Welcome to the Revolutionary Rompereglas podcast where we meet at the busy intersection of karma healing, sexuality, spirituality, embodied decolonization and radical self compassion. I’m Isha Vela. I’m a psychologist, somatic expressive coach and energy alchemist. I’m passionate about how the healing of our intimacy wounds and dismantling of our social conditioning contributes to our collective evolution. I believe that embracing our full human experience is a holy process, and that our greatest gifts are sometimes alchemized from our deepest pain. I’m interviewing healers and leaders who are sharing their personal liberation journey and how they created a life, love and business in alignment with their purpose. My intention is that the conversations and tools shared in this podcast will inspire and support you on your own liberation journey. So get ready to drop into your emotional body, tap into your intuition and unveil your fierce and blossom expression. So welcome, today, I’m sitting here with Erva Baden, and Erva Baden is a contemporary shaman who weaves together healing modalities with compassion and so much humor to journey with clients committed to their own deep transformation and healing. She’s a Reiki Master and has more than 25 years experience in facilitating deep emotional processes, and release work nationally and internationally in men’s, women’s and mixed gender circles. She’s studied energy work, chakra healing and korsch mnemonic techniques as well as trauma recovery, and the intergenerational effects of trauma. Welcome, Erva.
Thank you, honey. Thank you.
Yeah, so um, I just want to start by acknowledging that we are recording this episode on the 14th of January, which is very intense time in our history. And we’ll probably be weaving that throughout our podcast today. But Erva I just wanted you to share a little bit about, you know, after this introduction, why don’t you just share, like why you do what you do, share a little bit about your journey and why you came to work with, you know, transgenerational or intergenerational stuff, around racism specifically.
Right. Right. Well um, I’m African American, and identify as that although when I was a child, having been born in 1949, I was colored, then. Later on, I think I got to be a negro. And then, at some point, probably in college, I got to be black. Now, I just got African American, US born, descendant of enslaved people, and African American is what works for me. So, so when you, you know, when we talked about doing this, and I think I hear you ask me, why do I do what I do, is after so many years, I’m 71 years old. I look good, though, don’t I?
I look good. Okay, okay. I’m 71 years old, I have seen all manner of crap happened to me, to my relatives, to my friends, over the course of 71 years. And at this point, as I spoke out in another group, I said, I am effin sick of it. I’m sick of it. I have had enough. And with the advent of the soon to be past administration, with the advent of that administration, I have seen an absolute increase in license for white supremacy to just trod over everything, be emboldened at this point. And, of course, this last episode at the Capitol last week, was, first of all, not really shocking to me. I remember standing in front of the TV when I turned it on and I said, Oh, well, finally it’s started. And for several years, I have been thinking, talking about the coming second American Civil War, because I think I feel that, sort of at a gut level, that –
We’re in it.
Well, yeah, we’re in it. We’re securely in it now. But I mean, years. I’m talking at least five years ago, I was telling people and they were going, oh, nah nah nah. I’m like yeah, okay. So they’re all kind of, you know, like, Erva, what?!
Yeah, you felt it coming.
I felt it coming. It seemed inevitable. And so when I saw this on the TV last week, I said, well, thank goodness it’s started, let’s get this done. Let’s just get this done now. So that’s sort of my global view of where I am, I guess, socially and politically and all of that. The reason that I do what I do, and sometimes I’m not sure how to describe it, is because for my adult life, I finally recognize that I had been dealing with people out of what’s called an intergenerational wound. And I can go back and actually relive, and have several times and talked about the trauma that made me realize that, and this is – I was in second grade, newly integrated Catholic school in Baltimore. My mother took me out of public school, where I had all my little, you know, brown and black friends. And I went to this Catholic school, and I was like, I see nobody. So I was actually the first one to integrate the school, in the second grade. And one day, shortly after I got there, on the playground, some what I think of as giant white girls, they were just like seventh graders, they were taller than me, got me in the corner of the playground and started pulling up my clothes, because they wanted to know if colored children wore panties. So since, you know, my analytical brain has finally been online about this. And I recognize that as a trauma. I recognize that as there were some decisions I needed to make in regards to trauma. Fight? No, they were way bigger. Flight? No, they had me cornered. Freeze? I was like, probably a better idea, freeze, just freeze, maybe they’ll go away, or what’s typically called, typically called Fawn, which I call acquiesce or submit. And so those are the primal responses to trauma. My primal response was freeze and acquiesce. And they actually finally left me alone. And then as I talk about trauma, I say, after the trauma has ended, the cognitive brain comes online and says, yikes. What the hell was that? And what do we need to do? What remedies do we need to put in place, so that that doesn’t happen again. It took me many years to figure out that the remedy that surface for me was, I will make white people like me. And they won’t be a threat. They won’t want to kill me. I’ll make them laugh. I will be their friend, I will sublimate my own person. And all of that information didn’t really become clear to me until probably in my 30s. So I just need to breathe for a second because it’s still…
It’s huge. It’s huge. So many years of various forms of therapy, mostly from white therapists.
