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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Walking the Path of Earth-Based Spirituality

by Lisa MooreRobbie Sitting

A Conversation with Otter Woman Standing, Robbie Warren

Right after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, Robbie Warren traveled to New York City to visit Ground Zero and pay homage to those who lost their lives. While there, she says she had an extraordinary spiritual experience. 

“I felt myself wake up to a new idea of my own spirituality,” said Warren, 50, an interior designer by trade.

Back home in Charlotte, a friend invited her to experience a sweat lodge, a dome-shaped hut made with natural materials, heated by steam from water poured on hot stones. The practice, prevalent in Native American culture, is typically used as a purifying ritual and to stimulate vision and insight. Though apprehensive, Warren faced her fear of confined spaces and took part in the ceremony. She had another profound shift.

“I looked around and immediately felt completely at home for the first time in my life. I knew I belonged. It did not feel strange and I felt at home. When I came out of that sweat lodge I knew this was my path.” Today, Warren is a self-described medicine woman whose work is rooted in ancient traditions. Her earth-based spirituality offerings include shamanic journeys, soul retrievals, drum healings and spiritual counseling.

She has studied with well known teachers and medicine people like Joseph Rael, Beautiful Painted Arrow (Picuris Pueblo – Ute), Sammye Jo Harvey, Mother Moon (Chippewa Cree), Jeanne White Eagle (Cherokee), and Candy Barbee – Fire Bear, to name a few. Warren believes that they have helped her realize and develop her innate gifts and connection to the spirit world.

“There is no education for this calling and it is not something for which one can go to school or earn a degree. If someone is called to be a medicine person, they know it in their heart and their teacher will show up. This wisdom has been passed down over thousands of years, and it comes to those who seek it,” says Warren, who resides at Sacred Grove Retreat in Gold Hill, NC.

She has journeyed to the sacred lands of the eastern and western band of Cherokee, the Lakota Badlands and the Black Hills, the land of the Pueblo Indians, and the Sacred Land of the Zulu (Sangoma) in South Africa to take part in or lead sacred ceremonies.

Warren goes by the name of Otter Woman Standing, which she says was shown to her by a spirit guide that came to her in a shamanic journey. “I was told I would know when to use it and I held the name for three years before speaking it out loud,” recalls Warren. “As Otter Woman Standing, I am aware that I hold the space in whichever way is appropriate at a given time in a given medicine way. It could be in a sweat lodge, in a medicine dance or in private sessions with clients.”

The healing modalities Warren uses vary from person to person depending on the situation. She strives to help her clients break old patterns and gain new perspective on what is holding them back from receiving the fuller life they long for.

“What sometimes happens is that someone may have lost a core or key part of themselves in a traumatic situation – sometimes from another lifetime. The work I do helps to bring that important part back into the current lifetime, where the client can integrate it into their being now and in so doing bring about their own healing and return to balance and health,” she says.

On October 18-20, Warren will lead The Fire Dance, a three-day ceremonial medicine dance she believes will help participants to connect directly with their source.  “We dance with five fires within a medicine wheel and this dance will clear out anything energetically that is holding someone back from living their lives to the fullest. Whether someone decides to dance or to support the crew, it is always a life-changing experience.”

Warren believes the ceremonies and rituals she holds are a way to celebrate, anchor and develop awareness of the unity of creation. “There is no separation between the earth, the animals, the trees, the waters and the people; we are all one. It’s more than honoring. It is recognizing that we all work together as one creation.”

Walking the path of earth-based spirituality is a process of change and growth for Warren and she feels that if someone is drawn to this path they should pursue it. “The more I work with the integrity of my soul purpose, the more grounded I am in my truth. If someone finds themselves drawn to this path I would give them the same advice that I was given: just say yes, and show up.”


To learn more about Warren and her work and The Fire Dance on October 18-20, visit


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