Full Moon Love- Vulva’s and Vagina’s

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Full Moon News…

 Hello Dear Hearts  

Once again the moon passed before I sent this out to you! I seem to be full of energy but also of activity as I ride the the moon cycles…and its not
until the descent begins that I get to share my writings….So here we are
again meeting under a disseminating moon…

And the theme for this month is….drum roll please… Vulva’s and Vagina’s. How my family love it when I post on all things vaginal! Well things are
just going to keep on ramping up because as I said in my last newsletter,
it’s “About Bloody Time,” we changed the story of shame and disgust to
celebration and sacredness. We are reclaiming and re imagining She. We are celebrating Life. But before I launch into that here is an update on
Whats On.  I hope you can feel the revolutionary impulse and will join us for some of these She celebrations, activities and ways.  
 
What’s On
 Sacred Women’s Circle – September 19, Carnegie
Spring Equinox Dance  Sunday 22nd September, Carnegie
MoonSong – Menstrual & Cyclical Wisdom Workshop, 19 October
Sacred Women’s Circle – 24 October, Carnegie 
One Day Drum Making Workshop – Saturday 26th October, Carnegie
Two Day Drum Making Workshop – 9 & 10 November, Peace Farm, YJ
Sacred Women’s Circle – 21 November, Carnegie
Connecting with your Medicine Drum Circle, Friday 22 November,
Carnegie
Opening Gathering- 4 Seasons Journey Vic Otways, 6-8 December 
 (bookings and more information are embedded in the links. so click
away!)
Here’s me with a ceramic yoni gifted to me by Deborah Kantor
So I’ve launched my very own you tube channel…whoo ooo, where I will talk on many things relating to HER, to She, the the Feminine in all her
Diversity but I begin with the Vagina Talks! And as you will hear, I’m
particularly interested in the language we use for our sex, for our
reproductive organs and how this shapes our relationship to our bodies.  So go and have a listen! 

I want to reflect on the word vagina – and some other names we give our pussies! I like pussy. Why , because Its sounds soft and yet
undomesticated, a bit like the cat!

So let’s look at some of the names we give our vagina… fanny, front
bottom, noonie, vag, yah yah, la la, cunt, private parts, genitals, sex
organs, yoni, and my thing down there! Just to name a few. And some of
these may feel derogatory and/ or empowering depending upon whose
saying them. How do you feel about these words? What do you call your vulva? your vagina, your womb? Are you comfortable with your names, and your body?

For a long time cunt has been the worst possible swear word. Call
someone that and its seen to be about as low as you can go.  But I have
come to love this word. Cunt. Why? Partly because we are reclaiming it
from the derogatory swear bin, lifting it up to its rightful place as the
Sacred Source of Life. And I can do this because I have learnt a bit about where the word comes from…Uma Dinsmore Tulli shares her knowing
on cunt.  In this video, On the History of the Word Cunt, she shares a
couple of really important points about the word cunt.

Firstly unlike the word vagina, cunt refers to the whole genital region in women, it is our vulva, our vagina, our clitoris, our cervix, and our
womb….So it is one of the only words to actually be complete in that
sense. Secondly it comes from the root word of Ken, which is to know,
related to connen, or cunnen,  so a cunt is related to that deep bodily
wisdom….And it also has relationship to words like kindness. So lets start reclaiming this beautiful powerful word, and our beautiful powerful
cunts!  Check out the Video and let me know what you think. 

It’s hard to talk about the Vagina Talks without reference to Eve  Ensler’s amazing body of work, The Vagina Monologues. So here’s a snippet from her.
Sacred Sex

And it comes with a warning because you will cry, you will be triggered,
you will be remembering the countless ways in which women, our bodies and our vaginas are harmed & tortured on a daily basis. Let the tears
come, let the grief come, feel your feelings, so that the river of you can
continue to flow freely, so that the sacred source of life that is you, can
flow freely.

Our cultures are not kind to our cunts, our sacred sex. And yet as I share kindness is related to the root word Ken, also the root word for cunt….So I’m calling for Kindness, for Kindness to Cunts everyday in everyway….Here’s to celebrating our cunts….

And that requires each of us, to be gentle and compassionate to
ourselves, to rally against the dominant discourse, those voices that
would have us shame ourselves, those voices that we internalize….which keep us small, and stop us from stepping into our true power.

A beautiful recent film documents artist Laura Dodsworth as she
photographs and interviews  18 British women (across culture, age, and
gender identity) about their relationship to their cunts.  I was really
inspired  by this film.  It shows the complex, often joyful and painful
relationships we have with our bodies, It’s well worth a look.  Check it out on SBS on Demand.
 
A still from the movei, 100 Vagina’s available on SBS On Demand
Interestingly,the word Vagina is used in the title of the film, when really
the vagina is a specific part of the body…Vagina has become “synonymous with all things down there”. Its seems to be a bit more acceptable than
cunt! and even than vulva. But vulva rolls around in the mouth in a more sensuous way, and perhaps that its problem! And when you look at its
history, the word vulva actually refers to the womb (latin volva & maybe earlier volvere, to wrap, revolve) so there is even some confusion here. Which for writer and activist H Learner is problematic. She says,  The
persistent misuse of the word “vagina” for everything “down there”
impairs the girl’s capacity to develop an accurate and differentiated
representation or “map” of her internal and external genitals. The fact
that the girl’s own exploration of her genitals is not corroborated by
accurate language also creates body shame and anxiety about sexuality.”*

So another challenge is to be a bit more specific about the parts of our
bodies that we are referring too, whilst also looking for new words, words that are empowering. Cunt is a special word, because it is one of the few words that refers to all aspects of our reproductive/sexual anatomy
( i even find it hard to generalize the area in language that feels useful) .

So to go back to basics, the vulva is the outer part we can actually see,
with the labia majora, minora, clitoris, hair, pubic mound and the
entrance to the vagina. Whereas the vagina is that beautiful muscular
tubular organ that connects the vulva to the entrance of the womb. 
Vulvas, are the part we most often see…..Although having said that, many women have not seen their own vulvas. The authors of About Bloody
Time highly recommend that we all do,  they say

“We can’t overstate how important it is to do this if you can! Sit in front of a large mirror, or hold a small one, to get to know the important and
powerful part of your body, your sex life, your sexual health, your
childbirth experience, and es your menstruation and menopause could
all be seriously improved as a result.”

 

So go get those mirrors ladies.!  And while you do remember just how
different each woman’s vulva, vagina, cunt is! The film 100 vagina
depicts this, as does some of the amazing #vulvaart on instagram. Check out the hashtag and see some really beautiful  images.There are some
great sites celebrating the diversity and beauty of vulvas…

It is really important for us to recognise just how unique each vulva is. Too often women feel that their vulva is somehow wrong, doesn’t fit the
model…and while there is a general shaping they are vastly different, so please go and have a look at some of the amazing resources out there
remembering that diversity is key here…just as in nature, diversity rocks! There are so many varieties- they are all actually quite different, and so it is important as always to really recognize and celebrate this difference.  


 
Max Dashu- Sacred Vulva Poster
Numinous Females

And if you want to see difference you need look no further than the
sacred art of the ancients- those peoples across the globe who knew  the
vulva was a sacred portal. Max Dashu’s beautiful poster depicts sacred
ancient vulvas, across cultures and time. When we research these times, we find that not only we our bodies sacred, but sex was too.  Priestesses of the temples were involved in ritual sex, and it is really hard to fathom that in this culture, its hard to understand just how sacred sex was, but
its worth reconsidering, and reflecting on what has been lost with the
loss of sacred sexuality.

Not surprisingly the drum, and female drummers were an important
part of these sexual rites. But with the rise of the patriarchal religions
including Christianity, Judaism and Islam, women, and our bodies were
denigrated.  Our sacredness denied. We were silenced and shamed.
Layne Redmond’s book is an excellent resource for understanding the
ways in which the oppression came, and importantly what came before, When the Drummers Were Women.  She traces the history of the drum
its beginnings its flourishing and its demise, when women were banned from playing the drum. And with the loss of the drum , came a deeper
loss. Redmond says, 

“by banning the drum, the patriarchal religions that suppressed the
Goddess cut off our access to significant parts of our own psyche. They
destroyed psychological and spiritual techniques that had been used for many thousands of years.”

