You may recognise her from Roller Denim adverts, her crystal business or by her open and forthright Instagram ‘@ripsnorter’. Either way, this is Aimee Aroha and she’s complex, in all the right ways.
I’ve followed Aimee on socials for over a year and her posts have always captured my intrigue. Rather than “pretty pictures”, her images are thought provoking, raw and so utterly real. With lengthy captions reflecting the essence of her imagery, Aimee has become one of the few women out there baring it all – literally. From self-exploration, open sexuality, challenging the gender norm, co-parenting and now transpersonal birthing. Yep, a transpersonal birthing mentor. WTF does that mean? I wasn’t sure, so I simply just asked.
Our one on one with Aimee Aroha, starts now.
Put simply what do you do?
I am a mother, a student, a lover and Transpersonal practitioner which encompasses many roles!
You describe yourself as a transpersonal birth mentor - what does that term actually mean?
I feel that is easiest to answer by first explaining what Transpersonal Therapy is.
Transpersonal means to go beyond the ego identity, beyond the “self” and into what lies beneath. This style of therapy privileges the unconscious and values the spiritual, mystical and transcendent as integral to the human experience. It is a deeply holistic philosophy as it views our physical experiences as just one part of our wider spiritual development. There is a huge emphasis on the practitioners own self awareness, healing and spiritual development with the understanding that I can only meet another person as deeply as i’ve met myself. Rooted in elements of the humanistic approach transpersonal integrates practices such as creative expression, meditation, visualisation and movement with traditional psychology or “talk therapy”
Birth is a rite of passage and transition of the highest value often unsurpassed in a persons life. As a transpersonal Mentor and Doula I am a companion through this transition, I am not bound to the policies and procedure’s of hospitals or governing bodies so I can support birthing peoples position as the ultimate authority on their bodies, their right to unbiased and evidence based information and their right to make autonomous choices however it may look for them.
What’s your role as a Transpersonal Birth Mentor? Talk us through your involvement from pre birth, birth and post birth.
As a Transpersonal Birth Mentor I support and hold space for peoples self exploration and decision making to unfold whether pre conception, pregnant, planning and/or postpartum. Many folks are now looking to work through their ‘stuff’ before they even decide to get pregnant, so pre conception work is on the rise.
In the Birth Mentoring packages we look at things like ancestry, generational patterns, the impact of our own births and rites of passage, the influence of sexuality and body image, conscious/unconscious conditioning and stories, embodiment, ritual, maintaining pleasure and anything else the client is feeling called to look at, we also work on postpartum planning and relationship maintenance if applicable. I work closely with a birthing person or couple for several sessions during their pregnancy and this is available both online and in person, if the family are local and would like me at their birth I also offer Doula services which includes everything I mentioned as well as support in the birth space, post partum care such as home cooked meals, intimacy support, massage, placenta ritual and ceremonial body wrapping to help the parents reclaim their energy and close the birth portal.
To me, it’s a fairly new term. How were you introduced to it?
I created it! Transpersonal therapy can be used to help people work through birth trauma (both their own births and the births of their babies) and transpersonal elements are also used in birth preparation however the term ‘Transpersonal Birth Mentor’ came about through my own experiences. I have been studying Transpersonal counseling and art therapy for two years and got into studying birth mentoring and doula work after the ecstatic unassisted home birth of my second child which was an incredibly psychedelic experience through which I came to realise how important transpersonal work had been in my own life and birth journey.
You recently gave birth to your second child. Talk us through this experience in terms of your own spirituality and transpersonal birthing understanding.
The birth of my son felt like a manifestation of all the work I have done over the last few years including my experiences with transpersonal therapy processes. I would describe his birth as extremely psychedelic and spiritual - an altered state of consciousness in that I was able to fully drop out of my everyday conscious awareness to the point of reaching another realm, feeling the presence of my ancestors and guides and knowing I was fully held in that. For me this was a complete letting go of my ‘self identity’ and dropping into the deepest levels of my knowing. I believe I was able to surrender like this because of the work I have done throughout my life, and of course because I had the privilege of being completely undisturbed in my own home so physiology could unfold beautifully. I also practiced slow post partum which for me looked like 30 days inside my home by the fire, receiving nourishing love and care from the support network I had set up through my pregnancy and basically laying in the restorative rest position all month! Slow, sacred postpartum is such a vital time of restoration for new parents, it really helped me to re enter the world feeling totally full and able to thrive.
