plants in their local areas, to practice sustainable and regenerative harvesting techniques and to grow and cultivate as many of their own plants as they can.
In my practice I work initially with what people have, suggesting simple and affordable make at home tonics and herbal infusions whenever possible. When the situation calls for it, I formulate individual tinctures which are purchasable through a third-party online dispensary.
Regarding femininity and gender.
Exploring my own relationship to my femininity has and continues to provide powerful healing as I move throughout my own life stages.
Since femininity, creativity and intuition are largely suppressed or disregarded by those living under the current western colonial patriarchy, reconnecting with well feminine energy, with cyclical well-being, and with the soft, gentle and creative self are themes that often arise in the work that I do.
I come to this work as a cis-woman who acknowledges that the inflexible gender binary is a self-limiting construction that divides us into camps we often feel we don’t fully belong.
Femininity and masculinity are fluid energies, present in us all.
I am still unpacking my own story about how masculinity and femininity show up in my life, impact my relationships, worldview, work and roles in culture and society.
There is no perfect way to say it.
I feel that the language and teaching stories around gender and sexuality in the West, are being remembered, re-imagined and shared. I use a mixture of terms in my work including female, feminine, women, wombed-ones and menstruators. During our work together I will ask what terms you prefer and are comfortable with.
As I grow, my practice grows.
I remain in process, actively engaged in learning, exploring and challenging my own ideas around cycling bodies, femininity and gender, evaluating my lens and the barriers of my own heart and mind.
I am committed to understanding how the current U.S and Australian healthcare systems impact marginalized people and how I can make my work more accessible and inclusive. Please note that I do not currently have any formal training in specifically caring for LGBTQI or BIPOC.
There are many practitioners whose work focuses on sexual and reproductive wellness in BIPOC and LGBTQI communities with decades of experience in these areas.
I maintain a growing list of resources and referrals to ensure that folks can access the care and information they need. If you wish to know more please get in touch directly.
If you wish to work together, I offer Community Supported Sessions for BIPOC in order to make my work more accessible. You can find out more here.
Who do you work with?
I work with people who feel called heal their relationship with the feminine, regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation.
I work with people who wish to heal menstrual symptoms and cycle irregularities, understand their cyclical health, use natural birth control, prepare for pregnancy or transition through menopause.
I work with people who wish to create ceremony and support for the rites of passage of menarche, birth and menopause and the ritual of menstruation.
Can I bring my partner?
Yes. It can be tremendously supportive for your partner to take an active role in understanding your shifting cyclical needs, and in some cases - to shoulder responsibility for contraception. Please contact me for couples rates.
My job is to provide you with a safe, compassionate, professional and respectful container from which to support you with your health concerns and your cyclical journey.
Experience and Qualifications
I completed my Bachelor of Naturopathy at Southern Cross University while studying under some of Australias brightest naturopathic minds including Dr. Sue Evans, Dr. Cathy Avila, Dr.Jacinta Arellano, Dr.Hans Wohlmuth and Catherine Johnson.
For two years I provided acute and comprehensive naturopathic care at Goulds Naturopathica, Australia oldest Natural Pharmacy. There I was mentored by the keen minds and warm hearts of Dawn Whitten BNat(Hons), Dr.Jason Hawrelak (BNat, PhD), Belinda Robson(BNat Msc), Daniel Robson (BNat Hons), as well as many other incredible practitioners who I got to share my days with.
My experience in Biodynamic farming, medicinal herb growing and medicine making comes largely from Greg Whitten at Bronze Wing Farm, Allens Rivulet, Tasmania.
My love for perennial and flower gardening stems from my days engaged in Horticulture training through the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
In 2015, I completed my post-graduate training as APNA (Australian Practitioner Nurses Association) Certified Trained Teacher in Natural Fertility under Dr. Kerry Hampton.
The work and teachings of these elders;
Minmia -Wirradjirri elder and Keeper of the Women’s Lore, Elders at Mäpuru Traditional Homelands community, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes and Sherri Mitchell have helped me to remember the inherent wisdom and power of women’s bodies, to them, I pay my deepest respects.
The work of Dr.Sharon Blackie continues to encourage me to explore and reclaim my own Western European and Celtic ancestral traditions.
My own work on Wild Carrot Seed and Contraception is published in the Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine. You can find out more about my collaboration with Mischa Schuler and the Wild Carrot Project here.
Current and Ongoing Education
Celtic Studies, Myth, Tradition and Spirituality - Dr. Sharon Blackie