Now ,we know how that went. I had good jobs and all manner of, you know, success, pretty much success in various professions, medical stuff, and then sales and of medical equipment, big torture machine that people use. But anyhow. And finally, I was living in Wisconsin. I was maybe one of two Black people in Wisconsin, and a woman that I had been friendly with, we were talking over lunch and some other folks. They were talking about the possibility of an upcoming layoff at a company, things were going bad. And I said, Well, I don’t think they want to risk laying me off. And she said, What is that? I said, Well, I’m a single Black woman. And she looked – and her face. absolutely changed, really changed. Then she said, You’re not Black. And I said, Yes, I am.
Oh, yeah. So I used to wear my hair straight, that was the era of straightening the hair for most events. And I said, Yes, I am. And she says, No, you can’t be Black. I said, I am Black. I’ve been to your house. And I’ve sat on your toilet. Yes, I’m Black. And the horror on her face was absolutely stunning and I felt something rise up in me with many bad words attached to it. Something like blank you, you know you, blank blank, and I think that was an opening of awareness for me. I had probably just turned 40 at that point so I ended up, after lots of stuff, ended up in Philadelphia and found a great therapist. A Black woman, I decided I want a black woman therapist. Did a lot of work, had a lot of issues, and over the past say 10 years or so, or maybe a little bit more, I started to become interested in trauma, trauma response, energy work, what used to be called all the woo-woo stuff, you know it’s like woo okay. Really, really for some reason really took to that, you know, woo-woo was my thing at that point, but learned a good bit of stuff from various well-renowned energy workers. And today due is this great on chakra work, dana eden was great for basic energy work, and then shamanic stuff I started to look at that because it seemed to me that what I had experienced was not new and what other people were experiencing was not new, in particular groups. And that there were, there were folks on the planet who had been on the planet for generations, they’re you know not just one generation, generations of people knew how to deal with what I call the the internal life. The inner world and they did all manner of things that seemed oh so strange but also so effective and resonated for me.
Yeah. So let’s see. This is, this is 2021 – praise, praise. About maybe seven years ago or so, I was sleeping in the – you can see this on my website I know you’ve heard this story but it’s so stunning to me – so three o’clock in the morning I’m snoring away just sleeping good and I actually heard a voice that said it’s time for you to write a workshop on healing from racism. Now I’m sitting up in the bed at this point going … okay.
For those of you listening she said what the fuck.
i’m stunned and I’m sitting there and I turned the light on and I get a pad of paper and I start writing. And that’s when it really started, when this – my journey to creating some medicine I guess you might say. I would call it medicine.
For folks to release the stuff that confines us, release the outrageous lies that we’ve been told about ourselves and ways that we’ve been treated, all of that. Because for me that, that lives in our bodies and also in reading a lot of stuff about intergenerational trauma, how it is passed on from generation to generation, which a lot of people, particularly some Black folks that I was speaking with, said well that just means there’s something wrong with us. No. Do not take it that way. This, this is an energetic form that it moves, it moves through generations, and may skip a generation but also the good stuff, the ways that their ancestors were resilient and what they did to frickin stay alive and keep their families together. All of that we have in us. So I finally got together a group of people and said here’s what I’m thinking, here’s what I’ve been writing. What do you think about this? And they said, let’s try it and see, and we did and here I am.
