So let us continue from where we left off in the previous blog!
Every workshop, event, training of The She Stands Tall Project happens within the container of sacredness that is invoked in journeying through the five stages of the qualitative research methodology of Organic Inquiry. This conference was even more special because co-founders of Organic Inquiry, Dr Dianne Jenett, was one of our special guest and presenter at the conference (extreme right in picture above, in the center is founder of The She Stands Tall Project – Rekha Kurup, on her right is Luisa Spagna – our special guest and presenter).
The conference space was specially held for mothers with children as two boys of age 6 and 10 months accompanied their mothers and stayed thru the conference.
The first step of Organic is Sacred or Preparing the Ground for whatever needs to be sowed, planted, nurtured to follow! The Sacred space at the conference was held and nurtured through a series of activities!
So the Shaktiship sisters ushered all the guests out into the lounge area so that the conference space could be prepared for welcoming them in. The sage was lit, candles were lit, and all the musical instruments including the drums, the rattles, the bell, the tambourine moved into the hands of the sisters and with echoing sounds of drums sounding to the rhythm of calling in (single beat) – all the shaktiship sisters started moving around the room as the doors were opened and attendees welcomed in, and the founder of The She Stands Tall Project moved them through a centering activity using Milling – Mindful Walking and Navigating the space – tuning in! That was followed by an elaborate invocation to the four directions plus the center (as in the logo of The She Stands Tall Project) representing the five elements, five doshas, five Dakinis (The invocation was slight modified from its original form that was often led by Vicki Noble in the Womens Spirituality program). Invocation to Each direction was led by a Shaktiship sister to the sound of drums, rattles, ullulation, shout-outs, voices! (Picture shows sisters getting oriented – from left to right in the order of East, South, West, North and Center).
The invocation brought a resounding silence into the room – like a powerful presence had descended into the space. Then one of the Shaktiship Sisters – Arundhati Roy stood in front of her Body Map and sang a beautiful Rabindra Sangeeth bringing a deep intimacy and heart into the room.
Now was the time to invoke the Sacred Feminine in her Wildness, Craziness, and Gentleness – what better way than Baul singing! The space was honored by the Arangetram of Arpita Gaidhane (student of Parvati Baul) as she invoked and called out to Kali (below). In that moment the heart was wholly entered and held! Many Eyes were moist – vulnerability loomed in the air – words transcended!
The Sacred Was contained!
Now it was time to move into Stage 2: Personal – Planting the Seed – Whats your deepest intention for your Awakening – the Awakening of the Shakti Woman! This part of the conference was led by Dr Dianne Jenett through a powerful Guided Visualization process! Women engaged in an art-writing-sharing activity following the meditation. Many women shared about powerful journeys and remembrance that happened to them in the process. The word that resonated in the room was – Surrender!
With the seed planted deep into the sacredness of the soil of spirits, it was now time to enter Stage 3: Chthonic – The Roots Emerge. The Unknown darkness, and surrender to what may happen beneath the soil! This part of the conference was led by Luisa Spagna by invoking the Yoginis of Hirapur through her oracle deck. Luisa presented her work and research on the Hirapur Yoginis and took the entire room on a journey through the temple, the yoginis and the birth of Hirapur Yogini Oracle Deck. She invoked the Yogini through a short movement piece and then led the entire room of participants on a flying Yogini journey of movement, motion, energy, flight and dynamism! The journey concluded with every woman picking a oracle card reading for herself and sharing it with the group. The resonance and entrainment of the reading left everyone in the room speechless!
Now was time to move into Stage 4: Relational – The Tree Grows. Witnessing and being moved , held, supported, connected to and by the story of another. Shaktiship Sister Pratibha Kujur from Mauritius Walked Confidently yet gently towards her Body Map and beheld the entire room of women with her Her-Story piece in Poetry – as she shared the ups and downs of her life’s flow and the emergence of her Standing Tall in all her Truth – everyone in the room was connected to her – with her. She was them! They were Her.
Now It was past 8 PM. Closing on Time at 8:30 PM was of utmost importance as women had to head back home to cover long distances, so the last segment on menstruation as personal source of power was kept aside for another day and conference moved into Stage 4: Transformative – Harvesting the Fruits.
The closing was led by Rekha Kurup – through a red-thread ceremony followed by closing in on personal intention, sisterhood and spreading the waves of love to the entire universe – hands and fingers and arms and bodies came together into the tightest squeeze as a circle was re-created, intentions held, strengths exchanged, and love splashed across the universe!
A phenomenal evening concluded with hearts united and hugs exchanged! The space was filled with such deep Feminine Power of being seen, acknowledged and held. As sisters moved out and away, there was a promise to stay connected and bringing more sisters into the fold of this knowing.
The Next Biennial SHakti Woman Conference will happen March 2018 in Mauritius.
For those wishing to dive deeper into the journey of Women-Centered Spirituality, Join us for the next Cycle of 21-Weeks of Shaktiship (July – December 2016) as more women will come together globally for yet another beautiful powerful journey of awakening.
Stay Tuned! Like our facebook page The She Stands Tall Project and walk with us through this journey. Our website: shestandstall.com
Rekha Govindan Kurup is a social artivist, spiritual feminist and co-director and founder of She Stands Tall Project LLP. She has a M.A in Women’s Spirituality from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California (one of the only two schools in the world that offers a academic pedagogy in women’s spirituality and both are located in Northern California).