School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion
Issue: June 2010

Stealing the Light

By Roland

No - this is not a fantasy thriller story of witches and sorcerers, although I would not blame you if you had that expectation when you read the title.

It is a confession - I absolutely love cutting down trees.  I love first notching the tree on one side with my chain-saw and then cutting from the other and then experiencing the thrill of several tons of wood crashing to the ground in the exact path that I had planned for it so that not only it doesn’t fall on me but it also misses the other trees that are standing near it.

Let me explain.  About 25 years ago I planted a small wood alongside the River Dart near my house.  In my enthusiasm I planted lots of trees.  I gave some thought to the overall scheme and based the main planting around a line of oak trees lining the path.  But elsewhere I was a little more random in what I planted and would sometimes transplant trees that were growing naturally in my garden rather than throw them away.  Among these transplants were a number of very small alder which regularly appeared at the edge of my garden pond.


I always said to myself it didn’t matter how many trees I planted.  I could always take some out later if it got too crowded.  The years passed and the trees grew.  I was excited the summer they were higher than me, and even more excited a few years later when the branches of the trees met each other and formed a canopy.  Then a few years later I realised that the wood was becoming rather dark and there was not enough light getting through for the flowers that had grown there before.  In particular the little alder seedlings were now the tallest trees of all and were taking light not only from the ground but also from my beloved oaks.


And so each winter I now take out a few trees which I chop up and store for firewood which means I keep warm and then more light enters the wood.


Every 6 months I have to do a slightly similar process with the Movement Medicine postal mailing list and I write to all those who we have not heard from for 2 years and tell them that we will not be mailing to them again unless they tell us they wish to remain on the mailing list.


For several years this method has enabled us to reduce the size of our postal mailing.  But not any more as now the number of new address we receive is greater than those we can take off the list.  Increased postal charges plus a nagging feeling that some of this mail is regarded as junk by those who receive it has led us to review what we are doing and to take more steps to reduce the list.


We did even consider abandoning postal mailing altogether but we know from market research undertaken that some people really value having a leaflet for a particular workshop in their hand.  In fact I have heard people tell me several times that the leaflet ‘spoke to them’ and that is why they booked for a particular workshop.  But for others the printed leaflet is the relic of an age that is past and they much prefer to just receive information electronically.  So if you are one of those who prefer not to receive postal mailing please let us know.


The Long Dance which is taking place 2nd to 6th July is now fully booked and has a long waiting list so a big sorry to all those who could not get a place. And a word of advice to those who wish to come next year – please book early.


Susannah’s Journey of Empowerment Ongoing Group which started at the beginning of May and is taking place in Switzerland this year is also fully booked.


We do still have some places available for the last two modules of Ya’Acov’s Ritual Group.  The Vision Quest is taking place 17th – 24th June and the Burial Ceremony from 28th Sept to 5th Oct.  You can book these separately or together.  Both are residential and will take place at the Rill Centre in South Devon. Please contact me if you would like an application form: or 01803 762255.


We also have a few place left on the Initiation workshop 3rd – 12th September.  The Initiation workshop is one of the essential prerequisite workshops that you have to do if you are thinking about applying for the Apprenticeship Programme which is starting in 2012 (the dates for this are available on the website and application forms will be available soon).  Initiation is Ya'Acov and Susannah's famously intensive deep healing journey through the 9 life cycles, is non residential and will take place at Dartington Hall in South Devon. Please contact me if you would like an application form: or 01803 762255


We only have one Movement Medicine weekend workshop left before we take our summer break and that is Rock My Soul! with Susannah in Denmark 18 -20 June.  Contact Bina +45 22 84 88 22 if you want further details or wish to book.  Susannah writes:


“Hello! I am very much looking forward to the joy of dancing Rock My Soul in Copenhagen 18-20 June. This workshop is a celebration of the physical, the sensual and the spiritual through the dance and it is very deep in my heart.


In our cultural history the physical and the spiritual were divided. This has led us to treat our bodies and the earth itself mechanistically.


Healing this division allows us to come home into sacred and juicy life as it flows through our bodies, hearts, souls and through the world and all beings. To become aware of the incredible beauty that is here, now in each of us and in everything. Life is sacred. You are sacred, and I am so happy that we can remember this together in the deep joy of the dance.


You are warmly invited to come and Rock your Soul and discover and dance more of YOUR unique full spectrum, dancing with and through your whole chakra line, from deep earthy sensuality to light fine spirit vibration and the full hearted spectrum in between,

See you!”


We also have the 3rd of our London Move! evenings taking place on June 21st.  These are proving quite popular and we are pleased to welcome many new faces to these events. Please do tell your friends and spread the word! The evening will start at 7pm and be led by Susannah.  Check with Alex on 07868842219 or for venue details.


Wishing you all a great summer  



By Ya'Acov

“Africans in general view the initiation process as a ritual process to ground the person with nature and iminyanya (ancestors). The initiate undergoes a process of transformation from the time she accepts the calling. It is therefore a journey of self-discovery on a spiritual plane, the results of which transpire into maturity…..”

Lily-Rose Nomfundo Mlisa. Traditional Xhosa Amagqirha (Traditional Healer)

I’m on my way back from my first visit to South Africa. This morning, I walked the steep road from the city up to the foot of Table Mountain and caught the cable car up to the top. What a place and what a view! From there, it’s possible to see for miles and miles out to sea. I walked away from the crowds of people along the path to find a quiet place to sit and enjoy the splendour of the mountain. Mountain lizards darted about under the rocks, and beautifully and impossibly bright birds flew and sang. Those tourists in need of a little adrenalin (which for once didn’t include me), took up the offer of abseiling off an edge with the ocean well over 1200 metres below. My feet hurt as if they were clinging on to the ground as I watched them.


I continued walking along the path, looking for a place to sit and enjoy being there, when one of the massive boulders that sit patiently, as if waiting for us busy-always-going-somewhere-else humans to slow down and enjoy the view with them, caught my eye. As I settled into my breath and dropped in to a more receptive state, a face slowly emerged from the rock.