Amazing, amazing. I mean and to get, to get that call like a real 3am call and to begin answering it like I’m imagining just from my own process, I imagined that there’s so much like stuff, emotional stuff, that comes up for you as like you know around your own, can I do this? Am I worthy of doing this? And you know like all of the junk, right, the stuff and yeah.
And I met you right sort of in this beautiful moment where like, you were doing this work and really excited about it, and I was just sort of recognizing, like the energy of colonialism lives through culture and is transmitted through our relationship with our parents, for example, like how, you know, parenting, and we just like, we met, and we were like speaking the same language.
We were. We were, it was great. I remember that.
You know, and I had the privilege of attending a beautiful weekend, a soul restoration weekend for Black women, and you invited me, and I really got to witness something that I had never seen before done the way you did it, which was that you stepped into a leadership role in such a way that you, you brought your own process to the group. Do you remember that?
Yes, yes. I do.
Yeah. Like there was a lull in the group.
And you stepped in and you were talking about how you were being affected by the love, and what was coming up for you in it. And that was like, that was such a beautiful display of vulnerable, authentic leadership that is, it felt so horizontal to me that I’ve been embracing that ever since I witnessed it.
Yeah. It was so, it was so gratifying, because there you were doing your own process, deep body work, you know, people were assisting you, it was like, wow. It blew my mind.
I think that that’s important. When I talk about leadership, I think back to Rianne Eisler, who’s written some great books about feminist culture, ancient feminist culture. And the one thing that – one of the things that struck me the most was that there were, and have been, two different types of hierarchies in the world. Hierarchies of oppression, where, which we’re mostly familiar with, I think I don’t need to call out where they all exist. They’re everywhere. And basically, mostly masculine dominated. And hierarchies of actualization. And what that means for me, how I interpret it, is that hierarchies of oppression are power over.
Hierarchies of actualization are power with.
Mhmm. Yes. Love it.
And I think – now that I think about it more constantly, that has been a foundational belief for me. Is that Yeah, there are some things that I know that perhaps you don’t know, let me teach you. Let me share with you what I know. As opposed to holding it close to me, and letting that build me up.
Right, right. Yeah. Resources, hoarding knowledge.
Right. Right. I was just seeing a large orange face at that point.
We’re going there.
She went there. She went there. Yeah, she went there. But seriously, what would our world be like if, if that’s the way we treated each other, you know, it’s like here, I know how to knit let me show you. And I know how to cook. Let me show you. And just all of those things on up to I know how to govern. I know how to organize socially. You know, let me show you how I do it. And let me hear your input also.
That’s, that’s for me is like utopia. That would be so great. So great. I mean, think of how our children would grow up.
Mm hmm. Yeah, yeah. And we’re forgeting that, right. Like in our, I think through the healing work, you know, what people, what I really want people to hear is that, you know, a lot of the work that you do, and the work that I do really ends up being about attachment.
It ends up being about, like, our relationship with ourselves and really owning, you know, the parts of us that, like, there’s the shadowy parts, right? The parts of us that –
… That’s separate from ourselves.
Right? But ultimately, like we’re creating the utopia by creating that space within ourselves. Right, and the more space we have within ourselves, the more like, the more we can hold, right? And I’m sort of putting my arms out, because, you know, it really is about embracing, embracing sort of a bigger picture and, you know, I know that spirituality for you is a huge piece of it, right, and you’ve, you know, you’ve been trained in the same – I haven’t been trained as much as you have, but in the path work, just an embracing sort of personality. No shadow, which is like you know unconscious or lower self as they call it in the path work, but could you say a little bit about like how do you incorporate that work so that those principles are in your own life?
15 years I think now I’ve been doing path work and actually just became a certified path work teacher.
