Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pictures from the Sedona Daka/Dakini Conference

"Sri Goji" with Anyaa above,
Temple Gardens below

Temple gardens

Red Rocks Cathedral

Self made Man
Anyaa and Dez

Body painting TayloreAnyaa Presenting with Dez

Sedona Red Rocks

Beautiful Cacti

The Temple Pools

Temple gardens

Gary and Anyaa

Monday, May 26, 2008

Rewriting Civilzation's History: 9500 Year Old City Found

4500-year-old HarappanThe civilization of Ancient Egypt occurred in a past so remote that today it seems mystical. The pyramids and other temples, with their hieroglyphics depicting a flourishing civilization, have a mysterious, almost magical appeal. It seems inconceivable that people of an advanced society could have walked those ancient streets.

Now, it was announced in January, a civilization has been uncovered that would have appeared just as ancient to the people who built the pyramids as the pyramids seem to us.

Chalk up one for those who insist our planet has hosted many lost civilizations that existed long before Mesopotamia. "This news completely contradicts the position of most Western historians and archaeologists, who (because it did not fit their theories) have always rejected, ignored, or suppressed evidence of an older view of mankind's existence on planet Earth. Human civilization is now provably much more ancient than many have believed."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Another Approach to Shadow

Besides being a transpersonal Psychotherapist, My partner Anyaa is also one of the better-known Shamanic Astrologers in the US, having studied with Daniel Giamario, the acknowledged creator of Shamanic Astrology.

She's written a powerful blog about how Shamanic Astrology knowledge tells us about what going on in our divine connection to ourselves and the awareness around the practice that connects us with that Divine, and she's been inundated with responses from others who say they've been feeling the same thing in their lives.
Read it here.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Sedona Daka/Dakini Conference Wrap Up

It is good to be back home in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. We arrived in Asheville at 9pm on Wednesday night, picked up by our good friend, Pam. She brought Anyaa's other Beloved, Miss Lily, The Shamanic Girl Dog, a vibrant 14 year old Westie Terrier, and Pam's own Yorkie, Molly. Miss Lily and Molly are the best of friends.

It's been cloudy with sporadic rain since we arrived home, and for the first time, it appears we'll have sunshine today. The mountains have again exploded with green while we were gone for 10 ten days, My inner feminine loves the rebirth going on as you see the difference day by day. A stark contrast to an also beautiful Sedona.

The Daka/Dakini Conference held at the Sedona School of Temple Arts was actually quite good. The 70 percent of the offerings that were "consciouness-light," or new-agey, were offset by the 30 percent that was really good, powerful and important curriculum. Anyaa is stiill getting a lot of response from her presentation and it appears there will be a women's circle, "Awakening The Sexual Priestess," in Vancouver, BC, that will emerge because of it. This the work of her conference presentation, Stages of Healing the Wounded Feminine.

I had an opportunity to speak further with David Cates, a presenter I talked about in an earlier Sedona blog. David is well aware of the other paths to awareness, but only had time to focus on the masculine path of emptiness, eros, or what some call "up and out." I wish he would haave made that distinction in his presentation. As it was, he appeared to championing the masculine path.
If you are, or have any interest in being, a Sacred Sexual Healer, then this is the conference for you, especially the pre or post conference intensives, perhaps even with an apprenticeship with the Sedona School of Temple Arts. I really miss all of those participants. Deep bonds form quickly through authentic sharing.
Coming soon: Stepping Into Our Power: or, the art of do-be-do-be-do....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Last Day, Daka/Dakini Conference

Sunday was actually the last day of the official Daka/Dakini Conference and Monday night began the post event: A five-day intensive designed to assist sexual healers improve their skills. This is primarily about helping healers increase their manual skills as well as their awareness around shadow issues, primarily their own, thereby developing more empathy with their clients, and assisting the healers in becoming more authentic. This is critical to better serve their clients.

Anyaa and I were here through Tuesday as she facilitated the opening circle on Monday evening and an all-day Shamanic Breathwork (TM) for the 16 attendees. Others will facilitate the rest of the week.

Monday night's opening circle was pretty amazing. First we did a check in on why we were there and what our intentions were for the week. Most of the attendees were Sacred Sexual Healers, a concept that scares the crap out of most Americans, but given the nature of shadow around sex, especially in the US, extremely important work. The amount of sexual abuse, repression, birth trauma, guilt and shame are epidemic, and they affect every aspect of our lives.