We are still reeling from this loss from our deep connection to sacred
rhythms. But we are remembering, and we are reclaiming these ancient techniques and tools. We are being moved by this deep swelling of
feminine energy. She is descending into Her power, and she is rising
anew. Do you feel her call, the thrumming and drumming of her rhythms in you?


 
Planetary Dance- Elwood 2018
Birthing A Drum and Her Ancient Rhythms
I feel the call. I feel and know the deep excitement of connecting with the earth, the feminine, and the more than human world each time i pick up and play my drum, or as s/he plays me!  Women are returning to the drum. This sacred instrument is calling to women all across the globe. Women are remembering their ancestral stories, the cosmic rhythms that were played in honour of the earth, and our sacred cycles.

If you are feeling the call please join us in one of our upcoming Drum Making Workshops, or the year long women’s mysteries Four Seasons Journey. Two spaces in the Two Day Workshop have recently become available,and there are a couple more places in our One Day Drum Making Workshop.  Birthing a drum is birthing another drummer- yourself back into the world, a world desperate for the renewal of sacred rhythms of She. 

 
One Day Drum Making Workshop with Priestess your Life & Embodiments Dance
Carnegie
Testimonials

A testimonial from a woman who birthed her drum with us at Peace
Farm,

“My first drumming took place two weeks after the workshop.  I walked until I found the spot, kicked off my shoes and drummed. It was the most amazing and profound experience and yes, I had a primordial knowing which resonated back through time and space each time I struck my drum. The whole experience was not alien to me, in fact it made perfect sense.  Since, I have continued to understand why my birth story and its place in my continued journey of healing at this time.  Sara S

And from a woman at the One Day….

The day was beautifully guided and facilitated by Sarah and Viv, deeply wise and nurturing women . The creation of my medicine drum was intimate and powerful. I am in awe of this beautiful instrument and the tone.   Vicky K


 
Altar, Otways Four Seasons Journey Vic 2019
Shamanic Womancraft

And if you want to experience a drum journey, come along to a workshop by  Nymh Fox and me, Shamanic Womancraft: An Introduction. In this
two hour workshop we share some of the ways of Shamanic Womancraftwoman, of how we live as best as we can with the rhythms and cycles of
this blessed earth our home, of how we are drumming, and singing and
sistering ourselves back home to this world….This 2 hour workshop
involves:

*An introduction to the women’s mysteries, to cyclical living with the seasons, the moon and your own cycling body.

*The deep nourishment and magic of being part of a sacred women’s
circle

*A drum journey to meet your power animal- the medicine you need
now.

The session will be led by Nymh Fox and Sarah Bird Miller- (that’s me!)
Co teachers of the Vic Otways, Four Seasons Journey in 2020. This is a
year long earth based spiritual journey creating and maintaining deep
connection with our bodies, our sisters, the earth and the Divine
Feminine.   
Reminder to contact Sequoia for more information on the Four Seasons
Journey.. 
 
Beautiful image by Holly Sierra. I love this woman’s work and her Tarot Deck!
Dancing Ourselves Home
And when the drums play, the women begin to dance again.

 I am delighted to announce I will be holding another Dance. A Spring
Equinox Dance- a dance of restoration, or balance, with the re-emegence
of the Feminine from the depths of the darkness. 

In this dance we soften and open to what wants to arise in us.  We soften and open to what movements and expression is emerging in and
through us. There are no steps to follow, rather it is the wisdom of your
moving body, of your womb/heart, that leads us on and in the dance.

Through dance we can awaken the spirit, and connect to self. We can
honour the divine aspect of consciousness within us all.  Join us in  some
joyous heartfelt dance -the promise and potentiality of spring is all
around and within. 

Sunday 22 September
10.00 to 11.30 am
El Camino Wellness Centre
102 Grange Rd,
Carnegie 3163 
Bookings


 
TreeSisters Image
A Poem For YouThis is a poem to listen to. Listen to Clare DuBois and her poem,
What if I said Yes to the Moon

Clare is the founder of TreeSisters…If you read my newsletter you will know about this organisation to reforest the world, and to help us become a restorer species. Blessings on this work and way.

To become a TreeSister, CLICK HERE.Register (FREE) for the TreeSisters Full Moon Online Retreats with Clare Dubois. Something becomes
possible when women gather consciously in deep presence with each
other. Our moon calls are an invitation to embody all that you are as a
woman of the Earth. Gather with our global circle of sisterhood each full moon to relax into nurturing Nature connection together. Journey to a
Billion Trees: http://billiontrees.me/So that’s all for me for this month
Many Blessings on you!

love
Sarah  xxx

References:
* Lerner, H. (Jul. 2, 2003) Practicing `psychic genital mutilation.’ Chicago Tribune, Sect., WomanNews, Chicago, Ill.
Pickering K & Bennet J, About Bloody Time, Vic Women’s Trust
Redmond, L, When The Drummers Were Women, 

The Ocean Bliss of You- March News

This lunar cycle began with a Pisces New Moon. On Thursday 7th March we dived into the watery world of Pisces, where intuition, imagination and feelings are very present. In her Lunar Journal Grace Funk says this new moon highlights, “my need to feel interwoven, to trust life and be guided by my intuitive wisdom.” For me this has been a time of big emotions, of crying, of tuning into sadness and being with my feelings. And yet through this I am coming into a sense of spaciousness and intuition that was not as present last month. And I am being offered a chance to show up trusting this life.

So this newsletter shares some insights on the watery realm, on the possibilities that arise in fluid movement, and of the generosity of our tears and heart. I hope you enjoy reading it.

How is this month for you? Are you tracking what is arising? Does watching the moon, and noticing her phases and signs resonate with you? Id love to hear from you on this or anything that arises in reading my material. Blessings on this cycle

Sarah xxx

The beautiful waters of Croajingalong National Park- A national treasure for us all.

What’s On?

MoonSong Workshop- One Day Workshop for Women
Global Water DanceFirst rehearsal of the Movement Choir
– 25/03/19 in Clifton Hill-
Melbourne Women’s Circle – Thursday 28th March
Two Day Drum Making Workshop– 30/31 March is Sold Out
November Two Day Drum Making Workshop
9 – 10 November, Peace Farm, Yarra Junction, Vic
Global Water Dance -Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
June 15th 2019 3.00 pm- 4.30 pm

Resting in our heart space

Only this morning I was participating in a “virtual” continuum dive, where a group of us meet with continuum teacher, Rebecca Lawson, via Zoom, and practice sounding into our bodies. I have written on continuum before but for those who want to know more about this movement practice, you can read more about it here.

Rebecca provides the details of the dive, what tissue and what sounds we will be exploring, and helps ground us in the movement practice via references to anatomy, embryology, or evolutionary ancestry etc that are relevant to the dive (the movement/sounding recipe so to speak).

Embryo at 7.5 weeks from the Endowment for human developmnet website.

This morning we were playing with the heart and arms.  And we learnt that during our embryological development our little fingers and palms rest on the heart, as do the lips. For seven days the rhythm of our own heart is the most palpable movement that resonates through the tissue of our hands and mouth, and from there to the rest of our body.  After those 7 days, the arm buds begin to grow, stretching out, as does the head, before returning to this place of deep connection. 

This connection between hands, arms, heart, and lips remains throughout our lives. We touch lovingly with our hands, and our lips- we reach out with our hands and arms to embrace, to give and to receive love.  

A scene from Franco Zeferelli’s Romeo and Juliet. Juliets love is manifest in her arms, hands and eyes!

And what a beautiful blessing this is, this giving and receiving of love. One of our tasks in this life, seems to be to remain connected to our open heart, to let the love flow from heart throughout our bodies to others, and to stay open to receive this love, to drink it back into our bodies.  And yet this can be such a challenge.

Tears of the Heart

I noticed how much tension was in my body this morning. The fascia of my left arm is taut, and tight. My scapula, my shoulder was holding tension too, and my arm struggled to open. ( I only worked with my left side- not even getting to the right). So as is the way of continuum I stayed where I was, I noticed this tension, and sent shimmers ( a shhh sound) down my arms, and the tears came too. The tears from my heart, from my womb, because I am not fully open. Because I have closed my tissue off from so much.  This tension is a protective layer, an old deep pattern, and has become a barrier to love, and to life itself.  But tears are a balm for the weary heart and body, and so I let the tears flow. I let the judgement of myself come, and then offered tears to that too.

