Sacred Space for Women of Color at the October Herbal Conference

Lucretia Vandyke is a holistic esthetician focusing on integrating indigenous healing rituals into modern-day treatment protocols.

Are you a woman interested in herbs and traditional medicine?

Are you feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, looking for more natural ways to address health issues for yourself or your family?

For 13 years, women of all ages and backgrounds have gathered each fall at the Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference at Lake Eden in Black Mountain for a weekend of earth-based healing, women’s wisdom, and herbal medicine. As the conference has grown, its “Unity Village” has become the heart of the conference, which includes a gathering place for women of color as well as opportunities for all women to build bridges of understanding.

The conference focuses on women’s health from a perspective of empowerment and self-love, including overcoming internalized oppression for all women. For women of color, day-to-day experiences of systemic racism, micro-aggressions, and internalized oppression add up to health risk factors. Therefore, dynamics of racism are considered an important component of women’s health to address, individually and communally.

To provide a special sacred space for women of color attending the Herbal Conference, the Sister Love Deck within Unity Village was founded in 2010 by Olatakumbo Obasi. There, she says, women of color are welcomed to gather to “honor the healing legacy of our black and brown grandmothers and ancestors. For many centuries the suppressed earth-based practices of People of Color went underground in order to protect and preserve knowledge for future generations. In honor of our grandmothers, we join to reclaim our ancient wisdom.”

Conference teacher Lucretia Vandyke—a holistic esthetician focusing on integrating indigenous healing rituals into modern-day treatment protocols—is bringing together Sister Love discussion facilitators this October 13-15, 2017. Onsite, the space will be coordinated by Pyllis Utley and Rubina Beg, with decor by Jaymii Liehr of Samadhi Designs.

VanDyke says, “The importance of sacred space for women of color is to provide a space for us as a people to honor our ways, for our own healing , and then to be able to communicate how best our allies can support us.”

For details on the October 13-15 herbal conference, visit the Southeast Wise Women website at


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