School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
Issue: February Newsletter

A Bouquet
By Hanna
I love the colours we humans can bring into this world! Here in Konstanz (South Germany) we are witnessing the annual, still traditional Carnival, and some of these years-old unique and colourful processions are wonderful to watch. Besides, there are pink plush teddies with big ears cycling through town, a fierce looking, three year old pirate in a pram, or a butterfly-mom on her bike, pulling her fairy-daughter in a kiddies-trailer, whole ice bear families and Vikings passing, and of course the odd uniformed pizza deliverer on his e-bike in between. Love it!

So, I look at this colourful maze of humans in movement, as a big smile forms on my face: with love for these playful parts and scenes of living life, and with pure joy in seeing this creative expression each one brings onto our cold and grey February streets. Colour-dots everywhere. I look at this wonder, and notice that this love for us humans and the seeing of each single individual being a totally unique part of this bouquet of humanity, is something my dancing through some of this ‘Movement Medicine’ has brought closer to me.

We welcome you to a similar manifold bouquet of articles and contributions, and I thank all the authors for sharing their colours with us, their words and their creativity.

With this February newsletter, we are also starting to include one article by a Movement Medicine Teacher or Facilitator each month, and Catherine Wright is starting us off with Movement Medicine and Ministry, I loved reading it.
This is also an invitation for teachers and facilitators to send us anything you would like to share about your work, your experiences, or other stories.
You can send your words to me:, which is also the address for any other contributions for the newsletter. Suggestions and comments also welcome. Please send articles with heading and foto. Thank you!

My own self would like to offer a more detailed sharing of my experiences during the Journey of Empowerment last year, since it has and still is greatly shaping my path of questioning, healing, stepping, being and growing. I did start, only to realize, I can’t share of this whole journey in just one newsletter article. So I decided to split it up in a few, picking one subject with particular importance for me during the process. The first one I shall call Embodiment, which you will find in a separate article.


Forthcoming Events and Workshops:

We carry the bouquet of variety and colourfulness through into the offering of workshops: These coming weeks are filled with so many Movement Medicine goodies, with so many tastes and in so many different countries and cities. Wow! Something for everyone, almost everywhere. Have a look!
Apart from Susannah and Ya’acov teaching in South Africa in February, there are two Re-Creation workshop’s with Ya’Acov coming up (Poland and Switzerland), and the 2015 Journey of Empowerment starting in March. For both there are still a few places left. From own experience I can say that the ‘Journey of Empowerment’ has certainly been one of the most beautiful and lasting gifts I have given to myself. And this is the last one taught by Susannah and Ya’Acov for now, as you will read in their articles. There is also the option of participating as practical assistant, in which case your fees will be reduced.

Feb 17-21 The Alchemy of Stillness. Susannah and Ya’Acov. Cape Town. South Africa.
Revealing and uncovering the pureness of the heart as a centre of wisdom, emotion, instinct and intuition, the dancers will get to know and dance with the four domains of the heart: Courage, Surrender, Integrity and Gratitude. In a whole night ceremony in the Alchemists Garden, you will be invited and guided to find your own purification and healing prayer in dance and meditation, in a wonderful, self-created landscape of temples and altars to explore with, rest in, nourish, dare or let go. Uncovering and discovering the power and the beauty of the pure heart.
Contact: Jayne + 27 737487743

Feb 20-22 Awakenings. David Mooney. Graz, Austria.
Working with the Dancer, the Dreamer and the Warrior, this workshop will explore the offerings you hold and how to manifest these in this world. Using the maps of Movement Medicine, David guides the dancers on a journey of healing, dreaming and creating.
Contact: Helga Bauer +43 650 4358585

Feb 24 Bringing the Dance Back Home. Susannah and Ya’Acov. Online.
In this webinar you are able to strengthen and experience your practice at home, dance a led Movement Medicine session in your own living room and invite friends to join in. Its £35 for 10 webinars, plus the online access to all the past webinars.
Contact: Roland +44 1803 762255

Feb 27 to March 1. Colours of the Heart. Mark Boylan. Verona. Italy.
This workshop is led by one of the School’s guest teachers.
Contact: Tamara +39 3396571488

March 4-8 Re-Creation. Ya’Acov. Warsaw. Poland.
This is an intense journey, which will introduce you to some of the main tools Movement Medicine works with, and it takes you on a path of healing and re-creating.
Contact: Olga +48 509 774 884

March 5-8 Resonance - voice, song and movement medicine with Susannah. A residential at the beautiful Pegasus centre, north of Hamburg. Germany. Here is the chance and the safe space to let yourself be surprised by the power and the healing of your own dance and your own voice, with the gentle support of Master Drummer Thomas Ritthoff (creator of Nanigo).
Contact: Edgar +49 40 1888 65 95

March 12 Move! Ya’Acov. Strasbourg. France.
A great introduction to Movement Medicine!
Contact: Fabienne Hester. Email:

March 13-15 Holy Trinity. Ya’Acov. Munich. Germany.
In this weekend workshop participants dive into the intelligence as well as the unity of body, heart and mind through movement and dance, and through meeting with the Dancing Warrior, the Wise Elder and the Fool.
Contact: Claudjia +49 89 292644

March 13-15 Meta-Magic. Caroline Carey. Zagreb. Croatia.
Another inspiring workshop with one of the Movement Medicine guest teachers. Contact: Lucija +385 91 550 9641

March 17-22 Journey of Empowerment (1st Module). Susannah. Devon. UK. (2nd module: 10-16th June; 2rd module: 6-11th October).
A wonder-filled and very well guided journey to aligning body, heart and mind, to finding more ground and stability as well as direction, and to nurturing more self-compassion, self-expression and creativity. It is also the first step towards the Apprenticeship Program with Movement Medicine.
Reduced fee as practical assistant possible.
Contact: Roland +44 1803 762255

March 25 to 29 Re-Creation. Ya’Acov. Residential at the beautiful Schweibenalp, Switzerland. With a Move! evening in Thun on the 24th. This is an intense journey, which will introduce you to some of the main tools Movement Medicine works with, and it takes you on a path of healing and re-creating.
Also see article on Re-Creation.
Contact: Katriona +41 33 676 2708

March 27 to 29 Love Stories. Susannah. Prague. Czech Republic.
A beautiful, very touching and deep workshop, looking at and dancing through love and relationship. Love-stories: the patterns (stories) we live when showing, asking for, needing, extending or sharing love and intimate relationship. It’s about the relationship with yourself, and yourself love, as well as relationships with and love towards others or your partner.
Contact: Veronika +42 0 727 941 674

March 31st Bringing the Dance Back Home. Susannah and Ya’Acov. Webinar. Contact: Roland +44 1803 762255


Enjoy Your Dance!

Change is in the Air!
By Susannah
"Becoming without being is pointless. Being without becoming is boring." Ursula le Guin

I had a massage from a woman today who, in between helping my back unlock from what feels like generations of “self holding” told me about the planetary alignments of this time. She told me that the last 4 or 5 years have, astrologically speaking, been building to a crescendo of what she called “shaking and waking” which is going to peak in the next few months.

