School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

Forthcoming Workshops
By Roland
£38,000 raised for a variety of charities around the world of which £23,000 is for the Pachamama Alliance. It was when I saw these figures written in front of me that I realised how worthwhile it was to do the work to make the Long Dance possible.

The truth is, that around the time of the Summer Long Dance I am inclined to become a bit grouchy.  Summer has arrived and I want to get outside walking and gardening instead of working.  There are many work things that need my attention – the new School of Movement Medicine brochure (to be printed in August and sent out at the beginning of September), the brand new Movement Medicine website (to be launched sometime in September or October,) practicalities to do with groups that are starting soon - such as the Apprenticeship Programme and Initiation and then there is this big thing called the Summer Long Dance which takes up so much time and energy.  But when I reflect on the amount of money raised – by just 110 people - I find myself being immensely proud not only of my involvement with this event, but I also find that I have a lot of respect for all the dancers not only for taking part in the marathon event itself but also for raising all that money for charity.

Susannah and Ya'Acov are taking a well earned summer break and so there are no articles by them in this Movement Medicine newsletter.  They will though be returning to work in a few weeks' time.

The 3rd Apprenticeship Programme begins in August and is fully booked.  We are looking forward to welcoming this new group of over 50 people from 17 different countries to the Rill Estate on August 18th.  And there is already interest in the next Apprenticeship Programme which is scheduled to begin in 2016.   

From September 4th – 15th Susannah and Ya’Acov will be teaching the Initiation workshop at the Rill Estate.  This 10 day journey through the life cycles, taking participants on a journey through all the stages from birth to death, is one of Susannah and Ya’Acovs’ oldest and most tested workshops and is highly recommended.  We have a few places left.  Please contact Roland for an application form if you are interested in joining.

Later in September, 24th to 28th, Ya’Acov will be leading the Poetry of Presence workshop with the highly accomplished lucid dream teacher Charlie Morley.   This is also a residential workshop at Rill Estate.  Lucid dreaming practice aims to help us sleep better, dream more lucidly and wake up with more awareness, clarity and joy. It is a precursory skill to Tibetan dream Yoga, an ancient esoteric practice of transformational lucid dreaming.  There is no application form necessary for this workshop.  If you want to book please contact Roland at

We are also taking bookings for the Residential workshop Dancing with the Heart of the World which will be taught by Susannah and Ya’Acov at Waldhaus, Switzerland form 17 – 22 December.  To book, again contact Roland at  There will be a German translation for this workshop.

September Workshops

16th  Bringing the Dance back Home.   Susannah & Ya'Acov will lead the next School of Movement Medicine webinar.   You can book directly through the link.  The cost is £35 for 10 live webinars and access to all the past webinars to follow as often and whenever you want.  If you have further questions contact Roland +44 1803 762255

19 -21     Meta-Magic. Cape Town, SA .   Caroline Carey is returning to South Africa to teach for the School.  Contact:   Jayne + 27 737487743

20 - 21     Antwerp, Belgium. David Mooney will be running his first workshop for the School as a guest teacher.  He will be teaching Fundamentals and Equinox Prayers.       Contact:  Luc + 32 61 32 99 20

26 -28      Jo'burg, SA .  Caroline Carey continues her South African tour teaching Bridging Meta Magic Contact: Ryan +27825520619

Wishing you a wonderful summer!


A Path Made by Knitting
By Kerri Cripps
“Can I come to the Long Dance?” “Don’t be silly knitting doesn’t belong in a ceremony, people might think it was disrespectful” “Oh I didn’t know that! Oh well … Can I come anyway?” “I suppose so, since you are already in the car, and there might be time to knit before the ceremony”

When I told my travelling companion that my knitting had invited itself to the Long Dance he said, “That’s a great idea you could knit during the community round when we are doing the Joanna Macy exercise, it would help.”  So, in spite of my doubts about whether or not I could knit in a ceremonial way, I took my battered plastic carrier bag full of different shades of pink wool and my almost completed strip of knitting up to the marquee, stuffed it out of sight behind my chair and promptly forgot all about it.

