Grace of the Horse:

initiation into the wisdom of the herd/heard

A 5-Week Online Class for Women with Sexual Trauma

I want to offer you a powerful idea:

What if tending to sexual trauma doesn’t have to be terrifying, dreadful, or horrific?

Because we have already been through that. Imagine if our process could be gentle, and beautiful, and dare I say… relieving.


The phenomenon of sexual trauma is immense and overwhelming, to say the least. But if you are here reading this - a part of you has already made the choice to face the challenge of healing.

I want to invite you to consider that there is a pathway forward that is gentle and beautiful. I am not just telling you this because I want to sell you something. My genuine hope is that just through reading about healing with horses you will be educated, transformed, and empowered whether you choose to take my class or not.

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To begin, I want to explain where I am coming from. I am a survivor of sexual violence. For years I experienced overwhelming feelings of powerlessness against the shadow of my sexual trauma.

I say shadow because that is exactly what it felt like. Even though there were some moments I was able to consciously acknowledge it, most of the time it felt like a looming shadow, something heavy, painful and scary haunting me that I couldn’t even quite perceive.

The upsetting but truthful thing is: sexual trauma is something that most of us carry in our own bodies and in our bloodlines. There are varying degrees of traumatic experiences and all of them are worthy of healing.

No matter what you have been through, if you are sensing that you are ready to engage in getting more support with relating to your trauma - I commend you and welcome you with my full heart.

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Jamila Jackson, MFA, RYT-500

About Me

Hello, my name is Jamila.

I am a trauma-informed yoga teacher, dancer, Equine-Assisted Learning facilitator, and an IFS-inspired Coach. Horses are a central component of my teaching. I work specifically to support conversations about trauma-informed embodied and community practice, spiritual development, coming back into contact with nature, ancestral work, negotiating with power and privilege, and initiating a sacred and non-predatory relationship to power.

My purpose in this life is to support people in remembering and healing our sacred sense of belonging to nature. This sense of belonging is everything. It is where our relationship to our ancestors, to our medicines, to our ability to heal and create is rooted. This belonging is where we come from.


This self-paced class is for women who hold any degree of sexual trauma in their body and/or their bloodline and are looking for a graceful and empowering way of turning toward the healing work. When I say women, I mean all women: cis, trans, and gender nonconforming women are welcome.

I offer you a space to be whole within - and a set of tools, supports, and strategies to tackle one of the biggest hurdles of turning toward our sexual trauma: doing so without getting extremely dysregulated, being overwhelmed, and feeling so deeply upset that we can't go forward.

THERE ARE THREE IMPORTANT REASONS WHY WE STRUGGLE TO ACKNOWELDGE AND TEND TO SEXUAL TRAUMA...

The first reason is:

it's too much to bear

What happened to us is too big to face at once. It is TOTALLY overwhelming and dysregulating.

The word "trauma" refers to an experience (or series of ongoing experiences) that completely overwhelms the nervous system. And so it makes sense that focusing on it - or even the idea of focusing on it will feel daunting, burdensome, painful, terrifying, and at times so overwhelming that we check out, numb out, dissociate, or become unraveled.

For years, I felt anxiety at the topic of sexual trauma or sexual violence even being brought up. I would get triggered SUPER intensely, experiencing panic, insomnia, overeating and/or losing my appetite. I felt creeped out by very the idea of it.

How was I going to heal it when I could barely think about it, let alone name it or, God forbid, say it out loud?

You may relate. You may have been carrying around a feeling that you need to heal this trauma some day but it feels WAY too hard to begin… impossible even. It may be showing up in your body, your relationships, your life, and your finances. You may think about wanting to take steps toward healing. You may even know that you need to take steps toward healing. But when you think about it, your body becomes hazy, disoriented, numb, checked-out, terrified, lost, or shut down. That is because no matter what is happening in our mind, trauma exists in the body. These disorientation symptoms are a protective measure that your body is taking to shield you from the immense pain and fear that you experienced in the past. This is a protection that makes so much sense and is a gift from our body.