This beautiful image of fluid movement in the scapula came from the website of continuum Teacher, Bonnie Gintis

Our scapular develops through various creeks and rivers of flowing fluid, so it seemed apt to allow my tears to flow to the scapula, to my shoulder, to the tissue in my arms. I was hoping and trusting that these tears would find flow not only down my face but down my body, that my tears and my attention would enable new fluid pathways to emerge.  Tears seem to be a way of unblocking stagnant energy, they are after all the flow of living waters. (Read more on tears here!)

 And then I allowed myself to meet the ground, to play with my arm stroking the ground, or really to  have the ground stroke me. The ground came to meet my tissue, to hold my tissue, to tend to my tissue.  And there is a meeting here, if we allow it. A simple and profound way to be met by the ground, by the earth.  And so this morning I yielded to this earth- which has been somewhat of a challenge for me. I go at life, I push at life, I make it happen. This Yang energy is the energy our culture exalts- at such a cost. A cost to each of us and to all Life. And so I am learning, slowly, slowly learning how to yield into the earth, to be met and held with love. Like the embryo in the womb, I lay myself against the heart of this earth body, and am soothed by her rhythm, her attention, her heart song.

It feels kind of vulnerable to share like this. To show up as a beginner in this living. To show up with all the ways I resist love and life, and yet in my work as workshop facilitator I am exploring, teaching, showing how love is the current on which we ride.  But I will trust that this is OK. For we have to be authentic with ourselves, and each other. And I know this continuum practice, this being where I am in my body, helps locate and ground me, so that I can meet whoever shows up from a more grounded and authentic place.

Menstrual Awareness

Media Poster, for the Oscar winning film Period. End of Sentence. Available on Netflix

Another really profound way of connecting to our authenticity, or as Alexander Pope calls it, Our Wild Power, is through connection with our menstrual cycle. And for those of us, who have ceased their cycling years we do this through the rite of passage that is menopause, and beyond.

There is so much to learn about ourselves through our cycles, and not all of it is comfortable, but the more we tune into the physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of our cycle, the more we come to know ourselves.

seeds and cone from a Giant Magnolia in my local park.

I have been enjoying chatting to young women about fertility awareness and the necessity of getting to know your cycle to be fully fertility aware! And it is topical at the moment, thanks in part to the move. Period End of Sentence, which just won an Oscar at the Academy Awards. Shifts are definitely happening, and in the words of the director & producer, Rayka Zehtabchi, “I cant believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!” But it did!

We also had an article in The Age, announcing that all girls at primary and secondary schools would be given access to free tampons and pads, and  a new program Period Talk, aimed at “removing the stigma of periods” is being launched in Victoria. While this is great, many girls and women still experience body shame around their menstrual cycle, and beyond. But of course we want to go further than that. We want girls and women to understand the power of this initiatory rite of passage, and the blood mysteries as a whole.  But this is a great start. Let’s keep the conversations happening, lets keep learning and sharing all we can about menarche, the menstrual cycle and menopause! For we know that a “girls experience of their first menstruation had an effect on the rest of their lives” .

So know that when I am promoting my MoonSong Workshop- or those of my co teachers- we are promoting this work, this remembering of how important our menstrual cycle is for empowering us. So please learn about your menstrual cycle, your rites of passage- understand them as the natural, initiatory powerful processes they are, and teach your daughters, your nieces, your friends, your students….It is time.!

Embodying Water- Global Water Dance

Dancers from Global Water Dance

From tears and blood to the rivers of  life.  Charlotte Young and I are hosting  Global Water Dance, Melbourne at the Royal Botanic Gardens on June 15th. We would love you to be a part of this amazing event.

Global Water Dances “aims to use the international languages of dance and film to promote awareness and a behavioral shift toward solutions for water preservation and conservation through community engagement”

We need movers and dancers willing to learn the Global Dance – The same dance will happen on the same day all around the world, so we will be having rehearsals to learn that. There will also be a dance co-created by whoever joins with us. This will be an opportunity to choreograph a dance in which we become water, river, stream, ocean, puddle. To round off the event there will be a water ritual and an invitation to the audience to move with us.  An all ages all abilities dance is offerred for all. While the event is free, it would be very helpful if you would  register for the rehearsals- and the main event and please share with your friends too.  We are dancing for safe water for everyone. 

There will be presentations and talks by RBG staff and aquatic ecologists too on ways we can all celebrate and save this precious resource, this life giving water. We hope to see you there.

A Poem for You

When by oneself, flooded with delight
Simply in the memory of that kiss…
Here is the inner ritual.

That lick, that taste of nectar,
That caress, embrace, particular pressure…
Your subtle body replays the dance,
Inundated by divine sensations.
Melting, merging, swelling…

Surrender to the deluge.
know it as your own.
This ocean bliss is you.

from The Radiance Sutras, no.47, Lorin Roche

Go well dear hearts,
Blessings
Sarah xxx

Creative Collaborations- October Newsletter 18

New Moon Blessings

Hello Dear Friends,
It has been so long since I have felt able to write a newsletter but this New Moon sees me return. I am grateful for your eyes and ears and hearts opening to what is arising. Thank you for reading.

I am conscious that this is a New Moon in Libra (my sun sign) and that the scales are our symbol, so this is a moon cycle about balance. How can we bring balance into our lives? How can we have equanimity with all that arises? As a Libran this is part of my life’s work.  I sense it is a deep calling for so many of us as we live in a world that is out of balance. We live in a culture out of balance.

So here now we can reflect on what we can call in to bring in more balance in our lives. What do we want to sing up? What do we want to let go of? And how do we make the space to reflect, to feel into what is right for us?

Before diving deeper into these reflections have a look at these offerings and follow your hearts call to some embodied remembering, to the sacredness of this life.

Sacred Women’s Circle, Thursday 11 October, Carnegie
MoonSong Workshop Saturday 27 October, Raw Gardens, East Brighton
Sacred Women’s Circle, Wednesday 14 November, Carnegie

Prayers and Neuroscience

These celestial events offer us a space, a portal to open up to what is arising in us. We can use the New Moon energy, to tune into what is being called forth (having used the Dark Moon, to let go of that which no longer serves). Of course it’s not that simple- these things, these aspects of self  don’t just disappear with a prayer but a repeated prayer, an intention followed through with repeated action can change the way we are.

Neuroscience is a way of articulating this “magic” of demonstrating how our prayers take effect in the world.  We can change our states of being and doing. With our prayers, with our meditation and mindfulness- with our will, we can visualize and practice how we want to be. And if  we repeatedly call this up, then we can change. There are so many evidences of this in the world. So use this portal of the New Moon to call in what you want in your life, truly and deeply.  Create rituals, and practices which embody how you want to be. And check out the readings and resources on Neuroscience to help you navigate and embed these practices in your life.

This image above is of  “Biocytin labelling of two synaptically coupled pyramidal cells in medial entorhinal cortex” by Julian Bartram. I love the way it reminds me of that amazing electrical storm that flooded the sky last night.  I love the way patterns repeat themselves in nature, reminding us of our interconnection. And despite the big words, to me this picture is of a meeting place of opportunity. It is the communication of that which we have repeatedly, bodily called up, and then sparks into action.

Creative Collaborations


And the spark for me right now is writing. I am calling in this creative flow as it is bringing me much joy. I am writing a play and one of the wonderful aspects of theatre is that it is not only about words. Theatre invites all our senses to the party. My writing of this play is a calling up of sound, of music, of drumming, of dancing and of words!  It is so cool to work with a platform that encourages me to bring these sometimes-disparate aspects of my life together.  So this is where my writing focus has been. And of course, the content of my play also draws on my passions.

Now I am at the stage of translating this written document into its physical form. It is another birthing, so I call this birthing in under this loving Libran Moon, knowing how much Libra is also about partnerships! I am calling in collaboration with actors, dancers, drummers, lighting and sound technicians, with musicians, directors. I am calling in creative collaboration.  As a Libran, this way of working makes so much sense to me. And my work with Sonia Stocco and Rebecca Grace Funk has shown me how lovingly and joyously I can work with others.

