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Vermont: Longing to Belong March 15-17, 2019


This ritual learning container carries on the work of the Burning Times Never Ended and the consequences of the export of the historical trauma of identity, place, and belonging. Unsettling is a life’s working and this offering provides language, framing, and a template for intuitively driven, question-focused, holy inquiry in the form of embodied Council.

Spirit-spoken conversations about complex topics and magical-pilgrimage makings fill this two-and-a-half day approach into reckoning, responsibility, & reparations.

Space is limited, REGISTER HERE

Longing to Belong: an unsettling journey
A Refugia Village Mystery School offering

A facilitated ritual learning container for the conjuring of enduring questions about home, people, place, history, identity, and belonging. Participants call upon a sensorial willingness to explore with vulnerability response-ability & compassionate courage; to wonder aloud and to contemplate in connection to the well-in-spirit, wise and loving ancestors.
Picking up from the conclusion of the BTNE, with the exportation of the historical trauma of capitalism and white supremacism across the seas, oppression through dehumanization, further divides of identity continue immense and lethal harm. Institutional, historical gaslighting and an estrangement of lived solidarity with the world and all beings creates confusion about and obstacles to reparation, reconciliation, and redemption. The reproduction of empire-orientation, internalized and externalized continues to cause widespread harm to the earth and the web of life.
This working offers a template for sacred conversation about the inheritance of empire-orientation: a Council in which to: *notice the impulse of the ‘need to know/solve/fix’ and recognize that as a symptom of colonized thinking & * to court mysteries & bestow blessings as one explores their own position, relative to: life, times, ancestries, and cultures. 
Guided and personally intuitive spiritual echo-location will support “staying with the trouble”, as we greet a shame-superiority shadow cycle with rooted resilience. Expect feelings to arise and know that together we will,
Create a clear and sturdy magical container together, and consent to agreements for a safer-braver space to make non-intentional mistakes within, and to move with those mistakes in a way which befits the call to show up for good work in these days.
Part, ritual working, part history lesson, part sacred activism, and part ancestral recovery and reconnection: including games, artwork, movement, trance, partner work, journaling. All forms to allure us into simultaneous inquiries borne of intuition, and with delight in serving the complexity as what will be wholly unique emerges.
Included in your registration:
Free one hour video talk: Introduction to ancestral recovery, reconnection, and healing
Calling council, sacred conversation template
Two-and-a-half day guided and co-created ritual container 
Two dinners
Content will include:
The Foundation and Firmament: the story-told arc of the working 
And questions about settlerism, white supremacism, anthrocentrism, land & belonging, harm, call-out & accountability, solidarity & accompliceship, resilience & the body, reparations & reconciliation, calling & the time of extinction, kinship & the ancestors.
Course Premises: The cultural identity of whiteness was constructed to facilitate the colonization of other peoples' lands and cultures in service of Empire. Whiteness as a construct is irredeemable and inherently pathologically destructive. Engaging white feelings about whiteness is necessary to dissolving the egregore of whiteness, in order to turn the focus of white people toward difficult and enduring questions about accomplice-ship, amends and reparations, and right-relationship to land and culture. This work is for the ancestors, us, and the descendants.

Intentions:
This offering is about endeavoring into, or continuing, a journey to find home within and without as the descendants of white settler colonists who are actively reproducing (whether knowingly or not) colonization.
(So this is tricky and brings up a lot of questions about identity- and honestly, I'm still learning how to frame this all.) What I'll say, is that I am a white-encultured and privileged, Slavic-ancestored person who grew up working-class in the Midwest as third generation of European settlers. These elements of social location are  relevant as the voice from which I speak.
My care is in getting other folk with privileges together in a ritual learning container. What has come up in the past from inquirers: What if I'm mixed race? Will this be a safe container for POC? And other valid and important questions of the like. I will do my absolute best to create and hold the safest container for people who want to confront the legacy of white supremacy and settlerism together. Every participant can self-select if this feels right for them. White tears will happen, and my focus is on transforming white tears into something which waters the fertile ground of courageous action to stop the injustice and oppression.

Why this container? Because every day I hear POC and indigenous people say that white-conditioned folks need to address their fragility and guilt and not impose that process on POC. That is what I aim to do here. 

In this two day learning container we'll cultivate some ways to steadfastly seek for the paths of reciprocal relationships. Through the process of deep inquiry, embracing complexity, and intuitive listening, we'll undertake an exploration of meaningful, challenging, enduring and questions. This is the heart of the offering, for you to participate, and learn how to take it with you to share. There will be ritual, art, trance, energy-raising, presentation of information and a glossary of terms, large and small group discussion and activities, writing/journaling about the topics at hand, including utilizing visionary fiction, and role-playing practice rounds.
This is a spirit-spoken approach to radical anti-oppression work in service of collective liberation.