The old structures and unexamined assumptions on which our world is built have been and are being shaken to their very foundations, both personally and collectively. She said that after this peak, which is a kind of watershed, the pace of change is going to accelerate. She said that the planets which will preside over this period of accelerated change are Venus and Jupiter (which represent love and joyous expansion). I better tell you her name: Claudia Schaefer.  I’m not normally into millennialism or dramatic statements about stuff (and neither is Claudia, who is extremely down to earth) but what she said does fit with my own experience. It is a time of enormous shifting. I feel as if I am being asked to re-calibrate everything and neither go too fast or too slow, to keep pace with the systemic change which is going on under the surface more or less everywhere. It’s not easy, but it is exciting.

One of the changes which feels like a tectonic shift in my own world is that this is the last year I will be teaching the ongoing group 'The Journey of Empowerment' (which we affectionately call JoE). I’ve taught an ongoing group in the fundamental practice of our work for over 20 years, and it’s time to give this year’s group all the treasure I’ve discovered over the last years, and then to let it go, as our pathfinders become “of age” to hold this level of work themselves, and I am being called to focus more on the Apprenticeship and Training pathways and other work in the world.

So I want to celebrate this part of my work of the last 20 years. JoE has been a key place for me to discover and develop my own medicine and work, and I thank and wish everyone well who has taken part over the years. Interestingly, in the past, on average about half those in any one JoE go on to the Apprenticeship, and about half take it just for itself, and may take years digesting its medicine.

The ‘Journey of Empowerment’ is fundamentally about embodiment. It is based in an understanding of the dual importance of being and becoming. It starts with a checking in with the existential foundations of our being: do we feel and know that we are welcome here on earth? Do we welcome, love and accept ourselves in our particularity, our special, individual uniqueness? If not, what can we do about it? 

This is a challenging and important healing quest for many of us at this time in our cultural history. It is a quest which asks us intimate and personal questions about what we choose, and these are questions only we ourselves can answer. At the same time, wonderfully paradoxically, we cannot do this healing work alone. We are designed to grow and expand, learning how we belong in life, through being part of healthy community. As humans we are profoundly social beings. Indeed, we are the most social of animals. If you are familiar, for example, with dogs, wolves, horses, elephants or dolphins, you know that that is really saying something.

So this is part of the ‘Journey of Empowerment’ the experience that you are not a function, or a role, but an amazing, unique, creative being, intimately connected with the mystery of life and with so much of value to discover, offer and become. Through being part of an ongoing group of similarly committed dancers, we become safe enough to risk letting ourselves go beyond the “comfort zone” of our default survival strategies, and explore new possibilities. We discover that, even if we fall flat on our faces, it’s OK; we are loved, accepted and honoured, and that we can get up and try again, or do something different. It’s OK! Our souls and our deep longings are allowed to emerge from hiding and see the light of day, where they can begin to take form and become the true gifts they are, for ourselves, each other and the world.

This is the prayer that is embedded in the ‘Journey of Empowerment’ and it has been my privilege to watch over it becoming manifest year, after year as each group of extra-ordinary ordinary individuals goes through this initiation. I thank every one of you who has given me the honour of holding the space for you, and witnessing your being and becoming, and I look forward to sharing this last ‘Journey of Empowerment’ with this last group which is gathering now, taking place at the Rill Centre in Devon, UK. There are a few more places if you would like to jump on board. I look forward to sharing this special journey with you, and with Ya’Acov, who, as usual joins us for the second module.

With love to all of us and best wishes for dancing creatively with whatever “shaking and waking” you are experiencing,


Susannah Darling Khan

Change is in the Air
By Ya'Acov
I laughed the first time I heard the phrase: the only thing that’s constant in this life is change.” Funny as it was, it also felt like a prediction and I instinctively knew it was true. And that made me a little nervous!

I was in my early 20’s at the time, struggling with the debilitating fear of not knowing how to make a living or make my contribution in this life. I longed for some stability but I had no idea how to find it. I longed for a way out but then I met Gabrielle Roth who told me that the only way out was through.


It’s remarkable to look back from here. In ceremonies, I often remember specific moments in my life of deep confusion, fear bordering on terror, and a sense of loss or lack of direction. I see these previous versions of myself and I feel a great deal of love for them. When I look deeper, I often see the roots of these experiences and they run deep. When I follow them, they take me back into situations in my childhood. If I follow them further, I see pictures of my ancestors’ lives and particular situations that were never digested or released. These range from battlefields to concentration camps. I have lost count of the amount of times I have witnessed previous versions of myself dying. I experience the holographic nature of who we are, layer upon layer of experience mapped in the lines on our faces, the shape of our muscles and the texture of our bones. It seems to me that our cells hold fragments of memory too and that what we call reality us in fact a perception of reality made up of many, many pieces. The jigsaw puzzle of our perception is a picture made up of a thousand stories that have been lived on every continent and in every epoch. And yet, at the core of it all, through all the change, and beyond all the stories, there is a place, an oasis of self that rests in the knowledge of now and the direct experience of the ineffable spirit that breathes through it all.


I live what I have come to call a ridiculously blessed life. I’ve followed a road for 30 years and tilled the soil of my intention year on year. I really have no idea how things actually happen. But I have a deep sense that the outcome I am living now is the dance between the ten thousand choices I have made and the will of the Great Spirit. Creation happens between us and life and our Movement Medicine practice seeks to remind us again and again to become conscious of and take responsibility for the choices we are making. Movement Medicine is both really simple and deeply complex. The further we go on our journey, the subtler the dance becomes. The stories that keep us attached to the past and condemn us to repeat it again and again run through us on every level. They run through the body, the heart and the mind. And, they don’t just belong to us. They belong to the time, the place and the culture we are born into.


Trip to the Amazon

We have just returned once more from visiting our family and friends in the Ecuadorian Amazon. We once again visited our Achuar brothers and sisters and our Sappara family. The journey this time went deeper than ever. The sense of exchange of energy, dreaming, healing and support is beyond my capacity to describe. To be welcomed and acknowledged by these people, to be given the opportunity to share my medicine as well as receive theirs, to be welcomed into their homes as a friend and as family gives me more strength than I knew was possible. And naturally, the more we fall in love with the forest and these human guardians of all it stands for, the more I wish to stand alongside them and protect the forest for the generations to come. These people are our family. On this journey, our dreaming connection was stronger than ever. And Manari Ushigua, the Tribal Leader of the Sappara people who visited the Long Dance last year and who will do so again this year, told us all something that made me very happy. He told us that he and his people knew that there were people outside of the forest who stood with them. What he said he and they didn’t know before he came to the Long Dance was that there are people out here in our world who understand them and can meet them on a spiritual level.


The Sappara people are dreamers. They are people who recognise the spirit that moves through physical matter. And Manari saw in the Long Dance ceremony that we are the same. It’s good not to feel alone in this world. On this visit, we officially became godparents of Manari’s Great Nephew, also called Manari. The ceremony was simple and moving.


