I'm Erin Caitlin Sweeney
(they/them or she/her)
I'm a healing practitioner, writer, & group facilitator. I'm a queer white person who grew up with the protection, guidance, and magic of the woods on Conestoga-Susquehannock land. After 16 years away living and loving in New York City and Oakland, CA, I returned to the land that raised me, currently known as Lancaster, PA, in 2021. My ancestral lineage roots and swirls from Ireland, Scotland, and Germany, including the Pennsylvania Dutch.
I have been a practitioner of Ancestral Connection, Reiki, and Energy Healing since 2017 after completing my master's degree in Integrative Health Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies. There, I studied Ancestral Medicine with Atava Garcia Swiecicki and Kimmy Johnson, Guided Imagery with Leslie Davenport, and met my Reiki teacher and friend, Angela Omulepu.
I offer 1:1 ancestral connection + healing sessions with an antiracist and decolonial lens for folks seeking to develop and strengthen a relationship with their ancestors. I support clients to feel better in their bodies through Reiki and Energy Healing at Move It Studio. I facilitate classes and workshops exploring ancestral healing, storytelling, and how to divest and heal from white-bodied supremacy.
Recently, I've been a practitioner with Decolonizing Wealth Project's Healing Collective and co-facilitater of Embodied Reparations with Sage Hayes and Kusum Crimmel. I've also been learning more about herbalism and the folk healing traditions of my Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors with Rooted Home Herbalism.
When I'm not working with clients and students, I spend my time talking with plants, reading novels, going on long, meandering walks with my partner and pup, Frankenstein, and spending two days a week having the most fun ever teaching a strenth-training dance class at Move It Studio.
Scroll down to learn more about my healing philosophy, story & work.
My Healing Philosophy
My work with clients and students is always a collaboration. I am not an expert and our work dynamic is not a hierarchy. Every client and student I work with has something to teach. I trust that everyone knows what they need and that we are all capable of healing. My role is to hold space for inquiry. To ask questions and support folks on their journey. To always meet my clients and students where they are.
I believe healing is a process, not a destination. It's life-long and multi-generational. It is messy, non-linear, and scary. It's beautiful and expansive. It is all of the things. Ultimately, healing is the process that brings us closer to who we are and who we're meant to be. Disentangling ourselves from who we were taught to be and from who we had to be to survive. Healing is the journey of coming home to ourselves.
I believe healing is a radical act. I believe it's a powerful choice to seek connection rather than avoidance. I believe that when we look inward with honesty, accountability & compassion, we can bring healing to ourselves, our ancestors & show up rooted for collective liberation.
I bring a healing justice lens to my life and work. In her book, Liberated to the Bone, Susan Raffo defines healing justice as, "how the systems we seek to change outside of our bodies are also carried within our bodies." Systems like white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, settler colonialism and how they manifest in beliefs (both conscious and unconscious) like homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, racism, fatphobia, ableism, and so much more. I recognize that I've been socialized within these systems and they live within me. Part of my work as a healing practitioner is to do the work of uncovering and tending to the ways in which these systems of oppression live within my body and lineage, to understand myself in relationship to place, community, and history. I bring this lens to my work with clients by supporting and encouraging their inquiry into how these systems live within them, as well as, by recognizing the ways in which these systems impact us differently depending on the many intersections of our identity.
My Healing Path
My healing story begins with a depression diagnosis at the age of 15. I was medicated and expected to be on it for the rest of my life. That I needed it to feel 'normal.' I believed the medication would fix what felt broken inside. By 25, I was burnt out and self-medicating while living in New York and working in the film & television industry. I decided it was time to leave the city and get more support. I started receiving craniosacral bodywork, therapy & a regular yoga practice. I started to get into my body, I started to envision a life without medication 10 years after my diagnosis. I started exploring what healing felt like. What it looked like for me.
At 27, I moved to Oakland, CA and immersed myself in the world of healing, pursuing a Masters degree in Integrative Health Studies. This is when my healing journey deepened in a way I never imagined. This is when I was introduced to ancestral healing work by Atava Garcia Swiecicki and Kimmy Johnson. This is when I received a limpia by Angela Angel. Both of which changed my life. With the support of my ancestors, teachers, therapist, and healers, I stopped taking antidepressants nearly 13 years after I was first diagnosed and medicated.
My ancestors led the way and I listened. I followed. I prayed. My ancestors were there when I uncovered sexual abuse from my childhood. Memories, pain, heartbreak that my body protected me from for much of my life. I began to study Usui Reiki with Angela Omulepu, to understand the power of energy healing. I found pure joy through movement at Hipline. I studied Guided Imagery with Leslie Davenport and was opened to the power of the unconscious. I was led to deepen into ancestral work with Kimmy Johnson. Kimmy & my ancestors guided me out of the darkness I found myself in after learning of the abuse. I dreamt of herbal medicine and I started working at Ancestral Apothecary with my teacher Atava. I was guided to deepen into community, to build a relationship with the natural world, and the practices of my ancestors. I began to feel more connected with myself than ever before. More in touch with and present to the full experience of life, including all of the ups, downs, and in-betweens.
As I deepened into my personal and generational healing practice, I started to look more honestly at my identity as a white-bodied person. I started to inquire about the relationship among personal, generational, community, and collective healing. I began to explore the legacy of white-bodied supremacy and settler colonialism and how they live in me and my lineage. I found a thoughtful community of antiracist white people in an accountability group led by Aryeh Shell & Jean Milam with Thrive East Bay. I learned history that I was never taught in my majority-white schools. I started to understand how enslavement, genocide, and colonization are a part of my story, as well as the collective story. Swaths of history that were kept silent, deep festering wounds that were avoided for generations. I started to understand that there is no personal healing without generational healing and no generational healing without collective healing. I made a choice: that I will do everything in my power to break the cycles of harm, to say it ends with me.
So here I am. An ever-evolving person committed to the path of personal, generational, and collective healing. Rooted in the ancestral medicine and wisdom of my lineage. Rooted in the beauty and magic of plants and the natural world. Continuing the practice of untangling myself from the webs of white-bodied supremacy, settler colonialism, patriarchy, and capitalism. Continuing to give myself grace as I learn more and more about myself. Continuing to learn how to navigate the world as someone who feels things deeply. Continuing on the many spirals of the healing path I find myself on and honored to support others on their healing journeys.
Influenced & Inspired by...
the ocean, my mom, my friends, evergreens, my ancestors, plants (special shout out to yarrow, mugwort, lavender, and lemon balm!), my partner, folktales, my teachers, dance.
traveling to my ancestral lands especially the Scottish Highlands & Brittany, France.
classes & trainings including Healing Internalized Whiteness w/ Sandra Kim, Celtic Studies: Myth, Tradition & Spirituality w/ Sharon Blackie, Fierce Vulnerability w/ Kazu Haga at the East Point Peace Academy, Amhran na Draoi: Magic & Medicine of the Celts with Rylan Sían at Ancestral Apothecary, Reparative Communal Consultation for White Bodies with Resmaa Menakem & Carlin Quinn, A Course on the Imaginal with Alixa Garcia at Education for Racial Equity, and Rooted Home Herbalism with Shannon Muldoon & Annie Hasz.