Is there some collaboration that is calling you? Are there opportunities to use this Libran energy to invite others into your work, your way in the world? How can you cooperate with others to bring about the changes you want to see in yourself and for this Planet?

This image above is from Rhiannon Newton’s recent work, We Make Each Other Up performed at Dancehouse.  Of her work, she says,

“A tendril of dance has grown across the dance-floor. The body and the dance are finding new ways to live and flourish together well. Mutual thriving has never felt so good.” – Rhiannon Newton

And this creative collaboration was so beautiful and so inspiring.  There were so many layers to this creative process. Not only was this a collaborative dance work performed at Dancehouse, which was amazing and beautiful, there was also a public program which invited people (like me) to participate in. I was blessed to attend (to be in) Textures– which was a reading by Rhiannon at the Carlton Library. It was a one on one storytelling session. We sat together, and she read to me, from a text I had selected from a set library of texts.  Each of these informed her final production, and were chosen by collaborators from Dance House. And what a selection it was. I could have dipped into them all (Le Guin, Abram, Bird Rose to name but a few) A poem from the writing I chose is here for you at the end of this newsletter. And the poet is only 21!!!!!

I was also blessed to participate in Fortunes of the Forest  which was a meeting with two others, (Caitlin Franzmann @caitlinfranzmann and Amaara Raheem, @amaararaheem ) and included a divination reading from the tarot deck Fortunes of the Forest, created by Franzmann and the gift of a collaborative dance with (in my case) the three of us and a Moreton Bay Fig Tree, and her seeds. It was so beautiful to be part of this co-creation, to be invited into this creative space in this way. And this helped cement my focus on collaboration with the human and more than human world.  Deep bow!

And for those wanting a deeper dive into relationship with the more than human world, then join the Victorian Four Seasons Journey, with Nymh Fox @waysofthewild on Otways land, King Parrot Country of the Yan Yan Gurt people.

“The 4SJ is a year-long educational program, open to women of all ages and circumstance. It offers students an in-depth opportunity to learn the philosophy and practice of Shamanic Womancraft, whilst cultivating a deep personal and spiritual connection with the Earth and the Divine Feminine.

“Focused on the shamanic perspective of cycles – of the Earth, Life, Moon and the menstrual cycle of Woman – the 4SJ prepares its students to become Shamanic Craftswomen – teachers and practitioners of the women’s mysteries, for their community and beyond, in the worthy mission of healing the wounded feminine, healing birth and healing the Earth.”

Contact Sequoia Krop  <admin@schoolofshamanicwomancraft.com> for more information and to grab a prospectus.

Arising and Dissolving


The Libran Glyph (pictured above) “depicts the setting sun about to sink below the line of the horizon, symbolic of the withdrawal of vital day forces after the intense activity of spring and summer. It also reminds one of the beam of a pair of scales, which suggests the weighing of the self against the not-self in the hopes of achieving some kind of balance and equilibrium between subjective and objective consciousness.” From Genevieve Vierling and her Blue Light Lady blog

And so while Spring is dancing her bodied self into our lives, we are also asked to pay attention to the setting sun. We are asked to remember that birth and death are aspects of the one continuum. We arise out of her Dark Cosmic Womb and we return to her Dark Cosmic Womb. For someone who has journeyed with Cancer this dance with death is a beautiful reminder of the preciousness of life. It is a reminder of the need to continually reflect upon my own capacity, and to give myself time to arise and to dissolve whatever the earth season. My tendency has been to stretch myself beyond my capacity not only physically but mentally, my mind (I am an air sign!) is very active and so I am learning how to calm my mind, how to drop into the portal of Darkness, this balm of Dark Energy…I am learning how to let myself go with grace and ease.  This is the balance at the heart of Libra, a need to continually readjust to ensure that there is balance in my life. And to me the whole world is calling for this balance between growth and decay, between action and rest, between light and dark, between all things.

And this is the wisdom also of the Life season of Maga- to be in full recognition of the power and blessings of the descent phase of our life. To have moved in the upswing of maiden and mother, and to be fully present to the pull of the maga and crone energy.  We don’t have the “high” of ovulation, we don’t have the same hormones stimulating us in that way, but we have a steadier energy- once we get through the initiation of our peri/menopause dance.  And what a dance it is! I am still dancing though this initiation and despite the challenges (hot flushes, mood swings, vaginal dryness to name a few ) I am relishing this opportunity to step more fully into myself. I see the Magas out there and I celebrate their wisdom, their way.  I honour their commitment to themselves and to the world. They know themselves, they meet themselves and other from this wellspring of knowing. There is no one else to do this journey work for me, there is no other me, and there is no other you. So we celebrate our unique diverse journeys. We celebrate this dance with descent, welcoming the wisdom that comes.

And so once again I am offering  the MoonSong Workshop for Women, this beautiful day of remembering our life seasons, our bodily wisdom and knowing and our deep interconnection with the moon and the earth. This is for all women- no matter what life stage you are at. There is so much to re learn, to remember, and we do it in the safety and sacredness of a women’s circle. Please join us. Bookings and more information here.

A Poem for You

Yesterday I was the Moon

Yesterday – I was
The Moon
Today – Just an
Eclipse
Something in Me
Travels; Some Days its
to the Dark
Some Days its To
the Light

by Noor Unnahar,  follow her @noor_unnahar  on instagram.

Whats On:

Sacred Women’s Circle;Co Hosting with Grace Funk, Thursday 11 October
MoonSong Workshop-   Saturday 27 October, 2018. RAW Gardens Brighton
Sacred Women’s Circle Co Hosting with Grace Funk, Wednesday 14th November
Summer Solstice Dance- Thursday 20 December,
Medicine Drum Making Workshop- Date TBC 2018

References

The Brain that Changes Itself, Norman Doidge

Thanks for reading,

Blessings
Sarah xxx

Dance for the Reef

#DancefortheReef…. is an online campaign to show our pollies how much we love the Great Barrier Reef. At the moment both Labour and Liberal Governments are either actively supporting (Libs) or not ruling out (Labour) the massive Adani led, Carmichael Coal mine on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, which by the way is the biggest living structure on the planet!  I am sure you are with me, in wanting to protect and enhance the natural wonder that is the Barrier Reef.  All you need to do is

  1. Video yourself doing a couple of really simple dance moves. My video shows these moves which represent our love for the oceans, our love for the coral, our love for the fish and our love for the waters. Use these or make up your own.
  2. share it @dance_for_the_Reef , #danceforthereef, #stopadani and on facebook…
  3. Tag a friend so they have to dance next!

I am suggesting you wear colour- because the reef is usually so colourful. But if that is too much, try wearing white, in memorium for that which is already lost. Much of the reef has already been bleached- and destroyed. We are here to dance to make sure that we can support this amazing repository of life.

This is activism with a difference, no petitions to sign, no letters to write just a simple social media boogie campaign…So what are you waiting for? My video  or @dance_for_the_reef (instagram) can show you just how easy the steps are. Remember to share to @dance_for_the_Reef and tag us too #DancefortheReef and #SavetheGreatBarrierReef, #stopadani. Together we will let the pollies know that the Great Barrier Reef is Sacred- it is sacred to all of us here in Australia and across the world.

The Wangan and Jagalingou people, Traditional Owners of the land on which Adani wants to build their mine, have said ‘No’ to the Carmichael Coalmine.  Wangan & Jagalingou people are fighting Adani because of the massive, irreversible damage the mine will have on their land, water and culture. The Wangan &Jagalingou are asking people around the world to stand with them in their struggle. You can donate directly to support there fight for their land, their culture, their people.

And feel free to make up your own moves! I would love to see some site-specific dances, especially those at the water’s edge. All the oceans and seas are connected, so wherever you are, feel free to dance for the reef, sending your prayers and love via the water.  This is a Global Dance (Virtual) Event. Lets spread the moves, to show our love for the Reef.  I will be doing a group dance  by the sea soon, get in touch if you want to be part of that! And if you want more information on what is going on with the proposed Carmichael mine check out the Stop Adani website, The World Wildlife Fund, The Australian Youth Climate Coalition website or The Wangan and Jagalingou website.  