Being Taught

By Susannah

Ya’Acov and I are sitting on the train coming home together (hooray!) after many adventures on our own over the last few weeks. I went up to London yesterday to support him in his London Move! evening. It was held in the beautiful church in Vauxhall that Christian de Sousa has made such an icon of the London ecstatic dance scene.

Working out how to assist was sweet. At first we went into normal co-teaching mode. I played the music for the first dance, and then Ya’Acov took over the music and I led the Awakening the Dancer meditation part of the evening and seriously awoke my own dancer. I realised Ya’Acov was on a roll, and that I wasn’t needed to teach, so I was free to join the throng and simply let the dance take me. What a profound pleasure to participate in a Movement Medicine class, and to feel what it is like to receive this medicine of guidance and music; so, so, good. Thank you Ya’Acov, and all the dancers, and the church vicar and community who allow dance to happen there, and Alex (and her team), our wonderful London organiser, and our lovely team of apprentices who were there to assist.

Similarly, we made a recording of the Phoenix Process recently for the Phoenix participants to support them to go on doing the work at home. Since then we’ve been using it ourselves and it’s been helping me get clear on some basic patterning I’m ready to shift. It’s wonderful to be able to take our own medicine. Of course, as it says in the old adage, ‘one teaches what one most needs to learn’ so!

One of my adventures in Switzerland was participating in a Taketina workshop with Esther Diethelm. And I was a complete beginner in a group of experienced Taketina people, and it was all in German. Luckily they were kind enough to me and a few others who came from other countries to speak in German not in Swiss German, otherwise I would have been completely lost! And Taketina is amazing. Poly rhythms, freedom and unity, song and movement and rhythm. My brain was working so much I could feel it whirring, expanding, stretching, computing, and for one long stretch completely into free fall where I just couldn’t find the most basic pattern in which to anchor my feet. I simply had to consent to being lost at sea.  Very good medicine for someone who sometimes teaches the Brooklyn Hussle!

It was very beautiful for me to be in another context where song and rhythm and dance are recognised as inextricably part of being human. I felt African roots and Sufi surrender reverberating in this beautiful group of ‘Swissies’ remembering this part of our shared humanity which I find so, so nourishing.

This was all wonderful preparation for the first module of the ‘Journey of Empowerment’ Ongoing Group at Waldhaus in Switzerland. With dancers from many different countries we had decided that basic English was a prerequisite and that we wouldn’t have translation. So I needed to go slow and clear. We dropped into such a deep space, thanks to grace, the mystery of timing and the strength and commitment of the group. I’m still integrating witnessing the effects in the group and in myself of allowing another level of gentleness, acceptance and quietness to open the space of freedom and expression. And it was also clear to me that it was the steady yang of the group’s clarity and discipline that allowed me to drop deep into the yin, which allowed the group to soften and open to themselves and one another allowing the masks to drop and the deeper dances to emerge.

And you know what kept coming up for me? Even as I witnessed the depth and beauty of what was happening for people, and the natural unforced strength and dynamism which emerged from the gentleness, and even as I felt the beauty of that space for and in me, I kept seeing flashed up on my inner screen the insistent warning; “Isn’t this boring?” Amazing (and not amazing) how the action orientated “DO, DO, DO!!!” of our culture as well as of my personal “spasm” (self’s protective adaptive survival mechanism) is so strong and specific even when faced with clear evidence that it is not accurate. So, I’m doing what we counsel our participants to do, as I update, letting myself be held by the ground, la mama terra, my awareness of my feet, the breath, and my full and present body as I see if my psyche is ready to drop into another level, and tolerating the yo yo as I sail in the sea of the unknown and let my practice, and the grace of great mystery hold me.

Blessings to you and us all in these turbulent times, and with the prayer that we may have the courage to listen to “that which guides us”,



Next Move! evening in London is Monday June 21st.  Contact Alex on 07868842219 or for venue details.



The music is alive and lives inside me.

By Giulia

The music is alive and lives inside me.

It is dying to dance itself through me.

It is wanting to move me in ways I still don’t know.

As the music plays, it takes me on journeys to people and places I once knew,

but they have been asleep for a thousand years.

It is the music of the dance that awakens them in me now.

And they surface from their slumber

and carry the energy of their life

into my limbs, my back, my thighs, my toes and eyes,

my hips, my belly, my head, my spirit.

They dance in me  and,  I let them.

I let go.

It is safe to let go here, in this circle of alchemists,

each one creating their own masterpiece through the dance,

with the spirit of the dance joining us and binding us into one.

In this space of hearts and holding and honouring of what is,

I give myself the permission to be with what is and dance it.

No performance, no masks, no pretence, no pushing, no pulling.

Just letting go and letting what is.............BE.........and move and speak through this body.


As I move, I begin to remember who I am and who all these beings in me are.

I begin to remember their legacy and stories that they share with me through the dance.

I re-connect with the place of no-mind, no judgement, no past, no future.

I let go and forget that “I” am here

And...... I just...... AM.........

Free, uninhibited, agile, blissful, timeless, beautiful, powerful.


When the tiredness creeps in, I listen and let the earth receive me,

my limbs give way to my back and belly and I move in a new way

that feels real and truthful and honest.

What freedom there is in being where I am at, in being who I am in each moment,

in really honouring what is and letting it be......... as it is!


We never stop talking, the music and I,

and the spirit of the dance is in each word, each breath, each gesture........

But .......I must be patient and wait for it to arrive,

kindly let it come and find me,

be still and let it move me.

And why not so, my life?

Why not like this, in the mundane world?

Yes, yes, yes, it is possible.

I see now that it is what I want.

This is the way of dancing with life -  stepping into the space and then stepping out

and letting life step in and then......... there is ease and flow and beauty.

The unknown beckons me to surrender

and all I know and hold onto, is this moment, and the next, and the next, and the next.

What is real in each moment, is the only truth, and I let it guide me.

