Welcome to Aghora Holistics, the multidisciplinary medicine practice of Meredith Marks.
Meredith began her working life as an eco-architect and community organizer, passionate about building a better, more just world through sustainable design and grassroots community development projects. After becoming ill with an autoimmune condition in 2011, Meredith shifted her focus to an array of global healing traditions. She now works across these disciplines to empower people to alchemize personal struggle into personal growth - to deepen relationships with their own bodies and minds, with family and community, with Nature and with Spirit.
2014 - M.A. in Sustainable Development: Advocacy, Leadership and Social Change. School for International Training, Vermont, USA.
Concentration in Community Development and Social Action.
2007 - Bachelors of Architecture. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, USA.
Minor in Philosophy.
I have always seen design primarily as a form of activism. Design invites us to imagine how our world could be better. How can we create environments that support sustainable ways of providing for our basic needs of food/water/shelter, plus ample space for friendship, play, creativity, connectedness, community, justice and self-determination?
Design empowers us to think critically about how we create the social standards, decision-making practices, and economic structures we maintain through our social contracts every day. What have we made, and why? What tools do we need to level-up our game as creators?
This design-minded orientation, as I see it, translates seamlessly from the external environment to the body, and back again.
Much of my work as both an eco-architect and a healing arts practitioner has been themed around human rights, environmental sustainability, and cross-cultural exchange – and in particular, around Indigenous knowledge. I was first introduced to Indigenous culture during two summers spent working in a restaurant in Hawaii while in university. I was touched by the Hawaiians' practical and beautiful ancestral wisdom which seemed to me to be priceless human heritage, contrasted with the trauma these communities have suffered under colonialism and modern capitalism. I've been working, researching, and studying in Indigenous and traditional communities ever since, now for almost 20 years.
My architectural thesis research was done in collaboration with the National Cultural Center of Vanuatu, a South Pacific island nation, on sustainable tourism development and Indigenous land rights. The project utilized traditional building techniques and ancestral skills to create affordable businesses for families without the need for foreign investment. In 2007, I received a grant from my university to research ethnocidal practices in the built environment in Tibet. I later went to work for an American eco-architect in Nepal. The business was affected by the world financial crisis of 2008, which had a profound influence on my values as a young architect just starting out in the field.
In 2010 I attended graduate school to add organizing and facilitation skills to my practice as a designer. I wanted to be able to work with people as co-creators on built environment issues, rather than following the industry standard of treating them as “users” of built landscapes made by others who often don’t have their best interests and/or actual needs at heart. In grad school I studied alternative narratives in international development and the history of colonialism, training design, participatory teaching and learning, social entrepreneurship, community organizing, conflict transformation, and topics in social identity and social justice. I moved into a more collaborative, DIY style of working under my then-design/development firm, CATALiST.
In 2011 I interned at the seminal natural building and permaculture NGO Kleiwerks/Ashevillage in Asheville, North Carolina, USA. I completed several trainings in DIY building with natural materials in the US and Thailand. In 2012, I led a year-long project in Nepal called Hariyo Chowk (Green Square). The project was co-built through a series of community natural building workshops and volunteer opportunities, and ran for some years afterwards as a sustainability education and outdoor arts space that touched the lives of hundreds of students, designers and residents of Kathmandu. I've also practiced as a designer in Western urban contexts, completing two interior renovations in New York City in 2013 and 2016 that focused on using ecological and reclaimed materials, and utilized the work of local artists and craftspeople.
After getting sick in 2011 I turned to natural, ancestral healing traditions and have been working with many natural healing systems since then. One could say that my illness brought Indigenous practice alive for me. Rather than viewing these cultures from a basically anthropological standpoint as keepers of valuable sustainability principles, the nature-based spiritual teachings embedded in Indigenous worldviews took on a life of their own. I began to feel all of life as sacred and conscious. Perhaps it is as the saying goes, that “there are no atheists in foxholes”… in any case, communication opened up and I haven't looked back.
I seek to know what it means to reclaim our own Indigenousness where it has been lost, and I believe that the integration of modern and ancestral knowledge systems is the best chance we have to save this planet and ourselves. This is the focus of my work currently.
TRAINING + EXPERIENCE IN HEALING WORK
Meredith has been a bodyworker since 2008 and has completed many specialty trainings including Chi Nei Tsang abdominal detox massage, Mayan abdominal self-massage, Reiki, Planetary Singing Bowl “sound massage”, Thai massage, and Thai somatic medicine techniques such as Gua Sha and Tok Sen. She has been blessed to be coached by some very talented bodyworkers over the years and to learn most of all from the body as guru, by doing and by receiving.
In 2014 Meredith began treatments in Kambo for autoimmunity and had a treatment a week for 3 months. It stabilized her health, and she began practicing soon after. In 2018 she studied Kambo and Rapé medicine with the Katukina tribe of Brazil and master practitioner Simon Scott. In February 2022 she will complete an online training for practitioners on Autoimmune and Lyme Protocols with Caitlin Thompson of Medicine Frog Kambo.
Meredith became heavily involved in Hatha and Classical Tantra Yoga around 2008. She completed her 200 hour YTT with Trimurti Yoga in Dharamsala, India in 2015. She maintains a yogic orientation in her work and life, and is most interested in the more esoteric, energetic and liberational aspects of yoga.
Meredith has been active in conscious dance since 2011 and has been training intensively with the School of Movement Medicine since 2018. Movement Medicine is a trauma-informed movement practice that blends healing dance, shamanism, psychotherapeutic technique, revolutionary relationship skills, and social justice. She is currently a teacher in training. She is also an admin for Movement Medicine’s anti-racist/anti-oppression group, Diversity Matters.
In 2021 Meredith began a 3-year training in Somatic Experiencing, a form of trauma therapy that works directly with the body’s internal physiological responses.
Since 2014 Meredith has been traveling to South America to heal and study in Indigenous medicine traditions. She has worked with many traditional healers around Pucallpa and Iquitos, Peru, particularly in Shipibo lineages, as well as in Columbia and Ecuador. Since 2016 she has been completing Shipibo and solo plant dietas, a powerful plant spirit communication practice that brings deep healing and purpose to one’s life. These plants and healers have been some of the most central, beloved allies and teachers on her path. She integrates these teachings into her other work and does not currently lead plant medicine ceremonies.
Meredith’s therapeutic fasting practice spans 10 years. She has completed dozens of natural detoxification and fasting protocols, including yearly water and dry fasting of periods up to 30 days, and is well-versed in different types of fasts and their healing effects.
Meredith is generally fascinated by all types of DIY protocols that trigger the body’s innate ability to self-heal, putting healing power back into the hands of people themselves. She has become competent in herbalism, food-as-medicine, mind/body mechanics, spirit-working and ritual. She has come to understand much about the total context of healing beyond the individual body, extending into the realms of relationships, community, society and ancestry. Meredith is always interested in local knowledge and in understanding how natural healing frameworks can be uniquely dependent on local plant and animal life and local traditions, yet resonant across cultures.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY + INCLUSION STATEMENT
Aghora seeks to hold deeply supportive, inclusive spaces with regards to social identity (race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, disability, age, prisoners, sex workers, etc.). It's our mission to foster diverse co-creative partnerships and create projects that empower the most vulnerable people and communities. We are committed to making our offerings as accessible as possible to those who need them the most.
Medical + Legal Disclaimer
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