Svaha Spirit Lodge – November 1991
Laura Lee and Paul,
It was nice to visit with you this am. Below is the invite to the Winter Solstice gathering on next Sunday when we will be doing a great deal of journeying and posture work , and dream about the Long Dance coming next year (2012).
I found the old file on the Posture workshop. It was in Nov. of ’91 here in the valley and hosted by the Svaha Spirit Lodge. The file included a batch of journey notes from folks attending (all experienced healers, journeyers, and Long Dancers). We did the Bear, Tenn. Diviner, Sami, Feathered Serpent, and personal empowerment postures, among others. There was a better than 80% correlation between our experiences and those experiences of Goodman’s students as reported in her book. I was leading the gathering and was the only one who had read it or been exposed to the concepts in it prior to the workshop. Another workshop during the same time period was Healing and Bear where we worked extensively with dismemberment. This was a time for Svaha when we had just begun our yearly Long Dances.
Since that time posture work has become an integral part of our spirit work that we use regularly, including variations that we have been taught by the spirit world (spirit Canoe journeys). All of this foment came directly from Goodman’s research and book. None of us ever met her or had any contact with the institute she established.
So I am glad and honored to be in touch with you now and look forward to more connection.
Richard Gossett is a psychotherapist and a member of the Svaha Spirit Lodge, a shamanic community in the Pacific Northwest, he travels around the US and Canada helping people develop ritualistic communities using shamanic techniques.
Svaha Spirit Lodge was begun in 1986 as a gathering of like-minded non-native people to honor and celebrate the changes of the seasons of the Earth. Most of us were raised in families that did not teach us respect or connection for Mother Earth and the changes she goes through every cycle of the sun. We were Spiritual people who hungered for that missing Earth Connection. Soon after meeting each other, we found ourselves creating spontaneous rituals of Spiritual celebration to honor the changing of the seasons. After several years of performing these creative Spiritual ceremonies a core group of participants had coalesced. This core group began to look for a deeper commitment among ourselves and each other and the early stages of creating Spiritual community had begun. With wisdom this community looked to those in the group who had been trained in Shamanism, or had previous Native American ceremonial experience. A few of these experienced people began to advise us in ways so that we could bring even more respect and intention to our group ceremonial experiences.
In the year 1990 two important events happened for our newly seasoned community. The first event was the choosing of a name that appropriately reflected our community’s beauty as well as its intention. Through group Journey Work, Spirit gifted the community the name of Svaha. The word Svaha is an ancient Sanskrit word meaning: “So Be It!” Synchronistic ally Svaha also happens to be a Native word in a nearby Pacific Coast language meaning: “That time between the Lightening……. and Thunder.”
The second important event of 1990 was the planning of the first Long Dance for the Svaha Spirit Lodge community. Many of the Coastal Tribes of the Northwest have the tradition of “The People” gathering together in their sacred Long Houses and dancing many long hours, if not days, for the healing of their tribe and also for Mother Earth. Svaha Spirit Lodge was called by Spirit, through Journey Work, to create a Long Dance for the spring equinox of 1990, to be held at Coronet Bay, Washington. The Long Dance is an intricate ceremony and Svaha began the process of co-creating this complicated ritual from scratch. Community planning and discussion was interspersed with much spiritual journey work, this process occurred over many long months of hard work. Since the creation of the first Long Dance the original structure has remained the foundation of all the Long Dances that have come after. However, in the following 14 years the Long Dance always has new creativity artfully injected into every Dance. Each of these subtle changes is created to add spice and beauty to the sacred ritual. These annual changes always enhance the Long Dance by inspiring the Dancers to follow their Hearts and Souls even deeper into the ceremony.
The initial spark for each Long Dance begins with the call from Spirit to one or more in the community to become the center within the sacred circle of Dancers. This person or groups of people who hear the call of Spirit are known as the Center Clan. The Center Clan listens to the whisperings of Great Mystery through extensive Shamanic Journey Work. With that sacred information the Center Clan then helps bring the Dance to reality both in the Spirit and the physical world