I'm Erin Caitlin Sweeney
(she/her or they/them)
I'm a person of European descent living in Huichin, the unceded Ohlone territory now known as Oakland, CA. My people come from what is now called Ireland, Scotland, France & Germany. I'm a storyteller, dancer & plant lover. I offer 1:1 ancestral healing & remembrance work for folks of European descent with an antiracist & decolonial lens. I'm a group facilitator & educator. Scroll down to learn more about my story & work.
The land that raised me...
I was born on Piscataway land, just next to the ocean.
Herons visited my mother when I was still in her womb.
They have been guides throughout my life.
I was raised on land my Pennsylvania Dutch (German) ancestors called home for generations.
On the land of the Susquehannock people.
We moved away from the ocean when I was a baby but water has always been near.
I grew up eating the food of my German ancestors, celebrating their traditions.
I was raised by the lake, trees, ferns, flowers, squirrels of the little village of Mount Gretna, PA.
I was raised by a single mother.
She is an artist. A history lover. A feminist. A teacher. A plant lover.
Storytelling, a thread that weaves...
I grew up going to see theater with my mom, a former actress.
I was raised with a deep respect and love for storytelling in all its forms.
I started journaling in elementary school, writing poetry in high school.
I directed my first play when I was 4. I acted in my first play when I was 11.
Filmmaking was where my heart was (it still holds a place).
I moved to New York to study Arts Administration at Wagner College at 18.
I worked in film & television production for 7 years.
I saw what women in leadership looks like during this time.
I learned what it feels like to be a part of a community, the family that indie film sets become.
New York gave me life.
Until it didn't.
I over worked myself. I got burnt out. I felt broken.
I left New York with deep love in my heart for the city that shaped who I am.
I left New York to continue my story and to begin my healing journey.
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.
I started receiving healing work, therapy & a regular yoga practice when I left New York.
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.
I moved to the Bay and immersed myself in the world of healing, pursuing an MA in Integrative Health.
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.
This is when I received a limpia by Angela Angel.
Both of which changed my life.
With the support of my ancestors, teachers & healers, I stopped taking antidepressants.
13 years after I was first 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 I believe the antidepressants kept silent.
They led me to find pure joy through movement at Hipline.
They led me to deepen into ancestral work and the recovery of my indigenous mind 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. I started working at Ancestral Apothecary with Atava.
My ancestors were with me when I lost a dear friend suddenly & tragically.
They were with me when I had my heart broken.
They guided me to deepen into community, to build a relationship with the moon.
They led the way as I understood how I am subordinated under the patriarchal system.
When I started to understand how systems of oppression show up in my family, in myself.
My ancestors were there when I started to step into my power, when I stepped into my story.
My path to antiracism...
The county I grew up in is 93% white. My childhood was steeped in whiteness.
As I got older I became more politically & socially conscious.
And yet I was a silent bystander for much of my adult life, causing harm with my silence & ignorance.
Perpetuating the cycle of harm started by my ancestors who lived in & colonized this country.
Examining & unlearning settler-colonial thought is a core part of ancestral healing work.
As I deepened into the work, I began to face my ancestors who were colonizers, enslavers, oppressors.
I began to face into what it means to live on stolen land, what it means to be racialized as white.
The internal work of unlearning white supremacy.
How colonization, racism & anti-Blackness show up in my family. In my ancestral story. In my body.
That enslavement, genocide & colonization are a part of my story, part of the collective story.
That I must face into these truths and commit to the lifelong work of antiracism and liberation.
To break the cycles of oppression. To say it ends with me.
To bring healing. To write a new story.
To work toward collective liberation.
Here I stand...
A Leo sun. Aries Rising. With a Pisces Moon.
A forever student.
Grounded in historical & systemic analysis, somatic embodiment & holistic health.
Committed to the path of antiracism, unlearning settler-colonialism, healing & collective liberation.
Integrating & embracing all parts of myself. Sitting with the complexity of my story.
Rooted in my ancestral identity, in my relationship with the natural world & community.
Humbled to offer my medicine, to support folks in unlearning, remembering & healing.
In recognition of the centuries-old efforts of Indigenous people & people of African descent to maintain their cultural traditions despite cultural appropriation, colonization, genocide & enslavement.
With gratitude for the Indigenous elders who shared their wisdom and taught my teachers.
Blessed with the support of my ancestors, family, community, loved ones & teachers.
Influenced & inspired by...
My community, Oakland, the land, my ancestors, the plants, my mom, the ocean.
(special shout out to yarrow, mugwort & rosemary)
Long talks and ancestral workshop collaborations with Marisol Castillo.
Traveling to my ancestral lands especially the Scottish Highlands & Brittany, France.
Continued learning with Kimmy Johnson, Atava Garcia Swiecicki, & Angela Omulepu.
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, Energetic Justice Quarantine School with Kelly Germaine & Kelly Elizabeth, 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.
I have a masters degree in Integrative Health Studies from CIIS.
I'm a level 3 Usui Reiki Practitioner and was taught by Angela Omulepu.
I'm a certified Guided Imagery Practitioner and was taught by Leslie Davenport.
I'm an adjunct faculty member at Saint Mary's College.
I'm a dancer & instructor at Hipline.
I'm a community member at Ancestral Apothecary.
I'm an active member of SURJ Bay Area's Mobilizing Committee.