Weaving the Strands- April Newsletter 17

 

Full Moon in Libra

This full moon I drummed and danced with a beautiful glad of women connecting deeply with the medicine of the earth, the animals, and the moon. It was a place of remembering our ancestry, remembering that we are woven into this beautiful web of life. And the more that we remember this, the more that we can live in ways which support and enhance ourselves and life on earth. Deepest gratitude to the School of Shamanic Womancraft and to Nymh and Grace as the Victorian Teachers of this way, of this way showing.

Weaving the Strands

I was so blessed to attend a saori weaving workshop at ArtWeaver Studio in Box Hill recently. This is a simple hand weaving process, and  I mean simple. I am not someone who likes instruction manuals, or processes to follow. I have huge blocks with all that and so this way was so gentle and easy.  Saori is a hand weaving process that encourages each weaver to play, to create and trust in their way. It is a very simple process and one which supports individuality and free expression. It is underpinned by the belief that “everything has its own dignity and beauty” with the “sa” in saori coming from the Zen word sai which means just this. It is a very meditative and absorbing process. I sat with 5 other women listening to the swish, beat and thump of the looms as strands of cloth and of ourselves were woven into our pieces. And each of us truly enjoyed the process and what we created. I was very mindful of holding the intention of saori, “that everything has its own beauty and dignity” into the weaving, and into full moon gathering I just attended, and beyond this into my life. It is a sacred message of inclusion and diversity. We are all beautiful threads on the loom of this life.

We are the Woven Ones

This way of weaving with freedom, playfulness, curiosity and beauty is the way of my dancing too.  I want my dance sessions to be a safe place to move, explore, feel and dance. I invite each person to find their way, knowing that there is no right way, other than the way they are in this moment.  Everything is possible, everything is revelation. I move with life flowing through me and sometimes with the stuckness, the stiffness that is within me to.

On the full moon gathering weekend as I drummed for the women and danced Raven, I really felt my frozen shoulder aching, and calling for my attention. And this pain was a call to tend my heart, to allow my heart to feel deeply, rather than be protected by the armour of my ways and my ribs, shoulders etc..And my tears the next morning were a gentle tending to the pain in my heart, and that too was and is part of the dance…The dance itself being an inquiry into and expression of my life. We truly are the weavers and the woven ones. My next dance will be the Winter Solstice Celebration on Friday 16th June. Put the date in your diary now!

As always these dances are intended to celebrate our deep interconnection with the earth and the all that is. It is a way of weaving us back together. I am longing for the time when our culture celebrates this too.  And this is one of the ways I seek to change the story of our disconnection. That deep feeling of loss which arises from our separatist thinking is so evident ….And then I stumbled upon this reminder that the connection is already here, always within us.

Lost : A poem for you

Lost

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree of a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest know
Where you are. You must let it find you.

-David Wagoner

So here’s to standing in the forest, to being here when we arrive,  to allowing ourselves to be found.

Recently I found this gem of a book in the new release section of the library. It is a beautiful tale of finding one’s way home.  Home here is to oneself and to the Sapmi lands, of the Sami people, Northern Europe’s Indigenous people. The Sami had sacred drums, sacred drummers and deep interwoven lives with the land and her creatures, especially the reindeer. It is a beautiful read.  I hope and trust that we all find our way home.

Coming Up

As well as the Make Your Own Medicine Drum Workshop  and the MoonSong Workshop in June… I am once again hosting the following two workshops…

Connecting With Your Medicine Drum 
This is a beautiful workshop to deepen your relationship with your drum, to sense the sacred life force emanating from your drum, and work with it for your own and for collective healing. I am continually surprised and in awe of the teachings that my drum delivers. He keeps showing up, reminding me of the lessons I need to learn.

You will learn simple heartfelt rituals for connecting with your own drum  and we also drum together in sacred space attuning to the heartbeat of the drum and of the earth.  Michael Drake author of the Shamanic Drum describes, “There is power in drumming alone, but that power recombines and multiplies on many simultaneous levels in a group of drummers”. Get in touch if you are interested in this workshop.

Sunday 16th July
2.00 – 5.00 pm
Carnegie, Vic
$55

MoonDance: Feminine Embodiment Workshop
In this day we explore and embody feminine archetypes. We play with the deep interconnection between these archetypes and the earth and her seasons, the lunar phases and our own bodily wisdom.

MoonDance: Embodying the Feminine
One Day Workshop for Women
Saturday 2nd September
9.00 – 5.00 p.m
Carnegie, VIC
$150

Thanks for reading,
See you next month….
Blessings Sarah xxxx

On Sacred Ground

On Sacred Ground

Welcome to this waning moon energy, this opportunity to let go as we settle into this season of Autumn, with darker mornings and evenings…The descent has truly begun, and we are moving deeper towards the dark. How comfortable are you here? Are you looking forward to more darkness, to the cool change?  Is introspection a comfortable space for you?  I am day 29 of my menstrual cycle so really feeling this deep pull inward. I feel brittle because I am still trying to do outward things when really I just want to curl up in a red tent….or maybe lie on some warm sand…

This photo above is of my daughter and I are dancing on the Sand in Brunswick Heads.  It’s a sacred moment.  We  are feeling the joy of being connected to earth, sky, sea and each other. I want more sacredness in her life. I want a culture and community that honours her journey as a young woman, and the journey of all women, all men and all life. I want the earth to be honoured, but at this moment of descent I am feeling the loss of life, of so much life, and the dishonouring of the sacred.

And so I look to other ways of knowing and being. The Autumn Equinox is said to be the time when Persephone made her descent into the underworld. In the oldest versions of this story (pre Olympian myths)  she willingly went there. (1) She went because she heard the call of the dead.  She heard their pain and confusion. And this story is a seed for us, a kernel of truth. At this point in the cycle we too must descend, must return to the darkness and tend to those neglected parts of ourselves. It is a difficult journey for we might come face to face with uncomfortable truths, with feelings of loss and grief. But like Persephone if we willingly go there, if we pay attention and listen with compassion to those parts of ourselves, then we may become Queen of the Underworld. We may learn how to navigate this difficult terrain, so that this becomes a place of birth too. This dark place is a place where death becomes life. This is the great teachings of the Elusian Mysteries ( Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια)  surrounding Demeter and Persephone…And of course there is much here too on the mother and daughter relationship but that is for another time. There story is a story of the wisdom of the cycles.

I was blessed to hold space for a glad of women who come together to remember the wisdom of the cycles, to reflect on the ways in which we actually live this wisdom through our menstrual cycle, and throughout our lives. It is a reminder of how intimately linked with are with the earth and her days, her seasons, and her movement with the moon around the sun. Blessed work indeed, powerful remembering of our sacredness and our deep interconnection. Happy to chat further about this work, and the way it ripples out into the community, seeding change.  Bookings for my Saturday 3 June workshop can be found here.

Seven Sisters Dance

I was blessed to hold space on Feminine Embodiment with Sonia Stocco at the most recent Seven Sisters Festival. Our session explored how we might embody our truth, and be with what is arising within us.  (Just what I needed!) We noticed our feelings through our sensual experience of them, trusting that our bodies “speak” our deepest truths, and trusting our capacity to be with these truths.  We also explored how we might communicate these feelings verbally and non verbally.  And how these processes give rise to a deeper more intimate connection not only to our bodies but the good ground of our being, and with Life itself.Sonia brought her wisdom as a compassionate communication facilitator (based on Non Violent Communication) and massage therapist. It was a beautiful opening to presence for us and the participants who attended. We felt, moved, touched and danced. This photo shows some women engaged in the Shakti Awakening Dance practice, a process I learnt through a Lalita Devi Immersion with Chameli Ardagh. We will be exploring this process more deeply in the upcoming Autumn Equinox Dance.For me dancing these seasonal sabbats is an important way of honouring my ancestry and the earth.  It is a way of listening to the songs of the earth, and dancing to and for her. At these moments we can pause to reflect on the cycles of the earth and our own deep cycles held in and of the earth.  It is a sacred connection, a weaving of ourselves back into cyclical time.  Hopefully it is for you a space to commune with the sacred within you, within the group and out into the wider community of the whole earth.Due to illness I called off my last seasonal dance, so I haven’t held one since last spring. I am very excited to hold this space for the season of Autumn, or Marameet (in the Boonwurrung language) and this particular moment of balance between light and dark, between activity and rest, between the harvest and the loss…It is an invitation to honour both before we spiral into increasing darkness, and all that this entails. I trust some of you will feel called to join us in this exploration of your moving body in a safe and sacred space.