Of course there are sexual healers who are frauds and seriously damaged and do harm, but the people who are attending this post conference event are authentic in helping others reclaim their sexuality, and sometimes, their lives. A lot of Sacred Sexual Healers come to this work because they've been damaged themselves, and helping to heal others has become a passion, as well as part of their healing process.

Anyaa became seriously involved in this movement because of her passion as a psychotherapist working with rape victims after getting her master's degree in the 1970's. She's been doing women's work ever since, helping women integrate the healthy masculine and reclaim their full power as women. She continues that work in her role as a Sacred Sexuality Educator.

Back to Monday Night: After checking in, we were introduced to Shawn Roop, a Tantra teacher from San Diego. Shawn did a presentation on Tantra that was amazing and completely unlike any I had ever seen (in my somewhat limited experience). Shawn is not merely a presenter and facilitator. He has extraordinary presence and ease, and is one of those rare individuals who provide a transmission to his audience. His talk and experiential demonstration of Tantra, especially as it applied to the Chakras as a diagnosis tool, has absolutely nothing to do with sex. In fact, he pointed out that Tantra is not about sex at all, but an all-encompassing ancient wisdom that includes sex, as it does all aspects of life. I do believe I've found one of my next teachers.

Shawn's website offers free Tantra talks and I highly recommend him.

Tuesday was breathwork day. Many of the participants had done different types of breathwork, but this was their first exposure to Shamanic Breathwork (TM). I've written here before about the Shamanic Breathwork (TM) Process and how I consider it to be a truly powerful integral process, so I won't go into that here.

Anyaa is a gifted breathwork facilitator of 20+ years and all of the 16 participants had powerful and evocative experiences. Breaking into partners, one person breathed in the morning while the co-journeyer held space, keeping the breather safe and looking after their needs, with the roles reversed for the afternoon. That night, after dinner we came back and Anyaa skillfully led us through the process that allows us to integrate our journey into our lives. This is truly life changing transformational work!

This is a wonderful group of people, some of whom have powerful visions of how they want to change the world, starting with themselves.

Anyaa and I got into bed very late Tuesday night, after she and the facilitators for the rest of the week downloaded all that was happening, and on two-and-half hours sleep, we crankily got in our rented convertible (a choice of cars we really loved in the Sedona sun) to drive to the Phoenix Sky Harbor to begin our journey back to North Carolina. Exhausted.

A great ten days. A wrap-up on the conference comes next.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sedona Daka/Dakini Conference Wrap Up

I'm not going to have time to post today. This is Anyaa's and my last day in Sedona and we have a full schedule. Anyaa's facilitating an all day Shamaanic Breathwork (TM) journey and we have to pack and be on the road to the Phoenix Sky Harbor at 6am tomorrow morning.

I plan on writing on the plane back to Asheville, telling about Monday's events, todays' breathwork, and a wrap up of the entire conference.

Meanwhile, blessings to all.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Day 7: The Sedona Daka/Dakini Conference

We missed the first presenter this morning because Anyaa had a therapy session with a client. I could have gone alone, but welcomed the chance to just hang out around the temple,talking with people.

We arrived at Future Studios about 10:30am, where the morning sessions were taking place, in time to hear David Cates, another keynote speaker.

David Cates is now an elder in the sexual healing revolution. Thirty years ago he worked his way through college as one of the first male strippers in New York (five years before Chippendales hit the scene!). In the San Francisco underground, he was turned on to the sacred dimensions of sex, and shifted his private counseling practice to full-time daka work. He has shared his healing gifts with thousands of clients in the US, Europe and Australia, keeping his work fresh by constantly incorporating new bodymind modalities and leading-edge science into his profoundly intuitive understanding of the ancient temple arts. All the tricks boil down to this: Pay Close Attention, Be Fully Present, and Let Go!

A quote from David:

“The universe is fucking ALIVE! And ego is NOT the vehicle that can carry any of us to ecstasy. Aligning our multidimensional bodies with the present moment allows full penetration, bliss and conscious co-creation. At the oscillation rate of atoms – where Source pops through the quantum field into form – we are birthing our bodies 40 million times each second. Get in harmony with THAT!“We can’t muscle through or control it; we can only surrender…“Luckily, white tantra shows us how to relax into the tremulous vibration at the heart of matter. We don’t DO the Sacred Union; we ARE the Sacred Union. Realizing this at our core awakens us to the infinite, eternal,
ongoing orgasm of life. Identity bursts into flames. Everything else falls away."
By itself, really good stuff. However, during his presentation, David also seemed to be saying stop all the practices, stop working on yourselves and just let go into surrender.

