Chelsea Etienne is a bright-eyed 26-year-old woman from the island of Jersey, between the United Kingdom and France. Chelsea is a gifted healer who focuses her work on womb healing, and after spending time with her I’ve concluded she is wise beyond her years.
Chelsea lives in Canggu, Bali, and has made it her mission to work with women and help them heal their feminine center, also known as the womb space or sacral chakra. She recently opened Sakti Healing in Canggu, a beautiful healing space that catches the eye with its muted pastel wall as you drift by on the dusty Balinese road.
Chelsea offers one on one sessions, workshops, and soon, retreats, as well as a monthly women’s circle in her home, where she guides women through healing trauma centered around the womb space. After working with her one on one and in a group setting, I met with her to learn a bit more.
What does Sakti mean? And why did you name your space “Sakti Healing”?
Sakti is the ancient word for what we call shakti, and shakti means power. It is the female power of life force energy.
I chose to name my space Sakti Healing because in Indonesian it is pronounced sakti and not shakti. And an interesting note is that in Sanskrit it was actually sakti before shakti. Most of the Balinese language contains Sanskrit, so their language is sacred and ancient.
Most of your work focuses on the sacral chakra: what is the sacral chakra exactly?
The sacral chakra is the center of our creativity, the center of our pleasure, and represents our relationship with the self and our worth.
Do you only work with women?
I specialize in women’s healing, and I love to do men’s healing, but I definitely do more with women and work more with the sacral area. From the start, I thought I’d work with women, and now I’ve started to expand to men.
How did you end up in Bali?
When I was 17, my ex-boyfriend died; he was my high school love from grade 7 to grade 11. We had an on and off relationship, and when he died I just wanted to be as far away from where I was as possible so I came [to Bali], and I stayed here and didn’t leave.”
How did this form of healing and spirituality come into your life?
My mom was really spiritually open, and she followed Buddhism very strongly, so spirituality was just a normal conversation in my home. I grew up with witches coming into our house to bless us, but I never knew my life would go this way.
When I arrived in Bali, I worked as an English teacher to stay here and did my Reiki 1 and 2 [training] when I was 18. I started practicing Reiki, but not seriously. I was just doing it on friends and people I met traveling, but I did it for free and for fun. Eventually, I started doing energy healing on the side and getting paid for it.
Then I went to Central America and Thailand for a few months, and I was supposed to meet a friend but he suddenly died, and I had a meltdown. That’s when I started actively working with healers here in Bali, going to the temples here, working with teachers, meditating, but it still wasn’t the most dominant thing in my life.
I was still going through a lot of my own healing and my own journey—I was still really wild. I used to drink a lot and have unconscious sex and that’s when I really realized I was in a massive mess—I was being pulled in two different directions. I was being pulled by the universe in this spiritual direction, but I was still in a self-sabotage space for a long time.
So even though spirituality was in my life, I wasn’t healing me; I was practicing lots of spirituality, but I wasn’t doing the proper work. This is what I teach a lot as well, I teach girls there’s a difference between doing the work and preaching it and living it and doing your affirmations, that’s not healing yourself.
You work a lot with sexual trauma, what led you to focus on healing this area for others?
When I was 21, I got raped and I didn’t realize I had been raped for four years—it was by someone I knew, an acquaintance, not a friend.
I honestly didn’t think I got raped, it was that situation they teach us about in school: For 80 percent of people who are raped, it’s by a friend or someone they know. But even though I knew this, I still didn’t know it had happened to me.
I just put it behind me, and I continued to live like normal, and then I was in a really, really dark, toxic relationship and I started doing lots of healing around that; first, it was all about my heartache, and childhood, but it wasn’t yet about my sexuality.
And in my sessions, my healer would always say I had sexual trauma, but I never could pick up on it.
I started doing lots of yoni healing and yoni mapping. It’s basically energy healing, but internal [or vaginal], kind of like how I work externally by lightly placing my hands on or above my client, but the healer begins externally and then she goes internally.
The womb carries so much, so it can feel so painful, not even physically painful, but heavy, because that’s where all our energy is held, and that’s when everything started to come out with the rape.
So you didn’t always know you would drift in this career direction?