When I get out of the way and let Spirit dance me,

the abundance of this inner well  bubbles through

and I being to know myself as so much more that what I thought I was.

I begin to let this being in me speak and move and act.

And there is ................ words.

Sharing Movement Medicine
By Caroline Carey

I have been dancing with Susannah and Ya'Acov since 1996 and been on workshops with them every year since then. Some times an on-going group, sometimes a variety of weekends, five day workshops and intense life altering programs, I think to date I have experienced most.

After my own movement/dance teacher training I began to assist them more and more on weekend workshops and intensives.


Following the School Of Movement Medicine is a very natural  progression of this. Studying the beautiful Mandala with it's gateways, dimensions and mesa practice holds a fascination for me. So now it has become part of my work to 'pathfind' for the teaching of teachers of this practice. Last year I became a 'Pathfinder' and apprentice teacher to the work. There are three of us in fact.  I have begun to teach workshops and classes where I share the basic practice of Movement Medicine. And I am enjoying it so much!  


There has been such a mixture of curiosity, intrigue and fascination  from my students. Of course there are those who would prefer things stayed the same way as before, but for me there has to be a moving on. After each piece of work I am contemplating the time spent and writing down my discoveries and what I feel to be the effect of the work as well as my observations. How was it for me and what could I share that would be of benefit to teachers in training. And always 'how could I do this better?' in what way can we learn more, see more and bring more awareness to the work.


I am part of the apprenticeship that is happening at the moment which takes place in Glastonbury and will also be part of the teacher training when it begins in 2011. For me this practice is so grounding and so powerful, there is such  a sense of connection to not just body and dance, but of community, environment and effective ways to serve the planet.


It's an ongoing process for me, never ceasing to amaze me with the  incredible depth of the constellation work of the seer and Phoenix  process's and the brilliant exercises that help me to unravel my own  life and continually put me back on track when I get a little lost.   Often they can be challenging but always deeply rewarding. My latest journey brought back to me a long awaited part of my soul, clearly ready to help me move on and step more fully into being ME!


I have always been so spontaneous, not a bad thing, but this  practice has really helped me to slow down and look at what is  really important in my life. And offering this work is one of them.   Even dancing more slowly (well I am 50 this year) has become so  incredibly delicious, I wonder at what I have been missing out on.


I moved to Brighton in SE England last January settling into a new  

home and lifestyle,  I have begun a series of classes in SE England 

and continue to hold workshops that include the teachings of Movement Medicine. I shall be in London teaching very soon.

I will let you know when they are if you would like to be in touch.  

So I look forward to dancing with some of you there.


Warm spring time wishes and love

Caroline x

0044 (0) 7702 513 679

Celebrating my Aliveness
By Ilana Slomowitz

Up until the age of 24 from the age of 4, I danced every day of my life, filling my being with the pure joy of moving and expressing my essence through dance. Ballet was the first stage, then my tits got too big for a tutu and I switched to Spanish flamenco which suited both my developing figure and my flamboyant personality.

I got so good at it that I became a principle dancer in a flamenco dance company called the Mercedes Molina Spanish dance co.

We toured all of Southern Africa, what was then Rhodesia and even as far afield as Israel and Greece.

But then I got married and my then husband gave me an ultimatum .”EITHER THE DANCING OR ME.”

I chose him then, today I am quite sure I would have chosen differently  but I was so desperately in love, stupid and needy of his love and approval , I could go on and on but suffice is to say it was the end of my passion and my dance career came to a deathly halt. It was as if  some one had cut my legs off.

 I pick up the story 45 yrs later. I am now at this point 65 yrs old and living in Israel. I see a dance course offered in Cape town to study a teachers diploma in something called Nia dance. I apply and I come to Cape town to do the “white belt” training with the idea that I will bring it back to Israel and hopefully start teaching in Israel.

 But as life has its own great master planner, I fall in love with Cape town and decide to leave Israel and return to live in Cape town. I forgot to mention that I was born in Johannesburg where I lived till the time I immigrated to Israel in 1988.

Once back here I got a job teaching dance classes at the virgin active health clubs all over the city. That was five years ago.

I am giving you this back ground to lay the scene and put things in context.

Now at the age of 69 almost 70 , I am teaching 12 dance and stretch classes a week.

I have reclaimed my passion, my aliveness and my vitality. I am filled with joy and enthusiasm every day and wake up celebrating being alive.

 So off I go to a movement medicine workshop at the persuasion of Liz Bullen with whom I was sharing time in the steam room of the gym but not quite sure what to expect.

The Venue  of the workshop is way across town at a schooI  hall. I step into a hall  that embraces all my senses, the hall is an exquisite architectural domed space with light filtering through a blue glass star shaped window washing the room with a gentle  blue glow.

In each corner is placed an alter depicting one of the 4 elements. Abundant bunches of multicolored roses spill out of containers and in one of the corners the gentle sound of trickling water from a lavishly ornate water feature seduces my ears

In the center stands a  small Protea tree surrounded by a heart shaped log .with candles glowing all around the room.

The music starts and people move into the space moving in their own unique ways to the sounds, stretching, bending, reaching out, rolling on the floor, leaping twirling and swaying. Each one, in their own space, aware of the others yet unperturbed by anyone else.

 This went on for a good hour and I was beginning to wonder if there was to be any facilitation at all or if this was to be a totally free dance session.

 But my concerns were then put to rest as Ya’acov moved from behind the sound system in to the room and things started to change and we were wisely and caringly led through a number of different processes.

Over the week end the intensity grew, the energy in the room rose the level of expression expanded and the waves of high and low energy flowed like a roller coaster moving up and then soaring down with gusto and verve and then once more gently climbing up hill slowing down taking time to breath before the next downhill run. My 69 year old legs needed to rest but somehow the momentum of the energy in the room kept them and me dancing in ways that were unfamiliar to me. Finding new and different ways of moving my body, finding different and new ways and expressing my feelings through my movements, finding new and different ways of connecting to others through movement ,finding myself in the rhythm and style of the other opposite whom I was dancing at any given time allowing myself  to just be present without needing to perform but simply to find authentic unschooled and raw untaught or rather unlearned ways of using my body through the dance.