At later stages of development, this can happen. But at survival, tribal, power, mythological, achievement, and egalitarian stages of consciousness this could be a disaster. Again, the problem is that letting go gets interpreted at the level of consciousness of the particular individual.

Some one at amber/mythological (Wilber's model) is going to have a completely different experience than someone at Spiral Dynamics' (Don Beck's model) orange/achiever levels.

The better known names in developmental psychology, like Susanne Cook-Greuter, Bill Torbet, and Bob Kegan, know that most adults are not actually developmentally ready for most of the intervention work that is commonly offered in the helping professions....nor are they capable of having anything but peak (state) experiences of higher levels of consciousness.

So the question becomes, is telling people drop what they're doing and just let go good advice? It depends on an individual's level of development. David Cates can do it, and that's his truth, but he's been doing the prep work that he seems to be asking others to stop for thirty years.

In addition, what David is describing is the masculine path of emptiness, or eros. There's also the feminine path of embracing the world, coomunion or agape. And beyond that is the path of both/and: doing the work and releasing it to the universe. No attachment.

Later that day

We took the afternoon off to get out on the land of Sedona. We visited a vortex and stood for five minutes for all of the women of the world. What an incredibly beautiful place!

At 5:30 we attended the Tantric Circus: a group of about 6-7 performers who do live and multimedia performance art based on the tantric perspective. This was erotic, delicious, funny and beautiful. The Tantric Circus performs all over the west coast and if you get a chance, I highly recommend it.

More tomorrow.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Day 6: The Sedona Daka/Dakini Conference

I'm finding myself somewhat amazed that the majority of teachings here at the conference are so basic and elementary. So much so, that I'm left with the conclusion that the majority of these attendees, sex workers, tantra teachers, healers, etc., simply have not done their own work.

As Anyaa, my Beloved, so eloquently pointed out in her talk, Healing the Wounded Feminine, and referring to Wilber's state/stages model, people can get a taste of higher stages of consciousness through ecstatic, or altered, state experiences, and "spiritually bypass" (as she calls it) their present stage. They think they've moved to a higher level of consciousness, when all they are really doing is interpreting that glimpse of the next stage from their own level of consciousness.

What's worse is, if they haven't completed the personal work that needs to be done translatively, that is, horizontal development, the widest and healthiest perspective possible at a particular stage, they tend to disassociate from what they haven't completed, leaving unhealthy aspects of that stage in their psyches that will come back and kick their ass later. It's unavoidable. It becomes shadow.

It's not until one attains the widest and healthiest perspective at their present stage (translation), that they're ready to move into the next stage. This is transformation, or vertical development, where one transcends and includes the previous stage, being able to call on that stage's particular qualities as they are needed. If those qualities aren't healthy, pathologies will develop and a healer can wind up doing more harm than good. can make for really boring presentations.

Although Anyaa's presentation was about Healing the Wounded Feminine, both men and women have been coming up to her, some crying, some ecstatically happy to have these realizations pointed out to them. Many of them have said that they recognized themselves in her presentation and have committed to seeking out the personal work they need, many of the women with her. Some have called her presentation profound and deep. I agree.

I am so honored to love and to be loved by this woman.

For more on transformation and translation go here: The Nature of Translation: Stop and LiveIt's the third video down.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Day 5: Trapped by Naked Yoga! and a whole lot more!

After a late night, Anyaa and I were awakened by the sound of people rustling about in the temple space outside our door. "Oh, no," I said, "Naked Yoga's in the temple!" Since the exit to rest of the house was through the door to the temple, we felt trapped. Fortunately, we also have an outside door that requires us to go around this huge house....Naked Yoga....That's cool. My non-participation is more about my newness to yoga than nudity.

Today kicked off the actual conference, and it was much more powerful, significant, and conscious than my experience yesterday. After a welcome by Baba Dez, the conference organizer, the three keynote speakers each did a 45-minute presentation.
The first was a couple from Chicago, Dr. Elsbeth Meuth and Freddy Zental Weaver, who teach Tantra to couples to enhance relationships. They did a piece on the Showtime "Sexual Healing" special they were featured in last year that was excellent. They do great work.

