THE TOPANGA BLUE FLAG DARÉ
First Sunday after the New Moon or New Moon Sunday
Please check the calendar for the upcoming DARÉ dates.
HEALING, COUNCIL, AND COMMUNITY QUESTIONS:
What is healing? What is peacebuilding? How do we heal each other? How do we bring healing to our communities and the earth? What offerings are we called to make? How do we serve Spirit? How do we live in the world in ways that bring peace, healing, sustainability and beauty to all beings?
PRINCIPLES OF DARÉ
Painting of Deena by Pami Ozaki, 2011
Daré needs to be experienced and lived in order to be known. Still, there are certain principles that are fundamental to it.
The strength and essence of Daré is in the circle and its intelligence. Council is its heart. In Council one always speaks from the heart, listens from the heart and allows the spirits and ancestors to speak through one. Wisdom comes from the combined voices and presence of everyone who is participating. The purpose of council is to seek answers from the community that we can’t find ourselves. Asking and addressing a single question coheres the community.
Daré begins by calling in the spirits without words so that all traditions and ways are honored. Everything depends on this. The invocation allows spirit to inform the participants. It creates a field of knowing and remembering. Daré also centers on telling dreams and receiving dreams as gifts from the ancestors to the circle. Council and dreams are channels between the world of the living and the world of the invisibles.
Music is an essential element. For thousands of years it has been the way that people have called spirit and that spirit has made itself manifest. So, in the Daré, the voice, movement and the drum as well as other instruments are essential components for invocation as well as healing.
Daré is for the sake of healing, but we don’t presume to say we know what healing is, how it occurs, or even how, always, to recognize it. We do know that healing calls us to wisdom and to living healing lives. To being healing presences for ourselves and others. We know that healing often requires another to assist in the process.
Sometimes one is the healer and sometimes one is desperate for healing. Sometimes the two activities are one in the moment. Healing is, thus, an interchange, the dynamic of giving and receiving.
After September 11th, 2001, we began to devote the concern of the Topanga Daré to peace-making. Again, we didn’t know how peace-making proceeds, but we determined to make peacebuilding the center of Council.
Sometimes the questions were direct: “Describe moments in your life when you offered or received the benefits of peace-making. What are the principles that were at the core of this experience? What is forgiveness? What are amends?”
Over the years we began to focus on the environment and the natural world. “How can we live in rigorous right relationship with the natural world? How must we change our lives?” In recent years we have begun to contemplate what is means to create A Village Sanctuary For All Beings. Daré is a niche for the exploration and validation of animal intelligence and agency. Healing, Peacebuilding, the Earth are the heart centers of Daré.
Everyone is welcome and welcomed in Daré. Everyone is listened to and heard without judgment. This generous mind is not easy to attain, it takes time, practice and dedication. Welcome, praise, compassion, being present and blessing are the core of it. Daré is the place where each person’s individual genius, intelligence and particularity is sought out, acknowledged and called forth. It is important that there be a place where people can come when in need.
At Daré heartfelt alliances of all sorts are nurtured with different cultures, spiritual identities, ethnicities, indigenous traditions, organizations, individuals, activists, communities, national and international. Daré is truly composed of all the members of the community, living and non-living, visible and invisibles, the humans and the non-humans, the people, trees, birds, animals, stones and elementals. When all the beings gather, Daré comes to be.
These are some of the basic principles, but it isn’t a checklist. Daré emerges when people gather, some familiar, some strangers, with the intention of manifesting in the moment a community in which such principles are vibrant and alive. Each gathering, then, is different as it responds to those who have come together, their joy and suffering, and as it responds to the circumstances of the times. When we leave each other, we are different because we have allowed ourselves to be altered (altared) and because we are carrying Daré mind into all our other relationships. But, all of this comes about because everyone who comes is deeply committed to and engaged in the on-going process of exploring how such a way of being might come to be.
THE INSPIRATION FOR THE BLUE FLAG DARÉ
In 1999, Mandaza Kandemwa, an indigenous Shona healer from Zimbabwe, introduced Deena and Michael Ortiz Hill to the idea of the Daré or Council. In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Mandaza has re-imagined a tribal form in an urban setting. Daré is a healing community composed of all the members of the natural world where exchange is constant and dynamic. Mandaza believes that many diseases are caused by ‘the heaviness of the gods upon us’ so that the healer will act on behalf of spirit, calling people forth, opening the path between the individual and spirit, removing the obstacles to the spiritual life. The ways of coming to spirit are many and can be both arduous and beautiful. Song, prayer, dream telling, divination and ritual are as essential to the healing process as are medicine, treatment and service.
In the Shona and Ndebele traditions, the gods heal through us. “I am God’s feet, I am God’s hands,” Mandaza likes to say. The healer’s task is to create himself or herself into the vessel that can carry the healing spirit. In any given moment, the healing spirit passes through a room and anyone who has the capacity receives it on behalf of the community.
The extraordinary healer is the one who is so devoted to the spirits that he or she carries the spirits all the time for the sake of the community. But, ultimately, there is no great distinction between the healer and the one who needs healing. Just as the beggar can be the angel who calls forth our gifts and generosity, the one who is ill calls forth the healing spirits in the healer as the healer invokes them in the one who is ill.
Through initiation one is both healed and empowered to bring healing to the community. The members of the community learn to heal each other; the one who receives is called forth to develop the capacity to return the gift. As the healer must be sustained in order to heal, the question the community poses to itself is: how can we sustain each other.
