“Instead of asking “what do I want from life?”, a more powerful question is, “what does life want from me?” (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, 2005).
Having practiced as an RN in outpost, rural, emergency, community and palliative health care in Russia, Canada and New Zealand, I have found myself stepping outside of the classic nursing “box”.
I work at the intersection of Nursing and Medical Herbalism fields through my private practice of a Nurse Herbalist, harm reduction work in psychedelic medicine, psycho-spiritual health support and holistic health workshops tailored to community needs.
Originally from Russia, a community clinic nurse, I immigrated to Canada in my early twenties and continued my nursing career there as an Outpost Nurse in Northern Ontario, an Emergency Nurse in rural Alberta and British Columbia. As an immigrant from Eastern Europe, I found it strange how removed holistic health practices were from the practice of conventional medicine in North America. I found myself telling my patients and colleagues about the use of Nettle tea for Urinary infections and Mustard foot baths for colds, the reasons for not rushing with medications for most fevers, and the way to address diarrhea symptoms with cooked rice broth. I graduated with a Bachelor degree in Nursing from Athabasca university, which had just become a standard for RN education in Canada, and decided to study Herbal Medicine at the university level as well. I completed my first year of that degree in Glasgow, Scotland attending Scottish School of Herbal Medicine, and later continued my studies in New Zealand, graduating in 2013 in Auckland with Wellpark College Bachelor Degree of Naturopathy and Diploma of Herbal Medicine. I continued nursing as an Emergency nurse and later Palliative health care nurse, while I lived in New Zealand.
The annual conference of Medical Herbalists in Dunedin, NZ in 2013 was my first professional introduction to the subject of Entheogenic medicine. Soon after, while traveling in Europe, I had a chance to try psilocybin-containing “truffles” and participated in a 3 day Ayahuasca workshop in the Netherlands, where both entheogens were legal. The profound experiences I had with both medicines led me to embrace Psychedelic Nursing as my path. I have worked with a variety of entheogens since – more Psilocybin and Ayahuasca, San Pedro, Iboga, Salvia divinorum, Sapo and Yopo in solo ceremonies and in groups, traditional and contemporary ceremonial spaces around the world. They are the most powerful healing media that I have encountered in my life and professional career. They seem to let us access the estranged dimensions of self and help integrate them, calling and nudging us to the state of true Health – physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. They are not Panacea or a magical solution to all our problems. They are amazing Teachers, but we need to be diligent Students for those lessons to work, and the process of healing is not easy. We can help each other on this journey. We are all in this life together.
How I work with clients
I aim to design my life and my practice in the spirit of Permaculture: Earth Care, People Care, Fair Shares.
I choose to work with and advocate for only natural origin psychedelics, entheogens, in the context of a well organised ceremony setting. I am not affiliated with any psychedelic retreats or facilitators of psychedelic ceremonies and currently do not offer the ceremony space and ceremony nursing care myself.
There are two main types of consultation that I offer: preparation and integration.
I work with people wishing to experience psychedelic medicine in the role of a Nurse Educator. For example we might discuss different entheogens – psychedelics of natural origin, the essence and particular use in individual cases, where and how to access them and how to work with them consciously and safely. Usually an hour – an hour and a half consultation is enough for getting a good grasp on the subject if people have some prior knowledge. Sometimes more preparation is needed and we schedule more sessions. The integration services are for people that have already gone through psychedelic ceremonies and want some extra help implementing the new insights in their lives.
I also act as a harm reduction resource if people have specific questions regarding safety and I do group presentations once in a while on safe journeying with psychedelics.
I work on the pay-what-you-want basis, and hold consultations in Toronto, when I am there or via Skype, when I am travelling. I often get asked what exactly is “pay-what-you-want”, as this is not yet a common practice. It is just what it is called. You pay what you want or nothing at all. My priority is to be of service to those who I can help, and I am ready to volunteer my time if needed.
I can help those new to the path choose a safe and sound approach to working with those medicines. I also provide peer support, integration assistance and supervision for more experienced psychonauts, whether they take the psychedelic medicines themselves or act as facilitators for others.