A Chat with Dagny Deutchman of Pomegranate and Magpie
Tell us a little about who you are & what you do!
Haha! Those are always the two biggest and most loaded questions aren’t they?
For most of my life I have been a backcountry whitewater guide, a non-profit wizard, a dancer, and a major nerd. Up until I was about 28 years old, I really struggled with a narrative I kept telling myself that I “couldn’t ever commit to anything” because every summer I would always ditch school or pause my dance and non-profit work to go back and work in the backcountry. In our extremely linear society, I began to internalize this idea that because I couldn’t do something year-round I could never really “call” myself something and that my progress was disjointed.
The moment I started tracking my cycle and learning more about cyclical health, something just clicked for me and my world opened up!
I began to see that my life *worked* in seasons, and that if I leaned into that more, I could have a little bit of everything I wanted and work in most of the areas that interested me. I love being outside in the summer as an outdoor guide. In the spring and fall I often do a lot of non-profit work, I work on research, I do a bunch of coaching, consulting, and independent contracting. In the winters I tend to do more art, more movement facilitation work, more writing (both scientific and creative) and more dreamwork.
I’m a queer, a poet, a dancer, a writer, a storyteller, a scientist, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and someone who is just honestly *deeply* curious about the world and the people in it.
What brought you to this path of healing work?
Like I said in the first question—I felt like so much of my life like I was swimming upstream. I loved my mental health jobs…but they burnt me out. I loved dancing and performing and teaching movement…but my brain felt too stagnant. I loved my scientific research…but my body would waste away if I did too much of it. River guiding obviously has always been a main staple for me, but the older I got, the harder it became on my body.
At some point I told myself I just needed to “grow up” and decided to go to graduate school.
I was in a PhD program at Montana State University researching psychology and the social and emotional aspects of sleep when I was introduced to land-based rites of passage work and dreamwork. There’s a very long story there, but the shortest version is that eventually I began to connect the dots on how my life could be (or already was) more cyclical and that my love of science did not have to come at the expense of my being nourished by my creative side and vice versa.
Now I do sleep research, facilitate movement and art processing workshops, facilitate integrative sleep-hygiene workshops, and am increasingly working with people 1:1.
What helps you feel the most connected to your womb & cycles?
Honestly, making sure that I am protecting my time.
As you can probably tell, I have so many interests that I sometimes tend to bite off more than I can chew. I feel so connected to my womb and my cycle when can find time in my day to just sit with myself in a deep presence and say “ooo Dagny, we don’t have any plans for the next while! If you could do anything in the world right now, what would it be?” and then I just sit and wait my womb to respond.
As a science nerd, I love the patterning of it! I don’t try to anticipate what I think various parts of my cycles might do, but I do love writing down and keeping track of what comes up and seeing if any patterns emerge as I grow and change.
What healing remedies, rituals and/or practices help you throughout certain phases of your cycle?
Great, great question. Obviously, I am biased as a sleep researcher, but sleep is huge for me. Especially around my Luteal phase and Menstrual phase. During my Ovulatory phase I don’t typically feel like I need as much sleep to restore.
I tend to focus more on my dream life in my menstrual phase and ovulatory phase, just because that’s when I often have more potent dreams coming in. Sometimes this shows up as having an active and engaged dream altar, other times this is just simply me taking 10 more minutes waking up in the morning to savor the last bits of the images I was gifted.
In my follicular phase I honestly love anything that requires a lot of focus or a lot of endurance. I like to think that our ancestors made big moves during this part of their cycle. It helps me stay motivated towards things I care about but that might feel a little more mundane.
I have gone through phases of my life where I was more ‘devoted’ to specific practices at each of these times, but I think at this point I’m a little more loose about it. In this stage of my spiral, I really am enjoying just being in the moment with whatever creative ritual comes up.
How has Cycles Journal supported you so far?
Oh man, Cycles Journal honestly is one of the things I think about as changing my life.
I have tracked my cycle with apps and things most of my adult life and I had friends who recommended keeping a journal or having a special calendar or something and believe me—I tried!
But honestly, nothing really held my attention enough to actually embody what I was recording each month. I also think that at certain points I was just too young and scattered to recognize how important and life changing it would be.
When my friend Sara and I first started hanging out she GUSHED about how much she loved these journals and I went home and bought one immediately.
I’ve been hooked ever since.
In some ways, I think the Cycles Journal is what gave me the courage to take a break from my PhD program to focus on my other interests. It’s also what helped me eliminate what was and was not working in my life and helped me realize I was in an abusive relationship because my health was doing bizarre things despite doing everything “right” on paper. Cycles Journal also helped model for me this beautiful coming-together of something both practical and beautiful, which deeply resonates with me as a nitty-gritty scientist as well as a creative. Sometimes you just need to see that these things are possible, right?
What does nature mean to you?
Haha! Ah, all of these are hard-hitting questions.
Okay, my science-y debate brain wants to come out of the gates on this question in partnership with my conservation hat but I think most simply—Nature is where we can hear ourselves most clearly. For some people, that involves wildlife, trees, floura and fawna. For others, Nature is energetic pulse of a bustling-big city.
I’d like to think that my own growth and fostering my connection to ‘nature’ means that no matter what environment I am in, that I am able to connect deeply to myself and to other while I am there.
What are you currently offering & working on?
In person, I am currently offering monthly Authentic and Relational Movement Labs. It’s a bit of a combo of contact improv basics and authentic movement practices with some art processing woven in.
I am also in the middle of an in-person series of a Women Who Runs with the Wolves experiential book club that meets each Sunday. Every week we explore storytelling with one of the myths and folklores from Clarissa’s book and I provide movement and art invitations and facilitate a discussion. It’s my favorite part of my week.
Virtually, I’m doing an online version of the Women Who Runs with the Wolves book club and I am also wrapping up the manuscript for my master’s thesis which is titled Mindfulness and Self-Compassion: Associations with Sleep Health & Pre-Sleep Arousal.
I’m working on some big stuff in the coming year. I can’t talk about all of it but I’m really excited for the things that I can share now.
I’ll be offering more week-long, integrative sleep hygiene workshops in the fall and winter.
I’m also working on a virtual workshop series designed specifically for those who want to deep dive on creating relationship with how their sleep and their cycles interact.
A close friend and I are likely starting a monthly virtual dream space in the fall through her organization Crone Collective.
There’s some cool stuff in the hopper.
Where can we find more from you online?
I’m most active on my Instagram: @pomegranate.and.magpie
Our website is the best place to keep track of our workshops and 1:1 Guiding work: www.pomegranateandmagpie.com
I also have a substack where people can subscribe to a monthly-ish newsletter for free, or subscribe to a more regular journal-style experience: https://pomegranateandmagpie.substack.com/
If people want to know a bit more about me as just a regular human, take a look at my CV and a peek into some of my more traditional work they can find me at my personal website: dagnydeutchman.com
Do you have any words of wisdom for our audience?
Am I allowed to cuss?
If I am it would be this—
Mistakes are important. Mistakes are where our deepest wisdom is kept.
You can only fuck something up so many ways before you start getting it right. Just try to take note of when you’re making some mistakes over and over again. Get curious in that space.
Do it scared,
and remember to try to give grace to someone else in their learning phase too.
We’ve all been there at least once, and if we’re living our lives right we will be there over and over again.