Autumn Equinox Dance

Thursday 23rd March
El Camino Wellness Studio
7.30 – 9.30 pm
Booking essential: embodiments@tpg.com.au
$25

Yesterday I woke early and went out into the dark morning, where the waning moon was still the brightest orb in the sky. She was in the west and on her way down. I listened to a beautiful “Open Sky” Meditation by Tara Brach, an invitation to listen with all of the body, and connect to the presence in everything.  Afterwards I set my intentions for the day, ‘to feel the spaciousness of my awareness and to be enlarged by all that I encounter.”  And I felt the sky responded to my intention setting with the beauty of changing light, from yellow, pink to purple and after a smattering of rain, a  delightful double rainbow. Its not so hard to feel spacious when the world speaks in such colour and movement.

But I do not always feel so open and expansive and sometimes I shut down my body. I still can close myself off from the ground of my being and from the earth too. There are times when I am closed in fear, when I run as far as I can from this discomfort. But on a personal level I am being called to open more fully to all that is arising, to allow the feelings, and to be OK with them all. As parents we need to model our self acceptance, we cannot fake it. Persephone whispers of this need for truth and authenticity. And I see this call in my children too.  And so I create spaces in which to deepen my connection and awareness. The work I do out in the world is as much for me as for you! And that seems OK too. This is the beauty of it.

Making a Medicine Drum

Pretty excited to be hosting another Make Your Own Medicine Drum Workshop with Bec Grace Funk of Priestess Your Life.  The drum is a sacred tool, an instrument of music, an intimate partner in the soul’s journey and woven through time with women’s spirituality.  In many ways it is a journey into the dark and out again, as we reflect on our own birth and the way this impacts upon our lives and our creative processes. It can be an invitation to become Queen of our own underworld, of being with the grief, and loss we may have encountered at our birth…and with all that was birthed with us. Creating a medicine drum is a powerful process providing women with the opportunity to revisit your birth as you birth your drum through a creative shamanic practice. We only have a couple of spots left for this workshop so please get in quick if you are interested.

Cultivating Community

In these times we need to come together, to find community, to build communion. What communities support and sustain you as you journey through this life?  Where can you go for the deep nourishment of compassion and acceptance? Where do you go to build your heart muscle and to learn the art of listening, of allowing? Where do you find the sacred container of stories, of song, of  earth? Much of this comes to me via the School of Shamanic Womancraft, my dear friendships with the beautiful people in my life, my family and in the places I hold sacred in my heart.

Several years ago I met two amazing women from the Earth Song community (not the witch camp!) and I really treasure the work that they and this community do. These lovely people have been holding space for many years now as a centre for ecology and spirituality, weaving these elements together….They host many wonderful talks, reflections, walks and many other offerings. I am hoping to make it to one of the Earth Song walking sessions where you are invited to walk mindfully and to Listen to the Earth. The next one, is on April 12, The Two Bays Walk in Dromana. I encourage you to check out their bountiful offerings.

To walk mindfully is a practice we can do at any time, with each step we take. Thich Nhat Hanh offers this advice….”If you have not arrived fully, 100 percent in the here and now, don’t take the next step.” (2) Hmm how to pause mid step, to rest comfortably until we come back to here and now? If we can step on this earth mindfully, if we can remember the abundance and generosity of the earth , we are coming some way towards that Aboriginal concept that, “everything come up out of (the) ground- language, people, emu, kangaroo, grass. That’s Law” (3)  This understanding of our utter interdependence upon this good ground seems to offer us as a way through the demise of current thinking/being. But we need to listen to the stories, really listen and understand the intimate knowledge embedded in them. We need to recognise and celebrate Indigenous Knowing, the wisdom in the land and walk together engaging with Country, with place and each other.

Thanks for reading,
See you next month….

Many Blessings
Sarah xxx

References:

(1) Charlene Spretnak, Lost Goddesses of Ancient Greece, Beacon Press

(2) Thich Nhat Hanh, The Long Road to Joy

(3) Hobbles Danayari, dictated to Deborah Bird Rose in ‘A Distant Constellation’, Continuum: The Australian Journal of Media and Culture vol 3. no 2 (1990)

Celebrating Darkness- June ’16

Reclaiming the Dark

Here under the gaze of a full moon I reflect on the value of her sister, Dark Moon. Darkness is a place of sanctuary, of healing and rejuvenation and yet many of us fear the dark. Do you? Each of us falls asleep at night because it is a biological imperative, we must sleep and during sleep we restore, heal and nourish ourselves. And we understand the value of sleep, despite not really knowing what goes on. We trust this unknown, but mostly we fear the unknown. Is this why we fear the dark so much?  Is this why we light up our world, distancing ourselves more and more from the dark.  Are we fearful of what we may find in the dark, or what may find us?

I want more darkness in the world but even as I write that sentence I am aware that this could be interpreted as more evil, as chaos and destruction, because we understand darkness as a metaphor for all this. And yet I am simply stating I want more darkness. I want to know night as night, to see the glory of stars above my head, to feel into the shifting light of the moon, knowing both its full illumination and its full darkness.

But darkness is diminishing from our world. Light pollution scars us all. Not only is it linked to increasing health and immune problems, it denies us the possibility of gazing with wonder into the night sky.  (darkskiesawareness.org) The sky which inspires us all, which makes us ponder our connection to the vast and dazzling worlds above us and within us. We diminish ourselves when we dim our view of the night sky.

 Imagine if we revalued the darkness as a place of nourishment and healing. Imagine if we could come to the indwelling place with a sense of wonder and mystery instead of fear. Darkness is natural, is essential. Dark Skies Awareness is promoting the importance of the dark, and the cover image is of the Milky Way above the Grand Canyon as it has been recently proclaimed a Dark Sky Park. Here’s to many more dark sky places, and our celebration of the dark. The moon reminds us of the importance of each phase of the cycle, of the need for light and dark, birth and death. “The story the moon tells us is of birth, growth, fullness, decay, disappearance with rebirth and growth again. ” (Demetra George)

The wisdom of the cycles is a core part of the SSW teachings and something I am passionate about, particularly a remembering of the dark, a yes to the mystery, to the good and fertile ground of mother earth, of winter, of night, of our menstrual blood, of deep rest. Through this work we are reclaiming and remembering for all of humanity. We have got so lost in the techno centric, industrialised world that we have forgotten our roots in the natural world.  We have forgotten we are part of nature, and that our own bodies cycle in tune with the great wheel of the year, with the cycles of the moon, the stars, with life/death/life.  And this forgetting is a great sadness, a great undoing of our being.  So we weave ourselves back into her, back into the mystery of all life, and the great cosmic cycles.

If you are interested in reweaving the threads of our interconnection together, come and join me for MoonSong in October in Castlemaine.

It is time, women are reawakening…

learn about

*the wisdom of the cycles and our life seasons
* the influence of the lunar cycle and the earth’s seasons
* the spiritual practice of menstruation and the transformative power of our rites of passage
* understand why you feel the way you do!

Saturday 22 October 2016
9.00 – 5.00 pm 

Castlemaine, Victoria
(1 Halford Street )
Morning and afternoon tea provided
$150

Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice is here tomorrow night. The longest night is almost upon us, and at this time we give thanks for the darkness and then welcome the return of the light. For though winter will continue over the next few months and it will be cold and dark, the light will increase very slowly from this time forward. The darkest point (where the South Pole is farthest from the sun) is the birthplace of the light. So let’s look to the mystery of our earths dance around the sun, let us bow to the mystery of the dark. We all grow in the dark watery womb of our mothers- we are all birthed and made in the dark and arrive often startled by the light, and yet this cultural fear of the dark is so persistent. I hope, imagine, dream of a time soon when we celebrate the magnificence of the dark, and where we recognise it as a part of the wheel of our days, our seasons, our bodies and our lives.  For me dancing at the winter solstice is a ritual “ a way to acknowledge our active participation in the cosmos”, enlarging our sense of self to include the all that is.  Come dance and celebrate your own your participation in the cosmos. Find and follow the rhythms within you.

