Summer Solstice Greetings from the Vision Quest Fire – June 2018
Hello all. Summer solstice is approaching here in the Northern hemisphere and I’m writing to you from the Movement Medicine vision quest fire. This is our third and final night and the brave questers are out on Dartmoor entering the final stages of their quest. It’s a challenging moment to come back in to day-to-day life after 72 hours fasting, being alone in nature and crying for a vision. But it is also one of joy.
A bite to eat, a warm shower, and the company of friends all soften the edge of re-entering the everyday world. And of course, bringing back the gifts of our ceremonies for our families, friends and communities is the intention of going out there in the first place.
The vision quest has three stages. They are called Severance, Threshold and Incorporation. Severance is about cutting away from our day to day lives and entering into the unknown. Many times during a vision quest we ‘die’ as we move past our known limits and out into virgin territory. Acknowledging how things are and from that firm ground of acceptance, seeing what habits and stories no longer serve us, is very much part of our work in Movement Medicine.
Meeting death as a wise and benevolent teacher appears in several places on our calendar: Initiation is one. Beyond Muscle and Bone is another. As also the following two electives as part of the Apprenticeship Programme: Burial Ceremony and In the Mirror of Thee – The Movement Medicine Vision Quest.
By the way, contrary to some rumours, there are still a few places left on this year’s apprenticeship programme beginning at the end of October and it is NOT too late to apply).
The Threshold is a gateway between one state and another. In the vision quest, it is a physical gateway made of hazel trees and hanging feathers through which questers walk as they begin their time out in nature. It marks the severance and the intention to call for vision, clarity, guidance, and self-knowledge. It is a powerful choice to fast, be out in the wild with only a simple shelter and let ourselves become empty enough to receive guidance. It is an active entrance into the medicine of the Phoenix and the life-death-rebirth cycle.
When the questers return, they walk back through that same gateway which signifies the beginning of the third stage of the quest known as Incorporation. Literally speaking, incorporation means bringing into the body and it represents the integration of new learning into our day-to-day lives. I’m writing a new book at the moment called Shaman – Opening the Door Between the Worlds. It’s an invocation of the Inner Shaman archetype, a figure I believe to be an important part of our awakening if we are to evolve as a human species beyond the never-ending bickering, suffering and damage caused by ‘Us and Them’ thinking. The Inner Shaman knows how we dream ourselves into being and how the story we tell is intrinsic to the perception of life we have. The book is based in the five dimensions of relationship (self, other, community, imaginal world of the spirits, and the relationship with the Source) which are the roots of the tree of life in the Movement Medicine mandala. The basic premise of the book, and the reason I am mentioning it here, is that ‘shamanism begins when the ritual ends.’ Another way of saying that is, if we want to make grounded change in our lives and in this world, bringing the experiences, learnings and treasures of powerful ceremonies like the vision quest into the nitty gritty of who we are and how we live our lives is in fact, the whole point. In other words, incorporation is the desired outcome.
I am looking forward to welcoming them all back tomorrow and sharing that joyous moment of recognising and honouring the change in them that 72 hours on Dartmoor is inevitably going to bring. In my experience, spirit celebrates when we go beyond our previously held ideas about our limitations through stretching our capacity in ceremonies like these. Human beings have always done that in one way or another and there is nothing in me that thinks we have any less reason to do it these days than in the past. In fact, there is a very compelling argument that says we may need it more than ever.
Before we leave the Vision Quest, I want to mention what a wonderful moment we had at the beginning of the ceremony when Susannah and our son Reuben joined us at the opening fire. Reuben has just returned from his fourth Vision Quest and first Sundance and it was special moment for us all for Reuben to share some of his vision quest and outdoor survival knowledge and then us all be drumming together as the Vision Questers went through that threshold. It is a moment which I will never forget. Appropriately, Roland and Susanne were around the fire too.
