By Elizabeth Gracen:
Flapper Press begins a new series that features indie filmmakers from across the world. We start the series with the work of Sharon Ruedeman, the creator of the docu-series Wild Women Healers. Sharon joins FP as a new contributor to talk about the fascinating people she has filmed for her series.
Please Meet Sharon Ruedeman!
EG: Sharon, welcome to Flapper Press. We are so excited to feature you and your film series, Wild Women Healers, over the next couple of months. Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
SR: I guess, in essence, I’m a seer, so almost everything that I do has a visual side to it. For over 14 years I’ve been working as a Video Editor and digital storyteller and have basically worked at or freelanced for most of the major media companies in New York. Throughout my career, storytelling has been a natural ability of mine; in fact, someone told me it’s in my astrology chart, having the ability to cut through the excess and find the deep nuggets of truth. And at times it does really feel that way.
About 7 years ago, I also started my own healing journey and path back to myself through yoga-teacher training (yoga was my gateway drug), tarot, breathwork, and reiki. It has been a long and spiralic process of healing from trauma and PTSD and learning to hear and trust my own intuition again. And so to sort of summarize it all I identify as a healer, witch, seer, and storyteller, and at the end of the day, as a Libra sun sign, I’m really dedicated to the Truth and sharing stories as a means to helping others.
EG: Wild Women Healers features an interesting mix of powerful healers and spiritual guides who help people, on a spiritual level, navigate through the twists and turns of life. How did you decide to start this series? What were your inspirations?
SR: Well, a few years ago I got really burnt out by a particular full-time gig at a major women’s magazine that was especially toxic. I got really sick with an auto-immune disorder and was also becoming increasingly fed up with the industry. I realized that I had been working on mostly women’s content for most of my career and a lot of it wasn’t in alignment with my integrity or beliefs. I think I was also just getting in touch with my integrity and beliefs at that time, so it was a major wake-up call for me. And so I realized a lot of the videos I was charged with creating seemed to do more harm than good for female/femme psyches. At the time I was also a fledgling healer and going through my own healing and unraveling process, and through that journey this longing to create something of my own that had nothing to do with money or work was building. So after Trump got elected, I felt the call to get this project started in full force. I was reading Women Who Run with the Wolves at the time, which is a book all about the archetype of the Wild Woman, which is where I got the inspiration for the title of my docu-series. And that’s sort of when it all started to come together, to create a docu-series that featured different healers who in my opinion embodied the Wild Woman archetype in some way, who were answering a call to help other people and live their lives in honor of that calling. I was also inspired by my own healing journey and the crazy amount of gratitude that I felt for every individual who helped me along the way, so I kind of look at WWH as my way of giving back and a love letter to my first true love: storytelling.
EG: How did you find the healers you feature in the series? What attracted you to them specifically?
SR: At the end of the day, every single person who I have interviewed or has touched or been a part of this docu-series was someone I was meant to meet and work with. I truly believe that. A lot of the people I first interviewed were healers that I had worked directly with, because for me I needed to start with what I knew and who I knew. Then I started getting brave enough to branch outside of my own network and comfort zones and basically cold call some folks. I can’t even explain to you how nervous I would be writing those emails or making those first phone calls, and how absolutely elated I was after getting a positive response or doing those intro calls. I'd have to dance around my apartment for a bit to work out the energy. Another major factor when seeking out people to be a part of WWH is diversity of practices and bodies; it was just a major must for me. I want everyone to be able to see themselves in these stories.
Also as the project grew, other people would tell me about an amazing healer they knew or tell me I “have to meet this person,” and so it just sort of took on a life of its own eventually. It was so beautiful, because it would be this amazing healing/growing experience for me meeting all these different people and getting to talk about the things I love to talk about. It just started to come together, just because I sent out a couple emails in November 2016. And to be totally honest and a little dramatic, I have never felt more in alignment than when I am working on Wild Women Healers, so that definitely guides me to who I interview; if it doesn’t feel right, I don’t do it. Or I do and then realize it was a no and learn from my mistake. Even in the edit process, which at times has been arduous because of my struggle with just getting started, after all of that, the edit often just flows. And in it I get another dose of big medicine and healing by going through the interviews again and reliving the magic from that day.
EG: Do you have a particular philosophy as an artist and filmmaker or do you go with the flow and let your passions lead you toward a project?
SR: Both, to be honest. I am very much a creature who is very led by passion; this is a passion project after all. And there have been days or really even a full year where I didn’t work on WWH because my passion was blocked and other things were going on in my life that needed my attention. But I also do have a philosophy that I follow for it all and that is sharing stories as medicine, telling the truth, and above all the integrity of the work I put out. On the day of filming, I usually show up with some kind of plan and a list of questions and shots I want to get, but at the end of the day it is very much a spiritually guided project by both my own guides and the person who I am working with, so going with the flow is something I have learned to surrender to and also cherish over the years of working on Wild Women Healers.
EG: Most of us are feeling a breath of fresh air and positivity with the coming new year. As a filmmaker, healer, and intuitive artist, what do you hope to contribute to the world with your work?
SR: As always, I hope that this project not only lifts up the voices of the featured healer but also reaches someone out there and inspires them in some way, whether it is to start or continue their own healing journey or maybe even begin that passion project that's been keeping them awake at night. At the end of the day, I just hope WWH can help bridge the gap of loneliness and isolation that the spiritual journey can often feel like, and by sharing these individual stories, maybe someone out there may feel a little less alone in their experience.
I’m also super excited to be finally wrapping up the outstanding edits left of the second season of WWH, and I hope to be able to continue this project with new episodes over the coming year and beyond! One day I might expand it into a podcast or create a longer documentary sharing some of the common themes and my own story in it. I’ll just have to wait and see how it develops.
EG: Please tell our readers what they can expect from your Wild Women Healers series in the coming months.
SR: I’m really excited to be sharing and reliving these past episodes with you all. In the next few months, as we roll out a featured episode, I’ll be sharing a little bit of my experience of creating that particular episode, what I learned from the featured healer, and ways to work with them. I might even share a little behind the scenes secret from the filming day(s).
EG: What else do you have up your creative sleeve? Any other projects you’d like to tell us about?
SR: Well, I’ve been playing around with motion graphics in quarantine and sharing some of those on my social media accounts. It's sort of just playing around and trying to learn a new skill. Also, right before the pandemic I was beginning to develop a new offering called Video Magick, which is intuitively guided video services for the individual healer, entrepreneur, small biz owner, etc. So I hope we all feel safe enough eventually to start offering this in-person experience again soon. I’ve also recommitted myself to offering virtual healing services on both an individual basis and a monthly group workshop. I love letting my creativity flow in these sessions. You can always find out more about those services and workshops on my IG account @WildWomenHealers or at WildWomenHealers.com.
Start Sharon's series on WILD WOMEN HEALERS here.