The Rhythm of Life

Michael Drake author of the Shamanic Drum says, “All things are born of rhythm and it is rhythm that hold them in form. Rhythm is the heartbeat of life.” (Michael Drake) The drum is an ancient and sacred tool used to connect us to the cosmos, to the rhythms of creation. When we drum we resonate with these vibrations and we can feel again at one with creation.

The frame drum is in the shape of a circle- a round container that vibrates life.  As a round vibrating container it was recognised as a symbol of (or simply as) the creative force, the container of life which held the life/death/life cycles in its continuous stream.  And as life is understood by many peoples to have come from sound, it was also recognised as an instrument of creation, attuning us to the sacred sounds, the sacred rhythms in the wheel of life.

My own drum has been a great teacher and connector for me, and my learning continues with this beautiful teacher. I wrote of the birth of my own drum here if you want to read more ¦https://www.embodimentsdance.com.au/2014/02/18/journeys-with-my-medicine-drum/  The process of building a relationship with my drum has been a beautiful initiation into trust. Trusting what we cannot see but that which we can feel so deeply in our core. I found the writings of Gail Wood, and her book The Shamanic Witch, to be a powerful recipe for relating to my drum. She acknowledges that it takes time to build a relationship with a drum, just like it does with anyone and so the more time I spent with my drum, the deeper the relationship. At first I was just feeling him, smelling him, touching and relating to him and then after a few weeks I allowed myself to truly drum him.

While many people associate the frame drum with American Indian cultures, it is also part of my ancestral lineage from the early cultures of the British Isles, and is part of many ancient cultures world wide. Layne Redmond explores the sacred history of the frame drum in her wise book, When the Drummers were Women, and yes in many ancient cultures the drummers were women. As Layne Redmond says, “The drum was the means our ancestors used to summon the goddess and also the instrument through which she spoke. The drumming priestess was the intermediary between divine and human realms. Aligning herself with sacred rhythms, she acted as summoner and transformer, invoking divine energy and transmitting it to the community.”

If you want to explore your connection with this ancient instrument come and join Bec Funk, Melody Bee and me in our Medicine Drum Making Workshop. It’s so cool to be working with Bec and Melody in this project. Bec is doing her final year of apprenticing with the Four Seasons Journey, is a circle facilitator and a Priestess of Life. Melody is also an apprentice with the SSW and is a Shamanic Craftswoman and Pollinator for the Sacred Feminine.

Body Rhythms

I just spent 5 days exploring the effects of vibrations and sounds on our bodies. I participated in Amber Grey’s Stirring the Stars, Continuum Depths Retreat.  This was an immersion into the fluid body and our relationship to the social cultural body, the primordial body and the cosmic body. It was indeed a cosmic experience. We are mostly fluid, around 70 percent and yet we so often forget this, and do not attend to the fluid body. So through this continuum depths retreat I was able to dive deep into the depths of my own fluidity, into my tissue, my fascia, my blood, my bones, my cells. By attuning to the fluid body through breath, through specific sounds and vibrations we are supported to move, to be, to rest in and from the deep nourishment of the fluid body.

I found myself feeling into my own tides, to the swells and recessions within my being and to allow what arises from such deep attention. This was a place of learning, learning to trust the movements which come from these places, and learning to trust the stillness. This was a place of waiting to see what is born out of the darkness, the stillness. Sometimes a small shift in movement somewhere else in the body led to a cascade of movement along my entire limb and more. Sometimes stuckness emerged and I waited to see what would arise.sometimes tears, sometimes movements, always something arose, old patterns and new ones.  Without judging either, we notice the opportunities that arise in these places. For this is a self -referential practice, a process of listening to the intelligence of the body, to its stirrings and impulses.

Tuning into the fluid body is to me a part of tuning into the dark, of trusting ourselves, our bodies  as fertile ground for dissolution, for growth, for rest and rejuvenation. There was much rest, much time allowing my body to show me how to move, and after rest comes something new, some birth, and the cycles continue.  We truly are part of the greater rhythms of life/death/life, part of the cosmos. Amber has two workshops in Melbourne this week, so be quick to join her for an exploration of the fluid body, of the cycles swirling within you. https://www.facebook.com/continuumaustralia/

Thanks for reading! And now it is time for me to attend to other things, so blessings on this full moon, and the receding light, blessings on the Winter Solstice and on the dark.

Love Sarah xxx

Feminine Embodiment- Full Moon Nourishment

A Scorpio moon will rise full bodied at Sunset tonight. Welcome teacher of mystery, of depth, of diving deep and drinking from the source of dark and light. She can illuminate all that is hidden in the realms of your own psyche, and our collective psyche. On this full moon, I birth this medium to share Feminine Embodiment with you!

At the full moon I give great thanks for all that has arisen in this cycle. It has been an intense one of tending to others, to remembering myself in the process, to journaling, praying with song and dance and of walking more attentively in this world. Lots of juicy sharing for you….dive in sisters

Singing over our bones
Recently I heard two sisters singing to the land, one was singing her blood back to the earth, the other singing the plants up. I was so moved by these small daily gestures of connection and creativity. In their singing they demonstrate the power of our voice as expression and prayer. To me, they are singing over our bones, singing themselves and us back into creation. For the creation stories we, as non -Aboriginal women in Australia (and in most parts of the world) have inherited largely omit women. They omit the land, and the connective tissue between our bodies, our being and this earth. But it is time to find our way home to the all that is, to the great source, ‘the flaring forth’ out of which we all arise.

Song, like dance, like story is a powerful medium for this.This singing is, as Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, the fairy tale knock at the door of the deep female psyche (the llamar o tocar a la puerta). We are singing ourselves home to our deep inter-connection. We are returning to the wilderness within and without. And when we participate in these creative acts (and our whole lives are creative acts!) we are finding that there is no separation, that the notion of land, of earth as something other, is a lie, a mistake, a huge omission in our life long education. Of course many of us carry on with the lies that our culture teaches us, and many of us buy into it. But there comes a time, when the deep ache within demands to be felt. This ache is the body ache of the lie of separation. And we must attend to it, feel it, and then find the creative paths, and the rituals which realign our ways of being with the earth. These acts, these are our medicine, and our way home.

Song is now a part of my daily ritual. Although I have always loved singing, I have been tone deaf all my life, and so am known to sing out of tune and out of time. And this stopped me from participating in so many things, but no longer. Singing is part of my medicine too and I sing as best as I am able with my heart and belly. I sing in my circles, in my playgroup, at kinder and when I do my prayers. And I find singing in groups improves my voice and attunes my ear. (thanks to Carol Liknaitzky of Nourishing Childhood for the weekly singing) . Song is part of my pray to the earth. I sing as I dance, barefoot on the grass each day. I sing to the great creator spirit, that I name as Goddess, as Gaia, as Mother Earth. This naming is important to me, for it relocates spirit in the body and in the earth, and in a tradition that goes back thousands and thousands of years. It reminds me that in my own ancestry the body was and is, both a gateway to and a part of the sacred creative flow. My body is a fully embodied living aspect of Mother Earth. My body is sacred, is source.

These songs of blood (by ways of the wild) and growth (by midwife of the soul) sung by my mermaid sisters, are imbued with this wisdom. There singing reminds me (and hopefully you) that each of us is sacred. And that we can become active co-creators of a new story (or actually a new version of a very old story!) in which we are recognised and recognise ourselves as sacred creatives, as human be-comings. Such active participation in the world is a way out of the crisis of separation that is putting so much of life at risk. We offer ourselves and our song to the earth, trusting that she is listening. We offer ourselves to the wild woman archetype, she who ‘carries the bundles for healing, she carries the medicine for all things. She carries, stories and dreams and words and song and signs and symbols’. And when we call her into our being, we attune into the rich tapestry of our creative cosmology.