Healing is not a profession; it is a way of life. Exchange is not limited by money or one’s ability and so the sacred and beautiful are not commodified or commercialized. Daré is based on the idea of the gift as a sacred responsibility. We are given gifts. These gifts are for the sake of the community. We add what we can to them. We pass them on. Such is the way of the authentic and meaningful life.
A creative community is based on the gift as a sacred responsibility given to us for the sake of the community. We add what we can to it. We pass it on. Such is the way of the authentic and meaningful life.
At this terrible beginning of the 21st century, it is essential to re-imagine healing, art, work, community and joy. These gatherings are seeds for beginnings we cannot yet conceptualize. The task is to see how we can each come forth to meet and ease each other’s suffering and concerns.
No rules, protocols, minutes, legislation, organization, statements of purpose, tax deductions, agendas. But: meditation, Council, medicine, hands on healing, energy work conversation, shamanic work, curañderismo, divination, ritual, cooking, reading, gardening, prayer, poetry, dance, song, art, listening, silence, healing …
We bring what we have to offer and form and reform in the course of the day into what configurations develop. We call each other forth, receive from each other in the ways we can and offer to each other what we can. To receive what heals and to offer what sustains, this is the goal. We counter these times with open hearts, kindness and generosity.
The Beggar’s Prayer: The world I love is in great need of healing and I am incapable of healing it. Please help me.
DARÉ SCHEDULE — (very tentative)
The community begins to gather between 11:30 and 12:30. It is a time to meet each other informally, to question and explore the principles of healing being developed here. What is created, transformed, when healing is returned to the community? What/who requires healing? What are we being asked to carry today and what is being offered? What grief, crisis, illness, conditions, situations are calling to us to carry as a community. It is also, as are many other moments during Daré, a time for conviviality.
We begin the day with half-hour of silent meditation at about 12:30 p.m. Those who are seeking healing speak of their affliction to the group at this time so that we can focus our prayer and energy. In turn, some of us may speak of Healing and the ways we practice it at Dare’. Sometimes we use this time to tell the stories we are carrying that need to be told. Sometimes we speak of these during the Council/Dream Council.
(If you are coming for healing, please call Cheryl Potts at (310) 702-7313 in order to meet briefly, in advance, with Deena and /or one or more of the Daré healers and conveners. These sessions are scheduled from 11 am on.
Calling Spirit and Healing Work
We invite Spirit at about 1 pm. This is followed by healing work in the circle, through music, drumming, chanting movement and prayer.
Breaking Bread and The Pot Luck Meal
Begins between 3 and 4 pm.
This is also a time to walk in the hills or engage in mediation or seek solitude on the land.
Dream Circle and Council
Beginning between 4:00 and 5:00 pm and may go until 7:00 pm or later with breaks as needed.
Dream Circle and Council are sometimes separate and sometimes combined. We listen to dreams in the old, old ways.
We are pioneering an indigenous, spirit based way of understanding dreams and accepting their guidance for individual and community activity and living. To contemplate them together is one essential step in calling forth community. Sometimes the dreams reveal the Council questions we are called to address. Council is a form of yielding to the plural perspectives and wisdom of the circle. It is the basis from which Daré arises. We always respond to the Council question through story.
This is also a time for prayers and the Stories that must be told and carried by the community. It is the time when we consider the issues that are arising for us individually and as a community given the personal, national, environmental, political and global crises that are abounding. As always considering time and appropriateness, this may be the right time to relate dream like events, remarkable circumstances, visions, premonitions or recognition of healing in ways to that pertain to the community, these times and the transformation we are seeking together.
Final meditation practice of the day: cleaning and setting things in order in gratitude for the hospitality of the house and the presence and blessings of the land and the beings who inhabit it.
Informal Review of the Day.
After Council and clean-up, we hold an informal discussion about the day’s activities, seeking to better understand how Spirit is moving with and through us. It’s a time for questions and thoughtful reflection. Our intent is to de-mystify the process the process of healing and also to provide some training or reflection upon the way of the healer.
Please Join Us
As always, you are welcome to “come when you can and leave when you must,” but we are aware that the full affect of Dare’ occurs for those who can spend the day and experience Dare in its entirety.
WHAT TO BRING AND CONSIDER
Conserve water in all ways.
Please bring or wear layered clothes. Temperatures fluctuate during the day and into the evening. If you plan to walk the land, please bring appropriate closed-toed shoes. The Daré meal is pot-luck. We need enough food for 30 to 60 people through one shared meal. Please bring a healthy dish to share, with organic ingredients where possible. We have re-usable china, flatware and napkins in the Daré kitchen. If you are bringing take-out, please do NOT include plastic spoons, forks, knives or paper napkins frequently packaged/offered with the purchase.
Please do not bring plastic water bottles. Out of respect for the environment, please use a glass or cup throughout the day and wash it when you are done. If you bring a reusable or to be recycled bottle, fill it with filtered water in the house. Please take such containers home with you at the end of the day.
Daré is a fragrance free zone, including perfumes, fragranced personal care products and essential oils. Some of our Daré members suffer from chemical/fragrance sensitivities and/or respiratory difficulties.
PLEASE DRIVE SLOWLY up the roads, especially once you turn off Topanga Canyon Boulevard. There are children and many animals along the roadway. The slow speed also lessens the noise for the neighbors. Park only on Deena’s land past the chain link fence at the very, very end of the road.