The Summer Long Dance – An Appeal for Support

The Summer Long Dance is the pinnacle of our School’s year. It brings together all that is inherent in our practice into a powerful ceremony that goes well beyond the workshop experience. It’s a huge effort from everyone present and from Roland and ourselves throughout the year. In the past years, it has cost us money to provide the Long Dance. We are currently looking for people who might be able to support the Long Dance financially. We would like to find a group of people or an individual who would feel able to underwrite the Long Dance so that if it makes a loss, this would be covered. Such support would also enable us to move the ceremony into a round tent which would much better suit the energy of the ceremony. Please do get in touch with me if you are interested in offering this support. The Long Dance has so far raised more than £250,000-00 for a whole host of excellent projects including the Pachamama Alliance. Send me an e-mail to if you wish to know more.


Change on the Horizon & the Next Apprenticeship Programme

For the past several years, ever since we ran our first apprenticeship programme, we have been looking for successful ways to pass on our work. We now have a body of Movement Medicine Teachers and Facilitators out there who are offering the work in a whole host of places and contexts. We are proud of them and their work. And we have reached a time when we are happy for their work to now count as prerequisites for our Apprenticeship Programme, the next one of which begins in the Autumn of 2016. We will give more details of this soon on our website.


One change that we are making is that we will stop holding the Journey of Empowerment Ongoing Group after this year and hand it over to our Staff team and other teachers. That means that this is the last opportunity for any of you who wish to take this journey with the Darling Khans. The Journey of Empowerment is a wonderful gateway into deeper work within Movement Medicine. We have been offering it in one form or another for well over 20 years and we intend that the last one we offer will be a jewel of a journey. We are equally happy that from next year, this part of our work will be offered by our Staff and we feel this to be a natural evolution. Our last Journey of Empowerment Ongoing Group begins on March 17th. There are still places left. Please contact Roland to book.


Spring Cleaning Time

Part of the beauty of Movement Medicine practice is its relationship to the turning seasons of the year. As spring knocks on the door for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the time is ripe for a little recreation. Re-Creation is the workshop I offer that teaches us how to use the fantastically powerful shamanic tool that is the SEER Process. It’s a tool for cleansing the past but more importantly, for releasing life energy from where it may be locked in past events so that it is available to us now in the present. Rather than being an excuse, the SEER process transforms our relationship with the past into a source of high octane energy for creating in the here and now. This year, I am offering this workshop in two places, in Poland and in Switzerland.


So dear Moving companions on this Life Dance road, I have come to the bottom of the page and South Africa is calling. May we all know who we are. May we all give everything we’ve got. May we recognise the opportunity of living in these times and all make the most of it. May the crises we face wake us up to our responsibilities as guardians co-creators of the future. And may the dance pick you up in its infinite embrace and always, always bring you back home to the heart.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.


With deep love and respect and For All our Relations.

Ya’Acov DK. February 2015

Fly Free Susanne
By Susannah and Ya'Acov
As you may know, our dear friend of many years, Susanne Perks, died on Tuesday. She’d been living with the ever more debilitating effects of a massive brain aneurism for 20 years with an extra-ordinary commitment to life, joy and humour.

25 years ago Susanne got behind our work and gave us a level of organisational and moral support without which helped us build a sure foundation for the work we do now. We are forever grateful, respectful and wish her dancing free into the great mystery. We will write more about her in the next newsletter. Her funeral is on Wednesday 18th Feb. Please feel free to light a candle in her honour at 14.00 UK time, and to invoke the strong flight of the free dragon spirit.

With love, gratitude and respect,

Susannah and Ya’Acov

Movement Medicine and Ministry
By Catherine Wright
I am taking up Susannah and Ya’Acov’s invitation for facilitators to share about their work. In February of 2014, I graduated as a Movement Medicine Teacher. And at this year’s Winter Dream Dance I graduated as a Movement Medicine Facilitator. My “other modality” is my Interfaith Ministry.

What on earth, you may be wondering, is an Interfaith Minister?


To answer that question, I want to start with a quote from George Eliot. In Middlemarch, George Eliot says this

“It is in these acts called trivialities that the seeds of joy are forever wasted, until men and women look round with haggard faces at the devastation their own waste has made, and say, the earth bears no harvest of sweetness — calling their denial knowledge.”

I understand her to be saying that the stories we tell are much more powerful than we are inclined to believe. We create our own reality. We have the opportunity to create a reality that is rich and nourishing and fulfilling and full of love... a story in which we find it easy to be kind and generous and trusting.
Or we can tell a destructive story, a story in which we are surrounded by baddies, and have been dealt a particularly unfair and unplayable hand… a story in which it is easy to be defended and mean and petty.

At the heart of my ministry I am working (with myself and others) to sow and nurture the seeds of joy. It seems to me that in the theory and practice of Movement Medicine I have found so many ways of creating a nourishing constructive story in which I notice how blessed I am. Movement Medicine supports me whatever challenges come my way.  


Funny that I should start with George Eliot. Back in the mists of time, I wrote my Ph.D thesis in the Philosophy of Mind. At the heart of it was Middlemarch, a novel full of wisdom and humanity. I’ll give you one more quote, which is of course laced with irony as well as wry compassion.

“… we do not expect people to be moved by what is not unusual….  If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.  As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity.”

I guess since right back then, I have been working to take the wadding out of my ears, to wake up to the ordinary suffering of humans, without dying of the roar on the other side of silence. I believe that my ministry is to walk alongside those who are healing their everyday heartbreaks.

And I have been following my nose all these years… through consultancy, training and coaching work and more recently Interfaith Ministry. Somewhere along the road (thank heaven) I found the Dance! Movement Medicine has become my spiritual practice. It is my refuge and my discipline. Movement Medicine is profoundly about resourcing myself to wake up; and in that waking up, to feel more gratitude and compassion.


I suspect that that is at the heart of my Movement Medicine work both as a teacher and as a facilitator. I guess I could say a lot more about how and why I teach dancing! But this little piece is to talk about my work as a facilitator, my work as an Interfaith Minister, in which I work both as a celebrant and with individuals and couples.


I’ll start with my work as a Celebrant. Celebrants work with ceremony. Sometimes ceremony holds us in loss and grief. And often (as the name suggests) ceremony is about celebrating the joys and delights of life.  


At a general level, Movement Medicine has profoundly influenced my work as a Celebrant. I use my own awareness of the micro, medio, macro and meta to orient me. I consciously lean into the Mesa when I need support. I have become more conscious of yin and yang in my work. I have become much bolder in encouraging people to listen to their bodies, and to harness the wisdom of their physical sensations. And I take seriously the thought that at the heart of the Movement Medicine map is Mystery… and to help us live in the Mystery we have stories that inspire and comfort and protect us. And the Movement Medicine map has become a source of hugely inspiring ‘story’ for me over these years.


But I want to give a more specific example, of how my work as a Wedding Celebrant has been deepened by Movement Medicine.

