Dear Individual Expression of the One,
As the pendulum swings from shorter days to longer nights, we approach the winter solstice reflecting on the blessings and the challenges of the past year. I trust we've all had both. Whichever perspective we choose, there's an infinite invitation to co-create the world we want to live in. Often in our Qoya community (and communities like it), there's an encouragement to bring our unique creative expression, gifts, passion and purpose to the world. Yes! And... what is the furthest expression of your voice in the world? Could it be your voice for the world?
Can you feel the pulse of potentiality that strengthens against resistance? Can you feel the non-linear progression of an external revolution that is seeded in the hearts of the internal revolution? Can you hear the howl of the trickster coyote that sounds almost like the wolves... except you know it isn't because you can feel more truth in your bones than before? Can you acknowledge how many more songs, stories, and shows speak of the journey of human bodies and minds remembering the interconnection of all of us? Can you track your own evolution of consciousness with awe and celebrate how many more of the people around are living as a greater expression of themselves than the last time you were together? Can you dance and feel that (r)evolution is all swirling outside and inside, above and below, left and right, forwards and backwards, here and forever?
One of my favorite things that happened in 2017 was for the first time in the world (more accurately, the modern world), a River received the same legal rights as a person in New Zealand or Aotearoa, the indigenous Maori name. My favorite part of the Guardian article is:
"We have fought to find an approximation in law so that all others can understand that from our perspective treating the river as a living entity is the correct way to approach it, as an indivisible whole, instead of the traditional model for the last 100 years of treating it from a perspective of ownership and management. The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees no differentiation between harming the tribe or harming the river because they are one and the same."
Our interconnected reality. This is the truth that the archetype of worldly Sagittarius seeks and finds. As you dance with this New Moon in Sagittarius, I wonder, this year, what truth have you found that you can speak for on behalf of not only your world, but the indivisible whole of the world?
Our resident astrologer, Virginia Rosenberg, shares:
The New Moon in Sagittarius on December 18, 2017 (1:30am EST) is a seed from the heart of the galactic center. There is a vision for our lives that is not our own. It is nature, and belongs to a gentle yet inexhaustible force of Divine. The intentions we dance and pray into the world today are essential to the unfolding of our next chapter as a globe. Sagittarius is worldly, symbolic, and mythic. It contains the understanding that we live in a collection of stories. More than just told, our stories are lived. Our stories are the intersections of the ancient and the evolutionary. They are collaborative gems within Indra's net, rarely birthed through isolation. When one part moves, all parts move. This new moon is the holographic, shimmering effect of co-occurring realization and growth. The intentions we dance with today and anchor into our globe have special permanent resonance. Where do our bodies intend to journey for the long haul? What's the next three-year timeline? Without mentally asking that question, dance it. What does it feel like in your bones? When we expand our vision of what is possible for us and for our world, the container of our relational field must also expand to accommodate the capacities needed in order to bring the vision to fruition. Attune to experience, and dance nature's vision through your instrument into the ever-changing patchwork landscape of wonder. Trust the unfolding.
We know it. We live it. We witness others go through their transformation and eventually, we remember the ancient maps of the future that urge us to trust and continue. They whisper into the ears of those who are listening, "The old must be released so that the new can enter."
Shall we dance then? How about 2 songs?
One for 2017 to honor what we release with the transition of time.
One for 2018 to explore feeling the answer to the question, "What is new that wants to be birthed here?"
Which songs to dance to? You can press shuffle and see what you get. You can choose. You can ask a friend to choose for you. Trust how you feel called.
For some extra fun, sing along to the song if you know it. Feel where your voice begins in you as you express it out into the world. Get inspired as you journey to find the song that you have to sing for this world.
If you want to keep dancing and enjoy being led through the short movement sequences, here's one of our favorites for this theme, Express Yourself!
Thank you to all who read these words. Thank you for the gift of singing the song of life one more day and dancing the dance of life one more night.
With love this year, next year, and all the years,
An Invitation to Share with Friends of the Qoya Community in Zimbabwe
I'd love to share with you another powerful story from 2017. Qoya teacher and author Betsy Blankenbaker was scheduled to lead the 6th Qoya Service & Safari Retreat in Zimbabwe shortly after a military coup started there. This annual retreat is a way to combine service with a unique safari experience at Imire Wildlife Conservation Park. In addition to her service work in Zimbabwe, Betsy has been committed to courageously using her voice to share her truth for years and also publishing and editing the stories of other women in the series Autobiography of An Orgasm and Autobiography of Our Orgasms. During the coup, she would see the place where the story of the emerging voice would come through the people of Zimbabwe and her own next book.
Betsy shared her experience with me, and I asked her if she'd be willing to also share with you. My hope is that this story will inspire you and perhaps, we may even raise the money expected for the projects in Zimbabwe who could benefit from our support more than ever. Betsy wrote:
"Three days before the retreat was to begin, we woke up to the news that a military coup had taken over control of the government and the army was requesting that President Mugabe resign. Mugabe had been in office for 37 years, and during that time, the country experienced massive human rights violations largely ignored by the Western world. After my first trip in 2008, I was warned to stay quiet about what I witnessed if I wanted to return. I chose to stay silent so I could return 24 more times during the past nine years to aid the marginalized voices and endangered animals. Along the way, dozens of women, men and children joined me during the Qoya retreats. Together our retreat fees supported projects to help improve the lives of children, including paying school fees for under-privileged kids, providing new uniforms and schools supplies, empowering the projects of the local women’s group, and buying bicycles so children could have transport to school. We contributed towards building a solar-powered library and community center. We donated to anti-poaching programs in the area, protecting endangered rhinos and elephants.
This year, I made the tough decision to cancel the retreat 24 hours before it was to begin. Although I felt safe based at our lodge in Zimbabwe, I was concerned for the well-being of anyone joining the retreat in a country that was under a coup. At the same time, I was thrilled with the potential for positive change for the people of Zimbabwe. Instead of opening the retreat on Saturday November 18th as planned, I witnessed the impact of the largest public gathering allowed in Zimbabwe where for the first time, people could speak freely without threat of consequences of jail or beatings. The voice of a nation had been set free.
However, the cancelled retreat means not raising the money needed for the local projects we are supporting this year. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation you can find information on our on-going projects here. You can also purchase a silver thread braceletcreated by POUND Jewelry to benefit the ellies and rhinos.
Thank you to the Qoya community making a difference in the lives of so many women and children in Zimbabwe. Maybe one day you will join us on a future retreat!? Love from Betsy"
I am so grateful to Betsy for giving me the personal opportunity to go to Zimbabwe twice with her, experience devotion in action, and see how the impact of her story in Zimbabwe has benefited so many other beings. If you would like to read more of Betsy's work, check out her new bookcoming out this week!
EMBODIED ASTROLOGY EARLY BIRD
The Early Bird Special for our new course Embodied Astrology runs through December 19th.
In addition to a tuition discount of $222 (the price goes up to $250 on December 20th), we're also offering a special Q&A Call with Rochelle and Virginia to Early Birds.
Click here to learn more and register.
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RETREATS TO REMEMBER YOUR ESSENCE
Woodstock, New York Retreat: April 20 - 22, 2018 - enrollment opening soon!
Kripalu Retreat with Rochelle: June 24 - 29 - enrollment opening soon!
INITIATION TEACHER TRAININGS
Kripalu Retreat with Rochelle: June 24 - 29 - enrollment opening soon!
INTENSIVE TEACHER TRAININGS
North Carolina with Sara: Fall 2018 - dates announced soon!