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Rituals—Gatherings for Teaching & Healing

 

DIVINATION

Journeys | Rituals | Divination
Blue information buttons link to video testimonials

In brief:

Quick Facts & Figures:

Features:  Evening | full day | full weekend | 4 day.

Full day events include food or BYOL. Currently on hold.

Weekends incl. | gourmet food | simple accommodation.


Open Admission. Group size usually 15 to 40. 

Evening event $40 CAD | One day $150 CAD

Weekend $650 CAD | $450 CAD scholarship rate

Rituals are the result of a call, a consultation or divination, and a design process before the logistics are confirmed. This sequence is explained, and general information is given about what happens at a ritual of the type discussed.

  • Gatherings are on hold because of the Pandemic

  • Planned Events are shown further below

  • Blue buttons on sidebar link to video testimonials

In this section:
  • The first step of consultation
  • How an event gets planned
  • What to expect at an event
  • Planned events later in 2021
  • Event Listings

The first step of consultation

A call for healing requires the attention of community. The first step is honesty about the problem, then a consultation period that could be called Divination. A prescription of ritual action is then recommended. Some of the best rituals come out of a single person's honest call for help. In the ritual view, there is no way that this single person can be the only source of dis-ease or anguish. If one person is feeling something, it is probably just the "showing tip of the iceberg" that is a systemic problem in the community.

 

The systemic nature can be named an eco-logical approach. And because the ecology is seen to be a complex relationship between the human community and the Elements, and the Other World of ancestors and spirits, they need to be consulted. Divination is of course, its own special skill and qualification, but it can be said that even in a culturally intact indigenous context, divination begins with community consultation. It is as if the people have to do their work first before the divination process adds something into the mix. 

It is safe to say that in terms of the kind of ritual we are doing here, the needs may have a particular focus, but will eventually have to allow for the range of needs to show up. A typical example is the question about what kind of grief is allowed at a certain grief ritual. The answer is that all of it has to be allowed because once the grief starts moving, other grief surfaces. Similarly, even at a grief ritual, which could generally be called a "Water" ritual, there will definitely be issues of welcome, life purpose, ancestry, and response-ability that come into the room.

 

Hence the idea of a "Ritual Literacy" that is agile to these needs, circumstance, opportunity and jeopardy. So the discussion gets going amongst a few people who are those that will step willingly into a stewardship of the ritual process.

 

Following the initial focus of an intention, there is a natural need to follow a swing into a balance of practicality. Where will the gathering be held, on what date? One of my teachers has said, "The number one thing guaranteeing the success of an event is committing to a time and place."

How an event gets planned

Depending upon the previous course of planning described above, there will be some kind of announcement, a formal commitment to doing the ritual. It will be some kind of effort to invite people and plan the arrangements. Some examples of focus might be the following:

  • EARTH Welcoming Spirit Home from Exile

  • MINERAL Soul Journey of Separation and Purpose

  • WATER Living in a Time of Grief and Praise

  • FIRE Engaging the Ancestors as Wild Allies

  • NATURE It Takes a Village to do Almost Anything

Consistently, good people come to this depth of work. They already have a sense that soul work and healing cannot all be done in isolation. They are appreciative of others, and give appreciation. Getting a group organized to make a ritual is the majority of the work that is done. Connections that are made are a benefit to all. But of course, this registration can not be a "sales pitch." These kind of rituals require full willingness and interest.

While people are being invited and registered, the rest of the planning moves forward:

keeping track of the finances

liaison with the site

arranging transportation

protocols for first aid and safety

arrangements for accommodation and food

Those seven areas cover the practicalities, and then there are three more main "departments" that could be mentioned. These last three are the general managers of the event:

Programming—what is the content?

Assistant to the PTM

PTM—Production Team Manager

This model might not be followed exactly, but it is useful for pointing out the range of things that must be handled.

The ecology of a ritual

You may now have a sense that there are layers to what occurs at a gathering. Planning has been done, invitations have been accepted, issues are being brought, but also the gifts, the peculiarity of the wild genius of each of those attending. At every event, a story is told, there is dance, poetry, sharing. The myth functions like having an Elder in the room. Sometimes we are blessed with particular talents that contribute to the whole experience.

The first order of business is called "getting everyone's voice in the room." There is sharing, an attempt to remind everyone of their native humanity, and why, as the proverb says, "if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together." A ritual gathering of this kind is to  "go far," even though it might happen in the space of a weekend, a day, or even one evening. 

The container is set according to some of the timeless ideas about calling in the Other World and the Elements. There are prayers, a shrine, music, sharing, dancing. No previous knowledge is required, simply an honest open-mindedness and willingness to contribute and participate. There are always a few people at least who have a little more experience with this aspect or that, and they help out those who are newer.

