Heading Home – May 2016
As always, I am on my way somewhere. This time, heading back home after a weekend working in Luzern and a day in Geneva. This Movement Medicine gig just keeps on going deeper and deeper and spreading wider and further. We are delighted that some of the wonderful people who trained with us are taking this work beyond the workshop space.
It is now being offered with refugees, in prisons, in doctor’s surgeries and in a wide variety of situations by a wide variety of wonderfully creative and committed people. This is what we wanted when we set out to train people and it is a real joy for us to hear about these brave projects and brave people taking this work out into the world.
At the same time, many teachers who have been struggling to get people to their classes are now starting to build their own local communities and this is equally wonderful news. We always wanted to set up local communities, places where people could go and know that they could let go, experiment, meditate and sweat at the same time, and all in an atmosphere where they could feel safe and supported on their journey. Roland too, has also been very passionate about the work of supporting people to bring their own experiences back to their communities. This is why we became a school and started training people. Like all things of this nature, it takes time to set up the structures through which this can happen and we are very happy that, step by step, Movement Medicine is becoming more and more available in more and more places.
I am very happy that I have been invited back to teach in Philadelphia next year, one of the many movement-based communities that sprouted from workshops that we taught over the years. This will be part of a second USA tour (March 2017) that will take place on the East and West Coasts and will include another opportunity to join me at Esalen.
We fully intend to go on making these offerings and continuing to evolve and pass on our work. Our dream is that in years to come, there will be other schools on other continents, each learning to meet the needs of their local communities for down-to-earth shamanic ritual, healing and spaces to be, learn and develop.
I am continuing to write my new book which I can now confirm will be published by Hay House in the spring of 2017. This has been and continues to be a very deep personal project for me. The book has a new title and is now called Jaguar in the Body, Butterfly in the Heart – The 21st Century Initiation of an Everyday Shaman. It’s quite an initiation in itself to write it, as I am going through a thorough recapitulation of each event that I am writing about, in order to integrate it more fully as I share it with the wider world. The book will come out simultaneously in the UK, USA, Australia and South Africa with plans taking shape for it to be translated into as many languages as possible.
As many of you will know, I have set up a new facebook page (https:facebook.com/yaacov.dk.shaman/) and intend this to be the place where I make regular offerings on the subject of contemporary shamanic practice through Movement Medicine. Please take a moment to visit the page. Once I have finished the writing (my deadline from the publisher is September 1st – don’t you love a bit of creative pressure), I will be setting up a video blog and once every fortnight or so, be answering questions posted on my page on ‘shamanism as an everyday part of life in the 21st century.’
It’s an ongoing and deep journey for me to use the job description of ‘shaman’ for the work I do, and I am writing about this process in the book. The very first time one of our teachers publicly called me a shaman (Suprapto Suryadarmo in 1995), I felt shamed. I went a deep shade of red and was sweating and shaking and astounded to find myself so full of fear. Shamanism is a vocation. One doesn’t claim the title for oneself. It is given by one’s teachers, elders and community, and over the past 21 years since that time with Prapto, as teacher after teacher and elder after elder acknowledged the shaman in me, I have been slowly coming to peace with the term and a personal understanding of what it means to me.
There is so much misunderstanding about shamanism and so much mistrust, not all of it misplaced. Let’s face it, shamans have not always been the most trustworthy and peaceful of people over the generations. And the shadow boxing antics of shamans using their power to attack one another and others in traditions all around the world have left their mark. That coupled with the fear engendered in us by mainstream religions intent on destroying the earth based practices of old school shamanism have created strong and often unconscious associations with the words ‘shaman’ and ‘shamanism.’ Given all this, it is no surprise that there is so much mistrust of shamanism in the modern world.
I am really passionate about being part of a new wave of shamanism that is based in down to earth relationship with the balance and health of life, inside us, between us and between us and the community of life on earth. In my heart, I hold to the vision that shamans can find more and more ways to work alongside one another and alongside more allopathic based practitioners in hospitals and in the community at large. If the prophecy of the condor and the eagle holds any truth, now is the time for just that to happen. I believe in my heart that shamanism and the obvious benefits it offers, can play its part in finding the solutions to the challenges we face as a species. And the intention of this book and all the work that we will do promote it is to make as strong a contribution as possible to the understanding and evolution of shamanic practice in the 21st century.
Thanks to the brilliance of the Great Choreographer, I will not be leaving the UK again to teach until the end of August. This is wonderful, as it gives me the time I need to complete my book. It also means that there is only one open event that I will be part of offering until The Space Between Us – Relationship as Spiritual Practice event for couples (just two spaces left for this one as I write) in late August.
So, in the absence of 72-hour Long Dance this year, please take this as your formal invitation to the Earth Dance all night ritual at the Rill Centre in Devon through the night of June 25th. This is a give-away and fundraising event and it will include live music and all night prayer to offer up our thanks for our lives on earth. We hope you can either make it in person or ask your local organiser to get something together in your local area.
So, I am signing off now to go and finish my recapitulation and writing retreat (now there’s an idea!) and I will be back writing again in the newsletter after the summer. Wishing you all a wonderful season of planting and growing and being all that you are, and as that beautiful Nina Simone song goes:
‘giving, giving, giving…..’
Ya’Acov DK. May 2016