 The joy of this I can equate to how it feels after an orgasm. Spent but fully satisfied.

Thank you for this joyous re-affirming of my aliveness once again through movement. This is my home, this is my sanctuary, this is my sanity and my salvation. This is what keeps me young and vital. This is who I am and what I am and how I am and I love it and I am filled with joy and gratitude.

A wonderful week end! Well done to you all for the impeccable space, the attention on detail, the impeccability of the organization and the gentle unassuming and yet extremely holding egoless style of your facilitation Ya’Acov.

With much love

Ilana Slomowitz

Describing Movement Medicine

By Susannah & Ya'Acov

A request for your help

Dear Movement Medicine dancer,

We are working on our updating our website so that it more accurately reflects the nature of Movement Medicine as it evolves.  We want to help the people who would benefit from and resonate with this work to find us!

We realise that we can describe Movement Medicine from our point of view, but how would you would talk about it, how would you describe it to a friend who asked?

If you have experienced dancing Movement Medicine,  and feel like writing a line or more about it to help us describe how it can be experienced please do!


by Birgit 

I just received the April issue of the Movement Medicine newsletter, saw the articles about the Phoenix Retreat, the first Ritual module and the announcement of the Summer Long Dance – and my heart was yearning: Ah, how much I would have loved to be there with you as I really love the Movement Medicine work. Thank you, Susannah and Ya’Acov! However, financial and time reasons avoid my participation – and, thus, opened the space to do my homework and to harvest the fruits of my personal work I have been doing for about ten years now.

My personal journey of self-awareness and conscious growing started when my brother and my mother died only 16 months after each other because of cancer and an accident, leaving my father alone in our house where three generations had lived before and me about 330 km away in Frankfurt. There had been problems in our family – and that was the time they could not be hidden any more. My whole picture of me, of us as a family, of our relationship collapsed and I had to question everything: my beliefs, my attitude towards life, and especially my way to judge me and other people. What helped me to look at all these things that, step by step, came to the surface was the Qigong practice with my loving, patient and wise teacher Karin Amberger in Vienna.

To me, Qigong is a wonderful way of introspection in a kind of shape-guided movement. And it comes together with the holistic Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang and the Five Elements, where both life and death, “up” and “down” have their natural place in the endless flow of life energy. Through this movement practice and with a more and more aware mind and a more and more loving attitude towards myself and others, I have, over many years, been able to develop a new and much more flexible picture of me and the world, to heal a lot of these family-related topics and to feel in peace with them now. I would never ever have wished my family to experience all this, but looking back now, I gratefully see that my parents have been my most profound teachers.

Going through all these processes, I finished my apprenticeship as a Qigong teacher in 2007 (which was the same year when I discovered that 5 Rhythms is the perfect complement to Qigong for me). And since then I had the idea to teach Qigong – but somehow it didn’t happen. I didn’t feel the inspiration but was also wondering whether I just needed to kick myself in the ass, as I sometimes tend to be a little bit lazy (just sometimes, just a little bit ;-)). Years went on, in which I practiced 5 Rhythms and Movement Medicine quite regularly. And the dance practice added a new focus on my energy work: to follow my energy flow through free movements, to express myself freely and, doing this, to be aware of others in their energy as well, which means to communicate through and with my energy directly. I remember that it was a real challenge, even though a fascinating one, for me in the beginning. Now I love it – and would like to swim and dive into that dancing community energy in workshop after workshop after workshop after workshop…

Somehow luckily, my financial resources (and the tax office) forced me to take a break. Since the beginning of this year – thank you, spring energy! – new ideas pop up in my mind regarding my plans to teach Qigong spiced with a pinch of free movement and dance: workshop topics, parts and structure of the website I want to build, my own logo, words and sentences describing my attitude and future work. And what I am really lucky about is that I finally found a headline that connects two “universes” of my life that have been separated until now: my professional job as a Public Relations consultant for IT and technology companies and my personal passion for dance and energy work: “communication in movement” is the point that is fascinating me in both of them.

Here there is communication via computer and Internet, media, language, words and pictures – with lots of new communication possibilities through blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc. – challenging us to use them to create new networks that nourish and inspire us rather than to be just triggered and overwhelmed by them. In movement practices like Qigong and dance there is communication with ourselves and others anchored in our bodily existence that leads us to more self-awareness and presence. Both are not opposites, but just the two poles of the same spectrum: our human possibilities to communicate and to create social networks – standing grounded in our own circle and being aware of and communicate and interact with the community around us – may it be on the dancefloor, personally in our every-day-life or in the World Wide Web.

It seems that all my ideas to become a Qigong teacher needed all this time – and all the dances with you – to ripen and to become a whole to me like small pieces of a big mosaic. Or is it the other way round and I just had to grow into that picture? Anyway, now it is time for me to do my homework, to pick my ideas from the full tree and materialize them – and I hope you will see the fruits in the second half of this year.

Some things can happen on the dancefloor, some must be done in other places of life.

From my sofa at home with the laptop on my knees, I wish you all the best: love, joy, courage, easiness – whatever you need to continue your journey. And it feels good to be connected to you – also electronically.

See you on the dancefloor,


Synthesis at Source
By Robert Hider

Soft, gentle, cleansing tears rippled effortlessly into joy-filled laughter - a flowing arc of delightedness and compassion as I danced. This seamlessness was a new experience and it awed me.

It was mid-morning  on Sunday, the last day of ‘Source’ and Ya’acov seemed to be quietly but firmly ramping up the volume for emotional releasing. His choice of music – intense, deep, grounded and authentic, tribal yet trancey with supportively hypnotic repetitions – tapped immediately into my own deepest heartspace and, I felt, with many more than five senses that the entire room was buzzing and crackling with that same urge to catharsis, to let go and let grow...

