What would you say if I told you there is a group of women who dress like nuns, grow weed, and are the architects behind some of the finest alternative healing products on the market?
Meet Sister Kate, founder of the Sisters of the Valley out of California, and they've made a big impact on those who have discovered what they offer.
The sisters participate in a semi-monastic lifestyle, connecting with each other and the plants around them through nurture and prayer. With their hemp-infused products, they aim to heal others as a form of anarchy and evolution.
Despite the spiritual life the Sisters have chosen to live, none of them are actual nuns.
The practices and actions of the Sisters are in no way affiliated with the Catholic church, even though some of the Sisters come from a traditional Catholic upbringing.
Their practices are however connected to the Beguines, a sisterhood from northern Europe that is believed to have began in the thirteenth century. The parallels between these two movements are quite interesting (both groups harness the sacred energy of the moon for example), but Sister Kate was unaware of the Beguines’ existence when she began her journey.
She sought to create a business where women could participate in spiritually fulfilling work that benefits themselves and others.
The product line is almost entirely absent of THC (the chemical that is responsible for making a user high) but is full of CBD (this compound is known for its pain relieving abilities) and if user testimony is anything, the Sisters have gotten it right.
Despite the attention the collective has received in recent years, unfortunately it hasn’t all been positive. The products have received rave reviews, but due to the nature of their oils, salves, and tinctures, they have been met with some controversy. The products came under scrutiny on Etsy for violating the company’s drug policy (prompting them to suspend the Sisters’ activity), and Merced, California isn’t exactly welcoming when it comes to cannabis cultivation.
Nevertheless, Sister Kate has put together a very lucrative operation and continues to challenge the status quo erected by political and pharmaceutical policy.
Prox: Could you discuss the Beguines for us? Why did you feel that their philosophy was important enough to incorporate it into your current lifestyle?
Sister Kate: I had actually been practicing our practices a year before I discovered our similarities to our Beguine ancestors.
I hadn’t set out to build an order after them, I was more interested in emulating the excellence of the Catholic sisters whose system-run operations and devotion to their work inspired me as a girl.
I was simply interested in creating honorable, spiritual jobs, but doing it outside of contemporary religions. I should have realized it had been done before. It was wonderful to hear and learn about the Beguines and, of course, I think any woman who is trying to do anything different benefits by being able to point to precedent -- it’s still a man’s world and somehow, relating to the Beguines makes it easier for men who object to women-run-anything to understand us, to tolerate our existence.
Prox: What is the significance of working during the moon cycles?
Sister Kate: We believe in a sacred, spiritual, unseen world and as part of that, we believe in the power of the energies of the moon and the planets. Almanacs and ancient wisdom guide our footsteps as a means of counter-acting the technology run-amok world we are in, as a means of returning to a compassionate and tribal consciousness, and as a return to nurturing the world we inhabit. The stars light up the earth. We are in a time where we can no longer put off the great job of protecting and nourishing Mother Earth. Organizing our lives by moon cycles and marking the quarters of the year (the equinoxes and solstices) is one of our 8 fundamental core beliefs and is done to remind ourselves of the gifts of the planet and the solar system.
Prox: Since plants harness their own spiritual energies and can have an impact on us internally just as sage does externally when smudging; what do your rituals do alongside the oils you create to make the infusion so unique?
Sister Kate: We do simple prayers, blessing of the hands, blessing of the tools, nothing elaborate, we burn sage and incense and as we smudge we ask for blessings on our work, steady hands, hearts and minds. Beyond that, our number one and only rule is that no contemptuous words or thoughts around the medicine. Sometimes that one is hard to follow, but we have learned that when aggravating or frustrating or upsetting news compels itself towards our kitchen, all are on alert to divert that away from the medicines. To walk that conversation, those energies, away from our holy work. We’ve had to ask loud talkers and whining visitors and angry employees to walk it outside, away from the medicine, and someone grabs a sage bundle and there is prayer put upon the air as balm to a wound.
Prox: How does the sisterhood and agricultural activities help to strengthen your relationship with God and the plants themselves?
Sister Kate: My Creator Goddess (we prefer the feminine use for the next 2,000 years – for purposes of balance) is the good parent who doesn’t fuss at me if months go by without hearing from me.
