Ash "Lightning Woman" Frandsen

Ash "Lightning Woman" Frandsen

Indigenous Karuk and Yaruk Ceremonial Leader

they/them

Winter 2021

Ash “Lightning Woman” Frandsen is a two-spirit, nonbinary, queer, Indigenous Karuk and Yaruk ceremonial leader and parent living in the South San Francisco Bay Area. Their life’s work elevates Indigenous ceremony to support healing for communities who are two-spirit, Indigenous, LGBTQ and in addiction recovery. Ash survived youth homelessness and recovered from drug addiction almost twenty years ago, and they are fueled by not forgetting where they came from. 

Tell us: what excites you about your work?

The ability to create spaces for all people to come together and pray in a sacred way. That these spaces uplift our Two Spirit siblings and allow them to show up as their authentic selves without the need to explain or educate others. That through ceremony we uplift our elders, children, marginalized, the lands and remembering that with every breath we take and every step we take we bring that medicine into the world with us.


What feels rich and abundant in your work right now?

Sometimes my work does not feel abundant or rich. Unfortunately I have yet to find a spiritual bypass from the human experience. In this moment when I feel depleted, it is evident that the Creator is carrying me and also all others in need.


Who do you dedicate your work to?

I dedicate my work to my children Aiden and Dylen. They are my greatest inspiration to continue to show up in the world authentically and do my own healing.


Who inspires you, who are you learning from, what books are you reading? We are really excited to learn this about you!

My greatest inspiration are my community, my elders that continue to guide and teach me and the people that I serve. I do community mental health work and if you ever want to be inspired and learn about the diversity of those often ignored, go and feed and sit in community with those that go without.


“Through ceremony we uplift our elders, children, marginalized, the lands and remember that with every breath we take and every step we take we bring that medicine into the world with us.”


How can people reading this support the work you are doing?

Reach out and connect and in return create space in their own communities for LGBTQIA+ people to be able to come and pray in a sacred uplifting way.


What something you didn’t know, that now you understand differently with wellness?

That it’s an often messy journey and a sick sense of humor will often create more joy than any crystal or class you can find.


What is your own wellness practice? How do you find balance?

My practice starts before the sun is up in prayer and meditation and in many ways I continue this prayer throughout the day. Some days my practice looks like a therapy appointment, sometimes it is 12 step meeting, sometimes it includes sex or other intimacy, some days it’s an appointment with a medicine person and some times it a game of Lazer tag with my kids, or crawling into an Inip to pray with community. My practice includes remaining clean and sober from all mood altering drugs, so that I may be present and in a good relation with myself and others. Being human can be hard and our journey is not linear. I have found that my practice must be flexible to create space to expand and grow. My day starts in prayer, continues in prayer and ends in prayer and the balance comes from showing up to all the possibilities within that prayer.

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