A specific image began to emerge as I danced then, its delicate beauty playing a painfully sweet refrain on my heartstrings. It was triggered by a conversation the previous night with one of my dance-floor companions who was staying over at my home for the dance weekend. We’d had plentiful travelling time together, sharing simple unvarnished fun and profound, soul-brotherly connection. Last year his partner and he experienced the spontaneous miscarriage of their first baby just weeks into the pregnancy. We hadn’t had the right moment to talk deeply about this before, and we shared his journey together on the train home after an intense Saturday’s dance. I was deeply touched by the details of the event – the fact they gave the tiny foetus a name; finding and creating the necessary rituals to honour her; completing that phase of grieving and moving on to the next chapter in their lives together.

He mentioned a book that they’d  found helpful by West African healer and teacher Sobonfu Some, whose tribal wisdom honours everything as sacred; the spiritual meaning of a soul that comes into a woman’s body and leaves so quickly, has a special meaning in that culture – they see its role as a catalyst for grief in an individual, a couple or larger grouping.

As I danced ever deeper that Sunday morning, I suddenly felt the presence of that fleeting being, her soul catching the beautiful spring light that suffused the dance-space. Even as I write, the vividness of that vision brings tears to my eyes, making me see the truth of such brief lives’ purpose. Her etheric presence took the form of a delicate red butterfly. As Ya’acov continued to guide and help us peel off our resistance and spiral smoothly into deep connections, my sense of the intimate relationship between the masculine and feminine, life and death, male and female, how they merge and meet , was massively enhanced.

A few days later, still buzzing and resonating from the experience, I suddenly felt my heart speaking very loudly. I immediately knew that it was telling me to allow space and possibility of another child; my heart reminded me very softly that it knew my partner’s deepest wish was to have a second child together. My head had dealt with the scenario very efficiently, making all the correct calculations and calibrations on factors ranging from ecological to economic to the purely personal, weighing up the pros and cons. The fluttering messenger that was my friend’s briefly visiting baby had been profoundly transformative – the true voice of the heart spoke clearly and courageously! And I think that this truth would be a good guide for us all as a species – taking us forward into the next stage of our evolution.

Dance, in general and Movement Medicine – aptly named – in particular, though not my exclusive practice, I no longer see as a luxury, or a much-needed vent for life’s steam, stress and burdens. More and more it is a doorway to a pathway on which the vehicle is the body, the motor is our whole, present being in which everything works in blessed synch; every part is allowed its role and the drama, distortions and dominations of certain areas (especially the mind, which has come to run the show in our head-based culture) are evened out and balanced, allowing release and space for the deepest wisdom to become accessible to us...if we are willing to listen.


Surrender to the Divine
By Jan Lee

"let him that would move the world, first move himself " (Seneca Indian)

A year ago, I prepared an article for this newsletter. I didn’t submit it at the time, but I saved it.

 I wrote;

 "When we return to ourselves,  to our inner Rhythm, our total connection to body, blood and breath; we surrender ourselves to the Divine. We wring ourselves out in sweaty offerings, in our pleas, our prayers, our thanks, our despair, our ecstasy, our giving back, our giving away "


 I then made a "giant leap " to the Great Plains of native America in the 1800's. I wrote of the Ghost Dance  ceremonies that swept like wildfire across the Dakotas, as the People, worn down with genocidal battles and massacres and trails of broken treaties,  the poverty and harsh conditions of the reservation system, turned to dance to "bring back the way ". The Ghost dancers were massacred, their ghost shirts did not protect them from the bullets, but the dance goes on.


Today I am rewriting this article, because, the time has come. I am Coming to England in July to take my place for all my relations, at The Long Dance Ceremony in Somerset. I feel the activist in me activated ! I hear the call.

My passion for Native American (indeed all indigenous peoples ) culture and rights, has been re-kindled since committing my fundraising efforts for the Long Dance to three not for profit organisations  working to revitalise and preserve Lakota Culture, and give much needed material assistance to people who nowadays struggle just to survive daily lives of abject poverty and broken-ness on reservations, such as Pine Ridge, (which I have visited on two occasions ) During the time I spent in America  doing my teacher training with Gabrielle, I met up with my friend, Sam, and we took off in a battered old van called "henry " to re visit Indigenous America. In Manderson, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge reservation,


We were made welcome by Alex and Debra White Plume, on whose land  we camped,  rested up,  rode horses under the big  beautiful Plains sky,  smelled the sweet grass and sage and  watched their herd of surviving  Buffalo in awe, and felt blessed. 


As a child, my mother sang a song to me , it went : "Take me back to the Black Hills, the Black Hills of Dakota, to the beautiful Indian country that I love . Lost my heart in the Black Hills , The Black hills of Dakota,  where the Pines are so high that they kiss the sky above ...."


Strangely enough Spirit took me there as an adult. Tragically, the story of this area and its people is not all Beauty. I visited the Wounded Knee massacre burial site, and there, echoing the book title " Bury my heart at Wounded Knee ". took off the rose quartz heart i wore around my neck and tucked it into the earth. In this way,  I lost my heart, in the Black Hills  of Dakota.


Debra and Alex  White Plume are modern day warriors, fighting the uranium company that is polluting their sacred waters, They are fighting  to protect their sovereignty, for the federal police not to enter their land and  year after year destroy their Industrial Hemp plantation, (designed to bring in money and work for the whole tiospaye (extended family ). They are fighting for their ceremonial places , Bear Butte and Maha Sapa,( The heart of everything that is)... to be  respected and undisturbed by Biker rallies and bars. They are protectors of their land.


 I quote a beautiful Joni Mitchell  song, "Lakota"( Chalk mark In a rainstorm )


" we never sold this land here, to the Missile heads, to the power plants...

 lay down your reeking ore, 

 Dont you hear the  shrieking  in the trees?

 Everywhere you touch the earth she's sore, 

 Every time you skin her all things bleed .

You think we're sleeping,

 but quietly like rattlesnakes and stars,

 we have seen the trampled rainbows, 

 In the smoke of cars, 

I am Lakota, standing on sacred ground...."


