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This 10-session course, delivered in two semesters that will take place in the fall/winter of 2020 and spring of 2021, provides students with fundamental frameworks and tools for healing that combines somatics, ancestral-spiritual healing, and social change.
Blessings to you and all your relations.
We would like to share with you about the Ritual as Justice School’s annual course offering on the basics of animist-somatic healing.
So what do we mean, when we say ‘animist-somatic’?
Our work is based on the foundational observation that each of our nervous systems are deeply entangled in complex networks of relationships, which include more-than-human beings that our elder cultures referred to as ancestors and spirits, and more recently by modern psychologists as archetypes. We refer to this network as the cultural nervous system and the collective body that it exists in as the cultural soma.
We use the term animist-somatic to describe the fundamental truth that the healing of our bodies is necessarily the healing of the cultural nervous systems we belong to, alongside all of our tangible and intangible relationships.
Further, we understand that what is commonly referred to as systemic oppressions are themselves traumas embodied in the larger cultural nervous system and an expression of the unprocessed pains carried in it.
The impact of these hurts cannot be escaped by merely disavowing them by name or tinkering with the impact of the symptoms they bring to the surface, just as much as we cannot heal the roots of our individual trauma by trying to stubbornly talk ourselves out of it or endlessly killing pain. Relief can be desirable, but it isn’t the same as fundamental change. We may stave off dis-ease for a moment, but surely enough, illness resurfaces stronger when we have not addressed the underlying traumas that gave birth to them in the first place.
What we then require, even as rising tensions mount and it seems like urgency is everywhere, is to create space for ourselves to tune into what is deeply subtle – as it is in that subtle realm of our individual and collective nervous systems, where the actual original players of violence do their work, just underneath the guise of our cognitive awareness.
Our goal with this course is to provide committed people of all kinds with a container to undertake this life-giving work, sharing frameworks and skills for integrating trauma-based somatics, expressive play, and animist-indigenous ritual, into a transformative practice of life.
If this path calls to you, please keep reading below for more details and the registration link.
We also welcome any questions you may have at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tada Hozumi, Dare Sohei, and Larissa Kaul (course instructors)
The course will consist of:
- Two semesters, or ‘dances’, each made up of 4 pre-scheduled class, 1 Q&A style class (to be scheduled). All classes will be hosted on the Zoom.us platform and recorded for playback
- A series of pre-recorded lectures and exercises.
- A private online community (platform TBD)
All pre-scheduled classes will take place Wednesday 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm PST / 8:30pm – 11:00 pm EST on the following dates: Oct 28th, Nov 11th, Dec 2nd, Dec 16th, Jan 13th, Jan 27th, Feb 17th, March 3rd.
NOTE: If you’re in EST, please note classes are generally structured so the last 30min is mostly feedback circle and buffer time. Your early departure will not be disruptive and you should not miss that much critical experiential work if any.
This course is broken down into two main ‘dances’ made up of 4 pre-scheduled classes and 1 Q&A session each.
The first movement, “Remembering the Seed”, focuses on developing strong baseline skills or nervous system resiliency as well as introduces students to a basic sequence for animist-somatic healing, particularly, ancestral healing. These learnings are intended to act as a ‘home base’ from which students may further explore from.
The second movement, “Becoming the Forest”, explores the practice of improvised somatic ritual, playing with applications of the various tools that were cultivated in the first movement. Students will learn, through experience, how to safely and bravely engage in individual and collective animist play, engaging well with various intangible beings, including ones that may show us challenge and trouble.
First Dance: Remembering the Seed
Initiating the circle
Dates: Oct 28th
In this first class, we will be preparing the space for the rest of the course by holding a ritual that acknowledges the land and our relations, and going over the foundational somatic tool kit to uphold our baseline nervous system skills.
Connecting body and soil
Date: Nov 11th
In this second class, students will be provided with a basic map of the energetic-nervous system and practices for cultivating it, with a specific focus on developing their Hara (肚), the gut-center. We understand Hara as the point we connect to the earth through and our capacity to work with it as an essential skill for animist-somatic healing.
Welcoming the ancestors
Date: Dec 2nd
In this third class, students will be introduced to the concept of cultural attachment, which opens up a framework for attachment psychology that includes more-than-human forces such as ancestors, elemental spirits, and goddesses/gods. Students will also be guided through an embodied ritual for developing healthy and secure relationships with these non-living-human presences. This is a critical step that allows us to widen our bandwidth for resiliently facing more wounded and challenging spiritual relationships, such as the oppressive spirits of patriarchy or white supremacy.
Mending the ancestral web
Date: Dec 16th
In this fourth class, students will learn how, if ready, to repattern and heal their more troubled relations without retraumatizing their nervous system. This is an important step in undoing deeply internalized patterns of oppression that are reflections of unhealed spiritual relationships. Having this skill also allows us to be in spontaneous improvised somatic ritual in a safe and brave way, both alone and together.
Second Dance: Becoming the Forest
Collecting the seeds
Date: Jan 13th
In this first class of the second dance, we will review the skills we learned in the first dance and strengthen our relational protocols, in order to prepare us for exploring the art of playful improvised prayer. Here we become even more familiar with how we sense, and how we interpret sensations.
Presencing to decay
Date: Jan 27th
In this second class, students will be guided in starting to build a well relationship with death and notice the aliveness of it. We will practice allowing ourselves to rest closer to them, little by little, noticing the subtle place where death reveals the impulses underneath, such as when we pay attention to the micro-organisms that steward the decay process in a forest bed. We will learn to follow these impulses as the foundation of our improvised movement and play.