I live on Bunnerong Land, where for tens of thousands of years people have sung to country. For Aboriginal people singing to country is an important way of connecting. Inherent in their use of the word country is a multilayered, multi-dimensional connection. “Country is a word for all the values, places, resources, stories and cultural obligations associated with that area and its features. It describes the entirety of our ancestral domains.”  Listening to Aboriginal people speak about their connection, their song lines, shapes the depth of their experience and interconnection. It reminds us that there are other ways of knowing and being. It can help us find our way home too, encouraging us to listen to the land (Dadirri). It can also open us up to seeking out more about our own ancestral spiritual lineage.

My roots are mainly Celtic, so pagan rituals have a deep resonance, and I have a connection to the wheel of the year and the sacred cycles imbued in this. But much of this tradition has been lost, and sometimes distorted. And part of my journey is to sift through and find the resonances, the remembering that fits for me living in this urban city in this world today. For me the School of Shamanic Womancraft was another profound doorway into cycles of life, and deeper intimacy with the world. I continue to learn from my teachers, and sisters on this journey, continuing to dive deep into an exploration of the sacred feminine, of our body/earth connection.

I seek to find ways to connect to mother earth, to embody what I know sometimes only intellectually and sometimes only bodily. The distortion and distinction between the two is still a part of my life. It is incredibly difficult to loosen oneself from a weaving of cultural stories and a way of being. But I am loosening those threads, unravelling those stories so that there is space for the renewal of earth time, so that I can become more fully human, more fully engaged and intimate with this life/death/life.

And so I have much gratitude to my mermaid sisters for their songs and their singing. They embody this deep feminine earth connection. In their own gentle ways they invite us into in intimate moment between daughter and mother, between the human and more than human world. I am blessed for the singing, for their examples of how we can sing over our bones, and allow the wild woman within to truly know her place, to truly come home to the all that is. Deep bow

Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women who Run with the Wolves, Rider.
www.CreativeSpirits.info, Aboriginal culture – Spirituality – Welcome to Country & Acknowledgement of Country,
Source: http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/spirituality/welcome-to-country-acknowledgement-of-country#ixzz46WGueUIG
www.waysofthewild.com  & www.midwifeofthesoul.com.au/


Flowing 
“What Could I learn from the tiny river rising beside me, to help soothe me?  Flowing.  Ever New.  Each Moment Alive.  Gently. persuasively. moving around obstacles.  Precious lessons.”  – Maya Ward

I am so looking forward to hearing Maya, author of the Comfort of Water speak at the Oases breakfast on May 7. She will speak of her journey trekking the Wurundjeri Songline, following the Yarra River from sea to source. I am sure our hearts and cells will be opened by the resonance of her words,  by her willingness to open herself to the presence of nature, to the solace and power of water. We are mostly water, mostly fluid, living lives often so divorced from source. So I am always seeking inspiration and nourishment, seeking the gentle reminders about the way home.

Booking through the OASES website: http://www.oases.edu.au/breakfast/

Walking in the world is a way of connecting to this world in all her magnificence. I take time out each week to stroll, to notice, to pay attention to what is arising within me, and what the world is showing me about herself, and our deep interconnection. This is a storied world, and I am seeking out her stories. Learning how to listen.  Finding solace in the pockets of regeneration, in the resilience of people and place who generate intimacy with her richness.


(Sealers Cove hike,)


Dancing our way home
Dance is a daily practice for me, a tactile embodied exploration of what it is to be human in this more than human world. I am inspired by the bodies capacity to extend our limited sense of self, and to move as part of the larger reality as an earthling. In the words of one of my teachers, the founder of continuum dance emilie conrad, “I am part of the swirl of bio-morphic unfolding.I am not bound by culture or language. The deepening of sensation allows me to be without category. I transfer the moisture of my cells,join the wet of the grass, the pour of the ocean, the stars that watch over the night. The plants breathe, my skin is wet, we are here. ”

While I am dancing more at home, I am dancing less in public- and holding space less. Partly because I lost my beautiful space and partly because I am trying to juggle family and work with my passion for sharing dance. It is a delicate balance, but I am hosting a MoonDance workshop in May.

MoonDance: Feminine Embodiment
My next offering will be MoonDance, an embodied connection to the women’s mysteries, to the cyclical knowing within your being. In this session, we will follow the impulses of our moving bodies to explore the lived experience of the cycles and seasons within us. We will dance, move, touch and soften into our experience of Being. We will nourish and nurture ourselves and each other to explore the embodied reality of the women’s mysteries within us.  Please get in touch with me if you want to know more:

Sunday May 22
9.00 – 5.00
Carnegie. $100
byo lunch, delicious morning and afternoon tea provided

This workshop  arose out of my MoonSong apprenticeship with the School of Shamanic Womancraft. These workshops reconnect women to their feminine power through reconnection with the women’s mysteries. If you haven’t done one yet, Jane Hardewick Collings has one coming up in Shoreham in June and I will host one in November.

Thanks for reading, its been big to produce this for me. Big to move through my tensions, frustrations, limitations with technology and get this out to you!.I’m now feeling the lure of a bath under this beautiful moon.

Stay in touch
Deep bow
Sarah xx x

Dark Words

Last session in the Temple of She! we dived into the murky depths of the dark. We visited with the crone, the hag, the Dark Goddess. And as the temple dancers lay cushioned on the ground, i read them some words. I let the words woo them into the mystery and divinity of the dark…I let the words out to weave their magic….So it is with much gratitude that i share the words of three amazing women with you…these are just snippets, fragments from the richness of their worlds, go and get the books and read the rest yourself….

excerpts From La Loba, in Women who run with the Wolves,  Clarissa Pinkola Estes, 

“The sole work of la loba is the collection of bones. She is known to collect and preserve especially that which is in danger of being lost to the wordl. Her cave is filled with the bones of all manner of desert creatures, the deer, the rattlesnake, the crow. But her specialty is said to be wolves….

wildwomenShe creeps and crawls and sifts thought the montanas, mountains and arroyos, dry river beds, looking for wolf bones, and when she has assembled an entire skeleton, when the last bone is in place and the beautiful while sculpture of the creature is laid out before her, she sits by the fire and thinks about what song she will sing.

And when she is sure, she stands over the criatura, raises her arms over it and sings out…That is when the rib bones and leg bones of the the wolf begin to flesh out and the creature becomes furred.”

Excerpt from Kissing the Hag, Emma Restall Orr 

“Hag is not a nice word.

Yet there comes a time in every woman’s life when nice is tedious, when nice is insipid, seeping into the soul like souring milk, warping the mind. Indeed nice can at times, be all that is offensive.

kissingthehagHag, its a fascinating word. As I speak it aloud the sound as smooth as an out breath, Aspirated its vowel is extended and then clipped as if with a warning kick of death. It is a primal work, formed with barely any effort required. It whispers of cold wind, of thick fog and the stench of stagnant water. It is word robed in spider’s webs, dusty and worn, unsure where to place itself on the shiny veneers of today. Lingering st the edges of life, it waits to tun a broken nail down some blackboard of the soul.

No hag is not a nice word. Like princess or pole dancer the word quietly slips us a picture, and though for each of the image may differ slightly , it invariably embodies all that is declared to be simply and irrefutably not nice in a woman.”

From Jane Meredith, Diving Deep Listening to the Dark Goddess

Do you hear that faint voice calling to you from within, from your dreams, or from underneath your daily life….do you sense something almost beyond the range of your sensing. Do you dare to leave your safety and set out to investigate?

There are many ways the Dark Goddess calls to us. When we sense something missing form our lives, though we have no idea what that might be.. When we have everything that should make us happy, but we are not happy. When we are struck by depression ir inexplicable illness or doubt; when we sense ourselves becoming more and more isolated or fragmented or pressured…. When we long for death, or change, or oblivion. When we meet that same, familiar set of problems yet again but have no idea what we could do to change it. When we fee; we are yearning for the impossible, or we wont let ourselves yearn, when we long for change but fear it.

lilithShe will be there, calling to you. The question is, will you listen…

Our next gathering will also invite the Dark Goddess. We will journey together in the week of the Winter Solstice and we welcome the Hag/the Crone/The Wierd Sister/  Do yo welcome her too?

Blessings Sarah

image above of Lilith from Mesopotamia.