"We marvel at the property, and sip in the country air, and then adventure around the nooks and crannies of the land, together, gathering flowers and pinecones and pretty little somethings in preparation for tonight. These little treasures filling our foraging basket will soon form an altar for - wait for it - a cacao ceremony.
As the sun starts to set, we snack on leftovers, and there’s an unmistakable chill of anticipation in the air, particularly from us cacao ceremony virgins. My friends and I have been craving this: communion and collective ritual, and an excuse to leave the house. It’s Friday night after all, and just a few years ago I’d be cracking open a third or fourth bottle of wine by this time in the evening. But here we are, champing at the bit to experience sacred hot chocolate! It feels perfect and ridiculous and enlivening and humbling all in one, and I’m not quite sure whether I should assume the position of reverence, or piss myself laughing.
We watch the fire burn brighter and the altar breathe a little more beauty into the backyard with each moment as it sits in front of the flames. People by the dozens are arriving to share in the experience. I look up and see the stars twinkle above us. Why does that feel so good - to look up at the stars in the night sky? Maybe it’s because we remember the vastness of The Universe, or because there’s a covert comfort that comes with knowing that we’ll never truly figure everything out. It doesn’t even matter. It just feels good.
Our guides for the night are Jemma and Chris, a couple who look as though they’ve just stepped out of a shamanic version of Vogue. Jemma, draped in white, with tumbling blonde curls and a face that exudes love of the unconditional kind. Chris, rugged and muscular, with a delicious hybrid accent, adorned in musical instruments. Together, they’re the perfect team, set to give us a night to remember.
Jem’s standing by the fire, looking like an angel. (I’m convinced she is, by the way)... and then, the ceremony begins. Jemma strikes her drums as we all face to the east. There’s such power and strength in her voice as she call on the spirits, the animals, and the wisdom in each direction..."
That right there, is an excerpt from the final chapter of my book, High: A Party Girl's Guide to Peace, and it features our very last, and very divine Such Different Vixen, Jemma Gawned.
:: SHARE YOUR SOUL ::
Sum up your mission in one sentence.
To be a conduit of light and love, that inspires transformation, and contributes to the happiness of others.
Can you share with us one of your most vulnerable moments (and in hindsight, what made it so beautiful?).
Each time I’m about to lead one of the Sacred Sonics cacao ceremonies that Chris, my partner, and I facilitate for people I feel extremely vulnerable. It’s different to nervousness (although that is certainly a part of it too!) because I see the vulnerability as a chance for me to be truly let go of things needing to be perfect or worrying about what anyone thinks.
Just letting go of concepts and ideas and truly dropping into and speaking from my heart. In this way I can truly be in service to people. There is incredible strength that comes with vulnerability. Chris and I consciously do our best not to go in pretending to be or feel anything that we are not, and practicing being in that openness and encouraging others to do the same is such a relief for all of us! Even if we are having a crunchy time in our relationship we just go on ahead and share it with everyone! We wear so many masks throughout our lives, it's awesome just to take it off and let yourself be seen in a totally safe, fun and supportive environment. Its incredibly humbling and incredibly beautiful for myself and all who are there co-creating along with us.
What turns you on - cranks your dial right the way UP?
Oooo so many things! At the moment I have to say the Mountains of the Andes in Peru. I feel totally alive, switched on, energised, full power, aligned, connected and in total joy and bliss when I’m there. The ancient Andean path of the Inca and their cosmology is so beautiful, SO powerful and simple. The spirits of the mountains are called ‘Apus’ and they work in conjunction with ‘Pacha Mama’ (Mother Earth) to provide us with everything on every level that we need. They have our backs, essentially! The clarity of the energy and simplicity of the peoples vision and lifestyle really fill me up!
What makes your blood boil? (Honestly)
I’m naturally a really giving person so it can be sometimes that I can feel (or allow) myself to be taken advantage of. I truly give without wanting a thing in return but when it becomes expected and not appreciated that really gives me the @#$%s!