Nurturing the bloom
Dates: Feb 17th
In this third class, we will further transition from decay to its paradoxical ally of aliveness. As we keep sensing into the flirtatious and creative energies that live in our bellies, we will notice that in any given moment, there are so many ways to open our bodies to delightful expressions, perhaps even to surprisingly ghoulish pleasures. This is the skill of improvised somatic discovery.
Closing the circle
Date: March 3rd
In this final class, we will be closing the course, bidding adieu to the container, and saying thank you to those that have guided us, as well as take stock of the bounty from our learning.
By this time we will likely have discovered many clues that are pointing to unique directions for each of our lives. What is helping us find harmony or coherence? What is tripping us up? What in your near and long term future is calling for your skillful behavior, and how will you follow through?
We honor and celebrate what has been stirred up and learned, blessing its continual unfolding.
Who this course is for
As a school, our approach to justice and healing sometimes radically departs from the dominant conversations about these subjects as we are oriented to always explore new terrain where somatics, animism, and social change meet.
In this spirit, we welcome people, lay, professional, and in between, who hold a deeply curious disposition and feel energized when their previous beliefs are challenged.
Gratitudes for this encounter and blessings to you!
I’m Tada, a Japanese diaspora settler, somatic coach, and dancer based on Unceded Coast Salish Territories (Canadian Pacific North West).
At the core of my practice is the understanding that all oppressions, including white supremacy, are energetic ailments of both the individual and cultural body. I believe that individual healing cannot be whole without tending to the cultural, and vice versa, that cultural change cannot be in good faith without tending to all of the bodies that make up the collective.
For more, please go to: Selfishactivist.com
I’m Dare based in unceded Chinookan tribal lands (Portland, OR, USA). My people are from the Afro-Caribbean diaspora (Boriken – Puerto Rican, Taino & African), Spain, France, and Switzerland.
I’m a queer mixed-race somatic educator, ancestral healing practitioner, and neurodivergent ritual animist who specializes in helping humans heal relationships with their bodies, the earth, their ancestors, and the more-than-human world. I trained for many years in somatic movement practices, as a dancer/theater maker/trainer on Ohlone land in the SF Bay area, and have a long ongoing study/praxis into the human nervous system and trauma and how that relates to indigenous wisdom and medicine practices.
For more, please go to: www.bodyaltar.org
Hey there! I am a non-binary (they/them), mixed race individual with training in counseling, spirit work, community organizing, and visual and performance art. On my father’s side my people hail from Kashmir, India, and on my mother’s side I hold Scottish, French, and German ancestry.After over a decade of being engaged in social justice efforts I have come to understand trauma and separation from loving relationship to Spirit/Nature as the root cause of systemic violence. I consider creativity and personal power to be inherently linked, and combine my artistic practice with nervous system healing.
For more, please go to: www.larissakaul.com
Would you like to take a little peek into the course content? Here are some excerpts from our course material.
What is cultural somatics?
On poetic mind
All prices are in USD. IF you are based in Canada, please e-mail email@example.com.
|One-time payment||3x plan|
(Oct 2nd – finished)
|$675||3 x $250||6 x $145|
(Oct 26th 10pm PT)
|$800||3 x $300||6 x $170|
|Regular (reduced from originally posted fees)||$900||3 x $340||6 x $190|
Note 1: When you register, please make sure this is the right choice for you as refunds and cancellations are disruptive to our budgeting and will only accept them in very extraneous cases.
Note 2: In the case that the course may have to be canceled for unseen events, fees will be refunded in a prorated way after a $100 administration fee.
Note 3: IF the above prices are prohibitive to you, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your situation. We are offering a limited number of partial scholarships.
Code of Relational Conduct
Linked at the bottom of this section is a Code of Relational Conduct (CoRC) that is applicable to all current students, staff, and instructors of the RAJ School.
The CoRC embodies core capacities that we are proposing as requirements to participate in a healthy animist-indigenous society.
One of our goals through RAJ courses is to provide our students with tools that support them in being able to uphold it.
We understand your registration as your agreement to uphold the CoRC..
Take a look at the Ritual as Justice School of Relational Conduct.
In acknowledging the various teachers and lineages that have fed into our work, we would like to first recognize the perilousness of such a task, as we live in the wreckages of imperialism and colonialism.
As BIPOC and queer healers, we know we have many teachers and lineages that we cannot name because their lives were erased from history. We grieve them.
We also have to admit that we have some teachers and lineages that we cannot celebrate, as they have shown us to be oppressive and violence. Our aspirations are to hold them accountable.
We also have teachers, thinkers, and lineages that we have an ongoing relationship of goodness to their work. Here are their names, with the understanding that acknowledgments in words always naturally creates dissatisfactory omissions as things are never easy to attribute definitively:
Ryokyu Endo and Tao Shiatsu, Hideo Takaoka and Japan YURU Association, Kenji Ushiro and Soshinkan Karatedo, Tyson Yunkaporta, Shirley Turcotte and Indigenous Focusing Oriented Therapy, Sobonfu and Malidoma Some, Turtle Tank, Caffyn Jesse and Somatic Sex Education, Estelle Simard and cultural attachment theory, Resmaa Menakem, adrienne maree brown and Emergent Strategy, Ofir Gabay, Peta Schur, and David McMurray Smith (Langara College Expressive Arts Therapy program), Steven Hoskinson and Organic Intelligence, Ron Kurtz and Hakomi Method
Spread the word
We would love your help in spreading the word about this course. Particularly, if you enroll for the course and another enrollee tells us that they heard about the course through you, we will be rebate you $50 per enrollee as a sign of our appreciation.
Do you have any further question? Please feel free to email email@example.com