In 2013, Mea Woodruff heard the call to create a community for women, and she answered with Spirit Weavers. The five day gathering takes place at Cedar Bloom, the land that Mea and her family steward in Southern Oregon — it’s a celebration of culture, food, ceremony and connection to the Earth through the wisdom of ancestors past.
Tell us about yourself!
I’m Mea, daughter of Deni, Granddaughter of Lena & Wyvaun. Great Granddaughter of Gertrude, Maudage, Cleo & Irene. Cancer Sun, Scorpio Moon & Rising, so triple water mermaid. My Partner, 11 year old daughter Naia and I have lived on the Island of Kauai for the last 14 years but spend our Summers in Oregon where we have a Retreat Center, Campground & Community Village.
Tell us about Spirit Weavers
Spirit Weavers is a gathering of Women which happens the first two weeks of June each year on our land in Southern Oregon, Cedar Bloom. It is the original home of the Takilma people. We come together to step away from the outside world to share skills, ceremony, inspiration and Ancestral wisdom. The first gathering happened on my family’s land in Southern California, then in Joshua tree, Mendocino and now five years at our home in Southern Oregon.
What was your inspiration for creating Spirit Weavers?
I had spent the decade prior submerged in Ancestral Skills gatherings but had met my partner and we left the states to travel. We became pregnant and landed back on Kauai where we birthed our daughter. A breastfeeding photo of Naia and I went viral and was removed from Instagram. The resistance to the image made me realize we needed more conversations around normalizing breastfeeding and the taboo of naked women and our unique bodies — I felt alone during that time with just a small support system around me. Perhaps there was a calling to gather with the like-minded women who would support an image like the one I had shared. I planned a small gathering of 75 women on my family’s 5 acres and what transpired that weekend was nothing short of magic. We had gathered in this way lifetimes before, that was certain, and the time was right to begin to gather more women in search of community, healing and sisterhood. This was in 2013 and we are now 9 years in!
What has been your personal journey with sustainability and regeneration?
I was raised on a family farm where we grew most of our own food and raised our livestock for food. My Papa is from Oklahoma and so he continued his Family’s tradition of farming with us. We had giant gardens, fruit trees, horses, cows, goats, chickens, ducks, and rabbits. So I was really raised within the natural world but left the farm for the city once I got older. I needed to venture away and explore something different to find my way back to my roots. Through the Ancestral Skills gatherings I’ve met incredible folks really walking the sustainability and simple living walk so I often turn to them for Inspiration. I’ve never taken my upbringing for granted and have found this lifestyle is truly at the core of my existence. It’s really within all of us because somewhere down our Ancestral line, our families were once truly living in harmony with the earth. Having Cedar Bloom has really given me an opportunity to create our own gardens and education collaboration for many.
“I’ve never taken my upbringing for granted and have found this lifestyle is truly at the core of my existence. It’s really within all of us because somewhere down our ancestral line, our families were once truly living in harmony with the earth.”
Tell us more about Cedar Bloom Farm!
Ohhhh, Cedar Bloom. This land fills my heart like I never imagined possible. Originally, we bought the land to hold Spirit Weavers but overtime it’s become its own vision. We built all the structures for the gathering but our first Summer there it was just our small family of 3 and we realized it should be shared. I was raised camping and so my first thought was to create a retreat center and campground. We hopped on the Hipcamp train early on and it has really been a blessing though the pandemic as we haven’t been able to hold Spirit Weavers the last two years. 2022 will be the year we return!
The land is 100 acres with a mile of the Illinois River that runs along it so it’s the perfect place to hold a lot of people. We have thousands of trees on the land including cedar, oak, pine, madrone and fir so it’s a lot to maintain but we have a great rotating work-trade crew that has been super helpful. This year we expanded our gardens and grew enough food to feed our 10 person community. Though we’re open year round, it’s quiet in the Winter and comes alive in the Summer. We have 3 tiny A-Frame cabins, three geodesic domes, a tea house and a few gorgeous river overlook shower houses. Getting to meet folks coming from the cities to recharge and renew has been a great gift. Being a steward of Cedar Bloom is one of the greatest joys of my life.
How has the backdrop of your home in Kauai and Oregon impacted your relationship with the Earth?
It’s allowed me to really look at the footprint that I’m leaving behind each time we fly. Kauai is really our home where our community is and where we are raising Naia. Cedar Bloom is our business and we have to be there each summer in order to allow it to continue to grow and thrive. Flying back and forth each summer isn’t ideal so it’s the one thing that pulls on my heartstrings to look for other solutions.
We have epic farmers markets on the island and we live in the farming community of Moloaa so many of our friends are farmers. You can grow food year round on the islands so I try to support the farmers while on island and grow our own gardens in Oregon. Both places are deeply nourishing and surrounded by incredible natural landscapes.
“Offerings can come through many different forms but usually it’s through prayer, song, or sacred herbs or items. Just taking time to say thank you. Taking time to breathe in the air and smells of that place, to talk with the spirits of the land, to listen, to reflect, to remember”
What is your advice for others who are looking to incorporate sustainability into their lives?
Start with your local community. Make connections with makers, artists, farmers, crafts folk, etc. Work with people within your area to learn how you can all support each other and learn from one another. Of course it’s not always possible to only shop/work locally but it’s a start and you will end up meeting incredible, like-minded people. This is one of the things I love about Spirit Weavers, we truly create our own diverse community and many of us stock up for the year on clothing, herbs, crafts, knowledge and so much more. Community is everything! Remember that we all have skills to share, don’t be afraid to offer yours as you may end up helping many neighbors and friends in need!
How do you Honor Mother Earth?
One way that feels the most authentic is through offering ceremonies. Each time I arrive or depart Kauai or Oregon or any place that has held me I always make an offering to that land. Offerings can come through many different forms but usually it’s through prayer, song, or sacred herbs or items. Just taking time to say thank you. Taking time to breathe in the air and smells of that place, to talk with the spirits of the land, to listen, to reflect, to remember.