I am not sure exactly where we were in the ceremony when I finally heard a distinctly pink whisper saying, “It’s time now!”  Luckily, by then I was sufficiently expanded beyond my everyday persona to respond positively to the invitation and as I began to knit my lingering doubts were quickly soothed by the power of the embodied experience. I felt an almost audible ‘click’ of satisfaction at being in the right place, at the right time, offering what was mine to offer - knitting was clearly the perfect thing for me to be doing. And it quickly became clear that as well as being good for me (1st  dimension, relationship to self) knitting also had positive resonances for my relationships to the other four Movement Medicine dimensions as well:

2nd dimension, other - many people paused and smiled and thanked me

3rd dimension, community & environment - I felt connected to  all the other people, known and unknown, involved in Wool Not Weapons who are knitting pink strips to make a scarf to stretch the 7 miles between Aldermaston and Burghfield, two Atomic Weapons Establishments, in UK, where nuclear weapons are made.  And I was glad to be connecting that circle with the Long Dance circle.
*Click on the link at the end for more information on this amazing bit of dream manifestation

4th dimension, ancestors - knitting is such an old craft it invoked the archetypal feminine, connecting me very strongly with my paternal grandmother and, through her, to all of our  ancestors whose spinning and weaving and knitting have  created the fabric of our lives - materially, emotionally  and spiritually, over the generations.  Here again I felt a strong ‘click’ as I settled into a new level of realisation of our deep interconnection and the recognition of our ability to co-create such a strongly woven container for our dancing prayers

5th dimension, divine - somewhere along the way the rhythmic clicking of the needles began to dance with the devotional beat of the Big Drum calling softly to the all-encompassing arms of the Great Mother asking her, enabling her and thanking her, for holding us all in the heart of the great mystery so that we can dance our dreams and prayers out into the world. I felt as if I’d had the great privilege of sitting in the witness chair for the great mystery at the centre of our ceremony.

This whole experience raised interesting questions for me, about inner and outer authority. Part of the critical voice which says ‘you can’t knit in a ceremony ‘ is a projected external authority with limited views about what is allowed in ceremony. Since it clearly was possible for me to knit in a respectful ceremonial way, I decided, in the course of writing this piece, to explore this process a bit further. So I asked myself who was disturbed by the idea of knitting in ceremony and  uncovered a part of myself that was afraid of being asked why I was doing it,  because, before I started, I didn’t really know the answer to that question – it only became clear to me as I began knitting.  This belief that I need to be able to fully explain and justify my actions before I can take the first step is one that often holds me back!

In this context ‘How dare you knit here?’ transforms from a critical interrogation into a genuinely interesting question: Given my doubts and fears how dare I go ahead and knit in the ceremony? My answer so far is that I dared to trust in, and follow a dreaming process between me and my knitting  and given the chance the knitting process  explained itself very clearly to me, and to others who witnessed it. This emergent way seems  deeply Yin to me  and very much needed in these challenging times when we urgently need to dream paths beyond what we already know and to trust in the wisdom of our other than human companions whether they are trees, rocks, or knitting.

The prayer implicit in my knitting process was for the dedication, courage and strength to dance an emergent path, a path that is deeply accepting and enabling.  One that values both pushing and holding back and recognises their place in the world and at the same time occupies the in-between space where things happen organically in their own good time. This path required me to be with my doubts without pushing them away or letting them hold me back and to trust that the knitting knew all we needed to know.  As Susannah often says, ‘together we are a genius’ and now I am aware of the wider circle of our collective genius that includes knitting.

“Hmm, you aren’t including me now! This is all very interesting and I can see that it’s useful, but you seem to have forgotten about me - this is supposed to be a story about knitting! And you are in danger of losing the thread that holds it all together”

“Thank you for reminding me, and  I agree, when we are following a path made by knitting, dancing or walking it is essential to stay connected to the golden thread that weaves through the whole tapestry of our lives, keeping us on track and guiding us step by step, stitch by stitch so we don’t wander too far from the path. And that’s another reason why knitting in ceremony is so wonderfully, delightfully perfect. So for the next Long Dance I will find some golden thread and a beautiful knitting bag for you, instead of that scruffy plastic carrier bag.”

“Thank you that would be much more respectful!”