After a few days working at home doing skypes with our apprentices, two days doing the next round of graduations and four days with the fifth generation of apprentices and some others, we will be heading into our Summer Long Dance. I am so happy that Manari Ushigua, the leader of the Sapará nation of the Ecuadorian Amazon, will be joining us again. It is such an honour to have him as our guest and to repay him for the kindness and warmth of the welcome he and his family have always offered us when we visit them in the Amazon. We hope to raise a shed load of money to support him and his people through the Pachamama Alliance, which is once again this year’s central fundraising project. Dancers who come to the Long Dance are free to fundraise for any worthwhile project they wish to dance for. This is a central part of the Summer Long Dance ritual in which every dancer is asked to raise a minimum of £300 for the charity of their choice. If you cannot make it to this year’s Long Dance or it’s just not your thing to do these crazy shamanic rituals, please feel free to support our fundraising efforts. You can do this by clicking here and giving generously to those working to protect the lungs of the world (the Amazon rainforest) on behalf of us all and all future generations. Go on, it feels good to give.
I am also really happy to announce the launch of my new album, Shaman’s Song which will be released by Hay House on July 3rd. It is a powerful album made up of four guided shamanic journeys and one unguided long drumming track. Susannah’s drumming and Jem Friar’s didgeridoo accompany me on my drum. The tracks are also available for download without guidance. We call this the babble off version (as opposed to Babble On). Here’s what best-selling author of Raise Your Vibration and many other books, Kyle Gray very kindly has to say about it:
I’ll never forget the first time I heard Ya’Acov Darling Khan lead a meditation with his shamanic drum. Instantly I was transported to another realm where I met my guides, received healing and was filled with inspiration. Ya’Acov is the real deal and is doing incredibly sacred work that the world needs more than ever. Let him guide you deep into the truth of who you are.
I am also happy to tell you that Susannah has also just produced an absolutely beautiful new online morning meditation called Wake Up which will be available to purchase from www.darlingkhanonline very soon. Susannah is shining brighter than I’ve ever seen her as she enters into a new phase of her life. I know how lucky I am to have her.
After the Long Dance, we begin our summer break so we’ll be offline for a few weeks at home as a family. I have my new book to write (with a deadline of August 31st for publication by Hay House in May 2019) so it will be three hours of writing a day, three hours of working on our land and a whole lot of hours to enjoy being at home with my loved ones.
I will look forward to reconnecting with y’all in the Autumn. So for now, may the warmth of this fire touch your heart and remind you of just what a magnificent and unlikely miracle your existence is. Mine too.
Ya’Acov DK. Summer Solstice 2018
Ya’Acov’s Autumn Calendar:
21–23 September: Power Stories with Ya’Acov. Zagreb, Croatia.
This workshop is an invitation to find out more about the power you hold inside and your relationship to that resource. We will explore how our relationship to power manifests through past stories, how we might deny our own power, or give it (consciously or unconsciously) over to another authority within or without. Through dance and embodied explorations we re-shape our connection with power and how to access it in a healthy and truthful way, giving space to even more of what we are.
Contact Lucija: +385 915 325 587; email@example.com
9 October: Bringing the dance back home with Ya’Acov. Webinar, online.
The webinar is a wonderful way to get to know Movement Medicine or integrate workshop experiences and bridge the medicine of the dance into your every day life. It is also a way to connect with the wider Movement Medicine community around the world. The webinar offers you the music, space and guidance to discover and strengthen your personal dance practice at home (or wherever you are).
Contact Roland: +44 1803 762255 firstname.lastname@example.org
13–21 October: Initiation with Susannah and Ya’Acov. Rill Estate, Devon, UK.
Initiation is an intensive 10-day retreat during which the dancers are invited and guided to embody and dance through the rich landscape of all nine life cycle from conception to death – including play, deep processes, and the support of the group and teachers. This workshop is an extraordinary, life-changing, colourful, profound and rewarding journey; and it is one of the prerequisites for the Apprenticeship Training.
Contact Roland: +44 1803 762255; email@example.com
26 Oct–4 November: Apprenticeship Training Module I: Intention with Susannah and Ya’Acov. Rill Estate, UK.
This is the first of three main modules as part of the Movement Medicine Apprenticeship Programme starting in 2018. The roots and foundations are being build for an intense and deep journey of self discovery and expansion, of grounding and letting go. The group is being knitted together and the intentions are being set for each one’s Apprenticeship journey.
Contact Roland: +44 1803 762255; firstname.lastname@example.org