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Thu, Feb 25


Online event (Zoom-based)

Midwifing Metamorphosis: the Initiatory Chrysalis (Course in Progress)

Join us for a nine-week course and collective ritual with Heartward Sanctuary founders Julia Hartsell and Jonathan Hadas Edwards. Course runs February 25 through April 22, 2021, Thursdays at 3pm-5pm EST.

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Midwifing Metamorphosis: the Initiatory Chrysalis (Course in Progress)

Time & Location

Feb 25, 2021, 3:00 PM – Apr 22, 2021, 5:00 PM

Online event (Zoom-based)


About the event

Midwifing Metamorphosis: The Initiatory Chrysalis 

9-week Online Ritual Course

Dates: Feb 25 - April 22, 2021

Tuition: $350-500, sliding scale

Payment plan options available (email

A handful of scholarships available for those who have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic - email for more info.


“Incremental change is not enough. It will take radical change to shift our current, calamitous trajectory ...The world we know is dying. What is unsustainable cannot persist, by definition...What hope is there, then? There is the hope that breakdown will become, or coexist with, breakthrough. There is the hope that what is dying is the caterpillar of immature humanity in order that the metamorphosis might yield a stunning emergence. That whatever survives this collective initiation process will be truer, more heart-connected, resilient and generative.”

(-“What if the Virus is the Medicine?”, March 2020)

There’s no road map for radical change. Yet the process is informed by age-old patterns and archetypes.

In this nine-week series, we’ll be weaving a collective cocoon. A liminal space in which the seeds of change--personal and collective--can sprout and take root.

Together we’ll tend one another’s metamorphoses through such diverse means as story, ritual, grief-work, writing and group process.

This Series May Be for You If:

*You’re a mover, dancer, or creative artist who feels that this time is full of potential as well as pain.

*You resonate with the image of a chrysalis and feel that you may be stuck ‘mid-molt’

*You don’t want a return to “normal.” You want to honor the radical transformation(s) underway in this extended time of separation and meltdown.

*You’re seeking support--through ritual, community, story-telling, writing and grief-tending--with navigating the multiple metamorphoses at play in our lives and the world.

*You’re not expecting easy answers or quick fixes but are interested in depth work and are willing to embrace messy complexity for the sake of meaning and beauty.

*You’re excited (maybe a little anxious) to meet others with a similar orientation and do some deep work together.

Participants will:

  • Be guided by Heartward Sanctuary founders Julia Hartsell and Jonathan Edwards who share reverence for and have undergone traditional initiation rites
  • Be woven into an intimate container of community support for this next season of the pandemic
  • Learn more about initiatory frameworks and stories and have the opportunity to view their own pandemic experience through this lens
  • Take inventory of what’s transforming and ritually honor the transitions
  • Explore the themes and dynamics of initiation
  • Learn and practice techniques for honing intuition and deepening relationships with the elements, plant spirits and animal allies
  • Experience somatic and movement practices to support presence, curiosity,  regulation of intensity and grieving
  • Engage  meaning-making processes incorporating word, movement, story and art
  • Take part in a personal & collective death meditation
  • Participate in a music and movement-based ceremony for grief tending
  • Identify and nurture ‘imaginal cells’--the inspirations and visions for the world we wish to co-create for our descendants.
  • Be encouraged to engage in the material at home through altar work, visioning, creative art processes and journaling
  • Have opportunities to connect with others through sharing and witnessing in compassionate community processes--both group wide and in breakout groups and an optional Facebook group

This offering is limited to 25 participants in order to maintain an intimate ritual container.

About the facilitators:

Julia Hartsell  is a dancer, ritualist, catalyst for soulful, earth-honoring community.  With a background in performance art and world religions, Julia has spent her adult life seeking the mystical through movement. Trusting the body’s inherent wisdom, she utilizes diverse practices to access the body’s intuition for emotional expression and transformation.

       With an animist worldview, her work is focused at the intersection of spirituality, ecology and culture. After experiencing a series of paradigm shifting ancestral encounters, Julia began training with Dr. Daniel Foor of Ancestral Medicine in 2015 and was certified as an Ancestral Lineage Healing Practitioner in 2017. She became an Initiate of Ọbàtálá and Ọ̀ṣun in the Ifá/Òrìsà tradition of Yoruba West Africa in 2018.  Julia has developed her own unique Grief Ceremonies, Ritual and Ancestral Dance practices for reconnection with elemental forces and ancestral allies. Death--both literal and symbolic--has been a touchstone and organizing principle of her work in recent years. Co-founder of Heartward Sanctuary, she is committed to reclaiming meaningful rites of passage work, especially end-of-life transitions.

Jonathan Hadas Edwards, LAc. (a.k.a Djed) is Heartward Sanctuary’s co-founder and wizard-in-residence, working transformation through arts of acupuncture, herbal formulation, aromatics, divination and the written word.

On a 2008-9 Fulbright fellowship to study Ayurvedic medicine in Nepal, he connected with last-of-his-lineage alchemist Keshab Laal, a pivotal experience that set him on the path of herbal practice and traditional healing arts. Not long after, while working on his MS in East Asian Medicine at NUNM, he found himself amidst  a complex and challenging several-year initiation cycle involving plant medicine and Afro-Brazilian spiritual traditions. This ferment culminated in a trip to Nigeria where he underwent a rite-of-passage to become an initiate of Ifá.

       Having experienced the rigors and risks and complexities of spiritual initiation without benefit of coherent guidance at critical moments, Jonathan considers himself lucky to have made it through intact (though not unscathed). He is keen to help others avoid the most treacherous pitfalls of the molting process so they can grow into their potential and find their place in the essential work of our time.

Photo: Etruscan tomb on the W Coast of Italia, Courtesy of Heartward Sanctuary pilgrimage





  • Registration - Generating


    Registration closes Jan 1 or when the 20 spaces are filled




  • Registration - Sustaining


    Registration closes January 1st or when the 20 spaces are filled




  • Registration - Supported







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