I believe Earth has provided everything we need. Why go elsewhere?
Laura is a true nurturer of people, plants and all living things on the planet. She is passionate about healing and holding space, offering the world her gifts of intuitive guidance, herbalism and building relationships. The first thing I ask Laura is where her journey with Mother Cacao began.
‘I used cacao in cooking but I didn’t know much about it.’ Laura admits. ‘Two years ago I went to Seven Sisters festival where there was a Sacred stall. My friend and I sat down on a blanket outside and she told me to go within myself. I remember it like it was yesterday. The sun was shining. I held the cup of cacao and smelled the aroma, slowly taking a sip, so mindful of how it felt in my body. I was really needing to sit in my heart space and that moment with Mother Cacao brought me home to myself. That was my first experience with Sacred. I went back to the stall and bought every flavour!’
Laura is the kind of soul who emanates authenticity, making it so easy to relax in her presence. She nurtures each and every connection as sacred, with a vision for community and creative collaboration.
‘I’ve had a dream for years to have my apothecary on land where people can come for healing, to run workshops and retreats. It’s been my own little dream for a long time, but now we’re doing it on a bigger scale by working together. My dream to be part of a community has already started. It’s what Sacred is about.’
Laura has been running her business North of the Hill since 2009, alongside raising two beautiful kids.
‘I’ve been a single parent for most of my life.’ Laura says. ‘So I’ve always had to be a warrior. North of the Hill comes from my Scandinavian surname van Noordenburg. It means ‘Town by the Northern Mountain.’ It’s got the double meaning of always facing north, moving forwards instead of back.’
To walk with ease through the spirit world, as Laura does, often leads us to grounding practices to balance the energy within our being.
‘Cacao is so grounding.’ Laura says. ‘I always take a few deep breaths before I drink it, I like to smell it and inhale the aroma. That intention makes me feel so grounded. Then when I sip it I feel the love going through me, by holding that intention. It’s the way I meditate now, to sit with Mother Cacao. It brings me into my heart space, and keeps me grounded at the same time. Cacao is about rekindling our inner fire. To ignite our desire to be grounded and connected to earth. It’s such a pure plant medicine that connects us back to Mother Nature. Sacred comes from under the canopy of the Amazon, the source of cacao. You can taste and feel that when you drink it. I’ve never been there, but I can feel it. I go to that place when I sit with cacao and embody it.’
We take a moment to acknowledge the truth of this, agreeing that the sacred medicine of cacao brings the jungle to life within our hearts.
‘Cacao brings you back to earth, but connected in a spiritual way too.’ Laura continues.
‘It takes you back to nature.’
Currently residing in a quiet town beside the ocean, Laura enjoys a strong sense of community and connection to the world around her.
‘As a herbalist, I’ve always had a connection to plant medicine.’ Laura explains. ‘I love working with Mother Nature and all the gifts she has to offer. It’s an energy exchange. I’m giving back by being with her and nurturing her. I’m a cacao mama, I will do anything I possibly can to nurture the earth. I’m a believer in the balance between science and spirituality, but it’s gone too far and we need to come back to nature. I believe Earth has provided everything we need. Why go elsewhere?’
Laura’s medicine is her ability to hold space and empower others to align with their authentic truth. She offers the deeply grounding energy of unconditional love, allowing others to open, express and release.
‘Even before I had kids, I was always a mama.’ Laura laughs. ‘I’ve always adored children and nurturing people. We call my house The Portal House because when people come here, their shadows come up to be revealed. I’m here to hold space for that. People feel at home with my energy and safe to be their true self.’
It’s an extraordinary gift that Laura offers and I’m curious about her perspective on how to create healthy boundaries during energetic exchange.
‘I don’t like to protect because I believe we’re all one energy and if I’m not in physical harm then I don’t like to close myself off.’ She explains. ‘When we protect, we put a wall up which actually blocks us too. It’s important to stay open but still have that sense of ‘Okay, this is theirs, not mine. I used to do that, but when I was pregnant with Koby I had to learn not to take on other people’s stuff, because I didn’t want him to take it on too! I’ll sit and listen and energetically send them love. I’ll offer guidance if something comes up, and be here to love and support. But it’s theirs, not mine. That’s my intention when holding space.’
Plant medicine guides us through the dark woods, offering an alternative vantage point, in order to rewrite our stories. We come to know plants as allies, respecting their wisdom and integrating their medicine into our lives.
‘Plant medicine helps us through the darker times.’ Laura says. ‘Nature is so healing. Whenever I've been in those places, plant medicine grounds me and brings me back to myself. That's why I became an herbalist.’
Opening our minds and hearts to the ‘other-than-human’ world expands our vision and enhances every practice of daily life. One of nature’s greatest lessons is the beauty and necessity of working together. We thrive in community and Laura is an advocate for coming together in support of one another and the planet as a whole.
So, my final question for Laura. What is sacred?
‘So many things!’ She exclaims. ‘Coming home to self. Not enough people realise it’s such a beautiful, sacred thing and crucial to life itself. Sacred is also community and coming together. A bit of the interior and exterior combined. And of course, my children. They are my sacred beings, my balls of light. To have these two little beings that I’m responsible for is one of the most sacred things I could ever have. I used to hate the saying ‘bundle of joy’ thinking it was so corny, but the moment I saw my babies, I thought, ‘Shit, that’s a bundle of joy right there.’
‘That’s what is sacred.’ She affirms. ‘Life itself.’