How do you define ‘peace'?
Peace to me is a forgiving heart clear of past hurts, traumas, comparisons, judgements, expectations etc. I feel its not until our heart is clear and at peace that our mind can be still and free. This peace that is cultivated within then radiates to the world and changes everything around you on a personal and collective level. I feel we need to truly recognise just how powerful our personal peace is in making change for the world. As Ghandi said, "be the change you want to see..."
Outbursts of ecstasy - the kind of belly laughs that leave you crippling over in agony from the sheer joy of it… What’s one of these memories that stand out for you?
Sheer silliness does it for me! Luckily I am surrounded by people that love to revel in silliness, especially this one delightful friend, a very tall, very built Canadian guy with a very deep booming voice. He is one of the most intelligent people I have met and is extremely witty but also extremely silly. I mean like REALLY silly, which is made even more comical by his stature. So... There we were all sharing a big holiday house at a festival on Stradbroke Island and my friend, lets call him Tim, comes prancing and skipping out of the house dressed as a Viking (horns and all...) and doing this dance that looked like it came from King Arthurs court. Except he kinda looked more like the maiden than the knight!! He declared to us this was his costume for the festival. I think he actually ended up a wearing a Red Kaftan the whole time... needless to say, he was the only one who dressed up!
Looking back, how have you most GROWN?
Oh wow. This is a big and on-going question as I’m still growing like crazy every single moment!
Ok, so the ways in which I think I’ve grown the most over the years is that I’m way less reactive and way more willing to own my stuff and to see and feel things from another’s perspective than I was in the past. I’ve learned not to take things as personally and understand that I can only do what I know to be best for my highest good and for the highest good of all and if someone doesn’t like it then I just need to understand that it's their stuff, it’s not up to me to try and please everyone.
All I need to do is stay authentic and true. I’ve learned that there is enormous strength in vulnerability and when you are honest you can never be wrong. I’ve learned to call the 'white elephants’ in the room... that is, be honest about what it is that makes you feel uncomfortable. For me, I tend to put people on pedestals and become nervous around them which makes me feel disempowered, so if I just speak out and admit my nervousness or whatever feeling is there for me it dissipates and dissolves quickly.
I’ve learned that I can dissolve all shadows with light, if I so choose. I’ve learned that I’m MUCH stronger than I realise. I’ve learned how to stay in this strength on the inside and still be soft, heart open and vulnerable on the outside. I’ve learned how to let real love in and how to fully and completely love and accept myself exactly as I am (this is still a work in progress! Many years of programming to be re-written here!).
I’ve learned how to receive the nectar from certain situations and and channel it into other areas of my life so I’m not attached to the goodness having to come from things needing to look one particular way. I’ve learned not to be attached to anything for my happiness and realised fully that happiness isn't conditional, it comes from within. I’ve learned to be gentle with myself, to listen to my body and respect what it needs. I’ve learned that knowledge doesn’t equal wisdom. That communicating from my heart and sharing my experience is the truest and most profound wisdom I could offer.
I’ve learned the importance of community and how much stronger, more joyful and more effective we are when we co create together rather than trying to do it all alone. I’ve learned to erase ‘I cant afford it’ and ‘no one can do it as good as I can’ from my vocabulary! I’ve learned not to worry about money, what I need and in fact what I want always comes, sometimes just in ways different to what I thought. I’ve learned I’m a master creator and can manifest anything I want and very quickly indeed! I’ve learned and am still practicing being clear with my intent and free of fearful, limiting or negative thoughts as I understand that the law of the universe is that I only get more of what I focus my intention upon!!
I’ve learned the profound importance of the wisdom and ceremony shared with us from indigenous cultures and how much we have to learn from their humility, grace and relationship with the earth. I’ve learned that while I am connected to the energy of the earth and the stars, I am supported, and while I am connected to my heart, I am never alone, I have me. I’ve leaned that alone time, silence and stillness, in nature especially, are the best ways for me to cultivate my relationship with my best friend... me. I have learned that all concepts, ideas and beliefs are only thoughts I keep thinking and can be changed in any moment. I have learned that the truth is in my heart, and only the practices, words, thoughts and feelings that nurture and open my heart to myself and others have a place there.
