Centennial Conference Highlights

Paul Robear, as keynote speaker, served as moderator and established the framework for the events or conference agenda. He opened the event and told many personal stories of directing CI over the last several of years, the goals and vision, challenges faced, problems solved, and expanded connections from around the world. Paul had been in touch with the daughters of Felicitas, Susan Josephson  and Bea Lee , about sharing Susan’s book, which Bea is republishing, entitled “Pueblo Spirits,” about their mother’s spiritual journey on this land. Just in time for this event, Susan sent a video of her address to the CI community, in which she shares further insight about her mother and this work. Paul phoned Bea afterwards, and many of us were able to share directly how much her talk meant to us. We are so grateful for their enthusiasm and support for CI.  And, Paul inquired about a something Felicitas told us about long ago, that her grandson was going to video tape interviews with her. They are searching for that tape to add to our archives. Bruce Bernstein, a highly credentialed ethnologist now working with the Pojoaque Pueblo on preserving their ancestral heritage, presented a informative history on the two-thousand year old Cuyamungue village that once stood on CI’s land, and its cultural ties to the ancient Anasazi sites of Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. His slide show of what their archeological team is finding, without digging, included stone markers with distinctive shallow circular depressions, stones lined up to direct rain water to shallow catchments where small crops were grown. He also identified the many styles of pottery shards. Speaking of Mesa Verde, David Nighteagle, a flute maker, player, and composer who lives near and frequently performs at Mesa Verde National Park and at Crow Canyon Archeology Center in Cortez, Colorado set up the Hall of the Thunderbirds for his Cuyamungue performance. Surrounded by over two dozen of his flutes, he gave us an improvisational sound healing experience, using each one of them. He went on to demonstrate the physics of the flute, before a finale of his more traditional Native American songs. Over the next couple of days he conducted flute lessons by popular demand. James Lawer gave two insightful talks the Druid tradition, the symbology of the Solstice and cycling between opposites. Hermine Brzobohaty-Theuer and Susanne Jarausch brought along a collection of reproductions of the many ancient Goddess artifacts, among the world’s oldest, found along the Danube, and their exploration of some of these as postures. They led us in a posture based upon one of the oldest of artworks found in the region. Julie Strider-Nichol shared the history, design, and overview of megalithic labyrinths, and her personal story of building temporary labyrinths for Solstice gatherings around England, and here, her first permanent labyrinth at CI. Cynthia Devlin shared her love of the creative arts by leading us in mandala (sacred circle art) as a process of inner discovery. Bat-Sheva Koren conducted a session in Authentic Movement, an expressive improvisational movement practice that allows a group of participants a type of free association of the body. Margaret O’Rouke presented the book of new postures based upon ancient artifacts found in Chile, South America, and the story of the posture group there, and led us in one of these postures in the Kiva. Jackie Haworth Hoy presented the DVD she and her husband Ray put together of an extensive collection of photos of Felicitas through the years, from childhood on. Jackie also presented custom made M&M’s with the Bear Posture printed on them! Stephen Stephens – wrote and directed us in several community songs – including a tribute to the Hall of the Thunderbirds “Can you hear the Thunder?” Laura Lee led an informal round table discussion on working with, talking about, and teaching the postures, that led to sharing insightful commentary and common ground amongst teachers. She was also inspired by having both a Druid and a Catholic Nun there, so invited James Lawer and Margaret O’Rourke to a lively discussion, recorded, to compare and contrast their individual views of the world. Both have extensive backgrounds in theology and volunteer work, and were in high synergy in a deeply spiritual view of the world. Presentation Submissions: We also enjoyed presentations sent in by various members, via live phone conversations, emailed reports that we shared, or in videos that were sent in. Susan Josephson: as mentioned above, Susan’s talk on the  Buffalo Wisdom explains how her mother, Felicitas,  came to think of herself as a buffalo spirit and what it meant for her to be a buffalo spirit. Belinda Gore, on the phone, shared the story of her long friendship with Felicitas, and answered questions from the audience. Belinda also submitted a book of deeply felt creative writing and poetry. Jill Schumaker and Meredith McCord sent in their report on the pilot study they conducted last year of the physiological changes induced by the postures. We also viewed a video tape they sent from 1995 in which they recorded casual conversation with sitting with Felicitas on the porch of the bunkhouse after a workshop. It was fun to see the then and now of their stroll around the Institute. John Pilch sent a personal letter recounting his long friendship with Felicitas, and those lessons from that he still applies to his work finding evidence of alternate states of consciousness in the Bible Barbara Clow sent an extensive report with some far-reaching conjectures on ancient statues uncovered at Göbekli Tepe of the Birthing Posture. Nana Nauwald from Germany emailed a greeting and shared an update on progress with Ritual Posture in Russia.