As Martín Prechtel says, "A ritual is a storm that starts happening with or without you." The storm is meant to be effective at bringing Water back to the parched conditions of modernity. And to balance the stormy nature, there will be an introduction to the process: teaching, blessings, encouragement, recognition. It is always ok to ask for something to be explained. 

 

When we have food, we do our best to have good food. When we have accommodations, or rent a venue, we try  to keep the prices down. For weekends, accommodation is usually basic, or even camping. But we try to hire an experienced cook so that the participants can concentrate on the soul work. (But participants do help the cook with the dishes!)

Planned events later in 2021

Currently in person events are on hold due to the influenza pandemic. Immediately below, see some events that are provisionally planned. In due time and in particular locations, we will be able to gather again.  (Last updated May 2021)

The other sections on this page have information about:

  • preparing to attend an event and what to bring

  • returning home after an event

  • hosting an event in your hometown

“Nothing unexpected or wonderful is likely to happen if you have an itinerary in Paris filled with the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.”

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Grief Ritual (Video)

Krystal Patience, RN
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Grief Ritual (Video)

Sequoia Lesoski, Nature Guide
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Greif Ritual (Video)

Azul Duque, Curriculum Design
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Greif Ritual (Video)

Raamayan Ananda, Entrepreneur
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Greif Ritual (Video)

Asha Isaacson, Doula
Ian MacKenzie, Filmmaker
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Greif Ritual (Video)

Aeriel Colleen, Educator

“A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life. I think ritual is terribly important.”

Joseph Campbell

 

EARTH

Boundaries

&

Welcoming

Intimacy

 

MINERAL

 

Separation

&

Life Purpose

Initiation

 

WATER

Grief Listening

&

Praise Talk

Reconnection

 

FIRE

Injured Lineage

&

Mythic Allies

Intuition

 

NATURE

Reaction

&

Response

Eco-logic

Upcoming Events

  • An Arrow of Syllables | WA
    TBD
    An Arrow of Syllables | WA
    Location is TBD
    Time is TBD
    Location is TBD
    StoryCarrying reclaims the old art of storyteller as healer in community, working with myth to bring a personal practical next step to the listener/participants. Date & Location tba Weekend Tuition | $595 | $495 | $395 Food & Accommodation included. Friday | 19h00 | to Sunday 12h30 | October 2021
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  • Passageway of Grief & Exile | British Columbia
    TBD
    Passageway of Grief & Exile | British Columbia
    Location is TBD
    Time is TBD
    Location is TBD
    When the centre of culture is in trouble, healing comes from the edge. Residential weekend $600 | Concession $450 Friday | 19h00 | to Sunday | 15h30 | 2021 A Return From Exile PASSAGEWAY
    Share
  • Mysteries of the Ground | 2022 | Western Canada
    TBD
    Mysteries of the Ground | 2022 | Western Canada
    Location is TBD
    Time is TBD
    Location is TBD
    Your old soul knows the African wisdom that it takes a village to . . . do . . . anything. Residential Weekend $600 CAD Tuition & Accommodation | $450 Studen Friday | 19h00 to Sunday | 15h00 tba | 2022 A Ritual Leadership INITIATION
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  • Passageway of Grief & Exile | Ontario CA
    TBD
    Passageway of Grief & Exile | Ontario CA
    Location is TBD
    Time is TBD
    Location is TBD
    When the centre of culture is in trouble, healing comes from the edge. Residential weekend $600 | Concession $450 Friday | 19h00 | to Sunday | 15h30 | 2021 A Return From Exile PASSAGEWAY
    Share
  • Grit Grace Grief & Praise | Alberta
    TBD
    Grit Grace Grief & Praise | Alberta
    Location is TBD
    Time is TBD
    Location is TBD
    You are being called to lead, to mentor, to be the ear for trouble and a voice for guidance. No matter your age. Join us no matter your station or shape. Saturday | Tuition | $150 CAD | $120 Student Saturday | 9h30 to 21h30 | tba | 2021 An expedition for the Water of Life
    Share
  • An Arrow of Syllables | UK
    TBD
    An Arrow of Syllables | UK
    Location is TBD
    Time is TBD
    Location is TBD
    StoryCarrying reclaims the old art of storyteller as healer in community, working with myth to bring a personal practical next step to the listener/participants. Date & Location tba Weekend Tuition | €395 | €295 | €195 Food & Accommodation included. Friday | 19h00 | to Sunday 12h30 | 2021
    Share
Click on title to reveal basic information or button for full details—
Live events currently on hold as of May 2021
 
 

PREPARATION

Journeys | Rituals | Preparation
In this section:
  • Intention
  • Participation
  • Showing up
  • Practicalities—1 evening or 1 day events
  • Practicalities—multi day events

Intention

Absolutely, it is beneficial to bring a worthy concern to the gathering. We are making a "moment of village," where the human community seeks contact and conversation with the "other-than-human" for some wisdom that is older than our own opinions. By "worthy" concern I mean something that is a challenge in your life.

