A poet, novelist, essayist, storyteller, teacher, healer and medicine woman who has taught and counseled for over forty years, in the process of which she has developed therapies (Healing Stories) which creatively address life threatening diseases, spiritual and emotional crises, as well as community, political and environmental disintegration.
Deena has spent a lifetime investigating Story as a form of knowing and healing. As a writer, she asks: Who do we have to become to find the forms and sacred language with which to meet these times?
She conducts training groups on the spiritual, creative, political and ethical aspects of healing and peacemaking, individual, community and global, drawing deeply on alliance with spirit, indigenous teachings and the many wisdom traditions. One focus is on uniting Western medical ways with indigenous medicine traditions.
With writer/healer Michael Ortiz Hill, she has introduced the concept of Daré, meaning Council, to North America. The Topanga Daré relies on Council, alliance with Spirit and the natural world, ancestor work, indigenous and wisdom traditions and teachings, music healing, dream telling, divination, kinship, and story telling to achieve personal transformation, community healing and social change.
She is the author of many books, including most recently, the novels La Negra y Blanca (2012 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature), Feral; Ruin and Beauty: New and Selected Poems; From Grief Into Vision: A Council; Doors: A fiction for Jazz Horn; Entering the Ghost River: Meditations on the Theory and Practice of Healing; The Other Hand; What Dinah Thought, Tree: Essays and Pieces – The Woman Who Slept With Men to Take the War Out of Them, and Writing For Your Life.