Couples come to see me about their wedding…

Often their focus is on The Dress, the Canapes, the First Dance. (Very understandably). My work is to help them drop back into the Meaning of their Marriage. For me the ceremony can do a number of things. One of them is holding and celebrating the real story of this couple. I think I see myself sometimes as helping them appreciate the beauty and romance of their own story, rather than thinking that they are a pale imitation of the Societal Myth. Quite often, when I meet wedding couples for the first time, there will be some ‘Thing’ or other that they don’t really want to talk about. They think it shows them in a bad light.  Sometimes we can be talking for quite a while before the ‘Thing’ comes out. A horrible relationship with a parent. Or an ex partner. Or the relationship between their children. Or the relationship between their parents. Somehow there will often be some kind of ‘shame’ around it. They think it spoils the “happily ever after” story.
Part of my work with them is to find a way of writing a ceremony that holds the true beautiful story of their marriage.
In my line of work, I muse about The Myth….   You know how it goes….
“Once upon a time a beautiful princess had to go through terrible trials before she met her handsome prince. The handsome prince had to do all sorts of things to prove his worth.  And then they got married. And they all lived happily ever after.”
How helpful is this story?
Where does it resonate? Where does it not?
Sometimes, you know, it really does resonate. J
I married a 70 year old man to a 60 year old woman recently. 
And for her, finding this good loving man, after many terrible trials, felt like the fairytale happy ending!! But at a profound level, I think this Societal Myth can be at the very least a bit unhelpful. Marriage is NOT the end of the adventure. Some of the monsters have not been vanquished. And the triumphs and disasters, and the trials and the tribulations continue. 


Movement Medicine has given me another map to navigate the meaning of the ceremony of marriage. Thinking about marriage on the map of the Five Dimensions, we move away from the “happy ending” story to a more exploratory story that has a past (of course) that has brought us to the present, but it also has an expansive, engaging and possibly exciting future. 

So these are a few of my questions, clustered around the Five Dimensions:
First Dimension

What meaning does Marriage have for each individual in this relationship? How well loved do they feel? What do they need in order to feel comfortable at the heart of this huge ritual? Etc.
Second Dimension

What does Marriage mean for them as a couple? Why now? What do they want from the ceremony? What support does their relationship need? What is the deep dreaming of this partnership? Etc.
Third Dimension

What needs to happen for this ceremony to ‘place’ the relationship in their community?  Are there family issues that need to be healed? Or honoured? Or let go of? Etc.
Fourth Dimension

How can this ceremony call on the ancientness of the tradition of marriage? Where does it link this young couple to their own particular ancestors? Is there something important that needs to be said about that? Etc.
Fifth Dimension

And finally why ceremony? What does ceremony mean for this couple? How does this great big meringue-dressed-ritual link to the Divine?


Celebrancy has a very beautiful place in my wider “ministry”. At a metaphorical level, celebrancy is the fertile plains of ministry. In the rest of my ministry, I am often accompanying people who are tramping the foothills of the Wild Mountainous regions, where the monsters live. In the cold lonely places live the monsters of self-loathing, of superiority and inferiority, of failure and self aggrandisement, all that troublesome human stuff. Sometimes, the troublesome stuff is cooked up by different parts within an individual (e.g. that old Superego Fellow is a fairly feisty character in most of us!!). And sometimes the stuff is catalysed by conflict with another.


These days, in my work in these adventurous places, I have come to feel held right in the paradoxical heart of Movement Medicine. At the heart of everything is Mystery. In dance we surrender to the fact that we simply do not know what should happen. 

We deeply do not know how things should be……. 

And yet…. 

There is always the invitation to step up, to take responsibility to make the world a better, more peaceful place.  
The Yin of surrender and receiving.
The Yang of action and intervention.


Working with conflict is right in the heart of this paradox. At one level, Mediation is deeply about acceptance of what is. The work is about helping people in conflict make space for The Other to be who and how they are and not who and how they would like them to be, or who and how they think The Other ought to be. But Mediation is also about change. To get out of conflict, each individual has to step towards Peace. If an individual in a conflict stays focused on how The Other needs to change, the chances are the conflict will stay stuck. So working with conflict is about deep loving acceptance of what is…. And it is about finding the courage to move. Holding these two things is at the heart of Movement Medicine.


I’ll give a specific example: Often people who come to see me for mediation are heavily invested in a story in which they are the Good Guy. Once, after a client had gone, I found a scrap of paper that she had left behind by mistake. It was her preparation for our meeting. On it was a list of the ‘incidents’ where the other person had behaved badly!! She thought her task was to show me that she was the ‘wronged’ party, so that I would tell the other person how to behave!! It made me smile, ruefully. In the one-to-one work with her, she needed to feel seen in this angry sense of being ‘wronged’. And what I was also looking for was the ‘wiggle room’, the place of self-responsibility, where she could see that SHE had some power to bring peace to this situation and therefore to the world. My work was to help her find the ‘story’ in which both of them fucked up, even though they are both Good Enough Guys!!


So, in conclusion, the purpose of my teaching and facilitating is to promote healing in hurt places. I long to see people around me believing in their own brilliance. Sometimes we hobble ourselves because our wounds would have us believe we are of no value.


I often think of the words of that lovely old Bob Dylan song “Most of the Time”
Most of the time I can keep both feet on the ground… follow the path… stay right with it… handle whatever I stumble upon… Most of the time…

I guess the purpose of my teaching and facilitating is to celebrate those times…

and to offer some practices for the other times, when it all seems bleak and impossible. 




One of these days I will create that website…..
But in the meantime…. Here is my facebook page if you fancy staying in touch

By Hanna
For me, in my human experience here, it has been of such great help to grasp the importance of really arriving here, on this earth, in the physical realm and in my body! After years of searching in other dimensions, I finally can move into accepting my soul’s choice to be here now, in this physical body.

And is that not the basis for living here on earth –recognizing, honoring and nurturing my presence in my body, and caring for its needs? And as I remember, during the ‘Journey of Empowerment’, the starting point there too was the laying out and building of a basis together, as safe and solid place to land, be and become. A foundation from which work, fun and play can start.
For me, embodiment also holds something refreshingly clear and down-to-earth: I need a body for this human experience here. Period. It is present and tangible and I can feel it. With its realness of weight and needs, I can feel gratefulness each time I remember that Mother Earth is holding my physical body, in every single moment of my life here, and that she is feeding me, every day.

I was led to Movement Medicine through my deep desire to get to know and learn from my body. I wanted to hear it speak to me, whisper to me, cry, forgive me, laugh and heal with me. I had spent a lot of time with my body (studying dance and yoga), and was able to do all sorts with it. Yet almost only after my body had “abandoned” me, as it felt then, and I had been unable to exercise for about 2 years, did I become curious… not of what my body can perform, but of what my body holds inside, what may be hidden, what it wants to express, how it wants to move me, not how my mind decides. After the first day of the journey, I had written the following in my journal, inspired by Susannah’s question: What does this workshop and your choice mean in the context of your life? “. I used and abused my body to “deal with”, hide or compensate my story. My body became the passive canvas on which I acted out my pains, insecurities and strict impositions, and I trained it fairly fiercely to (subconsciously) be/come my strong armour and shield to protect me and make sure nothing can happen to me, no matter what. My body –silent, passive, enduring, patient. Now I wish to offer my body the stage of real truth and expression, from within. I want my body not to remain a passive canvas, but I invite it to draw with brush and pen, and to dance onto the canvas which is my life!”