My partner, Anyaa McAndrew, was the second keynote speaker. She spoke eloquently about Stages of Healing the Wounded Feminine. Anyaa's a psychotherapist who has been working with women's issues for thirty years. Today's presentation was part one, about identifying the shadow aspects of the feminine, describing the wound and it's archetypes in detail. Both men and women kept coming up to her all day, telling her how much her talk meant to them. Tomorrow she'll do part two, about the healing processes needed.

The third keynote speakers were Dr. Sasha & Janet Lessin, a polyamorous couple who were to speak on Adoring Aphrodite, but their talk seemed more personal about their own journeys, heavily laden with stories of sexual healing. Dr. Sasha seemed rushed and wound up (sacred sacraments?) but the message was good.

There other good workshops that afternoon, including teachers from Charles Muir's Tantric Source School in Hawaii on Sacred Spot Massage. Charles Muir is pretty much the acknowledged leader of the American tantra movement.

Great stuff, today, including a wonderful concert new age fluff. All important work.

More tomorrow.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Day 4 at the Daka/Dakini Conference: The Green Hits The Fan.....

At any large gathering of people where consciousness and awareness is in the forefront, including the integral movement, there's going to be a certain amount of "new-agism." This Sacred Sexual Healing conference is no exception.

Today I attended a 4 hour workshop with 20 other people on "conscious manifestation," one of dozens events taking place at this conference. At $100 a person for the session, I was expecting a lot. I already knew that I need to cut away and get rid of my self-limiting beliefs (I couldn't do that, I'm not good enough, etc.), and what I was looking for was how to do that: good tools that would help me learn how to better draw in the energy of abundance through my passion of service to men and couples, what's called "God-Money.
To begin, one of the two facilitators of the session was almost an hour late. There was a veiled apology (an excuse, really, with no apology) that he had been meditating and lost track of time. Ka-ching.
We then began an energy based meditation, that lasted an hour, with the intention of creating a vortex in the center of the room where we could deposit all of our self-limiting beliefs, having them disappear down the vortex. As the meditation proceeded, people began moaning and squirming, some coming together in the middle of the room, climbing all over each other (in the vortex....).
After a short break, the facilitators took us through an hour of very rudimentary teaching around self-limiting beliefs. Because I'd heard so much of this before, I felt like I was in a total beginner's class, including the facilitators, and found myself somewhat amazed that everyone seemed so taken with what I considered obvious and basic information. During a question and answer period, people asked questions that, in my opinion, weren't answered. What kind of conscious work had these people been doing?
In the last hour, we were guided back into another meditation, this one about releasing the things that holding us back, then taking our power, placing it in the middle of the room, with everyone then using every one's power to enhance their own. All the time I'm thinking, WTF? This time, at the end, almost the entire group was rolling around the floor with each other, grouping, humping, touching, and now I'm thinking about how many sex workers use what they're doing as a disguise and cover for their own sexual addictions.
As I continue to step into my own work with men and couples, I realize, once again, what a bunch of shallow new age stuff there is out there, how many people take advantage of others, and how gullible people can be. In my opinion, there was nothing in this workshop that was of value, and that it was appealing to people who think they're moving through or toward more self aware stages, when in actuality, they're having state experiences that they're interpreting as higher consciousness, spiritually by-passing the actual work that has to be done to get there.
In fairness, both facilitators have manifested a lot of abundance in their lives, but abundance is not the measurement of higher stages of consciousness. Sorry, Charlie...this was way too new age for me.
I'm going to try to find the primary facilitator and ask him if he's open to feedback, and then try to discover just what his intentions were. Maybe he was trying to reach them at their particular level of development, but that is not my sense. I want to make sure I'm not wrong about this.
Tomorrow: trapped by Naked Yoga

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Day 3: A Profundity of Paradoxes

This morning I woke up feeling both profound sadness and joy: Sadness around my inability to heal others and joy at the richness of blessings in my life. Realizing that these feelings are a spiral, and that, like the ocean, they come and go, kissing the shore and leaving their mark. The sadness felt like a wave, the joy like the ocean, and tho' they appear to be separate, they are not.

