Hannah's name came up multiple times in conversation before I had the pleasure of meeting her here in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. "Have you been to one of her cacao ceremonies?" was the question I was most often asked and the answer was always...no. I had never been to a women's gathering and I had never been to a cacao ceremony. They sounded lovely and everyone I spoke to seemed to have benefited from them, however, I had never made the effort to go.
And so I continued to hear about how amazing Hannah was and what amazing work she was doing, without having met her or attended any of her events. In my mind she was a kind, jungle Goddess who spread love, light, and fairy dust around town, enchanting all those she met. Then I actually met Hannah.
It was all true (ok, maybe not the fairy dust).
Not only is Hannah a kind, jungle Goddess, she is a fierce and passionate investigator. As a result of her interest in women's history around the world, Hannah has devoted herself to researching, understanding, and sharing women's stories and how the past has informed our present day culture. Through ceremonies, retreats, workshops, and classes Hannah shares the knowledge she has gained from her global travels, merging past with present to bring women together through empowerment, community, and education.
Since then I have attended more than one ceremony with Hannah and each time I find something new within myself.
Something I didn't know needed addressing.
Something I didn't realized needed mending.
Thank you Hannah for sharing these traditions with so many and for holding space for women to explore the depths of their own Souls.
WanderFreely: I don’t even know where to begin with all the amazing projects you have created. You have founded two different organizations: Soul Seed Gathering and Sacred Female Space. Both projects aim to empower, educate, and bring together women from around the globe. What calls you so fiercely to the connecting women and traditions past, present, and future?
Hannah Dyson: I feel so personally empowered by this exploration! It is such an integral part of my own journey into becoming a whole, embodied, confident woman. I understood the importance of feminism growing up, but part of me always questioned - what about before this movement? Has the world always been male dominated? Do we naturally have a male - female imbalance that we are only now addressing? These questions began a quest for answers that hasn’t stopped!
WF: Soul Seed Gathering is an in-the-works documentary split up into chapters. The first chapter was held at Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. What was the experience like of creating this first chapter?
HD: Such an adventure! We are filming the documentary, to share the story of the Medicine Woman & Herstory (the past story of all women). Chapter 1 began in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala and was so magical. I have this theory that female healers & medicine women can be found in every country, town and village… On the third day of filming, we were synchronistically introduced to a Mayan Medicine Woman - Maria, and spent several hours with her in her traditional fire ceremony, & in deep conversation and interview. We were simply in awe of her intelligence, wisdom and philosophy on life, and are so excited to share her uplifting messages to all women.
The gathering directly funds and supports our research and documentary. We also celebrate and highlight, what we learn about women’s culture in each location within each gathering. I’m still so in awe of how our Chapter 1 flowed! 50 women came together for five nights and four days at a permaculture & yoga retreat space - The Yoga Forest - overlooking Lake Atitlan. We experimented by inviting all women attending, to share an offering and become a part of the line-up. It worked better than we could have hoped for! It created immediately this sense of community and a sense of equality, where everyone supported one another. All the workshops and offerings were exceptional, and proved how talented and unique all women are.
Throughout, we also has local Guatemalan women sharing their skills of back-strap loom weaving and basket weaving. These traditions invite us back into this slowing down, mindfulness and magic of having an idea and physically creating it - thread by thread.
We were privileged to have Maria the Medicine Woman and her sister Micaela, a local community leader and spokeswoman for women’s rights, also join the gathering, and offer such profound insight and encouragement to all the women present.
Finally, within the festival, we had so many wonderful talks, that we recorded and hope to offer as a video talk series online for a Women’s Wisdom Series.
WF: Can you give us a sneak-peek of Chapter 2?
HD: Yes! We are heading to Colombia to learn from the Kogi & Wayuu tribes. Our Chapter 2 is taking place 25th-30th May at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains by the Caribbean ocean. Again, so in awe of the magic - it feels like it has a life of its own and so excited to soon announce the line-up! We will have weaving traditions again, live music from some outstanding artists & lots of movement and dance in the Caribbean tradition.
WF: What becomes available when women tap into their feminine spirit?
HD: Wow so much! Personally I have developed greater confidence in my true nature, my voice & self-expression. I’ve also funnily enough developed a better connection with men as i’ve stepped fully into the feminine spirit. Then the ability to live, work and trust in living in flow. I’m learning to only work with ease, and cycles of doing and rest, allowing patience for the greater journey to unfold… without needing to force, our feel guilty when taking times of doing no-thing. This is such a big reclamation from our busy, overworking male-structured society.
