An Urban Shaman’s Brooklyn Home is Her Spiritual Sanctuary

published May 15, 2018

An Urban Shaman’s Brooklyn Home is Her Spiritual Sanctuary

published May 15, 2018
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Name: Donna Henes
Location: Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Size: 3,150 square feet
Years lived in: 29 years, owned

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Donna Henes is an internationally-renowned urban shaman, contemporary ceremonialist, spiritual teacher, eco-artist, author, speaker, and workshop leader. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, uses her sacred space and home as a ceremonial center, spirit shop, spiritual practice and consultancy where she offers intuitive tarot readings, spiritual counseling, and works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.

As a displaced tenant from the Metrotech project of 1989, she was offered this raw space in a converted public school, referring to her home as her “biggest and most ambitious art project.” She built custom walls, closets, rooms—all creating this fairy tale dream space that is filled with as much love and warmth as Donna herself.

“Your home is your castle, your refuge, your sanctuary. Or it should be. If the energy feels negative or blocked, it will impact negatively on your emotions and sense of well-being.” she says. “Cleansing ceremonies are extremely effective for dispelling unwanted energy and purifying the environment that surrounds you. This can be done when you first move into a new place, or at any time that you feel the need to clear your space. Blessing ceremonies are perfect for establishing an inviting, peaceful, creative, and safe atmosphere in a new home, studio, office or even car.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Living area—Palm Beach 1940s. Work area—Multicultural Sanctuary

Inspiration: Spirit, what moves me.

Favorite Element: The architectural brick archways.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping it cool in the summer.

What Friends Say: Every single person—friends, clients, workers—who have ever been here all say, “It feels so good in here.”

Biggest Embarrassment: The old beat-up original wood floors.

Proudest DIY: I designed and built the entire interior from a totally raw space. This is by far my biggest and most ambitious art project.

Biggest Indulgence: A daytime bubble bath under the skylight with Prosecco.

Best Advice: Make sure to cleanse and bless your space often. Ignore the decorating rules and follow your bliss.

Dream Sources: Hand-painted tiles from Puebla, Mexico.


Pratt & Lambert – Golden Fleece or Toison d’or
Martin Senor Paint — Eucalyptus wreath
Benjamin Moore – Peach Mousse

The color scheme is inspired by some combination of Tuscany and Mexico.

The one and only item in this space that I purchased new is my bed–Charles P. Rodgers–everything else is from thrift shops, antique malls around the country, hand-me-downs, repurposed items, or literally found. Most things have been painted by me and/or upholstered with my extensive collection of antique barkcloth and other drapery fabric.

The garden theme is expressed by trees and plants everywhere, some bought, some inherited, some gifted.

Decorative and ritual items have been collected from cultures around the world.

Thanks, Mama Donna!

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