I’ve learned that there is no room for hate, no room for jealousy, and no room for holding onto anything that doesn’t serve me. I’ve learned to forgive and be forgiven. I’ve learned the courage to admit when I’m wrong and the humility to say I’m sorry. I’ve learned to be present. I’m still practicing!
I’ve learned to trust myself and my innate wisdom, knowing and intuition and to follow it. I’ve learned that to let go of needing or striving to be ‘perfect’. That there is perfection in imperfection. I’ve learned to listen with my whole body and not just my ears. I’ve learned to be compassionate without being over whelmed by empathy. I’ve learned when to speak out and when to be silent and sometimes that there is more power in saying nothing. I’ve learned that the only constant in life is change and what goes up, must come down, and go back up again! I’ve learned to do my best not to sweat the small stuff... it's all small stuff! I’ve learned that to be able to give to others as much as I want to, I must learn to continually receive. To fill myself up so that the giving becomes effortless and natural.
I’ve learned that no amount of massages, body work even energy work (while they help me to feel great!) can ever fill me up with love in the way that I need. The earth, the ocean, the stars, the sun, the moon, all of nature. Music and dancing, moving my body, ceremony, sharing with sisters, sharing with friends, sharing with my beloved, sharing with me, feeling connected. And like a seedling pushing through the surface of the earth, sometimes it feels all a bit too hard and we may question if we will ever make it. But if we keep moving, keep growing, reaching toward the light then eventually we break through the soil and magnificently blossom, bathed by the shining rays of the sun.
If we all looked up your name in a dictionary, what 5 words would we find to describe you?
I needed a little help on this one, so I asked a friend and it was interesting as I had picked some of the same things! She couldn’t narrow it down to 5 though so here’s what she said...
Sunshine, Generous, Resilient, Compassionate, Stylish, Supportive, Intuitive, Fun and a little bit naughty. Oh, and really good at yoga and apparently, I have a good bum....! :)
:: QUICK & SLICK ::
Combining my passions with a business I love makes me feel ... FULL and incredibly grateful.
Few people know this about me, but ... I’m really very shy.
I secretly wish I could ...Call in a Spirit Cloud to ride on the way Monkey used to do in ‘Monkey Magic’!
To me, the words 'Such Different Skies' mean ...
We have perhaps been stuck in a difficult or challenging phase and the cloud begins to feel it is lifting, shifting our perception from heaviness to expansiveness.
Also, the perception we have of one thing being better or worse than something else so that we compare this to that. When really, the Sky is always beautiful, its neutral. It's only our perception of it, through where we are at and how we are feeling at the time, that changes.
You may know Jemma Gawned from her days as a well-known television personality, or for the last 6 years as the owner, creator and visionary of her beloved brand Naked Treaties: an organic, raw, vegan business based in the iconic Australian town of Byron Bay. A lover of health, wellbeing and bringing people together in joy, Jemma’s mission is to share her in-depth knowledge and wisdom to encourage people to enjoy a radiant and vibrant lifestyle by coming back into balance and connecting to their own innate wisdom in their body, mind and spirit.
Utilising the power of vibration in food, Jemma endows her creations with love and intention that ripples outwards into the greater world and beyond. Through the inspiring space at the Naked Treaties Raw Bar, Jemma guides people through cleansing programs, raw food workshops and most recently, Sacred Sonics Cacao ceremonies and musical journeys with her partner Chris, which merges her love of raw cacao, ancient traditions and indigenous wisdom, sound healing and dance - bringing together and creating conscious community with a deep gratitude and love for all that is. Her new eBook, A Guide to Cleansing, is out now.
Seriously. An angel, no?
Thank you Jemma for being on board as my last Vixen, for being such an inspiration, and for being such a light in the Byron community <3 Namaste sister.