Desiree DeMars

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My Journey

MY JOURNEY into the world of integrative health and the healing arts has been an unfolding of many experiences and magical occurrences throughout my childhood.  I spent most of my time in nature and was blessed to have beautiful female role models who sparked my imagination through their own vision path.  

One of my grandmothers followed a spiritual path which included a practice of healing prayer and yoga, while the other was an amazing cook and loved to sing. My high school best friend’s mother was a pioneer of adventure who was a practicing nurse in a time when it was not that common for women to be independent.  As my curiosity grew about the nature of reality, consciousness and well being, I was guided to become a yoga teacher, massage therapist and energy worker in private practice for over 25 years in Chicago. 

Discovering The Quetico 

It was after a life changing experience during the summer of my freshman year in high school, I was inspired by the passion of wilderness preservationist, Charlie Ericksen. I had received a scholarship to canoe the crystal clear waters of Quetico Provincial Park in Atikokan, Ontario and Charlie was my first canoe mate.   

Charlie dedicated his life to ecological education through wilderness experience from an island on Nym Lake, with his wolf mix sidekick Lobo. The curriculum is called  The Voyageur Wilderness Programme and still runs today.  My maiden experience there was so profound that I later decided to attend Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, which was a short distance from the Minnesota border where you could easily enter the Quetico. I spent many memorable summers portaging those waters with kindred spirits who followed the call to reconnect to that sacred land.  

On the Shining Big-Sea-Water 

As I became a part of a extended family of artists and environmental activists, a dream formed to build a log cabin and become self sufficient. Eventually I lived off grid and worked co-creatively to construct homes, produce historical multi-media projects and sustainable businesses in Bayfield, WI on the shores of Gitche Gumee, so aptly named by the Ojibwe people at the time Longfellow wrote his poem about Lake Superior.  

Sacred  Plant  Medicine  

Years later, while living in the canyons of Malibu, and working as an events producer, I experienced, what I now know was, a spontaneous shamanic journey through my energetic connection to an ancient cactus.  It was a transmission of full recall as a medicine woman on that land in a lifetime before.  My perception of reality had powerfully shifted and I was deeply moved by this direct revelation. Within a few days, I was gifted with a book about the shamanic journey opening a new door to an amazing spiritual path.  

This experience led to the meeting of my first of many shamanic teachers, Sandra Ingerman and her teacher, anthropologist Michael Harner, the founder of The Foundation for Shamanic Studies.  I have since trained with Hank Wesselman, Alberto Villoldo, Theo Peredes, Dr. Hu Len, Malidoma Some and Aama Bombo, along other native shaman in Peru, Ecuador, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nepal, Bali, and Thailand.  A founding member of The Center for Shamanic Healing in the bay area of California, I now reside in Asheville, NC.


Haw Creek Commons: 315 Old Haw Creek Rd, Asheville, NC 28805
Open: Mon-Fri 9-5, Weekends by Appointment
ROOM & HOUSE RENTALS @ the Haw Creek Commons Retreat House:

Eco Depot Marketplace: 408 Depot St, #100, River Arts District, Asheville, 28801

Open: Every Day 11-5 All Seasons
Every Second Saturday, sit by the creek side +
explore the work of over 60 ‘Eco-focused’ Artists in one creative space!

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