Ritual and Ceremony

June 12, 2018

Tyler Rai is a movement artist, facilitator and somatic educator. She designs workshops that foster community engagement and creativity by exploring improvisation, materiality, movement arts, and perception. Her workshop themes often include embodied experiences of land and site, urban architecture, and reciprocal practices with the natural world. She holds a B.A. in Dance and Community Studies from Bennington College, a certificate in Somatic Education, and is currently completing a certification in Anna Halprin's Life/Art Process. She believes in collective creativity as the means to wholeness and a re-definition of progress.

Cleo McNelly Kearns works in the fields of comparative religion, continental philosophy and cultural theory.  She has published widely in journals in religious studies, theology and literature, most recently on Christian and western understandings of Hinduism, and she is the author of two books, T.S. Eliot and Indic Traditions and The Virgin Mary, Monotheism and Sacrifice. She is currently doing research on indigenous shamanism and its global revival.  She also does counseling, ceremonial, and healing work. Cleo lives in West Fairlee, Vermont and is a Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth College.

Sherri Mitchell, Weh'na Ha'mu Kwasset, is an author, teacher, activist and a member of the Penobscot Nation. Sherri serves as an indigenous rights attorney and the executive director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the protection of indigenous land and water rights and the Indigenous way of life. Sherri has been actively involved with Indigenous rights in the U.S., Canada and abroad for more than 25 years. Over this time, her work as been recognized with several Human Rights and Humanitarian Awards.

Since 2017, Sherri has been the lead organizer behind "Healing the Wounds of Turtle Island," a 21-year global healing ceremony that rises out of the Wabanaki Prophecy of the Reopening of the Eastern Gate. Sherri is also the author of Sacred Instructions; Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change, which has received international acclaim.

Ron Tremblay, spasaqsit possesom, which means morningstar burning is a citizen of Wolastoq Nation. The youngest of 10, Ron grew-up surrounded by the Wolastoqey language and credits his mother and grandparents for his genuine love of the language and with providing him with the true teachings of life. Later in life, Elders he befriended in Frederickston, New Brunswick, guided him deeper into his Wolastoqey traditional ways and through ceremony ultimately into the wisdom and knowledge of the “Wolastoqey way of life”. Today, Ron practises the traditional ways of his people. In November of 2016, Ron was installed as Traditional Wolastoq Grand Chief. The mandate of the Wolastoq Grand Council is to protect and preserve their non-ceded traditional homeland and waterways.

In her personal and professional practices, Elisabeth Cadle is an artist, a permaculture designer, and a labyrinth builder/facilitator. Elisabeth’s artwork is juried through the League of NH Craftsmen and has shown nationally. In 2003, she founded Flux Decorative Painting and Tile, through which she has applied thousands of custom surface finishes of paint, plaster and clay to create residential spaces for inspired living. Elisabeth’s permaculture design work is also an expression of her artistic vision as she creates contemplative and productive environments for beauty, nourishment and medicine. Elisabeth’s Labyrinth design and facilitation brings together her artistic and land practices to create healing spaces to deepen one’s relationship with Source and broaden connections within community. Since 2011, she has lived in White River Junction, Vermont with her daughter (age 10), partner (age 47) and beloved cat, Spooky, (age 17), at the Center for Transformational Practice.

Carolyn Hooper, MS, is a Restorative Wellness Coach, ecologist, educator, and long-time practicing Druid.  As an educator for the Green Mountain Druid School and an independent workshop leader, she teaches about connecting with Nature for health and wellbeing, bringing the sacred into everyday life, emotional and spiritual awareness, and creating sacred space.  She is the creator of an innovative new series of Nature-wise wellness programs designed to help people cultivate a two-way healing relationship with Nature to restore quality of life. She facilitates Sacred Circle Dance, Rites of Passage, labyrinth walks, and mindfulness programs, and leads ceremony for individuals and groups .  Carolyn lives in Wilder, VT.

Ceremony and Ritual has re-emerged in recent decades as a powerful and indispensable vehicle for social transformation. As activists recognize the need for deep trust, healing and sharing within organizing circles, we are seeing the blurring of boundaries between meeting space and ritual space. Moreover, ritual and the components of ritual are galvanizing movements through connecting movement with their true purpose, evoking a clear vision of their desired outcome, and building close connections between members.



The Ceremony of Everyday Life – Tyler Rai

How do we listen to the intuitive technology of our bodies and imaginations? How are the stories in our bodies connected to our lineages and cultural inheritances? How do we listen to what our body has to say? In this workshop we will explore how to listen to our body through movement, drawing and writing, to better understand what stories our bodies hold, and how those stories can become resources for creating personal ceremony. In ceremony, we hold space for what is beyond us. To commune with what is beyond us, we must go deeply within us.  Playfully and collectively we will attempt to rediscover our relationship with the phenomenal world that is everyday life, and listen deeply to the inner guidance our bodies hold.

This work will be guided by the creative protocols developed by the Tamalpa Institute’s Life/Art Process. The workshop will be primarily movement-based. Movers of all abilities and experiences are welcome.


Ritual and Transformation – Cleo Kearns

Ritual is a vital human function – and may even be important to animals as well!  But the connections between ritual and social and personal transformation are only beginning to be understood. Come to this workshop and learn:

1. Some of the effects of ritual on our brains and bodies
2. The role of ritual in social action
3. The elements of a good ritual performance
4. The centrality of water to ritual life
5. Practical examples of rituals you can do at home


Understanding Historical Trauma and its relationship to Cultural Appropriation – Sherri Mitchell and Ron Tremblay

A lot has been said about cultural appropriation, yet it is still confusing for many people. At this time, ancient ceremonial practices are being renewed and new forms of ceremony are emerging in spontaneous ways. Knowing where to draw the line is not always clear.

This discussion will present an honest reflection on cultural appropriation, and look at how the taking of ceremonial traditions from another group can trigger the deep wounds and historical trauma experienced by those people. Peoples from every part of the world have undergone profound cultural dissociation. Many have tried to recover those lost connections by appropriating the living culture of Indigenous peoples. In doing so, they may be unintentionally recreating the same conquest paradigm that has  destroyed cultural connections throughout history.

This is an opportunity to learn from two First Nations leaders about the subtle and not-so-subtle boundaries of cultural appropriation and how being aware of these boundaries can play a role in cultural healing and restoration for us all.




The Living Labyrinth – Elisabeth Cadle

The labyrinth is a divine imprint which embodies the sacred feminine.  Universally available for personal and collective transformation, this powerful tool can take on many forms.  As a daily practice, container for ritual and ceremony or living symbol, a labyrinth represents a vessel which can be filled with intention, opening the pathways to a deeper connection to source and inspiration.

In this workshop, we will explore creating a personal labyrinth ritual then collectively experience a labyrinth water ceremony.



Restoring our Relationship with the Earth: Practices and Rituals for Everyday Life – Carolyn Hooper

Developing relationship with the Spirit of the Land and her elements (earth, air, fire, and water) is a powerful way to manifest transformation in our lives and in the world around us. Ritual, ceremony, and creating sacred space are all tools we can use to reconnect with the Earth as a living being, strengthen our place in the Web of Creation, and restore the 2-way bridge of healing between humans and Nature. In this experiential workshop, and with the Spirit of Water as our inspiration, we will use simple principles and interactive practices from Druidry as our guide to:

 Create personal rituals for use in our everyday lives
 Explore the use of sacred space, indoors and outdoors
 Complete with a simple group ceremony of our own creation to offer as healing for the waters of the Earth.