Jaki has been a Natural Healing Arts Practitioner serving the Calgary area for 27 years. While originally focusing on herbalism, aromatherapy, and Classical Chinese Medicine: Five Element Healing, her practice evolved to embrace her calling to rekindle the old ways, the indigenous medicine-woman style healing ways.
Jaki currently divides her time between her healing practice (4 days per week), her writing, workshops and classes, students and apprentices, and the ceremonial services she provides as a Spiritual Elder (pipe ceremonies, union/commitment ceremonies, sweat lodge ceremony, rites of passage, vision quest, and more).
Her first book, Heeding the Call: A Personal Journey to the Sacred, was published in 2007, and in 2014 she released The Medicine Path: A return to the healing ways of our indigenous ancestors.
For more information visit: www.jakidaniels.com
Contact Jaki at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background and Bio
It all began in the 1980s when Jaki was introduced to her first ‘natural medicine’ and her passion for the healing arts was set ablaze. The details of that journey, from then to now, are described below, in her own words.
For as long as I can remember, at least since my early 20s, I have been passionate about the natural philosophy of healing and living, with a focus on foods and medicines. More importantly, as I drew upon its practices I found them to be effective and reliable. After several years of personal immersion in this way of life, my first step in formal training was completing two Master Herbalist Certifications in 1988, one through Wild Rose College of Natural Healing in Calgary and the other with Humbart Santillo in the United States. This combination provided the diversity of understanding and training I felt was important to offer natural healing therapies and education to others. Shortly afterward I started a part-time natural healing practice.
Natural Foods Cooking Instructor/Consultant:
Through those early years of establishing a healing practice my family started to grow. Now there were two children to feed, and my philosophy of using wholesome, natural, unprocessed, and delicious food seemed more important than ever. I spent a considerable part of my day preparing foods from scratch, and after several years, began to be sought out for my expertise in this area. I started teaching cooking classes to a wide and diverse audience, from health food stores and
community centers, to Continuing Education seminars for Professional Organizations and the Trym Gym lifestyle program at University of Calgary. This venture of introducing people to ‘food for the body and soul’ spanned ten years and led to opportunities such as writing articles, training staff in health food stores, and offering recipes and consulting services to cafes and restaurants.
In the early 1990s I started using essential oils (aromatherapy) in my healing practice. Having a strong foundation in plant medicines, I found it easy and fun to branch out into this area. I was fascinated with the oils’ potency and effectiveness, but the more I used them the more I became aware of the different qualities they held from their herbal counterparts. I decided it was time to further my training and in 1997 completed my Certification in Aromatherapy from the Michael Scholes School of Aromatic Studies, in Los Angeles, California. While my current focus is on custom blends for individual clients, two blends that I developed have become popular enough to be sold by other practitioners and over the internet:
Cold/Cough/Flu/Immune Support blend
Molloscum Relief blend.
In 2003 I developed a unique approach of using essetial oils that was more in keeping with the traditional indigenous ways of knowing, and more suited to my evolving healing practice. I now offer this method to others in my "Art of Aromatherapy" programs.
Plant Spirit Medicine Practitioner:
Near the end of the 90s, with the opportunity to look back on a decade of practice, I was very pleased overall with the effectiveness, safety, and economy of natural plant based medicines. But I could also see that some clients were not improving as much as I’d hoped, or they were dependent on their herbal medications to stay well. In many of these cases I sensed a deep, inner distress contributing to their dis-ease and recognized it was time to branch out from traditional herbal therapy and find a way to address those deeper ills. After reading the book Plant Spirit Medicine by Eliot Cowan and being captivated by the healing method he described there, I enrolled in his two year training program in Massachusetts during 1999-2000. This was my first introduction to shamanic spiritual healing and Classical Chinese Five Element Medicine. Initially, the practice of using plant medicines that had their source in the realm of Spirit was difficult for me to accept and embrace. I had prided myself on my grounded and scientific approach to wellness, but I could not deny the results I saw in myself and others who utilized this medicine. I graduated as a Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner in the Fall of 2000.
Natural Healing Arts Practitioner, Writer, and Spiritual Elder:
In the summer of 1999, just weeks after I began my training with Eliot, I had an experience while hiking in the Rocky Mountains that I can only describe as ‘spiritual’. While I couldn’t possibly know it at the time, that one event set the course of my life in a new direction, changed my personal outlook on healing and medicine, and my understanding of the true nature of the world around us. There was a full, rich, and formerly untapped resource that was just as real as the physical world I could verify with my five senses. I found myself venturing into realms that I had never imagined existed and had much to learn. The journey to understand the nature of that experience and the world view I was introduced to took approximately five years, and culminated in the publishing of my first book Heeding the Call: A Personal Journey to the Sacred. Through a direct experience of spiritual connection with Nature and Spirit, I learned first-hand what the ancient sages, wise men, and medicine people of our
planet had all known—that Nature was alive and conscious and could be a personal resource for growth and healing. I now understood how our Indigenous peoples had learned about food and medicines, animal migrations, weather patterns, and how they had ‘come-to-know’ the ways of living and being that ensured their survival. Along the way, I was introduced to a Traditional Cree Elder named Fishwoman (Pauline Johnson). She, more than anyone else I had met, understood the nature of the experiences this spiritual journey had led me to and the responsibilities it held. She took me under her wing and adopted me into the Cree tradition. She offered me a life-long commitment to be my Teacher, which includes an annual pilgrimage to the sacred mountain that holds great importance to my work. In April 2002, during a Traditional Naming Ceremony, I was given the Spirit Name, One Who Walks with Eagle Mountain. In September 2004, Fishwoman again honored me with the gift of a sacred pipe. In 2006, with her blessing, I became Lodge Keeper for a Community Sweat Lodge just outside of Calgary.
Having a dedicated spiritual path and practice complemented and strengthened the healing work I was offering, and my knowledge of the ways that illness and distress can manifest within a person’s body, mind, and spirit expanded. In addition to the physical ills I had formerly based my practice on, people sought me out for emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of unworthiness. My work evolved to include offering advice and guidance as well as spiritual counseling. Bringing people to balance and wholeness took on a whole new meaning and I found my work with patients growing deeper and more satisfying. In 2008, after completing the closing ceremony of the annual Vision Quest that Fishwoman and I host, she offered me yet another gift of acknowledgement, the designation of Spiritual Elder. This role is very dear to my heart because being accepted as an ‘Elder’ does not come from completing a particular form of training or a specified number of years; it is an acknowledgement awarded by the community I serve and the Cree Elder who has guided me and watched me grow. It is truly an honour.