A year ago, in my original article , I wrote " I would like to organise  a money and awareness raising event, a modern day ghost dance.... " 

This year, I am so pleased to be Long dancing. Thank you SO  much Susannah and Ya'Acov for speaking with the same voice  and manifesting this! And thank you for the integrity of your work, for its individuality and thank the great spirit it isn’t pretending to be a Native ceremony. Much as I revere  Native ceremonies, I have never wanted to imitate, or "play Indian ".The Giveaway, however , is of a very Native  spirit and it so  balances up our western or white emphasis on  the "get-in " (getting what we can for ourselves)."whatever you want, Give it away ", I remember Gabrielle advising...


And so, I, personally, am dancing for the Lakota and their organisation Owe Aku  which translates as (or type in Owe Aku )Alex and Debra are central in their community, and the community IS literally For All My relations( Mitakuye Oaisin). Every child I met claimed Alex to be his Uncle, and i realised this wasn’t necessarily in the narrow way we define our relatives, As 7 year old Tyson explains , Tiospaye is "big family ". And the earth, the animals , the "standing silent nation" (plant people ) are all part of that family. Their fight is not just for the two leggeds. It is Lakota duty to protect the sacred water for her own sake, not just  to protect themselves from the cancers, birth defects, blindness ,that uranium poisoned water creates.


The two other organisations i am supporting  by dancing and raising money are  and . my friend Lucille Pansy Two Bulls Weasel Bear( check that out for a NAME !) recommended the latter, run by friends of hers.Both organisations are working with the Lakota to improve the material conditions on the reservations, and also to uphold Spiritual Traditions and ways, amidst a background of poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, teen suicide, etc.. you can get more facts of whats going on in modern day America by looking at the websites. it isnt all pretty. I would recommend you look at the fantastic, raw but heartbreakingly beautiful photos of Pine Ridge taken by AARON HUEY (IS A PHOTOGRAPHER) he has a page on facebook too.  His images speak louder than words.


To conclude, here’s a nice story about right timing, and things coming to fruition in their own time, like this article.


Last year, wanting to support the Lakota on Pine Ridge, I found my friend Pansy Two Bulls, through  a website called Lakota Quilts. She is the youngest quilter, some being old ladies in their 80s, real survivors, but Pansy had email. I ordered a Star Quilt, not knowing for what occasion. Her husband, a descendent of the great Sitting Bull . was  very ill, and The quilt making was delayed, as Pansy made tiring trips to Rapid City HospitalUK address, and finally it arrived.. the day after I came back to Crete after Christmas ! But the wonderful thing is... it will be right there waiting for me when I come back  to take part in the Long dance.. and this is exactly the ceremony it was for, I just didnt know at the time. (miles  off the reservation ). She was struggling to make ends meet when she recieved the full up front payment for my quilt. " I believe in the power of prayer " she wrote to me from the hospital, and so our emailing continued. I asked her to send the quilt to my


My big feeling of connection to these people has always been with me, and it doesn’t matter why. past life maybe, but that’s not important, What matters is the resonance, I feel, that their beautiful culture and traditional respect for Life is at the very core  of what we all need to return to. In the way that what you give comes back to you a hundredfold, but from another direction, when you aren’t expecting it, so it feels with making reparations, that the apology and the healing doesn’t always come from the perpetrator. I am glad to offer my prayers and back them up with material help for the Lakota. I am well aware that the genocide continues today, in insidious ways, as with so many indigenous and aboriginal people.


 So I was ecstatic, that the Movement Medicine  team chose SURVIVAL ( for tribal people ) as the overall group  organisation to support in the Long Dance. The Giveaway is Beautiful, and I am so glad to be partaking in this event.

 I feel proud and so excited to be joining with you all to dance for this Beautiful Planet, for All My Relations. We Are All related. And How wonderful that other people will be dancing for the elephants, the orang-utans, for Palestine, for so many projects, that this promises to be an almighty energetic and wonderfully tangibly financially materially assisting ceremony.... matter follows spirit and Vision, and projects need financing.


If you would like to contribute to the above  native American organisations, please get in touch with me by heartsofthesacredspirit and pathwaystospirit  have their own payment facilities on the website, so you can donate directly, but Owe Aku dont, and I wil be wiring money to the White Plumes, so old fashioned cheques to my Uk address will be fine.



If you would like to order a  traditional Lakota Starquilt go to Lakota Quilts. For

any more info on how to support Native American People, recommended reading etc, get in touch with me.


 here a lot to learn, about the gnarly realities , as well as the beauty of the traditional ways.


( For example, the term Squaw to describe a native woman should never be used, as it is a word which means female genitalia in a derogatory way) A small but pertinent example...


 And if you are in Crete on friday 14 th May,  come to the fundraising  tribal dance event " "Dancing for the Red Earth "..(see  my facebook soon(janice rosa lee ) 


So, "let him who would move the world , first move himself !"

 The Long Dance takes place 2 to 6 July in Somerset, UK. Whether you are dancing or supporting the dancers..


 Offer whatever you can, in spirit or matter. Give to this world you find yourself in, with all its beauty and its horrors... 


 I leave you with this beautiful prayer from Black Elk (Oglala Sioux Holy Man )


 "Hear me, four quarters of the world- a relative i am! Give me the strength to walk the soft earth, a relative to all that i! give me the eyes to see and the strenght to understand that I may be like you. With your power only can I face the winds ".


Jan Lee

…still resonating….

November last year this story began- or was it ages ago, when I decided to better keep my voice in that little secret golden box in my heart ?

When I found Susannah`s  RESONANCE- Flyer under that pile of papers on my desk I thought:“ ah yes- singing…that might be something….“ and I put the paper on top of another pile of other papers without thinking o fit anymore. This happened several  times.

