Diane “Cayenne” Johnson (Returning, Resiliency, and Renewal: Our Coming Home to the Fire)
Diane J. Johnson, Ph.D., M.Div. also known as Dr. Di or Cayenne by her fire family members is a cultural weaver, change agent and organizational transformation catalyst. As CEO/Founder of Mmapeu Consulting, a national firm that works at the intersection of spirituality, organizational capacity-building and social justice. Cayenne has worked with more than 12,000 leaders and entities across all sectors including business, faith-based, non-profits and philanthropy. Her current work focuses on collaborating with clients navigating Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, conscious capitalism/business for good and impact investing; community building; and international multi-sector initiatives. She credits her paganism and spiritual eclecticism as one of the gateways to doing such impactful social change work. Cayenne has worked with organizations as diverse as Reclaiming Collective, the national offices of Unitarian Universalism Association, the American Sustainable Business Network, W. K Kellogg Foundation and the U.S. National Park Service.
The daughter/mother team of Erica Martenson and Rebecca Young Allen have been facilitating music in community for more than a decade, at the Wisdom School of Sophia, at the Vermont Wilderness School and in community celebrations in their hometown of Montague, MA. Erica has been a part of a song circle that began in the first days of Covid and has continued daily for more than 760 days. In blazing heat and freezing snow, these song lovers gathered outside in our town green and have collated a repertoire of hundreds of varied songs, many of which will be shared in the workshop.
Rob Wandell (You Are A Drummer – Yes, You! PT. 2)
Rob made his first drum in 1986, in the very early days of the hand drum phenomenon in this country. His love for percussion and people grew, and soon he was exploring every aspect of ethnic percussion. Now, he makes and sells drums, teaches, gives seminars, runs drum building workshops, and owns Primal Beat Percussion, a 20+ year old drum company, as well as Imagicka, an eclectic shop in Binghamton , NY.
erin feldman is a writer, soup maker, and student of the changing sky. Among her many hobbies are gathering wildflower seeds from the side of the highway and baking the perfect snickerdoodle (recipes welcome). She’s held some interesting jobs, too: book seller, high school Language Arts teacher, produce seller, backpacking instructor, marketer, business owner. erin lives in a landlocked oasis in Western Ma with her beloved family and lots of books.
Alicia Altair is a classically trained dancer, certified yoga teacher and experienced performer, most recently with the Suhaila Dance Company out of Albany, CA. Alicia has been dancing and making mischief around the sacred fire circle for almost 15 years, and though her travels keep her farand away much of the time, she is filled with gratitude to have the foundation of this spiritual family who welcomes her home year after year.
Amanda Turk is a licensed massage therapist of 12 years and a percussionist. She found her musical calling from the moment she picked up a dumbek six years ago. Since then she has fully immersed herself in Middle Eastern music under the guidance of contemporary percussion masters, Raquy Danzinger of NYC and Bunyamin Olguncan of Istanbul, Turkey. Amanda has taken multiple trips to Turkey and Egypt to delve deeper into the culture and discipline. She is passionate about the many voices and artfulness of the dumbek and is honored to share this love and passion with the SpiritFire community.
Andrew Watermountain is a poet and artist, and an instructor of history and Latin. He teaches design process and problem-solving to kindergartners and adults, and advises the student Debate Club on public speaking and persuasive tactics and logic. He has served in two intentional communities as a spiritual advisor for several years.
Steve Trombulak is a conservation biologist who has for several years explored the connections between community and humanity’s relationship with the natural world. These explorations have drawn him to percussion (largely in the West African tradition), dance, voice, and service as a focus for community empowerment and expression. He has lived in the Middlebury area of Vermont for the past 27 years, and has presented and played numerous support roles at drum and dance festivals around the U.S. He’s also a poet, a birder, and a gardener.
Bucky Sparkle, CSYT 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”.
Carl Bridge is an artist and educator. Along with his work as a visual artist within the realms of theater and film, he is passionate in his practice of martial and rhythmic arts. Over the past 5 years Carl has delved deeper into the realm of West African percussion by studying traditional Malinke rhythms and playing for dance classes and performance troupes. He is honored to be able to bring that practice as an offering to the Spiritfire family.
Johnny Scovel returns to us with years of experience in traditional Haitian and Cuban drumming. He is a seasoned teacher, lecturer, and performer. Johnny has engaged in scholastic and independent study of various African, Caribbean, and Native cultures, with a special interest in religion, drumming and dance. From 1983 to present, Johnny has been an active ceremonial drummer, playing for Haitian Vodou Ceremonies and Cuban Lucumi and Kongo ceremonies in Haiti, New York, Florida, California and his home state of New Mexico.
Somna M. Bulist is composer/performer and an accomplished electro-acoustic harp soloist. She has performed her music all around New York City and the tri state area. The possibilities of sound as a generative force inspires her music making. She has also participated in the creation and performance of public rituals for the Wiccan Sabbats in New York City. Presently she is exploring a practice of expanded aural perception developed by the pioneering American composer, Pauline Oliveros.
From a storybook upbringing in the Adirondack Mountains to his mythically rich adventures in the Here-and-Now, Billy Bardo seems to lead a charmed life. Billy is an alchemist and metalsmith, a musician and poet, a minister and cellebrant, a friend of the Fire, and father to one of the next generation’s favorite freaks. For each of these noble callings, Billy applies healthy doses of attention, intention, inspiration, and play. He is honored and pleased to bring his tool-kit of wisdom and toybox of fun to SpiritFire’s cultural playground.