Right, as in conscious, mindful, and balanced. Not, as in "one right way" or absolute. Right relationship between personal sovereignty and collective accountability, with right-sized power, presence, absence, impact, honesty, and responsibility. 
This course is for you if: You resonate with the premises and intentions. You want to have this conversation in a spiritual activism container devoted to learning together as a practice of rejecting self-righteous superiority and judgment. You want to understand and grapple with language. You are any of the following: a shadow-worker, a person with skin privilege, a healer, a warrior, a parent, an activist/organizer, or someone who wants to hold these conversations in your organization, coven, community, or kinship networks or families.
This course is for you if: You are confused, scared, paralyzed, or otherwise lost in how to find handholds toward action. You are willing to confront your own fragility with support from the container and group and to turn it into a form of power to leverage in solidarity with oppressed and marginalized people. You feel anxious about what might come up for you but know that ignoring this conversation is out of alignment with your values and integrity as a conscious human being who is committed to justice. You need to find companionship with others who want to do this work. You want to practice being called out for the inevitable mistakes that white people will make when stepping into de-colonial and anti-racist work.
This course is open to all people regardless of gender identity and is queer, non-binary, and trans friendly. All efforts to create safer-braver space will be named and modeled. There will a strict no-tolerance culture of micro-aggressions or harm-doing. Incidents will be handled as learning opportunities and accountability will be required as a participation agreement. We cannot be afraid to grow through mistake making.

How do we work with the complexity of ancestral identity? What questions do we need to ask ourselves about this? What do we do with the answers?

What does “whiteness” mean in a cultural context, and what are the privileges and reproductions of white-settlerism that must be examined and changed?

How do we responsibly and honestly employ language to have this conversation? What are the limitations and the gifts of our language?

How do we discern the edges of cultural birthright, cultural solidarity, and cultural appropriation? How do we think about our choices with regards to them?

How to make sense of, and possibly, respond to the inter-generational and cross-cultural trauma within Empire culture?

What did relationship-to-place mean to our ancestors and what could it mean for us? What is re-landing*?

How does shame prevent us from action in service, and how do we narrate our vulnerability and accountability as an antidote to shame? How do we look for middle path approaches to avoid fragility and guilt-shame paralysis?

What is an ally? What is an accomplice?
How does one approach earning either through behaving with cultural humility and consistent responsiveness?

How do we bequeath regenerative earth oriented cultures to the descendants of life? Can we belong to stolen land? How do we keep living with the complexity of that question and other questions? 

What does it mean to interrupt oppression? What is bystander intervention? How do I talk to my family, co-workers, and community about these things? 

And the questions you carry, and more...

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
                                                                           -Mary Oliver

Some resources I'll be drawing from:
*Staying with the Trouble -D. Haraway
*The Unlikely Peace at Cuchamaquic -M. Prechtel
*Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat From Mayflower to Modern -J. Sakai
*An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States -Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
*Accomplices Not Allies -Indigenousaction.org
*killing rage, belonging -bell hooks
*Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome -Dr. Joy DeGruy
*Octavia's Brood -Walidah Imarisha & Adrienne Marie Brown
*Cultural Appropriation in Spirituality Zine (which has a wonderful glossary of terms I think worthy of exploration)

The intention of this journey is not to quest for concrete answers, rather, it is to spaciously meander, feeling and thinking into these questions and more and to be inspired into action through emergent wisdom co-arising.
A second intention is to teach this template of exploratory inquiry with call to action, for you to take into your groups and communities and to keep alive this necessary query of our time.
I'm committed to my own life-long learning. I want to make a beautiful space to do hard and joyous work together. The time is now, our magic is real. 

Energy Exchange is on a sliding scale of $150-$300 per registrant, which includes dinners, with food needs accommodated, both days. You can write to the registrar here, if you want to talk about any circumstances which make this prohibitive for you and share what you want to propose/request instead. I'm absolutely committed to finding the middle path between accessibility and right-livelihood. A percent of the revenue from the course will be tithed to:
Sacred Land Alliance & BLM

Over 400 have taken this course and have expressed how powerful it was to do unsettling work in a ritual container. Thank you for reading and considering joining us this time. All blessings.

rain crowe works with and from a body of work dedicated to cultivating the arts of interdependent relationships through group facilitation, mediation, and educational opportunities. She is a regenerative culture events organizer who engages with spiritual, political, rewilding, and intentional communities all over the country. She teaches and writes about magic and ritual, the ancestral skills of council-making and restorative conflict transformation, systems thinking in radical organizing, and ecstatic connection to the sacred. She teaches four core classes through the Refugium Village Mystery School. She is a queer, forty-something, disabled femme living on unceded Multnomah, Klackamas, and Tualatin Kalapuya lands at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, in the shadow of Wy'east. 