I always knew I wanted to work with the feminine, and women, but I didn’t know it would go so deeply into so much about sexual trauma and now the majority of my work is in that space. People don’t even know that they’ve been drawn to me and then it comes out, some people know, but I really believe the universe brings them to me to bring up to the surface whatever they need to see.
So you work with clients that have been through what you have gone through?
When clients come in, they often come in with similar stories. Often, when they come in with a problem I’ve had, or something I’ve been through, or something I’m kind of going through at the time, I’m always a mirror. I’m giving them the advice, but I’m also giving it to myself.
Is what you do Reiki?
I used to call it Reiki because I just wanted a name for it that people could relate to, but then I realized it wasn’t Reiki I was doing, it was intuitive body reading.
What is intuitive body reading?
Intuitive body reading begins with me scanning the body with my hands, either just above the body or hands on.
I am scanning for wherever is feeling weaker, using the seven chakra points as a baseline, seeing as some are weaker or overflowing.
And then words and visions will come up, more so words, representing the emotions that come up in certain parts of the body. A lot of the times I will feel the emotions in myself. I can often feel what needs to come out of my clients within me.
Then I press on the body. When I am pressing deep on the body, it’s kind of like a massage, because the energy has been suppressed so deep within the body it needs to be brought up to the surface, and lots of people cough or cry or scream or shout. Lately, I’ve been getting people to speak a lot and say words for the emotions that are being held.
How does this energy move in the client?
‘During the body work, the energy is brought out through the throat and sound. I encourage them to make sounds.
Or they may feel it come out of the womb space, especially if someone is bleeding, they will suddenly feel blood gushing out them. The body physically reacts to whatever we are doing, but it’s just a cleanse for the body. It can even be discharge, lots of discharge is also a cleanse. Everything starts with energy but manifests into the physical, and the body talks to us, releasing and letting it out.
Is the session healing for everyone?
I can only ever go as deep as a person allows me to go, so if someone comes in and their mind is really closed to it or they are scared, even if they are subconsciously closed they are closed to me, it’s like their door is closed. I can still move things and get things up, but I can’t go as deeply and move as much as if they are open to it.
But I always make it clear that it’s not a miracle.
You don’t come to me and I just perform a miracle on you to heal. You’re coming to me to continue the work, and I am just holding the space and being the vessel.
Why is it helpful to go to someone who can hold the space for you as you heal?
You subconsciously know your inner issues, and you know subconsciously what’s happened in your life, lovers that have hurt you, etc.
But the mind is so clever. And the mind is like ‘oh that didn’t hurt me’ or ‘I don’t want to face that’ so it doesn’t face it, but when you come to me, I have no attachment to any of your pain so I just bring it up and just say it— I’m just confirming what you already know
And this really helps someone realize [their own pain] when someone else who doesn’t know them is feeling it and saying it. Of course, I say it with love, but I didn’t experience it. And that’s why it’s so powerful to go to someone who can hold space for you.
What do you think is one of the largest reasons we are disconnected from our sacral chakra and womb space?
People are more connected to their phones today than they are with their emotions and their relationship to themselves. They’ve repressed what’s going on internally.
Another one is sex being a taboo subject, and sexuality is seen as taboo, and the sacral houses sexuality and sexual trauma. We need to see sexuality as spirituality, and not this taboo thing that everyone is doing, but no one is talking about.
And in our modern-day culture the way our period is introduced to us is a big problem and leads to a negative association and relationship with our sacral chakra or womb space.
Menstruation is a time for us to cleanse and it represents our connection to the moon. If we go back to our ancestral times, way back to when we were in tribes, before street lights existed and we didn’t have outside lights to affect us, we were all bleeding based on the natural cycle of light, particularly the moon.
So women would all bleed together and learn together, and leave the tribe during their periods. During this time, they would share their emotions and what they were feeling and releasing during this time. And they would come back to the men after they bled and share what they discovered about themselves, and what needed to change, etc. And eventually men realized how powerful women were, we were being so powerful just from our emotions and the time during our periods, and this scared men.
So society subjugated periods, with this idea of, just shove a tampon in, or shove a pad on. But our menstruation is our power, all this emotion gets built up within the womb, and then we get a time in the month to release it.
It should be introduced as our power, our moon cycle, and our connection to mother earth.”