The other Sisters may have a much different relationship with our Creator, but that really isn’t the focus of anyone’s conversations around here. What we talk about is personal relationship with the cannabis plant.
Recently we were asked to each give a testimonial and I skipped the Sisters who don’t smoke weed. They were very indignant saying “What do you mean I don’t have a personal relationship with the Cannabis plant? I take the CBD oil every night and use the salve twice a week for my rotator cuff.”
Conversations about an invisible being pale in light of our work on the physical plane, with people who are suffering, now, today, and prayer might or might not help, but we know for sure that cannabis will help.
It is also our belief that if one is walking the walk they are meant to walk, if one is happily following their own path, then our Creator God is also happy, the connectedness to the universe is a happy chord, and at that point, we are healing, by being. Imagine if everyone could be healing, by being able to follow their own bliss.
Prox: Even though science has discovered the powerful benefits of CBD, acceptance and legalization is still slow and frowned upon. Why do you think it’s still taking so long for bureaucrats to accept cannabis as a legitimate source of medicine?
Sister Kate: I also say in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way that the reason we are still fighting this fight is because mainstream medicine is so profitable that they are not letting any of the old folks die. I think the old folks are simply living too long. It’s kind of like we should have long ago lived through the death of the last racist on the planet.
The cannabis plant was demonized to implement racist policies. The old folks don’t know that, and even if they once did or do now, they have been too brainwashed to let go. Old folks do all the voting in this country, which is sad, and they are the ones most likely to hold onto an old paradigm, most likely to yearn for the good old days, even if they are referring to World War II or some epidemic or earthquake.
Prox: I love this brand of anarchy that you and the Sisters practice. Do you think that it’s time we refocus our energy into shunning the “political status quo” by healing others?
Sister Kate: Yes, it is happening with or without us. I hear regularly now, something just a few years ago wouldn’t have been said.
I hear pharmaceutical companies asking to stock our CBD products and add “f the control board”, I hear doctors referring people to us and to dispensaries, from clinics that are federally funded, and adding “f the AMA”.
(Those who know us must also know that the Sisters are not offended by cursing. We are offended by the Patriot Act, the Federal Reserve, the electoral college, the charade of elections, lobbyists, Cheetolini, and many other things, but hearing the f word is not one of them. So sometimes people use it to express themselves and we don’t wilt.)
The point is – yes. We urge all women over thirty to plant high CBD cannabis plants in their window boxes, in their gardens, indoors, outdoors, wild in parks and along rivers, in every town, province and country across the planet. We believe that doing so will foil the criminals of cannabis. If they can’t tell the difference between non-psychoactive and psychoactive cannabis, they could get killed by selling somebody on the street something that won’t get him high. We believe that the women should take up challenging their local law officials to stop them from growing something that won’t get anyone high. We have to disassemble the laws against the cannabis plant and this is a very good starting point. High CBD cannabis is magically healing and could and should and is leading the charge for reforms across the planet.
Prox: You’ve said that you want more communities like the one you’ve created to develop. Have you ever considered writing a manual outlining the steps for a successful operation like one you have?
Sister Kate: I am kind of busy with a movie (Breaking Habits, Salon Pictures) and finishing a book I wrote in 2014 (the Accidental Nun). But what you are suggesting is happening without a manual, for the moment. New Zealand and Toronto have sprung new orders. They are working with me on figuring out rules versus suggestions. We are more interested in drawing strong women and benefiting from their expertise than we are in micro-managing the steps along the path. At this point, both orders are preparing to do commerce in their countries, both are participating in our spiritual practices.
Prox: Final Thoughts?
Sister Kate: To find out more about us, there are three places one must know about.
This is our personal, not-so-private library. The FDA says testimonials are the same as ‘claims’. To be compliant, we had to take our testimonials, FAQ’s, and media and blog history away from our store. So now, we are compliant but there is absolutely no real data about us or our products in our store. To compensate for that, we made a library. When you go in there, you must click a box that you agree not to make the information public, and then, wallah, you have access to everything. www.sistersofthevalley.biz
This is our store: www.sistersofcbd.com
If store-owners are interested in stocking our products in their stores, go to www.sotvwholesale.com to apply to be a retailer.
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