I knew little about Movement Medicine, and last month I wrote I had no idea of what else would be offered to me in a MM journey. Yes, indeed: here I was, wishing to learn from my body, yet offered to me was the personal embodiment of past, present and future. Offered to me was a safe journey into fully embodying my personal stories, pains, fears, and despairs; of fully embodying my dreams, visions, healing and soul-strength; and of giving body to my spiritual parts, relations and connections. And so much more …

How can I say … in my very own personal experience of healing in these past few years, I had come to a point where I felt so strongly (before I met MM), that now is the time for processes, learnings, transformation, experiences, growth … of everything going on in my psyche and in my heart and mind to go through my body; as a catalyst and means of expression, and to literally move down, towards earth, through my body: embodiment, becoming real, having shape. For me, embodiment has the feel of colouring in, or filling out, giving body, giving life and physical manifestation to all I just mentioned –and for that reason, it has been so powerful for me.
For example: I may have grasped the thin outline of “I am as valuable as everybody else” (as I once “understood” in a therapy session: a totally new belief and thought in my mind and all my cells). I can see the pencil drawn lines of this sentence. With the dance and my body however, I start to flesh it out fully, and bring it into experience and manifestation. And because my physical experience is directly linked to my heart (emotions) and mind, this experience becomes one of such great value: experiencing and “colouring in” on many levels.

How potent it is when I actually embody the restricting and binding thought patterns, or “untrue realities” that are going on inside. How powerful when they themselves become “alive” and move my body. I can physically experience the effects this “story” has on body, heart and psyche, and the consequence it brings for me and my being. How real and transforming to then consciously and physically release this story and let it go!

Processes and transformations I go through are made REAL. They happen, physically and on this earth –tangible and real. The letting go of negative thought patterns that have been dominating large parts of myself and my experienced life actually happened! My body danced it, my cells felt it, my heart created it: an entire healing process has been embodied and “created”, and does not remain just a thought in my mind, or a thin pencil drawn outline.

So it was the same intensity when moving through the various qualities of the elements or power animals. (Or when embodying the Tree of Life, dancing my “ugly” parts, or my boundaries, when physically exploring the connection to the earth with my feet, or when physically feeling, in the dance, how the divine Female and the divine Male energies are united in my being, and many more examples!) My body led me to spaces within emotional landscapes that day, which I think I had not seen nor felt before. That day, when being led by Susannah and Ya’Acov to be in and with the Fire and to dance and be moved by what my passion is, what I defend when necessary, to dance the fire of my soul-flame and my creativity! Experiencing fully the embodied and pure emotion of what it feels like when I, Hanna, am protecting myself, my path, my choice, and my needs. I am opening a channel of being allowed to voice and speak! To let out what I need to, and being allowed to stand up for what I love. I tap into, discover and unleash totally new resources within myself, and I experience such great and pure strength, emerging from an authentic, deep-lying place of true purpose and passion, and not from a well-known I-have-to-prove-something-place. A rediscovering of raw emotion, which largely had been silenced or hidden. Wow –what I find when I uncover!

I also enjoy the purifying quality these embodied processes bring: After having been guided through the embodiment of a wide emotional landscape (Chambers of the Heart), my whole being feels thoroughly cleansed and rinsed through, on all levels. Purified, afresh, and as if I my own me has just peeled itself out of some more layers of “stories” or other binding experiences. As if I have seen some more shades and colours of my own heart and soul I have not noticed so far.

This experience of embodiment also nurtures my own trust in my body and its wisdom. This reminds me of Ya’Acov’s invitation and words to us: “Give it to the dancer.” (Any emotion or process going on) Through that I have experienced I am giving it over to an innate wisdom which simply “knows”. An innate wisdom which always transforms or “works with” what I offer, no matter what it may be. It is also a witnessing that my body can let this mystery of being human appear in a real and manifested (cute, funny, moving, gentle, wild, slow, daring, alive…) way.

So I came with the invitation and the question of what my body holds inside, how it speaks and expresses from within. In turn I am now discovering how my body plays such a vital ingredient in my growth, awakening and healing, when I approach this on an all-embracing, truthful and inclusive path. I am discovering little and big miracles, when I take my body with.

By Kat Forrester
Note from Re-Creation organiser

Dear Dancers,
This springtime Ya’Acov offers the Re-Creation workshop in Switzerland, from March 25th – 29th. The focus is to engage in transforming challenges from our past into fuel for the present and future, for ourselves and for all our relations.

This deep personal work is for the brave hearted, and is open to anyone who feels ready for it. 

There are 36 participants so far, and plenty of room for more.

The location at the Centre of Unity of Schweibenalp in the Swiss Alps provides the perfect setting to support the work: majesty of mountains, depth of lakes, clear spiritually orientated vision which resonates deeply with our own (see their vision statement), and vegetarian meals, organic as far as possibly can be.   

See their website


If you feel called to this, for  further details and booking form please go to:

Please do not be deterred by price – if this is beyond your zone of possibility, we can discuss this; particularly for visitors from outside Switzerland, where the Swiss franc is currently high in the exchange rates. You are welcome to discuss this or any other considerations with Kat: e mail

 Hope to see some of you there! Love, Kat.xx

By Tamara
First of all thanks to Susannah, for suggesting I share this text in the newsletter: maybe my experience could be interesting for the wider community. So, here I am. I was assisting at Initiation, last September, and during the sharing between assistants, Ya'Acov and Susannah, the line connecting past and present, became clearer to me. I had been looking for a school to became a dance teacher for many years, to align body mind heart and then I found the Movement Medicine and I felt in love with this practice.

Let's start from the beginning.

Once upon a time, there was a small and sensitive child, around 7-8 years old, who was dreaming to help the children in Africa, giving them her clothes and toys. This child became a woman, who loves to take care of people and chose to work as a nurse.


I worked as a nurse for 16 years in a neurosurgical ward and in neurosurgical intensive care, with the curiosity of how our brain and neurological system work, trying to create a connection between the traditional approach to health and disease and a more integral/holistic way of taking care of people. Around my thirties, this known impulse to work in Africa become stronger and I was feeling it, without taking any actions. Something happened when my youngest sister informed me about a course on international cooperation, held by an Italian NGO. And I said, ok, I will phone to get more info. She replied: yes, and do it! And I did... It was like opening a big door. Each topic was so interesting for me, because it was really connected with my deepest values. I feel how different and unique each person is, and how at the same time, we have the same rights, no matter our religion, country, or race. And I will do my best to create a more inclusive world, with more justice for everyone.

After the course, since there were no vacancies for nurses on a first mission in Africa, I went to Brazil, working as nurse-educator in a development project on nutrition and culture, for two years. This was in 2001 and 2002.

