Julia Hartsell

Julia Hartsell


Julia is a dancer, writer and ritualist who has been catalyzing community around healing and movement for two decades. With a background in performance art and world religions, Julia has spent her life immersed in embodied practices. Trusting the body’s inherent wisdom, she utilizes these diverse practices to help access the body’s intuition for emotional expression and transformation. With an animist worldview, her work is focused on reclaiming relational ways of living and ancient forms of medicine in service of personal, ancestral and cultural healing.

Julia is Co-founder, Director and Liturgist at Heartward Sanctuary and tends several shrines and gravesites there. For ten years, she mothered The Flowjo (a circus & dance studio in Carrboro) and the communities that gathered there in Carrboro, NC before COVID closed its doors in 2021. Passionate about movement as a healing practice, she has developed Community Grief Ceremonies, Ritual Dances and Ancestral Dance practices for reconnection with elemental forces and ancestral allies.

Julia is a certified Ancestral Lineage Healing Practitioner and a regular Course Supporter with Ancestral Medicine. She has trained as a Death Doula & Home Funeral Guide with the Center for End of Life Transitions. She has also trained in Psychopomp and Soul Retrieval Work with Red Earth Healing. Julia is an Initiate of Osun and Obatalá in the Ifá/Òrìsà traditions of Yorùbá speaking West Africa.

Before Heartward Sanctuary, Julia was focused on hoop dance and circus arts. For fifteen years, Julia hooped on city streets, schoolyards and summer camps in America, with orphans and school children in Haiti, at medical centers in Mexico, and with children in Nigeria. Through these experiences, she knows began to learn the positive impacts of movement and dance on people of all ages. Regardless of language, background or circumstances, she has witnessed the relief, joy, hope and healing that these practices can bring.

Julia’s other projects include:

The Flowjo (2011-2021) – an urban sanctuary with featuring movement arts for all ages. In addition to a strong aerial program, hoop dance classes, summer camps, and evolving community-building and healing-oriented programming, The Flowjo  launched the first Ecstatic Dance in the Triangle and held dance twice weekly for a decade. The Flowjo built the foundation for the programming and community that gathers at Heartward Sanctiuary.

Hoop Convergence (2008 – 2015, and 2024) – a hoop dancers’ conference that gathered hoop dancers and circus artists to share and learn from one another while growing the art form and global community of movement artists.

Synergy FlowArts – a collaborative project that crafted and distributed circus and flow arts gear around the world. 

hoopdrum – a performance art company with her previous partner and percussionist, Scott Crews.

Julia’s movement practices and studies include: Hoop Dance, Ecstatic Dance, Continuum, Authentic Movement, 5 Rhythms, Yoga, AcroYoga, Contact Improvisation, Aerial Dance and other flow arts. She currently resides in Silk Hope, traditional lands of the Shakori, Sissipihaw and Catawba tribes, with her beloved partner, canine companion and a wake of vultures.

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Jonathan Hadas Edwards, LAc

Jonathan Hadas Edwards, LAc

Jonathan is a writer, herbalist and NC state-licensed acupuncturist with over a decade’s experience in Asian medicine and related healing arts. He holds a Masters is from NUNM’s School of Classical Chinese Medicine and MFA in writing from Warren Wilson College.

Jonathan traces his serious engagement with healing traditions to a Fulbright fellowship in Nepal in 2008-9. There he had several encounters with traditions Ayurvedic physicians, including a last-of-his-lineage baiyda. Returning inspired him to pursue serious clinical training in Asian medicine, he matriculated at NUNM in Portland, Oregon for intensive study. He has since pursued post-graduate training in herbalism, Sa’am acupuncture, ancestral healing and other spiritual healing modes. Having experienced the power of these diverse healing traditions firsthand, he is passionate about making their profound benefits available to others through his work with Heartward Sanctuary and in private practice.

Alongside from writing and healing work, Jonathan is Heartward Sanctuary’s resident gardener, apothecary, and incense artisan. He is a believer in the sacredness of play, and tries to remember Zen teacher D.T. Suzuki’s words: “What we’re doing here is important, we’d better not take it too seriously!”

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