: Rhythm / Devotion : is a series of interviews intended to illuminate the connection to ritual & rhythm in our daily lives. This series explores the intimacy of routine, the magic of the ordinary, & how these small acts of devotion set the stage for larger workings in the world ~
What is your name & where are you in the world?
My name is Willow Rising and I am based in Vallejo, California.
How do you define yourself?
I identify as a queer, mixed-race Black (cis-gendered) woman. My pronouns are she/her/hers. My people come from Okinawa, Jamaica and Antigua (by way of West Africa), and Italy. In human design terms, I am a 5/1 splenic projector and in Western astrology I am an Aries sun, Virgo moon, and Capricorn rising.
Will you walk us through what a day in your life looks like? Begin with how you greet the morning & guide us until you close off the day in the eve ~
Presently, in addition to the work I do as part of my healing practice, I work remotely as a digital design director for a small design firm on the east coast. I work on east coast hours, so most of my days I get up early to be at my desk around 7am. I still haven’t figured out the perfect morning routine. I just know that I need a nice hot shower to really feel like my day has begun, so that’s always an essential part of my day. As a digital design director, I’m usually designing websites or managing some other digital project for our team. Working remotely has had its perks: sometimes I take a nap on my lunch break, which honestly allows me to show up refreshed during the part of my day I would have ordinarily slogged through if I were in the office. This has been a game changer for me.
I am careful to schedule sessions with clients in my healing practice when I know I will have the capacity to be fully present. Because of this, I usually only work with one client at a time. If this were a day where I’m working with a client, I aim to give myself at least 30-60 minutes to get grounded.
I absolutely love doing what I do and holding space for people to come into harmony with their intuition and energy. I always leave my client sessions feeling a boost of energy and so refreshed. It is the best feeling ever and it makes me so happy.
After a session, I’ll usually “shake” to let out my energy and release whatever may have come up in the session. I’ve found tending my energy by setting boundaries before, during, and after a session has helped me maintain an immense level of clarity.
Lately my evenings have been filled with playing the Sims with my partner. Ha! Neither of us played when we were kids and I think we’re both making up for lost time. It is fun.
You are an intuitive energy guide & healer, as well as a Human Design reader ~ how do you prepare yourself &/or your space to enter into this practice?
In human design, I am what’s called a projector type, which indicates that I tend to work best in small bursts of time where I can focus deeply, rather than working at a consistent pace all day. For me, I’ve found this to be one hundred percent true. For this reason, the best thing before a session might just mean taking a nap, or giving myself some alone time so I can recenter. This isn’t always the case, but it is definitely a priority of mine to show up in a fresh state so I can hold space for my clients at the best of my ability.
What do you do/not do if you are feeling stuck around your work?
If I’m feeling stuck in creating something, I usually drop it. It’s no fun for me to create something when it feels like I’m slogging through resistance. I take that as a sign that for whatever reasons, it’s just not for right now. It’s actually human design that has helped me become the most aware of my creative rhythm. In human design, I have what is called a defined root center. The root center, which we all have, governs our adrenaline energy and is what inspires us to kick into gear and take action. When the root center is defined, which is the case for me (meaning it appears in color on my human design chart), I experience an “on/off” pulse in my energy flow. I think of this pulse as “the wind” of my creative rhythm.
When my root energy is “off”, it’s impossible to force the wind to show up. I use this time to enrich my life with self-care and essentially fill my cup. On the flip side, it is simply glorious when my root energy is “on.” This is usually when creating feels fun, expansive, and in flow. These are the times when I can pour the overflow of my cup. When the wind isn’t present and I try to create, that’s usually when I feel stuck. In those times, my mind often wonders why I’m not working or creating. I used to really beat myself up over this, thinking that I was a failure. But now, by understanding my energy flow through human design, I give myself more permission to rest when I feel resistance, knowing that is what is best for me at that moment in time.
Do you have a movement practice?
I do! It’s taken me years to get here. Movement has been something I’ve had a fraught relationship with. I’m finally beginning to sink into a practice that feels nourishing and enriching to the body I’m in. I. LOVE. QIGONG. I started practicing it at home by watching youtube videos when shelter-in-place was instituted in California. Qigong is so gentle and inviting, it’s been nice to learn the movements and notice the difference in how my energy feels after. I also love to take walks around my neighborhood. As a relatively new transplant to California, I feel like I’m continuously in awe of my surroundings. I love the diversity of trees that are here. I find talking a walk gives me space to unwind, clear my energy field, and come back to myself at the end of a long day.
What does structure mean to you, or what is your philosophy around ritual/routine?
