Healer's Spotlight: Rachele Sullivan
Rachele Sullivan is a beloved and respected elder originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her lineage includes traditional healers from the province of Aklan, Philippines. She is also a registered nurse currently serving as a clinic office manager for a native tribe in Washington state with the prime objective of creating an allopathic and traditional medicine track in an ambulatory clinic setting. Healers of Color Movement is honored to kick off our “Healer’s Spotlight” series with wisdom from this amazing Filipino medicine woman.
We want to know more about you! Tell us about yourself as a healer!! What type of healing modalities do you offer? How did you discover your gifts and come into your identity as a healer?
I call myself a hilot practitioner, which is a healing tradition that comes from the Philippines. What I do falls under the definition of a Hilot practitioner and beyond. A healing session with me is based in what a person needs to help them feel lighter in body, mind and soul. I am given permission to enter their realms - all of their elements, their spiritual bodies, etheric bodies, etc. It’s like peeling layers, and the layer that is most stuck calls to me, whether the person wants to address it or not.
I discovered my gifts as a little girl when I would be able to talk or play with bees, ants and nature. My mother would also ask me to come and place my hands on places where she had pain. She recognized that I had healing hands. At a young age I knew I was called to help people feel better.
I honestly say very humbly that I am coming into my own as a healer. I am still being downloaded a lot from the ancestors and deities as they let me know how I can be of service to them as a conduit.
What is something you wish someone had told you when you first started out on your healer’s journey? What advice can you offer to other healers on their journeys?
Once you open yourself to the spirit world it’s not like a phone you can just turn off. You are constantly connected. I wish I had teachings on how to ground myself a lot earlier than my 20s.
I call myself a traditional ancestral medicine woman. From my uncle I learned channeling and mediumship. For two years I learned how to listen to spirits, how to talk to them,and how to talk to their descendants and help them connect. I wish I had known what I was getting myself into. During the night with my patients the ancestors would guide me in the bodywork to help ease pain and burdens.
This is not an easy journey and I constantly have to check my ego and stay balanced, especially in a healing session. I am a conduit to creator, ancestors, and descendants in their realms and I have to function as transparently as possible without getting my own self into it. That’s why interpretation is hard. You could really hurt someone or steer someone into a decision that was not in their path. We have the capacity to allow the other person to finish speaking uninterrupted. For me, I am helping, guiding, and mentoring a person into the power to heal themselves. They aren’t able do that if they are interrupted or given other people’s ideas of what they need. Holding space with the highest vibration of love, being silent in that womb of creation and allowing that person’s voice to be heard with no judgement, just the positive intent that you are just there to love them. My experience is that it is very hard to find people like that. I have found that in the Native world, where there are people who think with a like-minded vibration.
For me, when you are on your healers journey, you have to know the reasons why you want to be a healer and check your ego consistently. Also you have to work on healing yourself constantly. That way you are able to use your own experiences to relate to the person that you are helping.
Basically, I wish my grandmother left a how-to book for me. I was not allowed to be taught our ways by my grandmother.
How do you practice self-care? How has practicing self-care impacted your ability to continue your healing work today?
The way that I practice self care is that I always try to be with nature, be by the water and trees. I enjoy reading and spending quality time with those that love me and accept me. Being an empath is not easy, you can feel other people so being surrounded with like-minded vibrations is important.
Finding what brings you joy in your life is important. For me, until I moved I was very active in California, volunteering for non-profits, caring for my son as a single mother. I ended up with compassion burnout. I love California, but felt like I did all I possibly could in California. It was literally making me sick. I couldn’t function or be a nurse anymore there. I found a job where I am actually able to use all of my gifts and can talk about faith and culture and ancestors and spirit. I’m doing that work now and it’s a lot more slower-paced.
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. I am finding peace here because all the things I was doing outside of work to help I can do in the job. I am surrounded by mountains and trees and the air has a high oxygenation rate which is really good for my health. The work I am doing now is really giving me time to stop and make teas and food that is medicine. I have more time with the ancestors to listen and receive more gifts, many of which I haven’t even asked for!
Why do you think it is important for healers of color to build networks and support circles such as the Healers of Color Movement?
Native, Black, Indigenous and People of Color understand what genocide means especially because it has been happening to us in these last few centuries. We have lived through historical trauma. We can build a network for change and support each other and bring back our kapwa practices - bring back that village relationship and know that we are not alone, that we have other people around us to help. For instance, I don’t believe that we were meant to constantly be busy worker ants or bees. We were meant to live in a community to help support each other, nurture each other, plant our own food, and hunt, like a hunter-gatherer type of society.
What are your hopes, dreams, messages and/or visions for our communities of color?
My personal vision is to be belong to a network of people who are willing to sit in circle or in kapwa or on the phone and be heard and be able to talk about the different things that are on our minds as a collective network. My personal dream is to create a healers home and hearth, like a retreat center open to other healers to create a place where people can escape everyday life and connect with nature. With good food too! I’m hoping to see that pop up in other areas of the world so that it is easier to visit other places and visit people without it costing an arm and leg, where it feels like you are going to visit family.
Another message I want to share is that when you are truly looking for a healer to work with, you should feel very comfortable with the person. Their energy calls you to talk to them, to listen to them for advice. It should not feel like a commodification of goods and services. I work by word of mouth. I don’t even have a card. If you’re meant to work with me, you will find me. I know that not everyone can work with my energy. I’m straight and to the point! I really love helping burgeoning healers, whatever questions or help that they need. It’s part of my love of education. I like talking with other healers. Having people to refer to if I can’t solve the issues or needs of a person, I can probably find someone to refer them to. My main goal is to guide a person to heal at their most divine level and that can also be through referrals.