The second reason is:

sexual trauma is taboo to talk about

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Sexual violence pervades our culture and the trauma that results from it is taboo to talk about.

Quite often there is no safe space to tell the truth about our experience, and it can be dangerous to voice our feelings. Many folks don't have access to healing spaces or practitioners, experience cultural taboos around therapy, or experience financial realities that make it very difficult to access help. It is important to recognize that there are immense levels of structural, financial, and cultural barriers to accessing help.

While we are becoming more comfortable with talking about trauma in our culture, sexual trauma is still taboo. As survivors of sexual violence, we can have one of two experiences: one is that we don't want to trigger other people and so we suffer in silence. The other is that when we do share, other people don't know how to respond to us, or become triggered by hearing us, and so we get silenced, have our truth suppressed, or even get punished when we attempt to talk about what has happened. Our families, our communities, and our culture are saturated with sexual violence and most people’s nervous systems struggle to stay regulated when this topic comes up.

The difficulties and challenges we experience from other people when we attempt to share what we have gone through can become another trauma in and of itself.

This compounding trauma can send us into profound depths of separation and isolation. And it can be terrifying.

The problem with not being able to talk about our experiences, and receive loving supportive witness and coregulation, is that our bodies require relational connection and safety to heal and we are not able to find it.

I have had many experiences of trying to tell my truth to someone who I thought was safe - but the sense of safe connection between us would begin to dissolve as they became uncomfortable with what I was expressing. Things would start to feel very awkward - at times terrifying.

That part of me who was being so brave, trying to find a sense of connection and acknowledgment would then go back into feeling incredibly separate - but now with more shame and greater levels of fear.

I used, and still use, so much energy to keep a part of myself hidden while presenting an acceptable self to the world and my relationships.

I wonder if you can relate? I feel like this is an experience so many of the people I connect with also have had.

You deserve a safe person who is able acknowledge your experience, name it, and not be afraid of it.

The third reason is:

colonization

Through colonization and enslavement, our ceremonies, relationships, and healing medicines have been systematically violated.

Not only that - but it is through colonization and slavery that much of the violence we are trying to heal from was initiated on our bloodlines. While at first, this may feel even more depressing, this truth is actually a gateway to recalling the fullness of ourselves and our relationship with all of life.

This is important to acknowledge because:

even if we do have access to the most safe and loving person to share our story with, something as vulnerable as our sexual trauma may, at first, feel just flat out too sensitive to ever want to share with another person.

THIS IS WHERE THE HORSES COME IN

We need a tenderness that is more tender than even the most tender human heart.

WE CAN FIND THIS SACRED TENDERNESS FROM OUR RELATIONS WITH THE MORE THAN HUMAN WORLD.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE GRACE OF THE HORSE

Healing with horses is a pathway of receiving nature’s sacredness and tender medicine.

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The only reason I got to the point where I was able to speak words to another SAFE human, was because of the work I had done with horses.

Horses offered me a place to begin to explore the parts of me who could not speak. They connected through movement, stillness, and through feeling. They were a safe place of connection that WANTED to be close to me no matter how terribly I felt. Horses brought a grace into my life that showed me a path forward through what previously was impossible. And I devoted my life to making their grace accessible to others.

I remember standing with a horse at liberty (meaning he was not tied to anything and free to leave) and realizing I was feeling something under the surface. There was grass for him to go eat - there were other things that he was doing. But when I started to feel my feelings he CHOSE to pause and stand with me.

As I stayed with my feelings, they began to unfold. I felt irritation and overwhelm, then it unfolded into pain, then sadness. Every time the feeling became more clear - he stepped closer to me with gentle eyes. He let out a gentle sigh.

Eventually, he was so close that his soft eye was about 1 inch from my eye. We were both so still.

He wanted to listen and be with me as I felt my truth beginning to unfold within me.