Thanks for reading and hope to see you at the next Long Dance
Kerri and the knitting

PS one of the gifts of a creative act such as knitting is that it is symbolically very rich, so the knitting may have whispered  different things to you  – if so it would be lovely to hear about them on the MM facebook page

 *  for more on how one woman had a crazy dream and stitch by stitch, manifest it in the world in such a way that  as well as a demonstration linking the 2 places on Aug 9th,  the anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing,  the knitting has also created new networks of peace activists across the country 

Dancing with Bones & Rainbows
By Jayne Bullen
A while back I went on my first bone-throwing session with a local Sangoma (a South African Shaman). Sangomas work with bones and actual parts of animals – they throw them as a divination tool. Whilst there are parts of Sangomaism that I love and have worked with for many years, for some reason I had avoided having the bones thrown for me.

It had a ‘Muti’ stigma to it for me that linked into the many very damaging stories in Africa of inappropriate use of animal skins, horns and bones and sometimes human parts, for what sangomas call Muti. This isn’t a regulated industry and sadly the few bad eggs in it damage the sentiment for all the amazing work that sangomas do. Despite this, off I went, nervous about this mysterious process and eager to learn and experience something new. The session was profound for me. After the sangoma sang in tongues and called in the spirits to support this offering, he took out what looked like a wild cat skin and shook it around, chucking its contents out on the rug in between us. What followed was one of the most profound, exquisite and accurate explanations of my life to date,  current condition and advice on how to work with the elements in my life that I am still drawing from on a daily basis.

My inner skeptic was calmed and he explained to me that the ‘bones’ are like a microcosm of the real world and that a session like this, in unspoilt wilderness could be done with a walk around in nature instead and that the actual real animals that the bone represent will offer themselves in this way.  Yes, but unlikely I thought to myself that in an hour you would encounter buffalo, snake, rhino and many other animals lurking around waiting to send you a special personal message. But I kept the thought to myself and danced off enjoying and absorbing all I had learnt in this session, expanded by it.

The relationship between Movement Medicine and the natural world exemplifies and connects my love for the dance with the natural world in a way I never understood before and had only felt. It helps me to better contextualise the dance into my own life and the planet at large. I remember many years ago on the Alchemy of Stillness workshop with Ya’Acov finally feeling in my body for the first time the dance between the dance space and the garden outside. He had told us to not talk during one of the breaks and to go and find a quite spot alone in nature to ‘be’. An hour later, hanging from my secret tree in the garden of Croydon Hall, it really hit me clearly in my body that the dance floor is just simply an analogy for the world and life. A ritualised space like the bones that the sangoma throws, created by us to represent the world and nature, to allow us to do the work we need to do in a safely contained space near to where we live. We don’t have to go alone to the wilderness to reconnect often. Like a theatrical stage, the dance floor presents itself to us time and time again as a ritualised ‘place’ we can come to better understand our own humanity within the context of our animal bodies. Instead of heading out to wilderness alone on a vision quest invoking nature in, it gives us a city-based, tangible and accessible way to bring nature back to us and to bring the wild within us into movement.

So there I was, hanging from this tree and my breathe doing a stillness dance with it. Back later that day on the dance floor I did my first Really Rooted dance. That tree has stuck with me since then. Its stance and majesty danced with me that day and I got something intangible and remembered how Gabrielle used to say something like ‘if you think this is really about dancing you have missed the point’.

Since starting to teach Movement Medicine, I have been reminded of this conversation with this sangoma and my tree experience on Ya’Acov’s workshop. It’s been an exquisite journey into the incidental world of animal symbolism for me and as I deepen my connection to nature, some extraordinary creatures have been very clearly coming into my life in new ways and wanting to interact with me in new ways.

It started on my first class as a new apprentice teacher. Earth seemed like the right element to start with. On the way to the class I was driving quite fast eager to get there and a tortoise crossed in front of my car, Very slowly. I got out and helped it along to keep it safe and watched it slowly walk away, taking on board what I needed from its appearance into my life, I slowed WAY down and sunk into the ground of my first class. Literally a hundred metres later, a wild rabbit hopped out in front of the car.

