As a slow fashion company, Daughters of India aims to embody the notion of ‘embracing the slow’ in every aspect of what we do. In an ever busy world we are becoming more and more aware that mindfulness really does matter, and finding balance is quintessential to enjoying a harmonious life. We loved having a conversation with Prue Rustean, owner & creator of Earth Altering, about the healing power of nature, connecting with the elements, and how honouring the art of doing nothing can be our greatest source of inspiration.
Creating earth altars is such a beautiful practice. Tell us about this practice and how your journey led you towards creating such an incredible business venture:
I started delving deep into creating Earth Altars in 2020 after my health was drastically compromised and resulted in some unexpected and abrupt life changes. This rapid decline in my health triggered a range of intense emotions within me that at times felt consuming, overwhelming and impossible to escape. At a time when I was in the depths of mental, physical, spiritual and emotional darkness I turned to the Earth for support.
For me spending time in nature (even if it was just on the grass in my backyard) in between stints in hospital, was an easy way to connect to the Earth and help me to feel more grounded. I experienced so much healing spending time alone, immersed in nature playing with beautiful flowers and other natural treasures found in the garden, creating Altars and using them as a portal into the Earth to send my wishes, prayers, thoughts, emotions, fears, love and gratitude.
The personal insights and healing I have experienced from spending time creating in nature and going internal to connect with myself have been extremely profound. Making time to check in with ourselves and balance our mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health has become something I feel very passionately about sharing.
There are some very simple ways in which we can do this to improve our overall health before reaching burnout and when we heal ourselves we heal the Planet in the process.
I never intended for this to become a business venture but it has organically unfolded with what feels like something much bigger than me with a mind and path of its own. The people, places and experiences it has opened me up to feels like the most aligned thing I have ever done and I have grown passionate about sharing what I have learnt (and continue to learn) through connecting with the natural world around us and hope to contribute to improving the health and happiness of the Planet and the people on it.
What are the offerings you provide through Earth Altering and your intention behind sharing these?
I am literally bursting with ideas about things I want to birth into the world through this project and will with time but for now my current offerings are:
This is a course that can be done by anyone, anywhere in the world. The intention is to inspire you to connect with the natural world, go inward, receive your own unique personal teachings and insights, figure out exactly what it is you need in the moment and to access and express your unique creativity. It includes writing, videos, photos, resource recommendations (apps, podcasts, books, websites and healers) that you can explore further and so much more.
In person workshops (currently in Western Australia):
The intention is to connect, create and collaborate. The workshops are always different depending on who, what, where and when they take place and I love how they always perfectly unfold.
Custom Earth Altar installation for events, gatherings, retreats, workshops, and ceremonies:
The intention is to create an anchor point for the group to use the Altar as a portal into the Earth and to conjure their unique cosmic experiences.
I am starting a van trip around Australia in January 2023 and will be spreading these workshops and offerings across the Country. The best place to find out about upcoming workshops near you is via our instagram @earth.altering or subscribe to our mailing list: http://eepurl.com/hBJEFD
Why do you feel practising meditation and ritual are important?
Once you have felt the benefits of regularly quieting your mind (even if it is just for 5 minutes in the morning and evening) you can't unknow the feeling and the positive effects it has on your overall health. Creating your own rituals, syncing up with the cycles of the natural world and making time to switch off, plug in to source energy, recharge your batteries and fill up our own cup increases your ability to offer more value to everything and everyone in your life.
How do you draw on nature for inspiration?
Nature is literally the love of my life and my forever inspiration. Along this little ol journey of mine I have come to learn that Mother Nature is the best supporter, encourager, nurturer, confidant, listener, teacher, advisor, friend and lover I have ever known. She is always there for us. We can rely on her for absolutely everything we need to live, grow and truly thrive. Once we form a relationship with her we come to realise that we are not separate from the Earth. We are part of the Earth. When we learn to love her, we also learn to love ourselves.
Tell us about the purpose of connecting with the elements and the role they play in your creations:
The four elements Fire, Water, Air and Earth are the foundations of life and enable our Planet and everything on it to live. The heat of the Fiery sun, the Earth beneath our feet, the Air we breathe and the Water we drink are essential to our existence. Once we understand how intrinsically linked we are with nature it becomes clear that every living, breathing thing on Earth needs these elements to grow, develop and blossom.
We can connect with the elements at any time of the day, anywhere in the world no matter where we are or what we are doing. Even if we are indoors without a window we can draw on the energy of the elements within us. We can feel gratitude for the fresh Air filling up our lungs while bringing our attention to our thoughts, goals and values (mental).
If we are not able to directly see or feel the energy of the sun, we can bring our attention to the Fire in our belly, our passions, purpose, the things we love and what drives us (spirit).
We can tune into the energy of the Earth - our provider, our foundation and Mother to every living thing - by visualizing the stabilizing energy coming up from the ground below us and filling up every inch of our body, tuning into our muscles, joints and organs and listening to what it is we need in the moment? It could be a run, stretch, dance, massage or nap (physical).