WF: You hold Cacao Ceremony & Women’s Circle within Puerto Viejo. For someone who has never been, what can they expect to see/do/experience at this type of gathering?
HD: It’s such a sweet space to connect, become grounded and feel truly supported. I’ve been sharing a weekly women’s circle now for nearly five years, and with cacao for nearly three. It began as a way to connect a little bit deeper to community, and share an understanding of how ritual and ceremony can relate to our modern lives.
It has developed into such a beautiful space to be witnessed, to share openly from the heart, practice truly listening, and holding space, to be reminded that you are never alone on this life journey. Its a naturally healing space, where we can share what is going on for us, and understand our experiences better, to also transform our doubts and fears. It is also a celebration of living, our bodies and Nature, and drinking pure chocolate is such a beautiful feminine thing.
Each circle is different, we often sing, sometimes dance and move, I share a guided journey meditation, to tap into the subconscious, and we sometimes offer massage to one another.
WF: Living in Costa Rica you are surrounded by nature and it’s beauty. What gifts does nature give to you?
HD: It is such a gift to live here! I continually meet my own true nature, in it’s many shapeshifting forms. It offers a deeper awareness of life, with death also an integral part of that. You can’t escape it in the jungle, where the cycles of life and death, are so present. Huge trees fall down in a storm and grow again so quickly. The jungle is so raw, we have little identity or masks to hide behind, & less ‘modern’ distractions. and so you keep meeting yourself, again and again, and can learn who you are here.
WF: How do you take time for self-care and why is it so important?
HD: Cooking and eating local, plant-based food feels like the ultimate self-care and love to me. The importance of eating locally grown, nutrient-dense, and luscious fruits, greens and vegetables - has only sunk in since being here! I feel like every meal is a party in my mouth & have to pinch myself that I live in a cacao forest!
I’m also so grateful to have dogs that won’t let me miss an hour each day just on the beach, running around in the sunshine, walking barefoot and swimming in the ocean… it’s still so easy to get caught up in the working and being busy trap. As soon as I’m outside, I’m reminded how important this balance is!
All self-care is such a blessing, that allows my cup to feel overflowing - which is such a beautiful space to offer, give-back and work from. Compared to previously, when I was still trying to prove more, or work to ‘get somewhere’ other. This feels like the healthy and empowering way of being of service, not from a place of lack but a place of abundance.
WF: In both the United States and around the world there has been so much tension recently around women’s rights and gender equality. If you could speak to the next generation of women and men about the Divine Feminine, what would you say?
HD: Wow I would say, she comes in all forms… find what the divine feminine means for you. All of us, men and women, hold the masculine and feminine within us.
I believe our wild self is re-emerging, and we need to reclaim and not fear that…
We need to heal and understand these aspects of ourselves, to use our voice and act against the injustices and deep dysfunctions our societies face. We can’t act from a place of misrepresented anger any longer… the deep personal inner work must mirror and take action in the outer.
The Divine Feminine invites us to hold compassion and advocacy for all living beings, and to protect our home - Mother Earth.
WF: Follow up on that, I feel that it is important for both women and men to be a part of the conversation for the future of human rights.
HD: Yes so full-heartedly agree! As more women step into their power, it’s shaking up the status quo and becoming so clear that men need support in their own way, and also need to be part of the conversation of how to live differently and be the change needed. Patriarchy has been damaging for all of us, and we are only now waking up to it.
WF: You are a new Mom. Has this changed your perspective on the work you do? If so, how?
HD: Wow I continue to develop such a deep respect for all women, and the strength of all Mothers. You cannot escape this deep initiation and rite-of-passage that is so humbling, disorientating and a big surrender of who you were before, to this new responsibility and love for someone who grows inside of you, and then is walking around on the outside!
I feel a strong sense of ‘fierce protection’, as I try and channel and transform all the pain and suffering I can so deeply sense in the world. I feel this huge pull to protect and uplift all children - and really that means all of us, with the wounds of our inner child, that we still carry.
WF: What are you most excited about right now?
HD: Wow so much! Learning to be a mother :)
I’m also deeply immersed in sharing a course, to later be released as a book, called ‘For Women Who Want To Change The World’. This is drawing from all of my experiences so far, and really calling us to look and decide how we want to create, do business, be in relationship, take action, and make choices, where we are already personally living the change we wish to see in the world. I believe so strongly it begins with each and every small action we take, word we speak & belief we hold.
So many well intentioned women and men, lose integrity in their striving to achieve, and support themselves - because we haven’t been taught how to question the systems, ways of marketing and doing business already laid out for us.