Next came a workshop about Re-Balancing and Re-Connection through the integration of yin and yang. I got up early to get ready and pack the car and guess who was waiting for me inside my house on the stairs: a snake. Just hanging out and watching me. I defaulted to slight panic (it’s hard to tell the difference in my area between the mole snake and the lethal cape cobra) and got her outside the door and chased her off with a broom. After a beautiful morning, I get home and there she was again. Just waiting at the door for me. Very calm n cool. Hanging out. I never saw her again after that day.

Next class involved a lot of butterfly medicine and when I go into my car this magnificent creature in the pic of this post, was on my dashboard. It stayed there for a long time and wouldn’t leave.

Last week I was teaching my first City-based class and on the way into the city I had a big moment of doubt about my decision to teach in the city: I have always taught in beautiful, held places in nature and wondered if a new city venue on the fourth floor of a big concrete building was suited for me or Movement Medicine. As these thoughts came in, a massive, crisp, clear rainbow opened across the sky in front of me for just a few seconds. It was so beautiful it was pic-worthy and deserved to be shared and seen but as I grabbed for my phone to snap it, it was gone. Just for me only no one else that rainbow had been.

So now I see it clearly. How nature is always there, no matter how far removed we are from actual evidence of it. Offering me advice and guiding me in the direction I need to go. Often I have simply not noticed, shut nature out, not listened, not seen and been numb to her endless, constant teachings. I have done the same to my body too at times, ignoring obvious messages and having another cup of coffee instead to get through a gruelling work day. In the city there is still the sky above us and earth deeper down through the concrete slabs. We have access wherever we are to whatever we need if we choose to invite it in, to squash our inner skeptic. And to believe.

So, for now I will teach one City class a month, and one Nature class a month. Hout Bay the last Tuesday of each month and in Salt River on the first Thursday of every month. I will keep listening and looking for what nature has to tell me. Join me!


from Cape Town

Here is my FB page if you wish to find my local classes and connect.!/movingbodyjayne




Conversation with my Heart
By Rosie Jackson
Medial writing during the workshop POETRY OF PRESENCE, Munich, June 2014) What do you have to say to me, MY HEART?

I have been with you always, from the first moment. I have seen you grow physically and I have provided for your nourishment and flow. I have never tired of this, though largely you are unaware of me.

It is unusual for anyone to ask us – the heart organ as a collective of living and conscious cells – what we may wish to say or what we may desire. Indeed, it is a superfluous question in that our direction and motivation is clear and unswerving – to keep you alive and in good health. If we swerve for a moment, you are endangered. This would be the fatal consequence of our inattention. Therefore, we are totally committed to our path.

But we work in unison with you. If you wish to make our job easy, Beloveds, then you will seek BALANCE. You will treasure your bodies as the temples they are. You will pace yourselves. You will not place yourselves in extreme situations which endanger you. You will seek out adequate rest and movement. You will not fall into lethargy or despondency, for this will prevent movement on a mental, spiritual AND THEREFORE PHYSICAL level, thus slowing down our capabilities.

If movement stops, growth stops also. Excess hesitation means drifting towards listlessness. You become distracted. You lose your centre (and it is no coincidence that we, your heart cells, are present at your centre). In the severe, last stages of decay, you may even have forgotten that you have a centre at all. Then, your memories of it are clouded. Instead of glowing like a guiding beacon for others, you will perceive your centre as an indefinable mass floating randomly on a stagnant pond. When you lose your awareness of your heart, your heart cells will degenerate also.

The lines in the face of a man or woman can tell a story to the initiated. They do not suddenly appear due to “old age”. They appear because the mouth or forehead has been pulled repeatedly in a one direction by the individual concerned. These are often cells which have been nourished with WORRY instead of LOVE. We, your heart cells, also bask in your smile and your attention. We complete our task more rapidly with your gratitude and blessing. Compassion for all is the key.

We, the cells of your heart, are symbolic of this COMPASSION, and indeed our work is of compassionate nature – seeking to serve you to our best ability continuously. We work in perfect unison within your body. Our message to you on earth in physical bodies is TO ACT IN UNISON ALSO – with the world within yourselves and the world outside of yourselves. The connection to all others is there, whether you see it or not, whether you feel it physically or not, so seek to feel this connection with the utmost compassion, but without forgetting yourselves.