 

This does not mean that the issue will be solved, or go away, or be fixed. But it does imply that some step can be taken. We are looking to get help with guidance for the "next best step" as Phil L'hirondele has called it. To take a step is only possible when you show up saying "Yes, I want healing . . . if there is some way I can get help from the process, I want it."

Participation

To the extent of your skills, ability, and circumstance, offer to assist with the event. The event will be richer for it, and you will personally benefit from the experience. Actively contribute if you are able to. Not as a bystander or passive audience member, but as a creative helper. The place to begin is to simply ask, "How can I assist?"

Some of the answers might be:

  • Help promote the event by inviting people

  • Help set up by arriving early

  • Help clean up by staying a bit later at the close

  • Help with drumming or music

  • Help by welcoming others throughout

  • Help by listening, expressing, caring

With any of these, it is important to contribute with a full heart, not out of a, "sense of duty," which will affect things negatively. If this particular event is one where you cannot offer help, then your help will be the appreciation of other participants and what they bring. That appreciation is an important kind of help as well. It is a model of participation, not watching.

Showing up

It is possible that showing up simply means arriving on time.

 

Yet at certain times, for some people, it is possible that energy begins to move even at the moment of signing up. If that happens for you, reach out ahead of time to get some support. Every gathering, no matter what the particular focus, touches on sources of grief, anguish, grit. It is part of the healing process when the energy begins to move. That is the reason we make a ritual container that can "compost" certain old energies into the renewal of new nutrition for life. It is also why there must be moments of grace, humour, delight.

Another version of the energy moving that can happen is feeling upset just a few hours prior to the gathering. This might mean that the psyche is getting ready for change. It is certainly not necessary that you show up looking fine, and as if you have it all together. That is how we are forced to behave in much of our lives in this modern setting.

 

Malidoma Somé has poetically said that our outdated habits of being act like intruders in our house. While they are happily enjoying all the comforts of life, we ourselves are exiled out of a sense of ease and relaxation! So when we move toward healing, those hungry ghosts get disturbed. They begin to kick up a fuss, claiming that we cannot live without them. But you can show up with acknowledgement of that messy part of you. It is part of the ritual process. You can truly come "as you are."

Practicalities—1 evening or 1 day events

  • Clothing to be warm and comfortable

  • If food for potluck, label for allergies

  • Possibly a cushion and or blanket if not at the space

  • Water bottle

  • Notebook if so inclined

  • A personal token that can be placed on the shire (returned to you at the close)

  • Check the event details for anything else specific

Practicalities—multi day events

All of the above plus:

  • Flashlight

  • Toiletries

And as needed

  • Drum, or musical instrument

  • Sleeping bag

  • Tent

Also

  • Check the event details for anything else

“Opportunity does not waste time with those who are unprepared.”

Idowu Koyenikan

“The way you make an omelet reveals your character.”

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RETURNING

Journeys | Rituals | Returning
In this section:
  • Arriving home emotionally and mentally
  • Arriving home practically and physically
  • Connecting for support
  • Event Listings

Arriving home emotionally and mentally

One way to understand a gathering meant to be a ritual is to notice three traditional steps in the process. The first stage, preparation, has to have a little taste of the content of the ritual. Honesty about the longing to experience healing has to be present in your awareness. This helps the psyche prepare for the upcoming event.

 

Actual attendance at a gathering could be called the middle step. The ritual gives an opportunity to find an extension of the previous identity—to see the possibility of encountering a new, updated, version of oneself.

The third step is returning back to everyday life. It seems like this could be the easiest, but it has potential challenges. This is the stage of the process where changes could happen in your life as a result of what you underwent.

 

People can sometimes want the old you to stay in place. A difficulty of our times is a general lack of "ritual literacy" that would make well done welcoming back more common. This might happen, and so it is important to take some steps of support, both self support and support from others.

Arriving home practically and physically

  • Drink lots of water

  • Eat well and rest

  • No big decisions in the first 72 hours after a ritual ends

  • Let us know how you are by message in first 24 hours

Sometimes people experience a sensation of  "not being fully back." A bit of this is natural for anyone. If you happen to be one of the 10% of the population that is very sensitive by nature, you might be affected by this a bit more strongly.