We can explore or imagine the Water element in different forms - rain, waterfall, ocean spray, waves, ice, and let it guide us into emotional expression, perhaps in a new range of ways. Welcome any emotions that come up in the body and then move them in whatever way intuitively feels right (emotional).
I have incorporated these prompts into the Earth Altar practice, marking them out on the Altar as follows:
North ~ Air and our mental health
East ~ Fire and our spirit
South ~ Earth and our physical bodies
West ~ Water and our emotions
At Daughters of India, we love celebrating and supporting the continuance of traditional artforms, most of our garments use the traditional Indian artform of hand block printing. Why do you feel honouring traditional artforms is important?
For centuries many different countries and cultures throughout history have been creating natural mandalas. I have received so many messages from people telling me about how they remember building these natural mandalas as children without ever being taught and it seems this art form is something that is innately in us, perhaps passed down from our ancestors through our bloodline.
I believe we need to learn from the old traditions in order to go forward. If we look back to our ancient ancestors and what they once knew and held precious we may be able to heal the deep inherited wounds we each carry within ourselves today. The wisdom of our Indigenous people teaches one simple truth. We are all connected in the great circle of life, and this magnificent and Sacred Planet is Mother to us all. If we want to continue as a species and improve our Planetary health, we must take care of, learn from and love the natural world.
How has transcending your work life into something you love doing changed your life overall and what would be your advice for others who are also interested in following their passions?
Once I started making my health a priority in my life there was no other option for me but to make time to rest and heal. Right from the very early stages of this business creating time to rest and relax has been a priority in my life. Since consciously practising this I have come to learn that this is the time when I create things of value.
I now know that it is simply not an option for me to be engaging in anything I don't enjoy or that causes me stress. It's interesting that it took the loss of my health for me to learn this and make it a priority but it has made me much more productive in all areas of my life and has changed it for the better. It is a constant balance but I do genuinely love what I do and how I spend my days at the moment. This didn't happen overnight and I have had a lot of experiences figuring out what I don't want to better understand what I do want which is not always fun and flowers.
My advice would be to schedule in some time for yourself to do nothing. Zone out. Get bored. Daydream. Figure out the things you actually like to do when you are alone and have time. When everything is stripped away it's clear that time really is all we have, so spend some of it alone. Figure out what you actually enjoy doing and the environments you like to be immersed in, then do those things and visit those places as often as you can.
This is where you will find inspiration, new ideas, attract the right people, have more "ah hah" moments, and be able to receive the next clue to the next step of creating a life you enjoy, following your passion and purpose. The journey is so different for everyone so don't get stuck on how it should look or comparing yourself to others.
You intuitively created an Earth Altar for Daughters of India, what does your creation process look and feel like?
I always have a bit of an idea in my head about how I want an Altar to look before I begin but that picture constantly changes throughout the process depending on the materials that I find (or the materials that find me), the weather, the elements and the environment. I have images that pop into my mind as soon as I have been asked or decide to create an Altar. Sometimes I will dream in sacred geometry, colours and shapes. It's hard for me to explain the process in words, it is more something that I feel and allow to come through me.
I created this Altar for Daughters of India over 3 days while the Full Moon was in Capricorn. I have Capricorn rising in my astrological birth chart and I was really feeling that part of myself during the process. I was in a "work hard", "say yes to everything", "tick off lists", "get things done momentum". External energies and outside forces had other plans though and I was instantly reminded that good things take time and instead of rushing through it all to tick off the list before next week, I could actually allow it to unfold on its own timeline. Taking the pressure off myself allowed me to let go and flow with the current instead of using unnecessary energy swimming upstream.
Between the rain here in the South West of Western Australia - The crisp winter weather, the elements, the surprise sunshine, the two little girls that helped me one day and teleported me back to my childhood - dressing up as princesses in the forest, making the fairy garden of my dreams and reminding me to have fun - I became immersed in the process, I felt an overflow of gratitude and appreciation for the little slice of paradise I am currently living and working on - Wardandi Noongar Boodja (Yallingup), I got quiet, grounded, re-centred and really used the energy of the Full Moon to let go of the thoughts and feelings that are not serving me.
The timing unfolded perfectly and the Altar revealed itself as an expression of beauty and love as it always does. The best thing about having "create an earth altar" on my to-do list is that it forces me into being alone, relaxed and quiet so that I can really listen. You always receive the teachings you need when creating an Earth Altar, the teachings are never the same and they really never end.
Thank you Daughters of India - For this opportunity to share, create and grow.
We love seeing you in our dresses. What is your favourite Daughters of India design and why?
I am so in love with the Ishya gown in Soft Mushroom. I felt quite royal skipping around the bush, barefoot, foraging for wild flowers in this beautiful dress. There is something about the heavy weight of the fabric that activated me into my inner Queen archetype.
Through the beautiful process of creation, Prue reminds us how honouring nature restores balance, harmonising our connection with ourselves and one another. Prue’s inspiring story and philosophy on life eloquently demonstrates how passion and purpose can be found through stillness. By embracing the slow, we can discover our own intuitive guidance and ultimate healer. Within us all resides a Queen, in powerful service to our kingdom, Mother Earth.
(Words by Ella Josephine Archer)