Singing the ancient song...

Singing the ancient song…

The morning of the “original” 9/11, I was scurrying about fixing a snack platter and drinks for the beginning of our very first Kindred Spirit Retreat in Jackson, Wyoming. At the time, I was a woman without a phone or a TV, so imagine my shock when the first out-of-state retreat participants arrived with eyes the size of dinner plates asking me if I’d “heard.”

No, I hadn’t. I sagged down into a plastic chair, my feet literally knocked out from under me in stunned disbelief. As the other attendees arrived, we milled about in numb confusion. This was to have been a glorious day beneath the Rocky Mountains, celebrating Nature and our deep relation to Earth, our primal mother. Now all our minds were filled with images of smoke, collapse, screaming, and disbelief. Some things are just too big to take in all at once. 9/11 was such an event for me.

We sipped distractedly at tea, petted the dogs and cats at my cabin on the Snake River, and tried to remember how to breathe. Finally, through no conscious intention, we found ourselves in a circle out back of the cabin, sitting beneath the lodgepole pines, listening to the chatter of tree squirrels and magpies. As a group, we quietly discussed what we should do next. The airports were all closed. No one was going anywhere that day. We came by consensus to the decision to continue the retreat, deciding that prayer might be our most powerful offering to New York that day and in the immediate days to come.

13600025_10210108180091215_7314813839417328841_nSo we pulled out the retreat agenda and began. What followed were too-short days filled with Nature processes, animal communication, drumming and song, introspection, writing, sweat lodge, and smudging. On our first night together, we traveled out to White Grass Ranch, the ancestral gathering ground of rutting bull elk, and listened to the eerie and transportive bugling of the bulls, and to the click and clash of antlers in the dark.

I whispered to our gathering, “Out here, on this ground, under these stars, nothing happened here today.” I have no idea why I found such peace in saying those words, but I did, and I still do when calamity strikes. Horror has its place when it strikes, but there are places where it does not and must not reach. I believe it is deeply important that we find a way to keep terror, calamity, and castrophe out of our hearts, where it does no good but to destroy from the very inside out.

Teri, one of our facilitators, is one of the best leaders of ritual and prayer I have ever seen. I look forward to learning at her feet!

Teri, one of our facilitators, is one of the best leaders of ritual and prayer I have ever seen. I look forward to learning at her feet!

It ended up being a coincidence that our revived Kindred Spirit Retreat from so long ago was scheduled this year over 9/11. It was our second choice of dates, and it worked out the best, but only now as I sit down to write this this morning do I see the profound significance of our choice.

Our first retreat years ago was a healing and a blessing for everyone who attended. Friendships were founded there that thrive still. Our intention to seek a deeper path into Nature served us then as it does still. Our founding group of organizers and teachers came together again to resurrect this retreat in all its goodness with new processes, new rituals for healing and growing closer to the deepest heart of Nature.

The essence of 9/11 still lives all over the world: The fear, the anxiety, the toxicity, the confusion. In many ways, our entire country has become a ceaseless 9/11 in these crazy times. If you are feeling these things, I invite you to join us for deep healing, deep prayer, and deep Nature immersion. All of what we will be offering in our four days of this Kindred Spirit Retreat are specially crafted so that you can take the learning with you and enact the offerings in your own home, on your own ground. In this way, we will be creating islands of peace, replenishment, and power. We will be making

Come on!

Come on!

sacred space out of the secular debacle of 21st-Century life. What could be better, more useful, more needed than this?

I invite you, personally. I beseech you: Join me. Join us. Come. Come! You can read more, and register right here

Oh, and I’m teaching, too!

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  1. Cheryl Simpson says:

    Well, isn’t this fascinating — I was at that first Kindred Spirit retreat and remember it so well ! (I was the timid up-tight one !!) At the time we were living in Michigan but the following year moved back to Canada where I later founded a feline charity dedicated to various spay/neuter solutions for the overpopulation problems in my area…I have only just recently “semi-retired” from that full-time volunteer job and started re-reading your books, Susan, trying to get in touch with my spiritual side again, and then I googled you last week, found your blog, and added my name to the newsletter — and the first newsletter that came to me was the memory of that amazing 2001 retreat ! We are all connected, for sure.

  2. Aron Gamman says:

    It’s 9/11 and thought it would make sense to share how I got here. I have a booklist on-line for my local library that I place books I hear about via podcast a called “Essential Conversations” that sound intriguing. I thought I’d see what books of those might be currently available in the library so I wrote down various Dewey decimal numbers of the books then scanned them in shelves. I was looking through the 204’s to find a book which I ultimate left there, but your book “Why the Buffalo Dance” called out to me. It’s very much a book I’d be looking for awhile to communicate the wisdom of the movement of the 4 seasons and our connection to nature without necessarily communicating any single tradition for a friend I’d met in an environmental group I’d participated in. I just wanted to let you know how refreshing I found your page, especially involving animal wisdom. I look forward to exploring more of your books in the future!

    This was very meaningful for me considering the horror during 9/11 and the meaning this sort of community communicates to me about how it can work together to counter the lack of meaning that I think resulted in 9/11 and the subsequent repercussions in our world. Finding allies, whether plant, animal or otherwise seems to important in our world for connection, relationship and meaning.

    • says:

      Aron, I’m so glad you found your way here. Yes, allies of all shapes, sizes, and species is a wondrous, healing thing. Human wisdom can be a bit lacking, and I am grateful to all the “others” who continue to teach (and amaze) me.

  3. Bett Weston says:

    I am reading this today, the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001. It’s wonderful to read a fpdifferent perspective on that day.

    • says:

      Yes, to be able to see that nature does not take on “other energies” but what is before her. The elk taught me!

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