A big jump, from neurosurgical intensive care to community and health centres. A life changing experience on many levels. I worked closely together with and learned a lot from a Brazilian doctor, who was also a teacher at university. She was teaching a week’s course for doctors preceding their internship in health centres, called «Rito de passagem» (Rite of passage). The intention was to create more connection between these young, rich doctors and the poor people. Letting them become more aware of some collective believes (e.g. Indios are lazy, poor people don't like to work, etc.). She was using a completely new way of teaching, at least for me: using role play, brain storming, drawing, playing, and creating a space for the heart and for the feet on the ground to connect everyone on the same level: as human beings.

In Brazil I discovered the dance as a way to know myself and others better, and I became good friends with a Biodance facilitator. I involved him in a lot of activities of the project and in creating  spaces with the dance. We were well supported in this.

I was fascinated by the concept of development. What does it mean, «development»? Our European model? How complex is the development of a country, involving personal, collective and international levels?

During that time I had the chance to work with many people, from different places and economic backgrounds, and to see how we are different, yet similar. How difficult it is to express clearly what is good for me or what I want, if for centuries someone else had been making these choices. How connected we are with our family, and how it can be difficult to learn how to read and write, when your parents are not able to, and there’s a feeling of not belonging to your family anymore.


I returned to Italy with the dream of working within education for people involved in NGOs, creating more awareness and connection between heart, mind and body. I was looking for a school to become a dance teacher, in the meantime I started my training to become a facilitator of Family Constellation and I started to dance 5 Rhythms.

It was an intense period. My soul wanted to work abroad, but I was scared to leave my safe job as a nurse. It took almost two years, to make the decision to quit my job and join an international humanitarian organisation. There is a dance I remember very well, when I was dancing my intention to bringing more awareness into the organisation.

For a few years, I worked in several projects with migrants, abroad and in Italy, then I felt the impulse to stop and have more continuity and roots. I now live in Rome.

Life is a mystery. The dream of working within education for humanitarian workers became true in 2009. It took me 7 years to realise it. At the same time I was confirmed as training and development officer, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In one hand a message of life and in the other hand a message of death. A strong period of change in all aspects of my life, and great support from life, family and friends. I remember my dance before the surgery, with the intention to give this memory to my body, of free movement and dance. It was an exercise: collecting information and opinions, going through the chaos of not knowing what do to, and then the clarity and just following what was true for me. I chose to have surgery but I didn't want the chemotherapy and chemical menopause. It was clear: I will die if I go into that direction. I remember some nights when I was just lost in my fear when a voice was saying: What would be the worst thing that could happen… you will die, and so what?

Luckily I was choosing to be alive and this was also the plan of the Great Choreographer.

I am not sure if this would have been possible without the dance. It was my way of re-discovering my body after the surgery, of letting go of a lot of grief and pain, and of finding my feet on the ground to strengthen myself, when most people were saying you are crazy. My job was also a strong anchor to life... I was realizing my dream and I was loving it.

In 2010 when I was right in the middle of all this, I met Susannah for the second time, I discovered Movement Medicine, and it was clear: this is what I want to teach!

I did the apprenticeship, the teacher training and here I am. In the meantime my dream has shifted, from bringing awareness into the organisation (which is already happening), to offering the dance to the humanitarian workers as a way of being more aware of themselves, to cope better with stressful situations and create healthier relationships. I do not know how long it will take nor if I will able to realize this dream. A voice is saying Yes! You will! This is the direction.

The first feeling of being at home in the MM field is sinking more and deeper into all my being. The feeling that everything that was important in my life finds its space.

Caring for myself and caring for people from a place of presence within myself, awareness of the potential in everyone, caring for the earth and for life in all its manifestations, seen and not seen, integration between western science and indigenous cultures in this interconnected world, and all this is spiritual, embodied spirit; grounded and connected spirit.

Here I am. Perceiving this line that connects all my life, through the past until this eternal moment, that we call Present.

Feeling the power of body, heart mind when they are aligned and grounded and connected. With deep gratitude and love to Ya'Acov and Susannah, for their presence, which is so inspiring to me, and to this amazing community. Some deep healing wouldn't be possible alone, but only with you.

Here I am... Starting a new chapter of my life as Movement Medicine Apprentice Teacher and Facilitator, and to share my medicine where needed. With love and joy.

I thank my parents for the gift of Life. And I thank life for life.

The Daily Dance of the Divine
By Kate Lawrence
I have just returned from the Winter Dream Dance and one of the precious moments of the ceremony for me was an amazingly funky, fun dance I had with the Divine. Just before this I had been extremely tired and only able to move my feet from side to side, just to keep moving and rocking in the rhythm.

Susannah and Ya'acov were leading us to bring the Divine down and through, and to me this meant moving from a sense of the sacred being 'up there somewhere' to coming through this sweating, dancing body into here and now. Suddenly I was leaping like a salmon in this huge tidal surge of energy, filled with joy and fun and music. Ya'acov said 'the Divine is all seven chakras', something inside clicked and sparked and it came to me that 'Everything is a prayer'. Not in an ethereal, exalted way, though of course that is beautiful too, more that the Divine is in everything - in food, in sex, in the floorboards; the Divine is matter-of-fact, it is the intrinsic fact of matter. How extraordinarily ordinary the Divine is!


I am heading back to work and I know that on the first day I will be able to rest in this understanding that my keyboard is a prayer, my colleagues are a prayer, the photocopier in the hall where I do my mini bursts of dance is a prayer and so are the grey carpet tiles. What I am calling for - from myself, from you the community, from the mesa - is to help me hold this understanding through days 3, 4, 5 and beyond, when I haven't had enough sleep and my job is stressful and my head is busy with all the little and big jobs I have to do. I am calling to remember that everything is a prayer, the Divine is (a) matter of fact.

The Circle, The Fire & The Phoenix
By Caroline Carey
Dear Movement Medicine friends! I am very happy to share with you the writings of my latest book, which has just been published. 'The Circle, The Fire & The Phoenix' is a book of poetry prose and true life stories of dancing with and sharing Movement Medicine, both in the micro of my heart and the macro of many lands where I hold gatherings for this medicine.

When I travel I write, sharing some of the experiences of teaching and when I dream I write, sharing what inspires me, what discoveries I come across, and the challenges that can be overcome through dance, ceremony, ritual and by doing our own deep and personal work.


Kari, a fellow MM dancer read the book early on, she wrote "I am in awe! You describe so well – so intimately – how it is to dance within the Movement Medicine matrix. This will one day be a Movement Medicine classic!" 

I was touched at her words and received many other lovely testimonials from other MM dancers and teachers.


I first started writing my autobiography in 2006 and it was published in 2010, 'Ms' Guided Angel'.

This was the beginning chapters to my dancing world and what needed to heal so that I could move into the realms of teacher, since then my love of writing has increased and it gives me great joy to be able to share my world with others, to affect others and inspire where inspiration is called forth.


However much I love to share though, it does not come without its fears, and of course I write about these also. Sometimes risks are taken when we fully share our lives, but I believe if we can all engage in our humanness and realize we are not alone and can accept each other’s vulnerabilities without blame or judgement, then we can heal a much needed area of humanity.

And I thank my friend called Fear, for

reminding me of this and having the good grace to speak out,

rather than simply be an observer from the background and

corners of darkened rooms.