The CONNECTION that horses gave me allowed me to begin to express what I could not speak. Horses were tender enough to listen to the places within me that were too vulnerable to share yet with another human.

In a safe connection, there is enough stability for the nervous system to release the energy, fear, and pain that has been stuck from the trauma.

What happened to us as survivors was so intense and vulnerable that to focus on it too brightly will be too much - at times even just the attention of another loving person may be too intense for those parts of us.

Horses have a way of witnessing us that is profoundly gentle. The horse's soft gaze and tender heart can look at us with a light that is soft enough for the most devastated and violated parts of us.

We can begin to come back into connection.

And the most brilliant and beautiful thing? Horses are multidimensional. They can connect with us in this way across space and time. They don’t have to be in our physical presence to offer us this witnessing friendship and they are brilliant at eminating their healing energy through video. This means I can guide you through working with horses... online.

I HAVE PARTNERED WITH THE HORSES TO CREATE A SELF-PACED ONLINE CLASS THAT INTEGRATES THREE FIELDS OF PRACTICE TO SUPPORT YOU TO HEAL WITH HORSES FROM A DISTANCE.

I use videos, stories, and exercises to connect you to the horses through the field of Equine-Assisted Learning (learning from horses.) This field of practice views horses as teachers and guides who can support us to grow and heal on an emotional and spiritual level.

I contextualize the connection between you and horses through the Internal Family Systems Model. This therapeutic framework views the mind as a system of many parts. I build a relationship between the way IFS views the human mind and the way that horses gather in herds. This helps us to anchor into the principle of all the parts of us being welcome. In the herd all parts of us can truly feel heard.

This class is strongly anchored in yogic practices with a specific focus on mantra (sacred sound - which is very healing for trauma), breath practices, and meditation. These trauma-informed progression of practices support you to honor and also steady your mind, access your body in a gentle way, and truly feel the connection and energy of the horses. These practices cultivate a bond with the horses at deep levels of consciousness.

In the class I will be moving between teaching you information on an intellectual level and using my voice and meditation to guide you to into experiences of yoga (union) with the horses on a soul level.

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About the Horses

In this class, we will be working with my horse Angus and some members of his herd.

Angus is a 10 year old horse that is very strongly rooted in his purpose as a healer and teacher. He has been through immense trauma in his own life and meets those he works with with profound love and compassion.

Angus is skilled at offering his energy through video and communicating with others energetically no matter where we are located. He has guided me to cultivate this work.

I am honored to work with him in this lifetime and I am grateful to get to facilitate your meeting him heart-to-heart through video and meditation.

The Grace of the Horse is a 5-week online self-paced class for women that teaches tools for trauma-healing in a way that actually FEELS RELIEVING.

It FEELS RELIEVING because:

1) We acknowledge that sexual trauma is the reason for being in this class. This creates congruence in our system. Congruence offers a sense of relief in the body.

2) We DON'T focus directly on memories of what happened. Instead, we focus on cultivating connection, safety, and an opportunity for the body to rest with horses.

3) Horses are multi-dimensional beings and skilled energy workers. As we bond with the horses from a distance, we connect on an energetic and embodied level with their subtle energy bodies. This connection stabilizes our nervous system and helps to absorb the shock of trauma in the body and psyche. Through the principle of empathy, the unified consciousness of the herd actually shares in bearing the burden (energetic charge) of our emotions and sensations, allowing the body to safely transmute our feelings.

4) We focus on understanding, honoring and relating with consent to the structure of our mind - so that our body can be given the time, safety, and support from nature to heal in our own rhythm

ABOUT THE IFS (INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS) MODEL

In IFS we recognize that we have this deep witnessing presence within us and we call it the Self.

Horses hold powerful Self-energy and help us to build our own Self-energy.

One of the primary videos that I use to teach this method online is a video of two horses - Angus and Izzy. I took the video on a snowy January day in 2021. That day, Angus had a hurt hoof and lay down to rest in the snow.