As I went into this like, two years I think teacher training, maybe a year and a half, seemed long. What I knew that I wanted to get out of that training was – and this is what I said, is that path work has a lot of wonderful learnings, concepts and tools to help oppressed people, black and brown, remove the shadows from that and step into their authentic selves. Now, authentic self is the you know that’s the workshop I have coming up, reclaiming your authentic self. There’s a concept in path work called the idealized self image.
That made me jump up and down because I’m just telling you I got so excited, people in the room that you know, of course I was the only Black student in that group.
But nobody, nobody wanted to know about my underwear. So I’m jumping up and down going like, this is great. I said idealized self image, I know exactly what mine was, where it came from, how it played out over these years. Now granted I know that because of years of introspection, good guided therapy and the grace of God if you will. So for me it’s important for folks to understand, what have we sublimated to fit into –
– A colonial environment here, colonialism? You know, the oppressive, like –
The white supremacist.
Thank you! Yes.
It’s the rigid rigidity.
Right. Right. And I work specifically in groups, I work specifically with American born African descended women. And people sometimes say well why don’t you do this, why don’t you do that? Why don’t you include all people of color? Okay, a couple things. First of all I’m a woman, I identify as as a cis woman, for folks that are transgender, I have no lived experience of that and I don’t want to cause any more harm, inadvertently or what. I need to kind of stay on my road, my road.
My road includes folks whose ancestors experienced the middle passage, who ended up on the American continent.
Because there are specific laws, practices and atrocities that happened here in the United States.
And that still affect us subliminally, however you want to say, it’s that intergenerational experiences move through us and leave some wounding.
Right, the imprints.
Yes, right. And one of my favorite writers of trauma says, I saw this, I think it’s on the book, and I said I need that book. Trauma fragments the soul. And that was so deep, and I mean I felt myself like open to that and then want to close. The closing does not serve. I must remain open to finding the places where my soul became fragmented. And if you want to call it soul or personality, however you term it, there’s something that got passed on that keeps me from being my authentic self.
Right. And when you’re in a, when you’re in an idealized self.
Right, when you are in your idealized self there are parts of you that – you have this owned –
Right? That fragments, right? These shards, these pieces are living somewhere inside of you and they’re sort of sitting in this box and your work, your energy work, your body work, helps women, specifically US born Black women, reclaim those parts of themselves.
And to own them and to sort of incorporate them, and I’m just sort of putting my arms around myself like, to be able to hold all parts of who they are and then offer it in their relationships, in their work, right, to the world.
Absolutely. New favorite writer that I have, Thomas Hubl, H-U-B-L, and we can list books later –
Oh, Thomas Hubl! Yes. I love him.
Oh my god!
Collective trauma, collective trauma.
This guy talks about how when we, and this is I believed this for a long time and other people have described it but I’ve never seen anyone describe this phenomenon as well as he does. When we do healing work, energetically, it goes forward and back, and has the potential to do healing on the cosmic level. Okay? He talks about quantum physics. I love that stuff. I love quantum physics. Like it’s just like, whoa. Okay. But I believe that, and it also enables us to not pass on what I call, these are trauma responses that are very deep in us,
And let us, you know, at least if we don’t want to do the work for ourselves, do it for your ancestors, because I believe that the ancestors are around us. I mean, who is it that decided to speak to me at 3am? Seven years ago? I did say, and I’ll give this to everybody, if you do ancestor work, I said, fine. I’ll listen, because I do listen frequently, I said, just don’t materialize in here. I can’t take that. I really can’t. That would just scare me too much. I believe that.
Yeah. And so you know, the point that I want to bring in here, is that like, you talk about the epigenetic pieces.
Right. The parts that are really like a biological transmission of trauma.
Biological and behavioral and the energy part.
Right. So it’s, it’s not one or the other, it’s both. And they sort of come together. And the work that you do offers entryways into both, release work into both. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
I don’t know where to start except what you said. And that all the parts of us must be addressed and come together. I think it’s Kausche that said trauma fragments the soul, we need to bring those parts together, back together into connection with each other. All of the biological stuff, absolutely. The mental, I said physical, but the spiritual aspects, the cosmic aspects of who we are, and who we are meant to be. Path work does that for me, to some extent, particularly about the cosmic aspect of our being.