Thank you for receiving these words and if you feel drawn to reading more, then my book is available as is each of my other books, in the Movement Medicine shop.

With Love 


My Mother
By Maria
I went for a walk in the forest, in the dark winter afternoon, near the hospital where my mother was, in Halmstad, Sweden. That day her doctor decided to stop with all her treatment keeping her alive. The wind broke a pine tree branch. I found it on the path I walked. I picked it up to put it in water for her. A round granite stone caught my eye to bring to her as well. I stopped at a pine tree and hugged it. It opened my heart wide into peaceful mourning tears. It swayed in the wind.

Coming back from the walk, I asked the nurse in the hospital, to bring electric candles. I put the pine tree branch in water, and put the stone beside it. I was alone with my mother that night, the 22nd of December. I am with you mother I said, stroking her forehead. I drummed and sang for her, praying for her to open up into the light. We both went to sleep. We woke up at 1.45 am when the staff came to care for her. We were alone again and I felt I wanted to be awake with her, to be in the precious peaceful intimacy between us. I was touching her face and I said to her once more that I would drum for her and it felt like she was saying yes with her eyes. 


I called for all my support and all her support. And through my voice I expressed my hearts intent for her, of courage, of love, of freedom and light. Her breathing calmed down and it seemed like she fell asleep once more. I touched her to see if she was asleep. She did not breathe and her heart did not beat. I touched her heart and stroke her face, feeling deep love and gratitude of these beautiful moments of being together in prayer of letting go. I wanted to drum again and I sang for her to rest in peace and my heart was filled with joy and I thanked her in my songs for these last precious moments of pure love that we shared together. 


I called my father and my brother. They came and there was deep peace in the room. My brother fell asleep in the bed beside her. Me and my father went home to bring her clothes. I brought with me from Iceland her white embroidered blouse, identical to one that I have been dancing in the Summer Long Dances, to wear for her during my visit. She loved these blouses. We found a pair of black trousers she used to sing in on stage. My father found three roses made of seashells that he once brought to her from France, to put on her chest. 


A dear dancing friend, Shiuli, from India gave me a small copper jar of water from Ganges when I at one Summer Long Dance told her that my mother was seriously ill. I had this small jar of water with me and I started to wash my mothers feet with it. The movements continued from my heart into my hands to wash her whole body gently, saying farewell and thanking her body for having given me life, crying with the holy waters of the Ganges in my hands.


My mother did not want to have a priest with a big funeral. It felt so right to take on the role of the celebrant of the ceremony. I prepared as I do before teaching Movement Medicine. I called in all the warmth, healing, love and support available. We played a song that my mother used to sing for my father. I sang three songs, my mother taught me shortly before she got ill. My oldest daughter Ingibjörg sang and recorded a song we played for her. I talked about her life challenges and her passion for singing and how she could bring forth her love for life through her voice. In Sweden some say, that often you die as you live. My mother died while I was singing for her, I said. 


I felt like a channel for my mothers love to all of us present in the room and many were deeply grateful for how touching, loving and beautiful this ceremony was.


One day during summer, before my mother died I visited the isle of Hallands Väder, in Sweden, this is what I wrote about that day:


The sun is shining. My feet are leading me into the forest. I am moving in the cool shadow of big old trees with green crowns spreading high above me. I am curious of the wisdom they might tell me. I listen carefully. I pay attention to the brown blanket of leaves, fallen years before, how soft and crunchy they feel under my feet. I look up. Far away I see bright sunlight passing through an opening through these green crowns. The light is so bright, it touches my heart, opening my being into endlessness. I move closer. I see a big dead tree top laying on the earth in the middle of the rays of the sun. Approaching the light I see a thick high broken trunk. This beautiful big old tree broke; died and left a big round hole open in the green forest bed, a hole that used to be its own circle amongst its fellow trees. Now the sun is shining down through it, lighting up the whole space where this tree once lived. Looking up towards the sky I see the green branches of the neighbor trees forming this circle. It feels as if they hold a sacred union of life around this empty space, honoring the spirit that left. They tell me, when great loss in life leaves a hole in our hearts, there is possibility for light to shine ever deeply through us, heal us, connect us to each other.


At this time in my life my mother is dancing with death. She is telling him that she will dance and dance and dance as long as she possibly can. My father is holding her very firmly, giving all that he got, into helping her to dance as long as she possibly can. I am witnessing them and finding ways of acceptance into my being, moving and breathing into my medicine, growing roots into the earth, sensing and moving into my connection with my mothers heart, praying for the freedom and peace of her soul.


Thank You Great Forest for showing me the pure sacred spirit of life meeting death.


The day after my mother’s death ceremony, I asked my father and brother to come with me to visit her flowers that were outside on the ground, beside a bench, in the churchyard. We sat down. The sun was shining on our faces. I felt it warming my sore heart. And I remembered the wisdom of the forest. I took my fathers hand and shared my memories.


I am so grateful for all the work, I have done to be able to stay awake, creative and alive through this intense journey. And I feel endless gratitude for Movement Medicine, Susannah and Ya’Acov and the whole dancing community of friends; dear companions, known and unknown for all the support, wisdom, love and compassion.


Thank You!


Divine Union
By Caroline Carey
It is the Winter Dream Dance, a place that is an opportunity for me to work with my own dance and my own life, a time not to be teaching what I am passionate about throughout the whole few days, but processing within it for my own journey. This is vitally important to me and due to my busy working life, there are fewer chances for this anymore, so I take this opportunity and dance deep.

However, I am also there to support others within the space and that is a natural part of this dance also. I know I will be offered opportunities within ceremony to help me understand more about my own teaching practice, my position in the school and what this process from my inner world to my outer world is ready to reflect.

I know there will be challenges, I know I may need to face some darkened places of my soul and my heart. I know I will need to explore my shadow. I know that ceremony and its enforcing light will show up the areas in my life that need attention. It is the very nature of this extraordinary movement medicine field.

My journal is to hand as I must document all that I explore lest it be lost like a dream that has been awoken too quickly from its place of slumber.

Part of my journey here and a way for me to look more deeply into my own teaching was to share a piece of my own work, a constellation from my workshop, Circle, Fire and Phoenix.

I would be sharing the dance of the Phoenix, held by strong circles of yang and yin energy. By the two masculine and feminine circles. (I have written more about this in my newly published book, 'The Circle, The Fire & The Phoenix.' Now available in the Movement Medicine shop and on amazon.)

Offering this in ceremony, I knew would highlight its needs and empower it to step forward into a stronger and more supported field.

I also knew this work came from much of my own story, about yin and yang and some of the needs I had had in my own life with the masculine and feminine balance. I had learned to hold both quite strongly in my life until their union could be felt and the marriage between the two had begun to reflect in my relationships outside myself. My yin and yang were rooted firmly within my own circle and the fire of my commitment would keep them wedded together eternally. The dance of the Phoenix would always allow me to surrender to its fullest dance, knowing I am always held by this medicine field and all that I am has a journey of letting go within its structure.

