School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: June 2009
Ritual – an elemental journey

By Jasper Drent

Being part of the Ritual Circle is a wonderful experience. I like the cyclical nature of it. We keep coming back to the land upon which we work, dance and play keeps and witness it’s changes. From the falling autumn leaves and rains, to the winter cold with a tinge of snow upon the highest hills, into the clearest blue skies of spring with the leaves almost bursting.

Just as the landscape is the same, yet different; so is the circle and it’s individual members. I keep discovering new nuances and colours. I am happy to say that I also keep discovering these nuances and colours in myself and my connections to the wider world.


I have always loved nature but now I sense the life and the beauty of Earth, Fire, Water and Air and the mysterious Source out of which they spring much deeper. I realise that I  am also built out of these elements: this gives a tremendous sense of support and connection. I do not have to go anywhere or achieve anything: “it” is already there. Unfortunately I sometimes forget and perceive myself as a separated entity again but somewhere I know I am connected and not alone in a cold universe. Simple things lead me back to this sense of connection. Seeing the life of spring unfold in all its majesty, lighting a fire and experiencing it’s warmth and light. Or even simpler, looking at the amazing clarity and purity of the flame of a candle.


In hard times it is so healing to conciously make this connection with the elements, with life. Like when I was with my parents and could feel the energyfield they were in and how it tried to suck me in. I felt myself resonating with their worrying mode:  life is a cesspool of sorrow and not to be trusted! When we were having a walk I went to the water and made contact with it. I washed my hands and face. I felt the sun drying and warming me, the wind blowing gently and giving me space. The rocks beneath my feet, holding me. I felt this family energypattern dissolving and I felt space and an open heart, clarity and freedom. What a gift! I realized the abundance of life, the generosity. And somehow my parents started noticing the beautiful trees and even started communicating with the sheep we encountered: Mweeehhh, mweeehh, we had some childplay laughs! Quite a transformation.


I have come to know the elements on a deeper and more intimate level in the workshop and at home during rituals. E.g. lighting fires and really experiencing contact with the living fire. This deeper understanding also resonates in my daily life. I greet and welcome the elements in my Movement Medicine practice but also am much more aware of them on a daily basis. When I take a shower, cook my food: the elements, their beauty and life is always there. OK, I am not able to be always aware of that and enjoy - as I get lost in my little and big drama’s from time to time - but I know it is so.


I regularly feel grateful for this which brings me to another thing I learned in Ritual: gratitude. I remember vividly how I first heard about the 21 gratitudes during Initiation a couple of years ago. I started working with it, dropped it, picked it up again but never felt anything deep or true in it. I remembered that depth and feeling it as true, wasn’t a prerequisite working with it so I kept experimenting with it. Somewhere in the last months came a shift. Now it feels so good and beautiful to thank the elements, creation and spirit for all the riches in my life. Sometimes I am deeply immersed in this process and it touches me to the core, it feels so true and intimate and my way to say: Thank You. Sometimes I can even wholeheartedly say thank you to my pain.


Another discovery this year was reconnecting with my mind. After years of advaita vedanta I had more or less discarded my mind. At least not valuing it very much in the field of spiritual growth. Advaita Vedanta and many other schools stress that what we are is not the mind, that our true nature is beyond al forms, we can relax in the Absolute out of which all forms and shapes come and into which they disappear. At least that was what I made of it. Now this might be true - for me it feels true on some level - but there is more to it. And this more being the unique shape and form Light or Source takes on in me and all other creatures. This means that it does matter! It does matter how I live my life, relate with my body, heart and mind. It also gives me a more active role in shaping my life, formulating my dreams. It gives a sense of empowerment without losing connection to the wider picture. For me apart from the gratitudes, the SEER process is very helpfull in this respect. In this process you look from the centre of your circle to where life energy has get lost and move with specific events or feelings through the elements. This gives me a powerful tool with which I can gradually transform my thinking. And most important the resultating new thinking consists of incantations which are not dull, dry, and isolated thoughts but they are what I call  “alive thinking” and in connection with my heart, feelings and body. And this feels new and good!


I am looking forward to our last cycle together in this Ritual Circe. Feeling gratefull for all the beauty, depth and honesty we make space for together. Thank you Ya’Acov and staff (Cathy and Jo) and all the beautiful people who make our circle whole.


With love and gratitude,


Jasper Drent




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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.