Community is core to ALisa Starkweather‘s life experience and the fireheart tribe is family to her. ALisa is the founder of Priestess Path, Daughters of the Earth Gathering, the Women’s Belly and Womb Conferences, the Red Tent Temple Movement, Women in Power initiations, and Lifeforce. She has been involved with empowerment for twenty-eight years and Shadow Work® for nineteen. In 2011, ALisa contributed to the anthology Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership: Where grace meets power.
Anna-Sara Fire was born in Sweden but love brought her to Pennsylvania were she now lives outside of Philly with her husband, son, dog, and grandparents in-law. She spends her time putting peoples mind, body, and spirits back together with the help of yoga and other healing modalities and is finally finishing up her Masters in Divinity.
Janet Farnsworth, MA, LSW, 200KYT, is a licensed social worker, experienced dance and movement teacher, and certified yoga teacher. Formally trained in group facilitation and psychodrama, she also has extensive dance experience in New York and Boston, and with the Doug Wood Dance Ensemble in Chicago. Janet currently facilitates a variety of dance journeys for children, families, disabled seniors, and adults, and conducts intentional ceremonies and celebrations with Laney Goodman as part of Sacred Waves of Rhythm.
Chaya Leia Aronson, RN BSN, is an instructor and teacher of the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy™ and a belly dancer and teacher. Chaya is passionate about belly dance as a mode of deep healing, transformation, and joy. She has studied Vintage Oriental, Tribal Fusion, American Tribal Style (ATS), and Cabaret, with her passions being for Tribal Fusion and ATS.
John Giles has studied Tai-Chi and Taoist philosophy and energy work for over 20 years with a variety of teachers. He currently practices Yang, Chen, Sun and combined forms in open hand, straight sword, broad sword and fan, and related Chi-Gong exercises. He presently puts those skills to use to help maintain a sense of peace and equanimity in his day job as a high school special-ed teacher.
Aidan Talbot is a student at the Crane School of Music, pursuing a degree in music education and voice. As a young man who has grown up in the fire-circle community, he has learned to speak the language of the drum from a young age. Through his work with the AzaAshe Dance and Drum Co. and many diverse teachers, Aidan has forged a life-long connection with the drum, and he is honored to share his knowledge and passion with the community that has fostered his growth.
Lyra Hilliard is a writer, a teacher, and a musician who has been singing and dancing around the sacred fire circle for over fifteen years. She spent the bulk of her teenage years nursing tea and avoiding all dairy products while she sang at the New England Conservatory and Shenandoah Conservatory before she came to her senses and joined the renaissance faire circus. She recently earned her MFA in creative nonfiction and uses it to remind college students how to use apostrophes. Throughout it all, her home and spirit has been here around the fire circle, where she delights in resurrecting bygone but not forgotten chants and spoken word pieces.
Bright Hawk is a drummer, storyteller, marimba player, recording artist (featuring the unique space-ship-looking Hang PanArt instrument), teacher and performer with twenty years experience traveling and touring to numerous fire circle communities around the world. She lives in Golden Colorado. She offers an experienced perspective on our fire circle magic and the interplay of drummers and dancers, singers and spoken word, service or seva and how we–in one common-unity—serve each other, the collective, and by doing so go farther, deeper, wider, in what is possible.
Donovan Arthen has been raised in the EarthSpirit community, around the fire circle and has been a practicing Animist and Pagan throughout his life. He received his bachelor’s degree in music from Wesleyan University, and while many of us know him as a drummer he has also sung with numerous groups around the world, and has taught and led choirs and singing groups for several years. He is excited to share his experience with the community in a new way.
Tintalle Foxwood is an herbalist, artist, traditional witch, dancer and a long time apprentice and practioner of Faery Seership. One of Tintalle’ s first jobs after the United States Army did not offer health insurance- igniting her journey into herbal medicine. Since then she abandoned her pursuit of becoming a psychologist and planted seeds to become an herbalist. She is now finishing up her Masters in Therapeutic Herbalism at the Maryland University of Integrative Health (formerly known as Tai Sophia). A permaculturalist, Tintalle is committed to using and working with locally grown, ethically harvested herbs wherever possible. She is a firm believer in herbal medicine as the people’s medicine, honoring the inherent wisdom of herbs in supporting the body and our ancestral connections to earth based healing. Tintalle integrates her practice with her connections to the natural world.
A life-long fascination with the human heart/mind/spirit drives Rachel Fields in her work supporting people as they connect with their soul longings, helping to remove obstacles, and guiding them down a clear path to what they seek. This drive took her to India twice – a year-long pilgrimage seeking knowledge from traditional gurus, and then to study Ayurveda. After completing her degree in Religion, Rachel pursued different avenues to continue her own inner development — meditation in the Dzogchen and Kashmir Shaivism traditions, solo wilderness fasting journeys, Core Energetics, Priestess Path, 5Rhythms® movement meditation, and more. Rachel is honored and excited to join with the SpiritFire community to explore how it’s possible to manifest the lives we dream about.
Bekki Shining Bearheart is an artist, musician, shamanic healer and teacher with close to four decades of experience. Her participation and facilitation of sacred all-night fire circles reaches also back many years. She is an Astrologer and Tarot reader (40+ years); a massage therapist specializing in Structural Therapy and an herbalist (19 years). She has studied and practiced various energy healing systems since the mid-70s. Her academic degrees are in Fine Art and Art Education.