But for me in this moment something was missing, I was still trying to grasp the understanding of where I felt a pain, a lack of voice and an area that I could not interpret into anything. It felt dark and mysterious and so unknown to me.

Why did I continue to feel a deep loss of some part if me? What was its message for me?

I always pay attention to my emotions, it is my practice and the gateways I use to help me learn more and journey deeper. Emotions are gateways into our lives and an important practice to keep in contact with.

But this particular emotion was haunting me endlessly.

photo.jpg ¬

In our ceremony, we as a group of 40, divide up into support groups of 3 or 4, so we can share how we are more intimately and speak of anything else that is important to us. It's a time to be heard and a time to listen and support each other.

In the ceremony, I began to feel a sadness, a loss which led to boredom and disinterest. I felt upset that my support group was with three young men. In fact they are my colleagues and we each have a role within the winter dream dance. I had a sense however that I wanted some female companionship, but I did not get that this was the whole truth of the matter, so I needed to explore further. I knew these men could hear this from me and they understood, yet it was to be and I knew in the pain of it there had to be a strong message to unfold. Apart from that what woman would not want to sit in Circle, with three fine young men, open-hearted and speaking their own wisdom? What fool was I? Still there was a pain in my heart.

Before we sit together for a while I feel a tightness and pain in my throat as if holding back tears and a repulsion in my belly! Still we sit and we share, I speak a little.

Individually I love these young men, but together in a group I noticed I was more challenged by being with them. I reminded myself of my own three sons, I am reminded I have had three very dysfunctional relationships with men in my life. I am reminded that my father was a family of three boys. My now loving partner, Ben is a brother of three.

Any one of these stories could be being reflected by this group.

During one sleeping dream that evening I was reminded of a recurring dream I have had many times, it is of an old woman, she sits with her medicine in her small home and is visited by three young men who come in and cut out her tongue. She lives her life gnarled and speechless. Never able to share her wisdom.

Ah yes, I have some strong stories about the journeys of my life with the three!

But this information I had known for many years and though I visited it all on occasions it still did not truly unravel that pain in my heart which seemed to not be able to become visible. I knew that usually, once I had identified a pain within my history then it would lessen its grip. But this particular state of melancholy was holding on fast.

It took awhile and I gave my focus to the dance of the Phoenix, helping to create its circles with the group and for a short time share what had developed for over the last few years. After holding this  medicine circle and seeing it dance its way into the ceremonies existence, I knew I could now let go a little and start to give more attention to my own story.

And it was time to ask, to ask my heart 'what is it, tell me, what is hurting you so very deeply?'

I keep asking the question over and over again, following my own dance in and out of writing, meditating and praying. I know I will be heard and the ceremonies light will answer me in time. I am deep in its ritual and waiting for my story to unfold. These stories can often take their time, but I learn to wait patiently. Sometimes I get bored and feel many emotions, but I watch as the process unfolds and becomes more known to me. Boredom I have found is one of the greatest gateways of all, it is a time when I know things are about to change and I am about to move forward into unknown territories.

Ya'Acov calls me to drum for awhile, to share a moment in holding the drum beat for the other dancers. This I am very happy to do, it is all part of my journey, a time to listen and still to journey ever deeper into my psyche and soul. I also love the collaboration of drumming together.

I stay aware of the painful place and yet the distraction is welcome too. I know I have asked and I will not be failed in the response, however hard it may be to hear it.

The drum beats and I drop deeper into myself, I am aware of the deep yearning on a whole new level for the sacred union of the yin and yang. We journey into the ancestry round and I feel a grumble, in my belly, a sound of discomfort, she swears, she writhes she wants to speak out but she struggles. And then it emerges a strong voice finding its song, a lament at first and then a richness of song, no words but sounding out her voice, her heart.

And in that powerful moment another musician, Hazel, joins us. We are still in the ancestral round and she takes her clarinet and joins in with my voice, I also hear the songs of Ya'Acov and Susannah and I notice a meeting place.

Hazel plays her clarinet and I feel the sound and my voice begin to mingle and weave together. In that moment I am reminded of my fathers love for the clarinet, his piles of records of Aker Bilk and many jazz musicians. I remember my fathers favourite instrument actually being the clarinet! I am drawn in and tears begin to flow, I feel its support and my own voice breaks a little. Then my same broken voice suddenly highers its tone and my heart lifts. I am reminded of my fathers twin sister who died as a small child. In this ancestral round of dance and praying I feel her come through me with the support of the clarinet. She is here, she is singing her dance, she hears her brother! I feel immense joy, I am connecting to her, to her spirit.

She had died and was forgotten, buried and never spoken of. No images no stories, no name. Just the knowledge she had existed for a very short time. Yet of course that pain had lived on in my father and his parents for sure.

I had known of her existence but had never realised it could have an impact on me and was part of my own journey. And just maybe she wanted me to connect with her soul with her spirit, her need to be free from the realms of living and be freed to her rightful place. The lack of wisdom, to help her move on seemed to me, to be holding her to earth. Not allowing her soul to move into other realms. What happened to those little ones, depending on the age they died of course in those long ago years? This of course is the work of the psychopomp.

I would need to spend much time with this and recognised in her a strong Ally. I am reminded of how much my lovely man, Ben has such similar qualities to my father and how he himself is a twin!

And just as all of these realisations hit home, my three supportive male friends came and stood at my side, they could have known nothing of my journey, yet there were these three dancing brothers, really present within my own story supportive of me. My love for them filed me with joy.

Magic happens, the mystery unfolds and we continue to dance. My great Aunt as that little girl, would have her ritual for sure, I would find a way to settle her spirit, yet I knew she would teach me many songs and allow her voice to flow through me. I would receive her support and give mine to her, and together we would play with the clarinet and allow its rhythms to touch our hearts.

I remembered a shaman once saying to me, there is a woman close by who wants your attention. But because of her way of leaving this planet with no knowledge, it was hard to really connect it into my life.

Still I felt that here was a union of my father and his twin sisters souls, both have left this world in body, but if this really had been asked of me to some how connect them again, I am happy and welcome to be part of it. The joy and ecstatic humbleness I now feel about this story is touching me deeply. I am so moved and it makes me even more determined to share my own gifts of the yin and the yang in dance with others and with their support I will dream it in more fully. For I am very aware what we create in ceremony is magnified ten fold as we birth it into the world. 'The Circle, The Fire & The Phoenix' is a book and it is a workshop. Its next journey is expected to unfold in Frankfurt, Germany and also in many other places in the world. If you are interested please keep in touch.


Divine Union

Understanding now what lies in the undergrowth of that need for divinity,

That feminine and that masculine

How beautifully they dance together

Yet she died, voice-less, forgotten, never a word spoken,

He suffered deep deep grief - not knowing why or who to turn to,

My voice now brings me closer to her and I will speak out

I will share my songs not through the needs of the rebel

But the needs of the artist and poet

His music will sooth and open that melancholic heart that closed with her death

Their souls will be reunited and their union will transform the lives of many in the sacred union of divine and natural power, which exists lovingly in all of us

Where all emotion is love, in its purest, most creative and clear expression.


Caroline Carey,

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.