The workshop today was about gender healing within each of us. Anyaa led the workshop, which consisted of us pairing off in gender pairs, each holding space for the other as we travelled through the process.
We each brought a crystal that was anointed with spikenard, the purest of essence oil, which is said to be used by Mary of Magdalene to wash and anoint Jesus' feet. Using the crystal to pass through the chakras, beginning at the crown chakra, each of us passed through both the masculine and feminine essence of our selves, as Anyaa led us through an amazing healing process that allowed us to let go of all of the gender wounding that has haunted us through the ages. The end result was as if a huge weight of guilt, sadness, and pain had been lifted from each of us. I highly recommend the process if you ever have an opportunity to experience it.
That night we each did a presentation on our gift to the world. I have discovered that I am a gifted stand-up comic, as I became, in costume, Sri Goji, who was berry, berry happy to be there. The group of 16 cracked up as I explained that I was so enlightened that instead of an aura, I had a Corona. I then channeled the enlightened spirituality of Gomer Pyle and Jimmy Stewart, who proclaimed that it was A Wonderful After Life.....After taking some questions about spirituality (some of the dumbest questions I ever heard). In the future, I'll wrap it up channeling Louie Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World.
Like so many groups I've been in during the past few years, the connections with the others are fast and deep, and I've made some wonderful new friends.

We have Thursday off and the actual conference begins on Friday.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Day 2: Sedona Daka/Dakini Conference

We began today by spending some time in the Watsu pool at the beautiful Sedona Temple. This is a magnificent house with beautiful gardens, pools, and rock streams surrounded by towering red rocks.

After shopping for some groceries, and finishing settling in, the pre-conference group of 14 had a catered lunch together before kicking off the afternoon session, the beginning of the pre-conference. A lot of the other attendees are apprenticing with Baba Dez, Anyaa's co-facilitator in this process.
We began the afternoon session with some movement and ecstatic dance that was sensuous and altering. After that, Anyaa and Baba Dez led about an hour long "puja," a lovely heart-to-heart sacred intimacy building guided meditation process, with people moving from person to person, about claiming our inner masculine and feminine selves. We then had a sharing circle about who we are and why we're here.
Why I'm Here
Well, first I'm here because my partner, Anyaa, is one of the major presenters at the conference, and I'm here to support her in that process, and to enjoy her and our time together. But more, I'm here because I believe that healing between the masculine and the feminine is one of the most important issues facing humanity. Again, the wounds on both are so massive and they affect every aspect of our lives. For my part, healing the masculine, and moving men from David Deida's second stage to third stage, is the work I am choosing to do. A huge portion of that healing has to do with our sexuality.
After dinner, we gathered in separate circles, men and women. I can't speak to what happened in the women's circle, but we began by talking about our experiences of the afternoon. My sense was that this part was pretty lightweight work, but then I'm usually facilitating this work. The best part of the evening was the experiential process of healing our father wounds by being able to lie with each other and just be safely held by the masculine with no agenda. To do this, all six of us "spooned" in a line, holding each other and allowing ourselves. The importance of this work, besides the healing of our wounds, allows us to hold our children, our loved ones, and each other, just being present, and amazing gift that so many of us cannot do.
Tomorrow we're supposed to go much deeper with Anyaa facilitating the day.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Sedona Daka/Dakini Conference, 2008

Monday, May 05, 2008

On Monday, Anyaa and flew to Sedona, Arizona, to attend what will be my first Daka/Dakini conference. What’s a Daka/Dakini conference? This one, consisting of 10 days with pre and post events, is one of the largest in the US, and will consist of about 185 sexual healers and practioners from around the world.

The conference is hosted by Anyaa’s long time friend, and sometimes teaching partner, Baba Dez, at the beautiful Sedona Temple, his home. Anyaa will be one of the major presenters and will be speaking on the Stages of Healing the Wounded Feminine, based on an article of the same name she wrote especially for this conference.

While here, I’ll be body painting for the attendees for donations. I brought a small compressor, my body paints, brushes, and my airbrush. Hopefully, we’ll have some photos, too.

Since I’ve never attended a conference quite like this, I’m not completely sure what to expect, in spite of reading the schedule of presenters, and being told some of what it will be like.

There are some things happening at the conference that I won’t be participating in. For instance, there’s Naked Yoga every morning, but Anyaa and I have our own practices that we’ll be adhering to. At one point in my life, I would probably have participated, but not today, even though I’m really in the best shape I’ve been in years. It’s not about that.

I’ll write some about it every day, including how I feel about it from an integral perspective. Given the number of sexually wounded people in this world, to a degree that I’ve only realized since my relationship with Anyaa began a year and a half ago, I expect there will be some really important work and learning going on, but I also expect some new-age fluff….and a lot of narcissism. No surprise….it happens in “integral” communities and gatherings, as well.