 

You can still be very confident that things will settle down  fully after 1 to 3 days. We have incredible capacities to integrate different experiences and to retain access to the useful (and not-so-useful) parts of old patterns and skills.

Connecting for support

​Who do you talk to, and about what for support?

 

Remember the agreements about confidentiality, but do get support. Use "I statements" about your experience. Keep other people's identities private. Consider that traditionally,, key moments of a ritual were kept private for up to a year in some instances. This was simply making time to metabolize and integrate. There can be a phenomenon of the regular world wanting to dismantle the healing that might have occurred. 

Remember:

  • Speak with people who were present if possible

  • Consider limiting what you share with non-participants

  • Let the changes metabolize within until they are solid

Attend the follow up Zoom meeting if at all possible. Share more reflections of the experience and give and receive support. Who are you now and who will you be with these new perceptions?

 

The you that you are is needed in the world. Keep going!

"There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."

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“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”

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HOSTING

Journeys | Rituals | Hosting
In this section:
  • Topics an d themes for events
  • Evening event 2.5 hours
  • One day or multi day events

Topics and themes for events

All gatherings begin with the question "How are you" posed to the participants. By the nature of being human, the real answer to this question can span a number of subject areas. In our work, we use the cosmological model of the West African Dagara tribe, which has been shared by Malidoma and Sobonfu Somé. As mentioned elsewhere, the elements of the cosmology represent issues of welcoming, life purpose, grief and praise, ancestry and change.

But while all of these subject areas are potentially what people bring, of course everything cannot be done at once. Therefore, we are working to simply find "the next best step." The "technology of community," as Malidoma has called ritual, can do just this. 

Yet an event does get organized around a theme, and is further focussed by a particular mythic tale that is told. The story functions almost like having a kind of "Elder" in the room to help hold the space, and also provides a doorway to uncovering this "next best step" for each person individually. 

A discussion is in order if you are considering hosting an event. What topic draws your interest? What topic seems current where you live? A clarification will be made.

Evening event 2.5 hours

Storytelling, with a focus on introducing ritual understandings of welcome and exile, life purpose and inner authority, grief and praise, ancestors and hungry ghosts, transformation and change. 

Requirements

Preparation time 4 to 8 weeks recommended

A main host who is able to:

  • host the facilitator for a few days

  • provide accommodation and some transportation

  • be the key local contact person for the event

  • do initial reach out to hubs to invite participants

  • find 2 other people to participate in—

30 minute zoom meeting for planning

finding a location or venue

promotion

set up and clean up

 

Location or Venue

  • 15 to 40 participants

  • Approximately 2 square meters per participant

  • The noise of drumming and singing permissible 

  • Access to the room 1 hour early and 1 hour after event

Ticket price

Approximately $40 CAD | $40 AUD|£25 | €25

Children allowed, usually yes.

One day or multi day events

A full day or weekend holds the opportunity to work with the same ritual topics as noted above. Welcome and exile, life purpose and inner authority, grief and praise, ancestors and hungry ghosts, transformation and change might each be a focus of a gathering, while not excluding the other topics.

 

Requirements

Preparation time 8 to 16 weeks recommended

All of the above points apply, with appropriate extensions.

Helpers

The main host might have 4 rather than only 2 helpers. There might be a few more zoom meetings. Every event that is a day or weekend long is bespoke, custom created. 

Date and Venue

The main thing determining the success of an event is to set a date with a confirmed venue. Without this in place it is impossible to orchestrate the invitations in time, allowing those who want to attend the chance to arrange their personal schedules.

Food and accommodation

 

These two areas require very good organization.

For a day long event, lunch can be "Bring Your Own." Likewise, the evening meal can be a potluck or catered.(Food needs to be labeled for allergies of course).

For a weekend event, for this style of work, it is best to have an experienced cook deliver omnivore cuisine that is hearty and good quality. The idea of cooking together of course has its benefits, but also has the problem that it can distract from the process of the work itself. An experienced cook can handle just around 20 participants. And the participants will always be helping with cleaning dishes.

Accommodation can be simple, even possibly as simple as tenting. Expensive venues raise the cost for participation.

The main difference in a day long or weekend long event is that the needs for the style of venue go up. It is important to have an indoor working area that is warm enough and has room to move. The minimum area is around 4 square meters per person. Ideally, a dream location and venue includes the following:

  • out of town, not too far

  • kitchen well equipped for needs of event

  • allowed to make noise

  • indoor fireplace

  • outdoor natural water

  • trees and nature around

  • privacy and having the venue private, not shared with other event

It is also good if 1 or 2 skilled Jembe drummers can be successfully invited to participate.