One day Roland`s reminder landed on my screen and- without thinking about it,  I decided to apply for the Resonance-workshop last November in Hamburg. I called Edgar, who ist the Hamburg-oranizer, and got his news: the workshop is fully booked and he would put me on the waitinglist. My understudy blew up: ok, it`s not really important to do this workshop now- I can do it next time or do another workshop, I don`t  have the money anyway, r- blahblahblah.

Time passed by and the weekend  before RESONANCE - I was just preparing my own workshop- Edgar called me and said:“ somebody cancelled and there is a place for you in Susannah`s Resonance- but you have to say now, in this moment, whether you want to come or not.“ Puhhhhh! I heard myself singing  YES! And that was it!

I booked a little hotel close to the workshop, packed my suitcase and my car and set off. During my drive I heard myself talking to my beloved mother who died in 1982 and I heard myself argueing with her about wether I should sing or not. My mother was the organist in our church and she several times tried to teach me to read music and even to play the piano- without any success. In those days I was dreaming of singing in our schoolband and I knew that my mother would not like to see her brave daughter –maybe smoking grass- standing on a stage in the company of longhaired freaks….So I tried to keep the brave-girl-image up and pretended that I`d love to learn to play the piano (to play classics, of course…).  In our car- conversation I was able to get her agreement and she promised me to be patient.  Thank you mother!

And:..WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! The workshop really opened up a huge new, exciting, invigorating and inspiring space for me! And I now know why I always tried to avoid thinking about singing…I was so afraid of my voice`s  enormous strength, had the image of not being able to stand what will come back when I really open up my heart to my voice. Oh GOD, I am so grateful for this experience,  am still exploring the resonance of what my heart sings!

4 weeks ago I finally found a singing teacher. Listening to my voice she sees me, recognizing  what my heart wants to sing. Currently I write my own short little poems and next lesson for me will be to improvise the words in these little poems, sing them forwards and backwards, let my voice, my body, heart and soul play with them and bring them out. Sing my song. I will sing my song. The song of my mother and my grandmothers. And I will feel mother earth inside me- resonating. Thank you Susannah!


The next Resonance workshop is at the Pegasus Centre, north of  Hamburg Nov 3 – 6 2011.  Contact Edgar

Lord of the Dance

By Sarah Bullen

Think a night dancing is just about having fun? It can be so much more, says modern shaman Ya’Acov Darling Khan. He is in Cape Town to teach us how to find our groove, and use dance as medicine.

How do you find meaning and soul in this urban cityscape we live in? Days are filled with jostling through traffic and getting the job done. Nights are eating, socializing and, well sometimes, dancing. UK shaman Ya’Acov Darling Khan believes you can find meaning and reconnection in life through dance. But Darling Khan is not a DJ. He is a thoroughly modern 21st Century (sha)man living in Devon (UK).


Now this ‘modern shaman’ is not unique in his views. It bounced off the dance floors in the 90s with Faithless’ chorus “This is my church. This is where I heal my hurt.” But the idea that dance is a medium for healing and self-expression is not confined to sweating in the late hours on a thumping dance floor. This has been the view of indigenous cultures around the world from the beginning of time.  They have a deep-seated belief that is the rhythmic power of dance that can elevate your soul into a deeper understanding of life, and can heal the body and mind. Africa, along with indigenous cultures of South America are increasingly starting to show the world their methods. Khan is out here to share his stories with local traditional healers, and to take a journey to learn from own methods. Khan has made it his life work to study with shamanic healers, nyangas and medicine men from around the world – from the Arctic, South America and Africa. He has taken this and incorporated it into a healing dance he and his wife (who are the co-founders of this work), call Movement Medicine. His work is traveling the world and he is due in Cape Town this weekend for a two-week visit.


“The way we live in Western culture means we have been systematically cut away from our roots.  We have learned that life is about living, buying and consuming,” says Khan.

“What dance does is it allows you to take a little moment to listen to the intelligence we are all born with. There is an intelligence that beats the heart without you controlling it. It’s the same intelligence that moves the body and dances. We have to listen to the library of wisdom inside us.”


But can you find this in Devon? Yes, says Khan.

“Dancing can be a simple act of relieving stress. It can just feel good. Or it can take on a deeper journey. You can release old patterns and habits. You can become more aware of your body and you can start to tap into this innate intelligence we all hold. That intelligence can teach us how to heal.”


Khan and his wife travel the world teaching people how to dance following the dance inside them and take embodied shamanic journeys. They are not doing the samba or the salsa but a style of dance loosely described as ‘soul dance or ecstatic dance’.


“We talk about the spirit of the dance – in African it’s the drums, in a nightclub it could be the bass. That sense of rhythm finds that force that comes through you and moves your body. When we connect to our own bodies, and that silent intelligence then ‘who I am’ has a way of living in this world that is more soulful.”


Khan is the first to confess that he not a dancer in the traditional sense of the word. But he can sure move.

“The first dance group I walked into I found it terribly difficult for about half an hour. I had never danced in public unless I was drunk. There were all these people stretching and warming up and I though oh my god what have I got myself into?

But within half an hour I felt alive. I didn’t care what anyone thought and I never looked back.”


That was 18 years ago. He trained with the original ‘soul dancer’ – New Yorker Gabrielle Roth whose work was condensed into a dance style called 5Rhythms and is practiced in dance groups throughout the world. Unlike Nia, which is instructor-led, these looser forms of dance have no set moves or sequences. The music and your own body dictate your own dance moves. Khan’s dance workshops take the 5Rhythms work further, mixing a shamanic dance style. He strips off the lyrics and reduced the music to its core so you can find your own beat.




The Darling Khan’s book “Movement Medicine: How to Awaken, Embody and Dance Your Dream’ is available in South Africa through Hay House.

His website is





The Empathic Civilisation

Dear all,

We received this link from Alex Hanley our London organiser and we agree with Alex:

“This is so wonderful that I felt the need to share it...”