She is grateful for all her teachers-they are many, and she feels fortunate. She wishes her gratitude and attribution for their contributions to and influences upon her own learning to be food for their works in the world. When she grows up, she wants to be like them in so many ways.

Frequently Asked Questions:

*What is Longing to Belong: an unsettling journey about?

In a nutshell, it is a ritualized learning container focusing on how to sit in council to have sacred conversation about difficult/complex topics. This particular conversation will be oriented around ancestry, identity, power, privilege, relationships, belonging, and place. 

The template offered is applicable to many different complex conversations though.

*What will we do in LTB?

We will co-create the safest-bravest space to hold each other lovingingly accountable to leveling up our learning curve about our own social position, responding to and participating in the movements for justice and liberation for all beings. We will invite and become magic, and grow communities. We use a spiritual anti-oppression lens to talk openly about topics listed above, as well as calling in/out, fragility/resilience, cultural appropriation/cultural birthright, and more.

*How will that happen?

Through a mixture of presentation, ritual, excercise/games, conversations in pairs, small groups, and the whole group, and more.

LTB's content and format follow an arc of: reckoning, naming and taking responsibility, engaging reparations, and mapping a pathway toward redemption for harms committed.

*Where does LTB fall into the arc of the Refugia Village Mystery School's first year courses?

The Burning Times Never Ended explores the colonization of the people of Europe through feudalism, the rise of proto-capitalism and forced Christianization. The course is about exposure to that historical trauma and leaves off with the export of that trauma in the forms of the trade of enslaved people, the conquest of the American continents, and the perpetuation of oppression today.

LTB picks up on this and examines the construct of whiteness, (see first question). LTB and TACT (trauma-aware conflict transformation) both address different aspects of the unacknowledged, unhealed export of trauma due to expropriation from land, culture, and earth-ways. The Wylder Edge course picks up from LTB/TACT and offers the participant a guided exploration of how to reroot into non-appropriative earthways and to reestablish wovenness with the web of life from a right-sized orientation as a human person in the family of all peoples.

*What is rain's commitment to reparations?

I am committed to reparations in many forms: financial resource in the form of tithing, amplifying more marginalized voices, growing access, and dismantling gatekeeping.

Reparations is a huge conversation, and one we have in the course. What does that word mean, How do any of us in our own lives contribute toward that, How do we do that collectively, What are the protocols of reparations, to whom are we accountable in our endeavors to do this,  and how does intersectionality inform our reparations protocols?

*How is rain accountable to BIPOC in offering this course?

I have a circle of Women of Color who I have been courting for years. I have negotiated a consenting relationship to receive advice and direction while either directly paying for that or giving back through other forms of reciprocal energy-exchange. This circle is comprised of people who not only keep me and the work in integrity, through calling me in/advising course correction when my own white conditioning reveals itself, but also through encouraging me to make this offering.

These women continually remind me that most white folks are not prepared to earn authentic allyship or accompliceship because the white shame, grief, and denial is still to raw and activates a continual shame/superiority cycle making alliance building exhausting. White people need spaces to do our own work in order to come to the table of solidarity work in a good way, in a way that centers BIPOC as individuals as well as their communities' needs. 

*Where does rain live?

I live on the ancestral lands of the Multnomah and Tualatin Kalapuya peoples. For more information on the first peoples of Oregon see here.

Additionally, upon those lands, I live on a seven-acre land project called Tryon Life Community Farm. We have two collectives of people, one of all white passing/privilege holding cis people, called Cedar Moon. There is a second collective named Sacred Land Alliance comprised of all trans people, indigenous people, and POC. Together these two collectives live out in an embodied, daily way, the kinds of conversations LTB holds and with a focus on equity-based models for sharing labor and expenses. 

*Why is rain asking for energy exchange to host these ritual learning containers?

I, like most people, need to also be resourced. I make these offering as accessible as possible while still covering the expenses, the time involved in planning, organizing, traveling and facilitating. We all deserve to be resourced so that we may take care of ourselves, the ones we love, and the ones to whom we are responsible. We all deserve to be compensated for the work of helping the world to be free from harm and for justice for all beings.


Later Event: March 22
Vermont: TACT March 22-24, 2019