The planet deserves our love and gratitude every day. Earth Day falls in April and we’re spending the entire month focusing on how we can better connect with Mother Earth.

Today we speak with Deborah Hanekamp of Mama Medicine. Deborah is a seeress, shaman, yogi, and Reiki master, based in New York.

Splendid Spoon: Hey Deborah! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Deborah: Seventeen years ago, after a tumultuous early life, I began a powerful spiritual journey. This involved practices of spiritual travel, Zen and silent meditation, yoga, Ayurveda, and Reiki. I then undertook an eight year apprenticeship, traveling back and forth from the Peruvian Amazon. Eventually, I was crowned a shaman in the mestizo lineage in Peru.

However, my most powerful moment of awakening was becoming a mom. This transformation enabled me to assimilate everything I had learned. I then asked the universe “How can I be of service?” I received an unexpected, but clear, answer: I should offer Medicine Readings. These consist of one-on-one healing, group ceremonies, and retreats. They’re an integration of all the powerful work I’ve done, combined with my natural ability to see people’s auras. [Your aura is the electromagnetic field that surrounds you. Every creature has one. Your aura’s energy is believed to reveal a lot about you. — Ed.]

The moment I said “yes” to offering Medicine Readings, I received many positive affirmations and so much healing from my work. This momentum continues today, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

SS: What is a Medicine Reading?

DH: A Medicine Reading is a full-sensory experience that engages the faculties of scent, sound, and feeling. They last no more than two hours and induce a trance state in the recipient. A recipient does not need to believe in anything in order to benefit from the experience (skeptics are welcome!). It’s like a massage for your spirit.

First, we sit together and I read your aura. After we’ve talked for a while, you lay on a Biomat (a bed of amethyst crystals that releases infrared rays), and I facilitate your ceremony. Finally I prescribe you a bespoke ritual bath and some spiritual homework so you can be your own healer!

SS: What rituals do you follow to better connect with the planet?

DH: When you approach nature with gratitude — even if all you do is hug a tree — it’s received with honor and grace. Rituals like moon ceremonies, and surrounding ourselves with crystals during our meditations, can help us stay connected to mama earth, even if you live in the city.

SS: How do you express gratitude for the planet?

DH: Yesterday my daughter and I went to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. We took little pouches full of tobacco, lavender, and sage, and we sprinkled this offering of gratitude around trees and plants. We then placed our hands on the earth and sang to her.

SS: Tell us about your most-loved crystals and how you use them.

DH: When I am giving myself a Medicine Reading, I connect with Lemurian Quartz. The little striations in the stone hold a lot of teaching and healing for me. When I’m facilitating Medicine Readings for others, I often rely on selenite to help me cleanse their auric fields.

SS: How do you stay centered and connected to the planet when you live in NYC?

DH: I live and work in NYC, but I try to be in nature as often as possible. When I’m in the city, I connect to the planet everyday by singing to the mother spirit of the precious plants and animals that live here. This is a practice I learned in my apprenticeship in the Peruvian Amazon. It helps connect to the core of the Earth.

SS: What practice would you recommend for someone looking to get grounded?

DH: Stand on the earth with bare feet. Allow yourself to release any stress, tension, outdated habits and beliefs into the earth. Ask her to receive it and turn it into love.

SS: What one way can we use the planet to help us love and care for ourselves?

DH: Remember to say “thank you” to the earth, to your physical body (which is the representation of the earth), to your home, and to your food every day. Gratitude waters the seeds of joy and love towards ourselves and each other. [We couldn’t have come up with a better conclusion ourselves! — Ed.]