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


Ya’Acov and Susannah


Jeremy Rifkin - The Empathic Civilisation:

Avatar, African Shamanism, Robert Mugabe and Alice
By Richard Pantlin

(we have run this article before but put the text in the wrong order - apologies to Richard)

Is it a sign of the times that the world’s greatest grossing film extols the virtues of an indigenous people shamanically in touch with the forces of nature and defeating the invading agents of machine culture?  Someone who knows more about that than well-meaning “Avatar” director James Cameron is Malidoma Some.  He is a teacher and healer who offers his African spirituality as a counter-weight to the de-personalising forces of our consumerist society. 

To quote from his book “Ritual”:


“Western technology is being put into the hands of people who have lost touch with the spiritual.  Western Machine technology is the spirit of death made to look like life.  It makes life seem easier, comfortable, cozy but the price we pay includes the dehumanisation of the self.”


Next year I am organising a week-long visit by Malidoma to the UK with talks and divinations, culminating in a residential weekend workshop in the woods in Wiltshire.  In a strange way this is a continuation of last year’s work in Zimbabwe.  I wrote about that in this publication before I went out – and how attendance at Yaa’acov’s workshop in November 2008 had helped give me the courage to pursue my mad plan of cycling across Zimbabwe dressed as a clown.


It was planned during the height of the violence around the elections and when cholera was getting out of hand.  I used the event to raise funds for an orphanage that a Zimbabwean friend is building and we raised enough to complete it.  But a key part of the mission was also to connect personally with President Robert Mugabe.  I hand-delivered a letter narrating some experiences I had on the trip and appealing for him to support the fresh unity government and the rule of law.  This got me some publicity in my local home media in Oxford, but there was another aspect that I did not publicise:


A spiritual and shamanic quest to bring some healing.


Before I went out I connected with a Zimbabwean healer who, with mbira playing and chanting, invoked the ancestors for me through spirit possession and put me through a powerful cleansing ceremony on Brighton beach.


In Harare, I met a former teacher of his and her husband.  They live in a modest bungalow with their children.  Felicity (not her real name given the still dangerous political situation)  is a local spirit healer.  Her husband, Tendai, a former jazz musician, acts as her interpreter when she is in spirit possession.  Over the course of a couple of meetings which included spirit invocations, I expounded my belief that a key reason for the continuing difficulties of sub-Saharan Africa is the spiritual catastrophe that befell indigenous people with the forcible imposition of Christianity.  In particular, I sensed that the President of Zimbabwe, one-time hero of socialist anti-colonial liberation, was personally deeply conflicted between his Africanism and the fiercely devout Catholicism of his mother – at an early age brought into greater intensity by the admiration for his Irish Jesuit father-figure priest who was probably also abusive.  This personal background might explain, but in no way excuses, Mugabe’s own violent abuse of power.


Certainly Jesuits are now having to come to terms with sexual and physical abuse that some of their members imposed on their young charges throughout the world including in Africa. 


Malidoma Some was himself abducted by Jesuit missionaries in the late 1950’s as a four-year-old boy in Burkina Faso, West Africa.  He was forcibly taught French and Catholicism and Western ways with the intent of educating a new black leadership but he ran away at 15 and managed to travel the 100 miles back to his village even though he had forgotten his native language.  The elders initiated him in traditional ways and told him to use his experience to fulfil the name he was given at birth: “Malidoma” meaning “he who befriends the enemy” – in other words to go out into Western civilisation in friendship to spread knowledge of indigenous spiritual ways.


As he puts it in “Ritual”:


“My experience with Christianity in Africa is that its power does not come from Christ but from technology – and its corporate profile.  Missionaries built churches, schools and industries and stirred a vibration, created a disharmony that displaced the indigenous person.  Christianity is a technological Machine that ravaged and continues to ravage the indigenous world in Africa.”


A year ago, neither I nor Felicity and Tendai had read Malidoma but they entirely shared the similar views that I was expressing.  I also explained that I hoped in some shamanic way through my mission to try and bring healing to the head of the country – and I had carried a talisman with me to that effect.  I hoped to take it to the Jesuit Kutama Mission school where Robert Mugabe was educated and himself later taught.


Tendai and Felicity thought it an extraordinary coincidence that I should have arrived at their house at that time with such a similar and unusual interpretation of the troubles of their country.  Indeed, they confided, once trust was established, that they had been commissioned by an aide to the MDC opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to travel to the four most spiritually significant points of Zimbabwe and invoke the ancestors for peace and the MDC.


At the time of my visit there was much optimism in the country, as the Government of National Unity was young.  Tendai advised me that it would be extremely dangerous to travel to Kutama, the heart of Mugabe territory and that in any case “the work was done” and the President was slowly retiring to fishing and a quieter life and letting Tsvangirai do the running of the country.


I took his advice and contented myself with hand-delivering my personal letter to the President’s office.  Indeed, the next day which was Independence Day, Mr Mugabe probably gave his most conciliatory speech of the last 10 years.  Things have not gone so well since then, including for my friends who had hoped for new prosperity.


After my return to England, I attended a “fun” evening of singing, dancing and chanting with my Zimbabwean spirit healer and a white South African “sangoma” friend.  I had started to think that I needed to go back to Zimbabwe and complete my mission urgently but, to my surprise, that evening, I felt I received a message from spirit that it was still a 5-year enterprise.

The invitation to Malidoma to come to England for talks and a workshop and an opportunity to meet him is part of that project.


My practice of Movement Medicine and 5 Rhythms also nourishes the venture.  Andrew Holmes, my original Oxford teacher, kindly made me a Wave of appropriate music for my trip (see for the playlist).  It was fabulous to listen to as I drove up from Johannesburg through the night to the Beitbridge border crossing.  I also danced a solo session in my room in Harare to help me decide on my actions.   Perhaps another time, I will be able to have others join me in the dance out there.


And, oh yes, have you seen that other latest 3D film, Tim Burton’s “Alice

where we have a girl travelling to the “underworld” to meet talking animals who show her her destiny?  I heartily recommend it and Johnny Depp is brilliant!  One day, I too hope to dance the Mad Hatter’s happy Futterwack dance when the Red Queen is defeated.


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.