SpiritFire offers a diverse range of workshops that emphasize the pathways of music, motion, voice, seva, and the mysteries. This is our current list for 2013, but keep checking back as changes often occur!
Loving Me, Loving You: Reclaiming the Body Beautiful for the Fire Circle with Janet Farnsworth
The fire is lit. Intentions are set. The rhythm starts and the circle begins.
We stand at the perimeter, maybe we walk or start to dance: We enter and exit with our bodies. Whatever we believe about God, or Psyche or the unconscious, it is absolute that we engage in our experience through our soma – our physical reality. Whether we are dancing, singing, laughing, crying, or praying, our bridge between the inner, the outer, and whatever lies beyond, is our biology. How can we bring safety, respect, compassion, power and vulnerability to the container and essence of what we are?
At the circle, as in life, we can get caught in believing we are inadequate – our stomachs are “too big”, our voices “too loud”. We create subtle – and not so subtle – ways of holding in and holding back our bodies; as a consequence, we risk being vulnerable to dis-order and dis-ease. At the least, we restrict our access to the wisdom rooted in, and from, the most fundamental truth of who we are.
At the fire, can we disconnect from the sometimes relentless narrative and judgment – “I do not look as cool as sh/e does” “I am not good at dancing”, “I must do more/less” – that limits our movement – and thereby our authentic presence?
This workshop aims to create a safe and compassionate container for loving the body we are in, and consequently finding deeper, more loving connections to our whole selves and to each other. By harnessing attention, mindfulness and compassion for our own biology, we begin the magic of unleashing and connecting to our highest vibration and truths: when we cherish ourSelves – fully, deeply and powerfully – we can cherish each other in the same way.
The session begins with a group circle, creation of safe space and some guided exercises, and then moves into the space to dance individually and together. We close with a seated sharing.
“When we dance without demands or expectations, we dance love. And when we dance this sacred dance with each other, we spiral into the Infinite”.
Middle Eastern Percussion with Amanda Turk
This workshop is an exploration of the vibrant and exotic sounds of the dumbek and frame drum. These instruments are part of a rich history of Middle Eastern percussion, often characterized by intricate filled patterns, odd meters, and an amazing variety of tones. We will start out with basic hand technique and then move on to a few traditional Middle Eastern rhythms and how to seamlessly switch between them. We will then weave in some basic solo phrases and tips on how to interact with dancers to help deepen our awareness, enhance our listening skills, and facilitate fluid communication around the fire cirlce. All levels are welcome. Bellydancers are encouraged to join. There will be extra dumbeks and frames for those who don’t have one.
Middle Eastern Rhythm and Moves with Alicia Altair
In this workshop we will explore musical signature and dance phrasing for several Middle Eastern rhythms you may hear at the fire circle. We’ll then combine individual movements to create an offering we can bring to the fire circle in collaboration with the Middle Eastern drumming workshop.
Space will be made to coordinate zills with drumming for those who are interested, so if you have zills and enjoy playing, bring them! Wear comfortable clothing; bring water and playfulness.
Herbs for the Fire Circle- Seva from the Green Ones
The long nights, disruptions to normal sleep schedules, coupled with the energetic demands involved with the work of the fire circle may be supported through herbs. More than that though, herbal preparations such as teas can be highly receptive to external energies, such as ritual, or solar and lunar influences. Herbs serve with us as our Green Companions in integrating and translating the wisdoms and disciplines of the sacred flame guiding us in health and ceremony.
In this interactive workshop we will learn and explore herbs that can support the drummers, dancers, guardians, singers, dreamers, and shamans as we move through the pathways of Spirit Fire.
We’ll start with a couple of simple exercises to align ourselves and connect with the geni loci and the herbs. We will learn about the herbs using lecture and our senses, some techniques on concocting teas, and then collectively create a tea blend for the community. This intentional tea will be charged with the fire’s intention of the evening, and will brew inside the container of the fire circle as a lunar and fire infusion to be consumed the next morning. There will likely be enough herbs for participants of the workshop (and others) to take some of the formula with them to support their own landing once they return home.
Bring your drinking cup to sample the herbs.