Izzy stood near him, incredibly still and present. Often, in herds, horses will do this for one another. When one horse wants to rest by laying down, another horse will keep a lookout. As prey animals, this protection and witnessing allows them to deeply let go.

Internal Family Systems (IFS), a therapeutic method developed by psychologist Richard Schwartz, views each person’s body and mind as being a system of many parts with an inner compassionate witness: the Self.

Our parts include the tender and childlike parts of us that hold trauma and pain as well as protective parts that attempt to shield and protect us from pain in order to keep us safe. By recognizing that all of these parts exist, like separate people within us doing their jobs, we can practice witnessing and relating to them compassionately from the position of the Self. This allows us to heal and transform.

There is a parallel between the ways that horses gather and communicate with one another in herds and the way IFS approaches the human psyche.

In the wild, each horse is anchored within their own individual personality and is also connected to a part of a larger family system: the herd. As prey animals who navigate the landscape, the herd sources its intelligence and leadership through a powerful witnessing presence.

IFS offers the perspective that we ARE a witnessing presence (Self) holding together an internal system of individual parts that have unique personalities. We truly have a herd within ourselves.

I began to integrate IFS principles into the healing work I was doing with horses and eventually studied to become an IFS-inspired coach.

I love the way IFS supports the healing wisdom of horses because they both empower us to have a powerful relationship with our inner witness as a way to welcome all parts of who we are. Healing with horses and IFS are so powerful that just one experience with either of them can completely transform the way we understand ourselves.

IFS offers us a map of the psyche,

and horses serve as guides for us as we navigate the landscape of our healing journey.

One of the many ways that I work with the video of Angus and Izzy in the snow is a meditation that I call: yoga (union) with the luminous consciousness of the horse. I designed this meditation to allow us to merge our own inner witness (Self) with Izzy’s witness and in the process be strengthened by her powerful level of presence.

I had practiced it several times but I was not quite aware of the incredible power of this meditation until one day something triggered my PTSD.

Immediately after the event that triggered me, I felt a familiar level of panic begin to arise within me. Usually, when this happens, I feel COMPLETELY devoured by the panic and I either have to take panic medication or wait many many days (even weeks) for my nervous system to regulate.

However, on this particular day, I spontaneously felt Izzy deep within my heart joining me in witnessing my emotions and sensations. Her presence was so palpable that I was able to stay present with the part of myself that was terrified.

As Izzy and I continued to witness this part of myself, I was able to dialogue with it and be curious about its experience. The immensity of terror dissolved. I felt more regulated, and I felt grounded and able to continue to take steps to take care of myself.

The meditations and practices I offer in this class offer a way for people to access the living & healing presence of horses without having to be in their presence.

Horses will spontaneously show up in my mind and heart when I am not with them and help me with my pain.

Once they know you, they can show up and help you at any time no matter how far away you are.

The types of videos and meditations I create support you in starting or strengthening that bond from afar.

This means you never have to even meet the horse in the physical to create a heart-to-heart bond that will allow the horse to come help you in times of need.


Before needing to do anything else in terms of healing - I invite us to pause and to honor our fierce bravery. We have chosen to stand for ourselves in a world that makes the thought of healing feel impossible.

This bravery is what brings us through our suffering into our awakening.

While there were many years when I felt truly hopeless, a part of me understood that my sexual trauma was something that I needed to learn how to address and heal. That part of me was hell-bent on finding a way.

While it was SUPER overwhelming, I found myself keeping an eye out for information, having a tab open on my phone or computer for healing, reading books - being curious about it - sending some signals out there into the universe.

There was still this sense of burden that this was WAY too heavy. But I found myself looking and strategizing - I felt a whisper in my heart:

"I am READY for a way out even if I can't see it. I am praying so hard.

I know this is something I need to deal with but the immensity of it is VERY much TOO much. I need help and I am open to receiving it... I just haven't figured out what it is yet."