Truth is, though I continue to add new teachers, I’m never finished with the old ones – just always growing a bigger roster.
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Back in May I went to a workshop with a teacher I’d had my eye on. She’s based in the UK, and there was no fast and easy way I was going to make it to one of her weekend workshops there, so when she announced a workshop in the States, I jumped on the bus heading south with bells on.
The trip was through a part of the States I love – the Mohawk Valley, and the beautiful little historical towns of upstate New York, on into Massachusetts.
There was a rather hilarious moment with a ride-share, where Sharon had agreed to pick me up at the Albany bus station to drive together along highway 2 into rural Massachusetts. She opened her arms to me at the bus station with a big hug, and we clambered happily into her car, where she started with: “So, how do you know Rabbi Jill?”
Well, I knew nothing about Rabbi Jill, and she knew nothing about shamanic teacher Manda Scott, but as we soon found out over the weekend at the conference centre in the woods, there was plenty of overlap and love between the various groups sharing the space.
There are stories I could tell about the weekend itself – about details and insights and the way one weekend in the woods can seem more important than several months on either side of it, but…
… at this point I will focus on the fact that there were so many things about Manda that were very appealing to me – her fierce intelligence, her life as a creative (she’s an author – more known in Britain than over here), the way she had navigated learning shamanic practice and then building her own way with it, the excitement she brought with her about Extinction Rebellion (a much bigger movement in the UK than here), and the seriousness with which she took her role as teacher and guide to more novice travellers.
So when she and her partner, Faith, launched a new venture in December – around the time of the equinox, moving into the new year – I signed up right away, without even really knowing what it was.
Turns out, it’s a series of offerings, and you can follow the podcast for free, or you can sign up for the paid membership version of the whole thing. Aside from the (fascinating, brilliant) podcast (where Rabbi Jill makes an appearance!), there’s an online discussion board, and my favourite part – a series of guided meditations and visualizations connecting with the elements (water, fire, air, earth, and so on).
The project it proposes – of believing in a new world, of imagining a new world, rather than being locked into the narrow vision of modern life as it is currently known – has been an anchor of optimism for me. It was an anchor of optimism even before the mammoth towering shadow of a global pandemic, so I mention it to you, just in case.
Just in case it is of interest to even one someone…
3 thoughts on “New Teach”
I have had some thoughts about imagining a new world, too. I’d like to know what you are thinking of. I have to say I liked the world that was here in this island before much better than the world as it is now! Almost everyone was a farmer, people had their own food, not too long ago they spun and wove their own cloth. There was a loom in every old house, they traveled by horse and sleigh in the winter. There were 75 grist mills in this island. There was a man who must’ve been in his 70s I knew who had a wooden box about 6 x 3 ft, with a screen bottom hanging from the ceiling over his dinner table. I asked what it was for. He said, “To dry the grain before you take it to the mill.” He worked in that mill when he was a teen-ager.
One of the books we’re reading in this group with Manda is Rob Hopkins’ “From What Is to What If” – it’s a beautiful call to the power of imagination, and a reminder of how far the dream can be from our current world. Here’s just a bit: “In fact, one of the things all great movements have in common – those that have brought about real change like the Civil Rights movement, the suffragettes and LGBT rights campaigners – is that the participants are able to create and sustain a vision of the world they want, tell stories about it, and bring forward leaders who are able to make that vision a collective one, such that it becomes a powerful narrative – and a powerful counter-narrative to cynicism and despair. Think ‘I Have a Dream’”
[…] of months ago, when, up in the night with insomnia, I did some deep bio reading about Manda Scott, whose workshop I went to last year, and whose fascinating and refreshingly optimistic podcast I’ve been following since back in […]