Dahomean Ensemble music of Cuba and Haiti with Josselyne Price
In Cuba, many African religious and musical traditions were brought over and maintained within Regla de Ocha and other Diasporic spiritual traditions. Music from the Kingdom of Dahomey (modern day Benin and nearby areas) was performed in ceremony with larger ensembles of drums, bells, and rattles. Bring a drum, bell, and/or rattle, and learn some of the wonderful polyrhythmic forms that can be easily played at the fire circle, much like the Mandinka and Ghanaian forms we often honor.
Hand Drumming for the Fire Circle with Aidan Talbot
Music is a primary path of the fire circle; we play not only hand and stick drums, but also bells, rattles, and drone instruments. This workshop is for all levels, to explore not simply technique and specific rhythms, but to delve into the mystery of ensemble mentality and how each of us can find a way to contribute fully and consciously. Bring any instruments you like and come ready to engage in delightful musical and rhythmic dialogue.
Bliss Yoga with Bucky Sparkle
Gentle and restorative, Bucky’s class focuses on opening the spine and encouraging energetic flow. “Typical” yoga poses, like downward facing dog, will NOT be taught. Instead, poses that provide guaranteed release to the spine are offered in ways that make their benefits accessible to nearly everyone, regardless of experience level. Bring a mat or towel. Bucky has been teaching yoga since 2005 and is a Certified Svaroopa© Yoga Teacher. Svaroopa, a unique yoga form, means “the bliss of your own being”.
Chi-Gong for Grounding with John Giles
Chi-Gong (Qigong , ch’i kung , or chi gung) is a general term for exercises from the Chinese martial arts and healing traditions, designed to cultivate our intrinsic energy and to gain control over our interaction with the energies that surround us. The exercises in this series are designed to help us to develop a centered and grounded presence, so that we might be less affected by the daily chaos around us and be more able to offer support to others from a place of strength and balance. Loose comfortable pants are recommended for this workshop.
New Songs for the Fire Circle with Donovan Arthen
The fire circle has a rich repertoire of songs and chants that we all know and love. However, there are many other kinds of wonderful expressions through voice that can access for diversity and variety. In this workshop we will bring a handful of new songs/chants to the circle and perhaps broaden our idea of what kinds of voice offerings might contribute to our circles, much like the different forms of rhythmic traditions we play. We will take time to learn pieces that remind us of the sacredness of the world around us in simple but beautiful melodies; some may be familiar and some totally new and exciting – all will be new to SpiritFire.
Fire of Transformation with Rachel Fields
Chances are you’ve heard people talk about “doing their work” around the fire. Have you ever wondered what this means? Have you ever wondered what work you could be doing around the fire? If the fire circle can be a container for personal transformation, what are some ways one can actively engage this process? At this workshop, we’ll explore possibilities for our own work by starting with these questions –
- What is your vision for your life?
- Who are you becoming?
- What’s getting in your way?
From there, we will have a discussion about ways we can bring these heart visions and longings to the fire in order to make intentional use of the fire circle as a tool for growth and transformation.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei — Finding the Divine Voice with Andrew Watermountain and Steve Trombulak
Air, Speech, Song, Story, Communication: Voice. How do we speak or sing the awareness of our connection to the divine in the fire circle? How do we express the inexpressible? How do we tell stories to our community without stealing their dance time or their trance time? How do we make our words an act of service and not an act of showmanship? How do we sing together? How do we make myths out of walking and talking? Most of all, how do we come prepared to use our voices, without breaking the circle’s spontaneity? In this workshop, longtime SpiritFire wordslingers Steve Trombulak and Andrew Watermountain offer four tools for the singer and speaker to connect with the Path of Voice: learning to warm up one’s Voice before singing, and to cool it down afterward; to move with the Music and to add gesture to the song so that it can flow easily into Movement; and a repertoire of small acts of Service that help ensure that Voice sings in tune with the Mysteries.
Grounding, Centering and Shielding: Shamanic Techniques for Keeping yourself and Others Safe and Sacred with Bekki Shining Bearheart
This workshop will cover both basic and more advanced techniques for working with the energies of the fire safely; of understanding the principles of Grounding, Centering and Shielding (and potentially other techniques); of understanding trance states that may be induced by the ambiance of drum and fire: what trances states are, how they feel and how to work with them. What the safety issues may be and how to engage with the spirit energies that may be called by the fire. When to ask for help and who to ask, if you feel “something is happening”.