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What is the biggest lesson you learnt both as a mother and a transpersonal birth mentor?
The biggest lessons I’ve learnt as a mother would have to be around practicing surrender and actually witnessing my own ego, wounds and patterns play out in my parenting. That has been integral to my mothering journey because through witnessing, I’m more able to surrender and parent more consciously. I’ve really learnt that children aren’t ours to mould or to dominate, as Doctor Shefali Tsabary says “it is crucial to realise you aren't raising a mini me but a spirit throbbing with it’s own signature”. As far as birth, it is one of the most transpersonal experiences we can have as human beings!
On your Instagram you talk very openly about sexuality and self sexual exploration. How did you first discover your own sexuality and how did you become so open and transparent about it?
Sexuality and pleasure have always been massive in my life! Like most children I started discovering the sensations of my body as a toddler and experimenting with very normal touching from a young age. Self pleasure is so, SO normal for children. Moving forward into my early teens, experimenting with other people, I was hyper sexual but had not been equipped with the appropriate tools to navigate that in a safe way so I made very risky choices. Stepping into a more empowered and embodied kind of sexuality started developing in my mid 20’s. Sexuality is always present in totally unique ways and its also always evolving when I accept the invitation.
I’ve never been scared or ashamed to talk about sex, I was generally always the first to bring it up or share a story with friends. While I wasn't given the appropriate tools to navigate my very sexual nature as a teen I also wasn’t shamed by my mother who was my primary care giver so I never learnt that sexuality or pleasure weren’t ok. I am generally quite an open person so the way I approach speaking about sexuality is just an extension of that.
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Tell me a bit about the Stoned Chrysalis - What is it all about and where/why did the idea come about?
TSC has evolved and grown with me over the last five years. It began as a hobby toward the end of my marriage when I started making jewellery with crystals and silver. I delved deep into the world of crystals particularly during my separation and I learnt a lot from a beautiful older couple who were deep in the world of their metaphysics.
I really found a lot of healing through that work especially around my sexuality and body, which led me to experimenting with, and going on to sell a range of intimate crystal products such as wands, plugs and kegel eggs. That was my focus for a couple of years until I started learning more about the realities of the environmental and social impact, few people consider the reality of where and how crystals are mined, carved and sold as there is very little governance over the crystal industry. I had a great relationship with my wholesaler who guaranteed me the mining was low impact and the workers were all treated well however without going over there to check it out myself and at this time on Earth thats not enough for me. So, until I am able to know for certain exactly where my crystals come from and how the workers are treated I won’t be selling them. TSC is now the umbrella brand for my work as a transpersonal practitioner!
How would you describe Aimee in 2010 to Aimee in 2020?
Aimee in 2010 was a very wild, passionate, traumatised and volatile girl with a big heart who lacked the tools to manage her trauma. I was deep into partying and totally abused drugs and alcohol and my mental health was unstable to say the least. But I had hope and dreams and a lust for life which needed some serious nurturing.
Aimee of 2020... I’m a woman now and have very much embraced the transition from maiden into mother. My passion and lust for life definitely remain, I now have the tools to manage my mental health and practice really solid self care.
Has there been a particular turning point?
My separation and divorce, the birth of my children, getting sober, implementing Transpersonal philosophy into my life, Rebirthing through breath work have all been some potent turning points for me.
What does a usual day look like?
Depends what day! School mornings with my big girl are often intense - I have a pretty sold routine there which I wont bore you with but some of the best bits are our morning meditations and cuddles before she's off to school for the day. Weekends I am a cruisy riser, I wake up with my son who is a total snorlax and sleeps in ‘til about 7:30 – 8am, I make a pot of coffee with some medicinal mushrooms and a veggie/fruit filled breakfast, I like to get my work or study done in the first part of the day as that’s when my energy is most clear, I love sitting outside on the property, my place is off grid, quite isolated and surrounded by bush so I go for small bush walks most days. Evenings are full of cooking, music, hanging out with the kids, general family madness! Currently I am a month into living on the road on the Northern Rivers so everyday is different.
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Imagery by: Michelle Palasia @michellepalasia