Amanda Todd is a human-environment geographer and Interfaith Minister specializing in the intersections of cultures, the natural environment, and spiritual beliefs and practices. She founded Emerald Heart Journeys to connect people to natural places of power and peace through sacred pilgrimages and rites of passage. She is currently writing a book series that shares her own hero’s journeys and experiences with the natural world alongside elders, teachers, and healers from different cultures.
Amanda earned her Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where her research focused on religious and spiritual activities at prominent mountains and water bodies in the Southern Appalachian Mountain region. She has a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Geography from Appalachian State University where her thesis was selected as ASU’s entry for submission to the Council of Southern Graduate School’s Master’s Thesis Award in the Social Sciences. She received her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Natural Resources with a concentration in Soils and Water Systems from North Carolina State University.
Amanda teaches both physical and cultural geography courses as a classically trained geographer. The specialty courses she has designed and teaches include: Spiritual Landscapes and another course called Sacred Spaces, Sacred Paths. With a focus on discussions and critical thinking for human-environment case studies and earth stewardship, she encourages her students to explore their world through the lens of Spiritual Ecology. Through understanding religions and belief systems for different cultures, she inspires students to reflect on cross-cultural commonalities and differences in relationship with nature. Amanda has been teaching within the Anthropology and Geography department at Coastal Carolina University since 2018.
Amanda lectures at colleges, universities, churches, and for community groups on spiritual landscapes, rituals and ceremonies, labyrinths, and Hawaiian Hula.
Although academic research is not part of her current lecturer position, Amanda has decades of academic research, personal research, and experiences within the areas of spiritual landscapes, sacred sites/spaces, and rituals and ceremonies. She also has extensive knowledge in Hawaiian Hula having studied with two Kumu Hula's for over a decade.
Today Amanda also explores experiences people have with intentionally constructed sacred spaces such as within labyrinths, stone circles, and temples. Amanda is a Veriditas trained Labyrinth facilitator and focuses on the use of labyrinths in higher education. In her Sacred Spaces, Sacred Paths course, students build a labyrinth to create an inclusive sacred space on campus for contemplative practices in teaching. Watch the CCU Coastal Now videos highlighting the first class to build a labyrinth on campus here.
During her doctorate she focused on natural landscapes within the Southern Appalachian region and the spiritual experiences people were having within nature, particularly in public parks. Within her research she explored people’s experiences in nature through three different lenses. These include the perception of beauty, group and individual rituals and ceremonies, and awe and wonder through strong religious or spiritual personal experiences. You can read her dissertation here.
Over the past two decades, Amanda has spent time in person with her teachers from different cultures learning earth honoring rituals such as a water blessing ceremony from an Aymara healer and a despacho from a Peruvian paqo to honor a sacred mountain (apu). Amanda is also an Ordained Interfaith Minister. She also has researched and been trained in traditional Celtic wedding rituals and as a Funeral Celebrant.
Amanda lives along the East Coast of North Carolina with her fiancé , Steve and their two dogs, Flower and Freida. Amanda has been a Reiki Master/Teacher since 2008 and she really enjoys conversations on alternative Earth History, spiritual growth topics, dimensions, consciousness, and alternative realities over tea with friends. She also plays a Wood Elf Druid in the D&D game that Steve is a DM for with other colleagues.
Connect with Amanda on social media @amandatoddphd and @amanda_interfaithminister
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