Amelia A. Free, MSW, LCSW, LMT, is a counseling astrologer, former psychotherapist, published author, fine artist, photographer and bodywork therapist. In addition to her astrology practice, she conducts workshops on the dynamic understanding of taoist chakra systems, tantra, non-hierarchical group dynamics, movement integration, writing, art and authentic relationship. She teaches taoist martial, meditative and medicinal art, core body awareness and kinesthetic integration classes.
Amelia studied political theory at Mt. Holyoke College and received her Master’s Degree in clinical social work from Smith College School for Social Work. She is the former Clinical Director of both the Sexual Abuse Treatment Team and the Family Therapy Team within the Department of Child Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center. She has been qualified, and testified, as an expert witness in these areas in civil court. Amelia has lectured nationally on the subjects of spirituality, resilience, stress and trauma at a number of institutions, including Harvard Divinity School and Boston University Schools of Medicine and Psychology.
Though a former psychotherapist, Amelia’s inquiries into the world at large at this point have moved away from pathologizing the individual to that of asking the questions of a cultural psychologist: what is it within our cultural/social/economic construct that requires individuals to behave in the ways that they do? She believes that authentic expression of the self is deeply distorted by those requirements of conformity and seeks to find ways in which the individual can free him/herself from them in order to to live a personally, spiritually and emotionally fulfilling life. Not an easy task in our consumeristic/capitalistic idea of “normal” relationships. Yes, though many call it “the norm,” our way of being as defined by those larger structures is hardly “normal” at all.
After formally retiring from the conventional, western mental health system, Amelia spent six years living in an alternative, new age retreat center, where she evaluated and developed an expertise in that particular paradigm of existence from an anthropological, cultural, sociological and psychological perspective.
Amelia was trained in the meta-physical arts, astrology, tarot, palmistry, hand-writing interpretation and Jungian dream analysis as a child and adolescent by her own mother, who was, in reality, a shaman masquerading as an upper-middle class housewife. Ah, well, a classic example of how true seers have to hide and disguise their true gifts of insight. Like her mother, Amelia has kept a dream journal her entire life.
In addition, influenced and guided by her father, a pediatric surgeon, Amelia also completed studies in the hard physical sciences, including inorganic and organic chemistry, biology and microbiology, mathematics, anatomy and physiology, pathology and classical newtonian and quantum physics. She also taught physical pathology at the School of Shiatsu and Massage in Middletown, CA.
Amelia’s studies in the Tao began in 1990 with her first Si Fu, Menelik Musa, with whom she studied Fu style Tai Chi, Ba Gua, and Hsing-I for ten years. In addition, she also trained intensively in White Crane Chi Gung and Taoist Philosophy with Alex Anatole at The New England Center of the Tao (now known as The Center of Traditional Taoist Studies) in the late 1990′s. She continued her studies of Tai Chi in San Luis Obispo at the Wushu Tai Chi Center with Liu Yu (China’s national Tai Chi Champion in 1986) from 2006-2007. Amelia honors the gifts of teaching she received from each and every one of these instructors. Such gifted and talented people.
Amelia has maintained a life-long interest in comparative religion/philosophy and has developed an observational and practical expertise in tibetan buddhism, indigenous wisdom, christianity, hinduism, sufism, new age-ism and entheogenism. Amelia first engaged with native american peoples as a domestic exchange student to the Acoma Indian reservation in 1977. She has also lived with a teacher/elder of the Chumash tradition, Hua Anwa, in Southern California.
Amelia’s primary framework for understanding life and its multitude of esoteric and physical manifestations, however, lies firmly and always within the ancient (as opposed to “modern,” beginning around 2500 B.C.) Tao, whose grace and wisdom never ceases to surprise and and awe.
Amelia is also a professionally-trained actress and Taiko drummer and performed with Words Move Theater Company and Odaiko New England, respectively, in Boston. Within that work, she extensively studied Alexander Technique and many other movement modalities designed to free the self into authentic expression. As a former competitive athlete in long-distance running, triathlons, tennis, rowing and soccer, she has an acute understanding of the wisdom that is gleaned from the kinesthetic awareness of the world around us.
Amelia also has been a political activist and theorist since the late 1970′s and has lived for extended periods in the San Francisco Bay Area, the East Coast, Europe and South America. When not traveling, she resides in Northern New Mexico.
Amelia’s body/mind/spirit practice is directed by the principles of critical discernment, personal, informed choice and authentic expression of the self. Her commitment to her clients is that each and every one should be able to exercise such personal determination.
Her only directive is: explore and question everything and everyone, including her. Such questioning should always be received with joy, clarity and attention to detail.
Only you know the truth for yourself. Each and every one of you. Ask, ask and ask again of anyone so that you may discern and decide for yourself from what and whom you wish to follow and learn. That is the good road of self-discovery and empowerment.
Choice. It is all about your choice. Choose well your teachers, for they will serve you well if they are about non-ego integrity. And, aye, there is the rub: they should serve you, not the other way around. You owe them nothing. They owe you everything, if they stand in truth and integrity to their teachings.
Finally, I do have to say, for the record, because I have had so many people ask me: No, I did not make up my name. My mother and father did and it is, indeed, on my birth certificate. I thank my father for the surname and my mother, a true poet, for the rest.
My full name is Amelia Alison Free and it is a piece of music that has sounded within my entire being from the very first moment I ever said it out loud to myself.
As someone once pointed out so observantly, indeed, my parents gifted me with a name I will always strive to live up to. That is what every parent should give to their progeny. Thanks for placing the bar so high, mom and dad. I will honor the entirety of the name you both gave me for the rest of my days here on our collective, beautiful planet. With each other, for each other and, ultimately, for the name and self I was given at birth, which is between me and the Divine alone, until my dying day.
And I do so look forward to that day, one during which I shall answer to and for myself alone about my life here. And what it meant. And to take full responsibility for it, moving through the lessons learned into the next lifetime.
I greet that day with joy, knowing I maintained my integrity with the Divine, every step of the way. Also knowing that I have, through this lifetime, fallen out of that integrity. Aye, there’s the rub: to fall out of integrity with ourselves and then, like a small flame wishing for life, to find and embrace it again. Over and over, without hesitation, unto our dying day. That, to me, is fulfillment and ecstasy and simple joy of being alive. So simple, so complex. Ah, yes, that is the paradox of life.
I wish for all of you that same, ecstatic fulfillment of lives well-lead and in complete harmony with your definitions of yourselves as guided by your own Divine sage. The process of falling in and out of love with that ultimate and final place within ourselves is the deal. In the end, that is all we have.
Namaste to all.