French poet and novelist Victor Hugo wrote, “To see beauty is to see light.” I think in these chaotic times, a focus on beauty is most fitting – even crucial for our health and well-being – a way to find light in shadowy uncertainty. As someone who worked in the fashion world for years (magazines, retail, bridal couture) and now often writes about the nature of inner and outer feminine beauty, I’ve had an intimate view into what makes a woman feel beautiful. And as we move through the fractured beginnings of this “great shift in consciousness” with its own feminine heartbeat (although staggered with a backlash of “toxic masculinity” of late), I wonder, “Can attention on our sense of ‘being feminine’ strengthen us for challenges ahead?”
I met Julie Hanson, a vibrational medicine practitioner, a few years after moving to the mountains of western North Carolina from Atlanta and that query was soon confirmed! Everything about Julie and her health-restorative work was infused with a feminine energy; indeed, I found that her whole perspective on healing is based upon aligning with the power of that energetic impulse.
Julie opened Sophias Logos in Asheville with her mother, a physician’s assistant, in 1999, and when I met her more than a decade later (in addition to health issues, we’d talk about interests from fashion history to Pistis Sophia), Julie shared that she never considered denying her femininity “so she’d be ‘respected’ by her peers” – whether in academia or the medical establishment. She always focused on articulating her femininity fully in her dress, wearing her dark, curly hair loose and full, plus fashionable jewelry with dresses that show off her dancers’ legs. (Julie was once well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina until dental amalgams not only ended her dance career, but also damaged her health, eventually leading her to find energetic medicine.)
Julie felt that freely conveying her femininity through her way of dress, as well as her softly feminine office décor – authentically expressing her inner self to the outer world – shores up her resolve in the competitive, masculine-built business complex. Plus, it just makes her happy! Showing our true selves, whether in jeans or a swirly skirt, is a powerful statement and women have too long given away their power.
Embracing this power is essentially what Sophias Logos is all about, Julie explains. By combining the sacred and intuitive aspects of Sophia (“the feminine principle of faith and wisdom”) with the mental and masculine nature of Logos (“the divine principle of order and knowledge”), she believed the name became the perfect expression of her work in balancing the feminine and masculine energy of both women and men, essential to vibrant health and well-being. (And yes, there’s a reason for the plural Sophia!)
This viewpoint is consistent with the ancient yin and yang code of life from the Taoists, a philosophy I found exquisite in its impeccable synergy with the natural world. I met Master Li Cheng Yu, the Taoist grandmaster at the time of my trip to Wu Dang, China with other Qi Gong and Tai Chi students, when she was approaching her 129th year.
There is so much to say about this extraordinary healing experience set in a magnificent and primitive mountainous landscape, but for now, simply to share a “beauty to power” moment with this woman whose life overlapped three different centuries. After an active lifetime teaching the skill of maintaining the flow of Qi – that innate and universal energy within the body – Master Li now lived a simple, meditative life in a modest dwelling with four attendants. Yet, to honor her foreign guests (she rarely invited visitors to her home), she had her glorious silk brocade ceremonial robes unpacked, and dressed in these regal garments of her heritage, she greeted us like the goddess she was. I’d never seen or felt anything more beautifully moving, or powerful.
I brought Master Li’s wise and courageous spirit back home with me – it felt like a profoundly knowing presence that showed up once and again. Sometimes it was one of those caught-in-your-breath encounters out in nature, other times when meeting an old soul practicing her passion.
Julie Hanson not only uses her training in both Western and Eastern energy medicine, plus her continuing innovative research, she also draws from her studies of the lost Gnostic Gospels and Sacred Geometry to fully bring the essence of this feminine instinct into the very heart of her practice. Engaging the healing arts of kinesiology with laser, color, and computerized sound-wave therapies (unique because of Julie’s instinctive input), the Sophias Logos clearings that she conducts bring profound results in reconnecting, restoring and revitalizing our mind, body and spirit.
I read in an essay by Ainslie MacLeod, clairvoyant and bestselling author, that during a meditation, his Spirit Guides communicated how “the soul can’t separate mind, body, and spirit. That means if one of these aspects is out of alignment, it throws the other two off balance, and we struggle as a result.” I get to hear bits of Julie’s wisdom when lying on her treatment table, and once she mentioned that working to bring our bodies back into balance with the natural world becomes the responsibility of each individual – “taking care of your health in this way is how we connect with our soul.”
Of course, as we’re being bombarded by a toxic environment and “the ongoing effects of genetically modified foods, depleted soils, as well as untested and escalating electromagnetics,” this soulful mission of taking care of our health becomes more difficult, and as Julie revealed, even “more critical for women because our bodies are more vulnerable.” Women’s bodies and Mother Earth are primordially linked.
I’m reminded of other trailblazers like Donna Gates and her Body Ecology work; she found a way to heal herself, drawing from ancient insights and spiritual teachings, when traditional medicine had no clue – and now shares her healing diet and extensive resources with the world. Or the more recent ‘Eat Pretty’ books for women by Jolene Hart (who also resolved personal health issues with holistic approaches) and is unabashedly committed to women’s “glowing wellness and nourishing beauty.”
In our frenetic, noisy, over-thinking modern culture – where, in the day to dayness of life, we’ve been lulled into accepting a high state of stress, tension and unease as “normal” – we are living detached from our bodies. “This disconnects us from an intuitive experience of the natural world,” Julie explains, “which disconnects us from awareness of our own divinity.”
Perhaps that’s why Julie Hanson chose a location high atop Crest Mountain in West Asheville for Sophias Logos – and now expanded into Sophias Energy Center, offering a number of cleansing and therapeutic services that blend ancient wisdom and modern technology with a little divine intervention! Here at the Center you are surrounded by an inspiring mountainscape and the soothing quiet of nature – harmonizing beauty with power, inside and out. (SophiasEnergyCenter.com)
Cornelia Powell, wedding folklorist, fashion historian, author and guest speaker, feels blessed to have connected with many wonderful wise-women in the North Carolina mountains! Her books are available on Amazon. (CorneliaPowell.com)