Let compassion take the lead. Be patient. Do not judge. It is not that you cannot understand another person; it is that you have not dug deep enough to find that which would help you understand. There is no sudden unsponsored action. A response may seem automatic, but actually there is a reason for that automatism. It may be a SAFETY NET or a SURVIVAL KIT for the person displaying it. When you know this, how can you look upon anyone without compassion.

Re-discover that yearning which drvies you to search out company and exchange with others. Remember being in love – how you could not wait to fall into their arms. Remember how you did EVERYTHING to secure their comfort. Be this for yourselves. Be this for others. We urge you to let your heart speak. May it never be silenced: may the dialogue be everlasting.


Just some Realizations
By Katrin Kohlbecher
For once and all I am amazed by this one precious life. How comes you surprise us with your mystery again and again? I have been asking this question to myself recently in many different contexts: “What was the very first thing that happened?”

In this case it started with waking up from a dream on a Monday morning in late June 2014, when this voice in my head wouldn’t stop asking: “So what is it you have come to do in this life?” For 38 years I have had a beautiful life, grateful for my journeys, steps and decisions and yet, this one quest, this deep longing had never been nourished. When my boss suddenly approached me with the offer to take a few days off, the following week - whoosh - the only thing that had kept me from joining the Long Dance suddenly melted away. Still, it took a while for me to realize… So here I was, again in my bed, Monday night and sleep didn’t come. Sometimes it’s just amazing how the NIGHTs become the source, the co-creators of our DAYly life. At 3 am Tuesday Morning, I finally got it: “Get up, send the application to Roland and book your flight!” And so it was.

In the “hang-over” the day after I truly questioned if all that had been a good idea. Preparing such a ceremony in only four days alongside a full schedule? Deep breath, finding my feet on the ground and my mouth asking for support: “Hi Nina, do you have some white dress or skirt I could possibly borrow?” Yes, for all my relations! Within two days and a few emails and facebook-postings later, I already had raised more than 150pounds for the amazing Pachamama Alliance. “Wow. Thank you.” Blessed are the moments when we realize how much, how much support is truly there for us. But would my whole system be able to catch up with this speed? Arriving at the gorgeous Earth Spirit Center I realized, the amount of people gathered was quite overwhelming. I felt a bit lost, aware that I need quite a lot of time to arrive at a new place and with new people. Good to have some things, I can always rely on. One thing is Roland’s magic in distribution of beds/rooms. I was gifted the gentle, caring soul I had just recently happily shared the room with, during the Phoenix Retreat. “Phew, just perfect, thank you!” Journeying into the unknown, it felt wise to have somebody with me, I did know.

Next, I found myself under the white fabric roof of our ceremonial marquee. In this sacred space of no words, my support group and I needed three rounds of solid discussion, if we are to follow the given A, B, C structure of dancing, writing and witnessing or rather come up with our own way.- Should we liberate ourselves from the structure or is the structure itself liberating? - At the time, I was just furious, doubting again, if I was really meant to be here.

Then I saw: Ahhh, it might be the grumpy, harsh and rigid parts of me, pointing at what to pray for. In my impatience and preconceptions, I found my prayers. We were part of the ‘servants of food and tea ceremony’. “Oh, that sounds pretty sacred to me.” Only until I found out that it meant getting up much earlier than other dancers to soak nuts and cut fruits and vegetables and provide tea to 100 people, coming for it, all at once. Uhhhrgg. Well, at first, we kind of passed on the ‘pressure’ we felt about it, to one another in the group. Some dances and many liters of tea later, we had found out, how to serve the tea without putting half of the Earth Altar under water. We met the spaciousness and fluidity of supporting each other, stepping in for each other and asking for what we need.

In this incredibly strongly held space of sending our prayers and dancing with our relations and the spirit world, maybe, my strongest moments were quite simple and earthy. Putting a flower into a co-dancers hair, receiving her radiant smile; hearing the sound of water pouring into the big thermos-flask, getting a first taste of celery being cut in yummy looking pieces; the accomplishment I felt after clearing the last of many seeds from this water-melon or the tenderness of the Long Dancers waking up and crawling out of their sleeping-bags after a very short night, right back into the dance.