This is an interesting question. I think—I used to think structure was one of the most important things. I’ve always been ambitious with big aspirations for myself, and I used to think in order to be successful that I would have to adhere to a particular routine, consistently. The only problem is that I noticed when I did that, my life began to shrink. I found myself holding too tightly to my self-imposed deadlines and I was running myself ragged. My self-care routine looked great on the surface—I put on a facemask every Sunday and even painted my nails fresh every week. I was accomplishing a lot externally. On the surface, my life looked good. But it really wasn’t fulfilling to live that way. Eventually I realized I was burnt out and unhappy.
These days, I aim to live as best I can in harmony with my energy, essentially, doing what I want, when I want. This isn’t always possible, and also I consider it an immense privilege to be able to do so. My ancestors and those who have come before have opened doors for me to experience life in the way I do now, and I am grateful.
I don’t live according to a particular routine anymore, but I do take great care in tending to my personal rituals. I pay a lot of attention to how I feel and what feels in flow and shift accordingly.
Actually, one of my absolute favorite things to do is make medicine with your flower essences. I really enjoy making aura sprays for myself, so depending on the season I’m in (or approaching), I’ll usually craft a spray to coincide with whatever support I need. Then I’ll use this spray on me, in my space, or even when I’m traveling. It is an immense support and I’m so grateful to have found your offerings.
What are you listening to, reading, or watching these days?
I honestly love grunge R&B. I have a grunge playlist that I add all my favorite songs to over time and then I listen to it through the work day, on shuffle. Current faves are Diana Gordon, 070 Shake, and THEY.
I’m currently cycling through a few books: The Highly Sensitive Person by Elain Aron, PhD, Ancestral Medicine by Daniel Foor, and Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram Kendi. I actually think these three books paint a pretty vivid picture of my interests and passions. I just finished listening to the audio book of The Will to Change: Masculinity and Love by Bell Hooks and wow. That book cracked me open in really interesting ways. It caused me to examine my perspective on masculinity, as a cis-gendered woman. It was a worthwhile listen to say the least.
Any last words of wisdom?
As a person who enjoys seeking mysticism and playing in the world of energy and healing, I used to think that in order for me to be a good person, I had to live stringently according to a certain belief system, and I know for me personally, I saw my human self as something merely to tolerate while embodied. The pursuit of my life at that time was all focused on what would happen after—getting to heaven and what not. But now I take immense pleasure in loving my human self just as much. I know longer see my “soul self” as better (or worse) than my human self. This is something human design helps me practice, a reverence for all facets of me.
Thank you for allowing me the space to share.
How can we find your work?
You can find me on instagram at @willow.rising
and online at willowrising.co.
If you’re new to human design and are interested in learning more, you can subscribe to my newsletter to download your free Decode Your Design template to help you decode your design.
Thank you so much, Willow, for your beautiful work in this world & for sharing your rhythm devotion with us ~
I connect the flower essence of Borage (Borago officinalas) as a beautiful companion to Willow Rising & her work in the world.
Beautiful blue corolla star, Borage: cucumber-esque flavor, magnificent rough wool leaves, glad courage of the garden... an old Latin verse once told, “Ego Borago, gaudia semper ago” ~ I, Borage, bring always joy. I often see this verse mistranslated to mean courage instead of joy. While it completley changes the meaning, I don't think it is far from the truth. To be joyous & bring joy forth in this world & at this time is a truly courageous act indeed.
These lovely, blue star-shaped flowers make an ebullient, buoyant medicine. I find that Borage is patient, watchful, offering. It seems to bear witness: to help ease despair, the blues, depression, & heartache of various kinds. I like to call on Borage for those who tend to over focus, over-work, & priorize the "grind" over other areas & interests in their lives. It can help to lift us up out of this narrow gaze & spread our energy & attention so we don't burn out. Borage helps us to step forward into our lives, to center ourselves in a positive, compassionate, vibrant way. Helps us to integrate the various facets of who we are & pull them into our center. This allows for us to be fed by our interests, ambitions, experiences, hobbies, etc. vs. feeling drained by them.
Perhaps this integration is also why Borage is so lovely for helping us to soften our sorrows. It helps us keep center, lifts our chins up, cradles our heads for long enough to strengthen our resolve & revive the spirit. Through this soft strength, Borage helps us to step infront of our challenges, to see them as integral parts & pieces of our story.
Borage helps us to feel safe within our bodies, restoring a sense of inner harmony, contentment, & peace. It can aid those who tend to gather energy to them to slought it off & release it, knowing what energy belongs to us vs. another. In this way, it can be quite protective & help us to find a stronger sense of balance in our relationships of all kinds. For soft spoken & empathetic people, it can both help with assertion of boundaries & to become “prickly” when necessary.
Borage is a plant of beauty, rebuilding, & it restitutes the heart. It encourages us to find healing through vocal expression of thoughts & feelings -- bringing our heart & soul-centered wisdom out into the world. It restores our vivacity for life, & brings a sweet, lightness to the Spirit.
Find a bottle of Borage flower essence for yourself or a loved one here ~