So maybe a better question, Erva, is how, right, for somebody who’s listening, how do they go about doing that?
You’ll know the practitioner when you meet him or her. I do you believe that. I believe it is taking time in nature, in silence, listening to the nothing, because there’s so much in the nothing. And I know that sounds a little weird, but I believe that. Slowing down. We live in such a frenetic world. And now with all this crap going on, who has time to just sit and contemplate? Well make time, make time to contemplate and to feel your body also. Be aware of what body sensations come up for you in certain circumstances. I had a good friend of mine who complained about a chronic pain in her ankle. And finally, I said to her, you want to look at that more broadly? And yes, and long story short, the chronic pain was a pain that an ancestor, African descended ancestor, had experienced from being shackled to the bed, so she wouldn’t run off. She had, she would run away from the plantation and get caught and punished. And so her relatives, perhaps mother, I don’t remember, shackle her to the bed. So to try to keep her safe. And that manifests as a chronic pain in her ankle. And another, another client that talks about pressure over her chest, and particularly she was looking, she was looking for relationships, couldn’t find relationships. You know, you know that whole story. I know that story. And in working with her over the past six months, maybe almost a year, she had a metal plate over her heart that had tethers through her back to a group of ancestral grandmothers who wanted to protect her from being hurt in relationships. I can’t make this stuff up. I can’t! Because some of it I just go … And then keep on working with it. But I believe that there’s, there’s such a wealth of information when we open ourselves to whatever you want to call it, spirit world, energy world. I believe Hubl talks about there is no time, all time is now.
And I believe that. I believe that.
Yeah. Yeah and so you know, I’ve had the privilege of working with you and sort of what you’re talking about in the body is like pains, tightness in the chest or sensations, period. Right? The throat, that’s a huge one, throat blocks. These are all signs and symbols of things that want to be healed, right? And they don’t necessarily have to do with something you experienced in your lifetime but there are these resonances or these imprints from the ancestors that want, that are like speaking to us.
And you work intuitively with those, like you stay present with them, you offer curiosity and presence to them in such a way, and client too, right, and together you are able to sort of come up with like where the roots are, right, where the – where it comes from.
It’s not that I come up with it, I think it’s given to me.
So – and I have to say that gave me chills just now – the reason I talk so much about Hubl’s book now, is that there was a paragraph where he talks about the spiritual aspects of trauma. And I jumped up, I read a paragraph and jumped up and said, that is exactly what happens to me. Is that I make an energetic connection, not only with the person but with whatever energy is around them, and things come to me. But I have done stuff that later on the afternoon I go, what the hell was that?
Yeah, we’ve worked together at that kind of moment.
Yeah! Yes yes. You and I really do work very well together.
We inhabit that same space.
Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. I have seen you go there.
It is, it’s amazing. And it’s not necessarily intellectual.
No it’s not.
And there is, I think, I’m coming into this now myself, that there is a way that I need to own it with all humility.
I should write that down, that was good. I’m serious.
I don’t think I’ve ever voiced it like that but it’s that after all this time, and so many actually you know I worked in an international group that did a woman’s weekend for a long time and people would come up to me and say, how’d you do that? And I’m like, I don’t know, it just came to me. And I think I need to step into the ownership of there is some connection that I have been opened to and access that is granted to me. I do believe that this is definitely my path, and I’m charged with this work. It’s a charge, I’ve just started saying that. And I’m charged in a specific path.
Right, your lane, your lane.
Yeah and I love that, to own it, right, to be really clear that these are your gifts but to do it with a sense of humility like this this is something that comes through me this is not necessarily mine.
But that it comes through me and that I’m just like, I’m the vessel and I’m here to serve – with it.
That’s it. That is it, I’m here to serve.
It’s like, okay y’all what do you need me to do? Just – just don’t materialize, I’m serious, don’t be walking through no walls and stuff like that, okay I am not Whoopi Goldberg in whatever that was.