Realizing - I would call it rather ‘Real-Life-ing’ - how it affected the whole system, if somebody took out a whole liter of tea at once during ‘rush hour’ or asking for more food, while we were truly worried if it would be enough for all. I was reminded of weddings I had attended in Africa. I had been so astonished, trying to figure out how they always managed to feed the hundreds of people suddenly turning up as neighbors of friends of relatives…. They would never leave anybody unfed, not nourished. However much they had, it was always enough to feed all. Trying to align with this sense of abunDance we got better and better in finding the right amount. Taking and giving ‘just enough’ truly is a sacred place. Maybe, this Long Dance, was not only about the WHAT of my purpose in life, it was surely as much about the HOW to serve and nourish. It was about putting my tiny (yet unique ;-) footprints into relation with all of it and all those around me.

When Susannah called us together one morning in the ceremony, I was among the first to stand right in front of her, knowing in my heart that this will be an important moment. In her deep gracefulness, strength and vulnerability she was standing there, telling us about having to leave the Long Dance to be with her dying mother. When our tears-filled eyes and hearts met, I knew I had taken the right decision. “Nothing in the world equals the power of your intense fragility”. Sometimes it is just one precious moment, so deep it becomes the fruit of many seeds we have planted, and sometimes also the fertilizer for a new generation of plants.

In the gentle community of all Long Dancers, now feeling like family, we lit the fire that marked the end of the ceremony. And there I was - I had dedicated my dance to all our descendants - with beautiful 4 year old Sophia sleeping next to me, tenderly holding her baby-doll in her arms. Feeling the immense dedication in my strong heart, I just knew: “Never will I underestimate the magnificence of this one precious life.”

With 21 gratitudes to all who / that made the Long Dance possible.

Thank you for the chance to witness you in yet another level of excellence, grace and beauty just from the core of who you are.

Katrin Kohlbecher                   Frankfurt,  July 2014

By Lindsey Spinks
This year’s Long Dance was blessed by the presence of Manari Ushigua Kaji, visionary leader of the Sapara nation in the Ecuadorean Amazon. He invoked the spirit of the Amazon and shared his traditions of healing through the spirit of the tobacco.

As he presided over the ceremony with his brother Ya’acov, I really got a sense of a true tribal chief.  He held a gentle yet strong presence with his headdress of toucan and macaw feathers, firmly rooted in the earth and connected to the spiritual realm.

We weaved an itiniery of visits in to his time at the Long Dance as it was very important for Manari to share the reality of what is happening in his community right now and get support.  The Sapara Territory is threatened by the Ecuadorean governments 11th round of oil exploration at a time when communities in the northern Amazon of Ecuador are dealing with devastating effects of three decades of oil drilling by oil giant Chevron.

He was special guest at Schumacher College where he shared his traditions with Colin Campbell, a traditional doctor from Botswana, accompanied by Dr. Stephan Harding who was delighted to make a connection with Manari and translate his knowledge.

The following day we held a gathering in Glastonbury where Manari was received by Denise Michell, deputy mayor and druid and Jon Cousins, local green councillor.  There was a very inspired discussion with much interest, with questions and answers on spiritual and practical fronts.

The Long dance came to an end with a family gathering around the fire.  Manari felt totally at home with his family around him.  In fact, it was the first time that he has been out of his community in the Amazon that he has felt so at home and connected to the spirit world. 

The following morning we left for London for more meetings and interviews and an evening event at Passing Clouds, a vibrant venue with lots of young people and spiritual awareness. 

The whole week created a connection to Manari, his community and the spirit of the Amazon forest and raised awareness of the threat to his beautiful culture.  So many people were keen to support the cause and signed up.

Many ideas are evolving to help the Sapara.   Manari has a plan called Naku, Sapara for forest, including the establishment of a research centre in the community in order to document and prove what the Sapara already know in terms of healing properties of their traditions including medicinal plants.   They also need an international presence as there is a threatening Police presence and those that are defending the land are facing criminal charges as well as manipulation and threats.  Other avenues involve letter writing and a petition.  We certainly need funds to facilitate all of this.  

We will follow up with a meeting with Pachamama Alliance and be in touch to let you know what action you can take.  In the meantime, if you would like to help in any way, please contact Lindsey at and see for more information on what is happening in the Amazon and elsewhere.

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.