serah "literally breath to breath"
Jess and I spoke to Serah Ruth Goldberg as our first official bitchesbewitches interview. After re-listening to the recording, I have sat staring at a blank word document more times than I can count. I don’t think there are words that can encompass Serah, or represent her accurately as the beautiful soul she is.
We knew she was the perfect person to kick-start our journey. Serah is a writer's dream—she speaks in quotes, using time, intention and precision to answer a question. Prior to this interview, Jess and I both knew her mostly as a yoga teacher. We’ve both been practicing with her for a couple of years, exchanging pleasantries and hugs upon entering the studio.
There’s no other way to say it, so I’m just going to say it: she’s about a thousand times cooler than I thought, and I already thought she was possibly the coolest woman in Toronto. Serah embodies everything that bitchesbewitches is made of (and more.) She’s one of the witchiest women I've ever met, an inspiration, and now, a very important guide for me moving forward in my life.
I first met Serah at Kula Yoga about three years ago. I was working there on Thursday nights. The studio yoga traffic is definitely the busiest on that night—mostly due to Serah’s back-to-back classes. This woman has a dedicated following. She sits in the lobby on the lost-and-found box, often crunching on an apple, welcoming each and every person into the space. She’s physically tiny, yet her energetic field reaches far and wide. People are so excited to see her when they come in the door. She’s kind of like a yoga celebrity.
Most yogi’s in Toronto know Serah, whether it be because of her neck-to-toe colourful tattoos, her beautiful weekly class themes, or her brutally challenging core classes. Until recently, I’ve always wondered what else she does with her time. Surely, this magical being is doing some seriously special work outside of the yoga studio. I was right.
Serah is a shaman, a healer, a Breathwork facilitator, a yoga teacher, and a woman I aspire to be more like. She is a rule-breaker, a society-defier, and a trail blazer.
“I’m very clear that my mission in the world is to be an anchor for heaven on earth which is a new paradigm we’re moving into,” she says. “And that is the full flourishing of being the children of God. You can take the word God out of it, but there’s this feeling of a total restructuring in our own inner knowing, and it’s very clear to me that I am here to help others to do that, to create that bridge.”
Despite using the word Breathwork over and over in our interview—and hearing very cool stories about this so-called “experience” from some friends who had done it—I didn’t really know what it meant.
I ran into Serah at the yoga studio on a particularly difficult day, and she encouraged me to sign up for a "Breathwork Immersion" the next day. I resisted it for a few hours, went back and forth about whether or not I should do it, and decided finally that the resistant I was feeling was similar to that feeling of “I don’t need to write today,” or “I don’t need to go to acting class this week.” Scared.
I can’t really describe the deep, energy cleansing experience that she facilitates. I use the word experience because there is no other word. It’s not a class, it’s not a workshop; it’s kind of a retreat, but not really.
Breathwork uses the breath to hyper-oxygenate the body to take in more life force. It opens the gateways to feeling sensations in the body and makes room for blocks to pass through. While staying respectful to the sacred practice, I will say: it is transformative, beautiful, challenging, opening, liberating, emotional, magical and purifying.
Two weeks later I signed up for another one. It was completely different. The first one left me feeling light and cleansed. The second left me heavy and exhausted. I can’t wait to do more.
Serah is a New Yorker. She’s Canadian now, but she’s such a New Yorker. She has something inherently city about her style and the way she presents herself. She’s the kind of presence that you can’t help but be attracted to. She takes up space. She’s herself. It’s incredible.
She says she felt like an outsider from a young age, knowing that there was something more than life than the suburban culture around her.
“Very early on, I always knew I knew. I knew that my parents didn’t. So it was a very early on I felt responsible because I could see what was going on, from very very little.”
With no framework or guides in the alternative healing arts, she moved out of her parents’ home as a teenager, and entered various counter-culture "scenes" in Manhattan, from punk rock to raving.
"I was very fluid in my exploration, but it was the same in that it was a counter-culture, highly costumed expression."
Traditional education or career options never felt right. The only archetype for a healer was the stereotypical “wounded woman,” which she didn’t connect to, either. She drank a lot and did drugs to "get the fuck outta here."
Seeing people in her family unhappy in their life choices, she felt conflicted. She wanted to follow the "right" advice to be a “good girl,” but also felt that what others were doing was not reflective of love in how she felt it in her body.
“There was never a moment when I was carefree! I’ve been tracking my whole life- I came in, and I knew.”
In her very early twenties, Serah was living in Manhattan and working as a hair stylist for celebrities (where, might I add, she had to wear her hair down to cover her tattoo on the back of her neck). She started to get inspired by people and books, such as The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman.
From there, a series of guides and teachers started appearing in Serah's life. She eventually moved to Montreal (yay we got her in Canada!), and was the original border-crosser for The Priestess Path with Alisa Starkweather. The teachings at The Priestess Path served as major inspiration for Serah to start her own mystery school. In 2016, with Donna Wilding, Seers Way was born. The three-module program has been designed by these incredible women to "redefine your reality so you can move through the world with all your inherent superpowers."
Serah serves as a teacher to many people, myself included, and she's had amazing teachers along the way. What she notes, however, is that she was never under someone's wing. She had guides and teachers, but she always remained autonomous on her journey.
YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED
Re-listening to the interview today, I really clocked this "autonomy" thing.
It feels quite full circle: I went through something kind of strange during my first Breathwork with Serah. I felt a lot of pain and strange, intense sensations in my body, namely my right arm where I have tendinitis. I was trying to telepathically tell Serah to come over to me; to save me from what I was dealing with. However, it was only when I realized that I am the only person who can "save" myself, that the pain and sensations subsided. I started laughing; it was so simple. I had all the tools. I always have. I always will. We all do.
When I was younger, I wish I had someone like Serah in my life to show me that there are different ways of living. Although my family is progressive, and both of my parents are open to seeing energy healers and spiritual guides, it was never something I thought that I could do, too.
Hearing Serah's experience makes me think a lot about my own childhood and the inherent knowing that I experienced, even as a young child, that I understood or felt something that maybe those around me weren't in tune to.
The most important thing I've learned from Serah is simple.
"We are already healed and we are already whole. We don't need to seek anything outside ourselves to come to that. It is literally breath to breath."