Oh, in Ghost. No – please I have limits. Unless it’s really, really, truly called for, okay.
Erva I want you to share about your upcoming workshop. When is it happening, where is it happening, how can people get access to it? I’ll include it in the show notes.
So here’s the thing, there was another in-person three day soul restoration journey workshop scheduled for last March, at Pendle Hill, great location to do this stuff. And I’ve done it in other places also. And of course, COVID came along and everything shut down. So I’m like, Oh, my gosh, how can this happen? We can’t even, you know, and then at some point, somebody says something to me about zoom. I’m like, Oh, god, what the hell is that? And I actually ended up having a few clients for energy work on zoom. That surprised me. I didn’t think it would work. But I need to remember, energy knows no boundaries, knows no limits. So I have coming up, actually, starting February the fifth, a six week series, called Reclaiming your Authentic Self, based on energy work, based on Patrick’s concept of the idealized self image, based on epigenetics, just bringing in all the stuff that I know. And I will be enormously grateful when we can all come together again, because there’s something even more wonderful about when a group of women come together, and we witness each other, and we support each other, we cry together, we laugh together, and we heal ourselves, each other and the ancestors and on forward. And I miss that.
I do miss that. Because it’s, it feeds me. I still have doubts. You know, I mean, I still have, you know. So yes, it’s six weeks, Pendle Hill, it will be on Zoom for an hour and a half on six Friday evenings.
Okay, that’s perfect. Okay, so it’ll be reclaiming your authentic self. And I’m gonna include that link to the Pendle Hill workshop in the show notes for those of you who are interested.
Okay. I will also say that I understand it’s filling quickly. Okay. Now, if that’s the case, I mean, I love Pendle Hill. And I like working on zoom with Pendle Hill because there’s, there’s tech support, which I need. Cause if somebody says, you know, let’s, let’s break up into groups, what?! The chat, put your questions in the chat. Where’s that? Anyhow, I would consider doing a smaller group, the maximum at this group is capped at 12. I wuold consider doing smaller groups myself. I have learned some things about zoom. I’m happy to say.
And who knows, perhaps there’s someone else that might want to join me.
Yeah. So that, you know, at the very least they can get in touch with you. Thank you for the invitation, Erva. I feel like I missed a beat, and I was like, oh, yeah, you’re talking to me.
Yeah, yeah. It’s okay. I knew you’d get it. No doubt, no doubt. But I mean, it’s important for me, particularly now, it’s like, there seems to be this energy of renewed oppression. And it’s like, No, no, no, that’s got to stop. And whatever remnants left within us, and still out in the energy it’ss like, no, okay, stop.
Right. Yes, yes.
Right. And I love how you just did that, like you sort of this the stop energy, right? My response is that is like that, too. Like, it didn’t used to be my response. My response used to be to collapse, right? When I felt this, like big energy and all of this, like, all these things are happening in the world I would just collapse, right? And now I’m just like, no, let’s empower ourselves. Let’s, let’s bring ourselves even bigger. Let’s take up more space, right? Healers and leaders and people who are doing service work. Let’s bring ourselves bigger.
Absolutely. Absolutely. This is a crucial time, I think, for the planet. Yeah. You know, cosmically, I think that this – this is a make or break period of time.
Not only for, for us, in the United States, but globally. This whole concept of white supremacy is not limited to the United States. It’s been around for a long time. And it’s time for that to be gone now. Really gone.
Yes. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah.
Erva, thank you so much for doing this today.
It’s been beautiful, and it’s so wonderful to see you and hear you and connect with you.
I would like to hug you.
Another time. Virtual energy hugs.
You bet. You bet. Thank you so much, dear, and blessings to everybody that sees this and peace, blessings and healing.
Okay, that’s it for today’s episode. I hope that this conversation moved some energy for you. And if you found this valuable, it would mean so much if you contributed to the sisterhood and shared it with a friend. Remember to hit the subscribe button so that you get notified of new episodes dropping on the new and full moons of each month. If you haven’t already, leave us a five star review. Make sure that everyone who needs this transmission gets it. See you next time, Rompereglas.