FOR LEARNING AND TEACHING
by Dwayne Edward Rourke
Real Peace, Real Unity is desired by the human heart. It strives to labor creatively and actively. For its labor is a source of joy. It wants to love and expand in the realization of Sublime Beauty. In the highest perception of Beauty and Knowledge all conventional divisions disappear. The heart speaks its own language; it wants to rejoice at that which is common for all, and leads to the radiant Future. All symbols and tablets of humanity contain one hieroglyph, the sacred prayer--Peace and Unity.
Over the last several years, I have had the pleasure of participating widely in an increasingly popular learning and teaching mode, called simply, council. Council has its roots in Earth-based, aboriginal cultures whose traditions honor the unique spiritual gifts within each of us. It springs from the dynamic notion of "learning and teaching going on", rather than from a fixed notion of "the teacher and the taught". As a result, council is naturally concerned with process more than with product. It furthers all forms of consensus decision-making.
Council, as I have experienced it, has always involved meeting with others, in a circle. Universally, a circle symbolizes wholeness and completeness. Meeting in a circle can accentuate these qualities and can make them part of our direct experience. We can be enlivened and empowered by them.
Most of the councils I have been involved with have been very spontaneous in nature. Generally they have been "agenda-less", thereby being open to the present moment, and to what people are really up to, now. Such a format requires a high level of both courage, and patience; courage to be true to who you really are, in the moment, and patience in honoring the natural process of unfoldment required for full group participation.
The most successful councils I have participated in, have adopted a format wherein a short period of mindfulness meditation precedes the opening exchange. This meditative pause facilitates a grounding of the group's energy. A natural feeling of ease and spaciousness occurs as everyone relaxes into the moment. When a round of sharing follows such a grounded beginning, the results can be truly satisfying to all involved.
Within such a supportive circle, everyone is given the opportunity to share from the heart, what they are feeling, or what inspires them, in the moment. Ideally, the group consciousness is without judgement or expectation as to what each person will do. If someone chooses to silently pass, letting the process simply move on to the next person, so be it! What is important is that each person be given the opportunity to share. This can be a very healing experience for both speaker and listener, for in the sacred space of council, the practice of "devout listening" is possible.
Easy to initiate but difficult to maintain, devout listening can be enhanced by having the group designate some object, be it a stick, a flower, a crystal etc., as a symbol of authority. It then becomes a rule of conduct, for all members of the circle, that whoever has the "talking object", is to be listened to, without interruption, no matter what he or she is saying, or expressing. The talking object is initially passed from person to person, around the circle, until everyone has at least had the opportunity to speak. In this process, the attention we give to each other is a gift which is exchanged many times, over the course of the time spent in council. A "circle of mirrors" emerges, as we find the circle providing each of us with a reflection of a different part of ourselves than we might otherwise encounter.
What we find in sharing circles conducted in this way is that our collective process of "becoming", grows naturally out of the ground of our collective "being". As a result, we end up feeling nourished and supported in a very deep way and are empowered to go ever-deeper into the truth of who we actually are.
LUNATION BIRTHDAY / LUNATION COUNCIL
When we bring to council, an astrologically-determined sequence of sharing, everyone in the circle is given the opportunity to learn about themselves through an intimate and direct experience of cosmic process. If that process is modelled after the cycle of moon phases witnessed from one New Moon to the next (the lunation cycle), a very powerful significator of personal presence can be revealed. That significator is known as the lunation birthday. Most simply, it is the phase of the Moon at a person's birth.
Knowing your lunation birthday, means knowing a deep inner part of your psyche that has a specific orientation to the world at large. For example, if you were born just after the new moon, you tend to learn about life most quickly and naturally, by jumping in, experiencing spontaneously the world around you. On the basis of this direct experience, you learn. People born when the Moon is full, on the other hand, have a much more objective approach to life, operating best from forethought, and from visions of what is possible. These people are the translators and interpreters of experience. First-Quarter Moon people are best aligned with action and decision-making, guiding a budding process toward a future fulfillment. Last-Quarter Moon types are most naturally concerned with mastering the art of letting go, moving on, dissolving the past.
No matter what phase of the Moon you were born at, a conscious, fixed, and vital alignment to the changing phases of the Moon, is possible for you. This alignment can be amplified by participating in lunation council. By having each person share, in council, from his or her respective lunation birthday position, a conscious connection to the center of the Earth as a mysterious force is possible. It is a force harmoniously unifying within each of us, the cosmic masculine force of the Sun, and the cosmic feminine force of the Moon.
A lunation council sharing proceeds from the New Moon people, to the first quarter people, to Full Moon people, and back to New Moon people. Each person is, therefore, witnessed within the overall framework of the lunation cycle at his or her lunation birthday. As a result, a natural, intuitive, learning and teaching mode opens up as we allow the process itself, to guide us.
The Lunation Cycle
Cycles of relationship are cycles that relate two distinct entities for a specific length of time, hence we call them "wholes of time". Wholes of time reveal themselves through a process having a beginning, a middle, and an end. When cycles repeat, what changes are the contents of the cycle, not the structure. The lunation cycle is the most obvious astronomical analogy to this cyclic process. It is a visual metaphor, capable of guiding us into a deep remembrance of our cosmic origins. Seen in this way, the lunation cycle is an ordered and measured process of change which periodically and perennially, returns to its point of origin: New Moon. We may regard the lunation cycle as a basic building block of experience. It is a discrete unit in an ongoing evolutionary process sourced by the Sun.
A story emerges from council modelled on the lunation cycle. Conducted in this way, lunation council reveals a story of our deepest connections, the real story about why we have come together. Often we are surprised to find a totally different story than we dreamed, or thought, possible. Through the power of love and trust available through this kind of encounter, we are very often transported beyond our usual boundaries of self-interest, into the realm of collective service and support.
Because it places the Earth so central, lunation council may find us truly honoring the Earth, by speaking more authentically and more courageously, enlivened and empowered by a deep awareness of our cosmic, bipolar, birthright: our lunation birthday. If we can share in lunation council, openly and freely, what actually is most meaningful to us, and if we can learn from the structure of the lunation cycle, something about our cosmic heritage, perhaps we can carry that knowledge out into the world at large, creating truly transformative lifestyles, lifestyles that emerge from the deepest recesses of our common humanity. Let us support each other in the full and complete manifestation of such a quest. Ho!
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