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A Circle Changing of the Guardians

Updated: Dec 17, 2022

This past week I co-hosted a new offering called Circle Immersion with Tenneson Woolf at Hope Springs Institute. It was 18 of us diving deeper into the being and doing of circle. It was looking at the energetics of circle and how circle practice supports us all.

But in the background of all of this something else was happening. I was experiencing a changing of the guardians. You see, this past week was also Christina Baldwin’s last time hosting Self as the Source of the Story.

In 2014 I reached out to Christina to see if she would be willing to come to Hope Springs to host a circle retreat. I was on the board and was trying to bring her and her work to Hope Springs. She invited me to come to Self As Source to experience her in circle and then she said we could do something together at Hope Springs. We never did end up doing a circle retreat together at Hope Springs because I think the divine had a different plan for us.

At this Self As Source retreat I met Tenneson Woolf. We became friends and this friendship has kicked off many different adventures including the two of us leaning into deepening our circle practice together and deciding to co-create our own version of a circle Intensive, Circle Immersion.

Our roots and inspirations in the Circle Immersion includes West African circle traditions — mentoring from Jojopah Maria Nsoroma and learning from Sobonfu Some and Malidoma Some. More roots and inspirations come from The Circle Way — mentoring and learning from Christina Baldwin, Ann Linnea and other life-long practitioners.

In this culture we highlight all kinds of cultural spirit medicine, Indian, Indigenous, Asian, South American, but we have left out African. Which is the birth place of all of us. It is time to lean into the gifts of African Spirit medicine.

I see our Circle Immersion as work that leads with African spirit medicine, African Circle Practice, which starts with the being of circle and is supported by Christina Baldwin’s and Ann Linnea’s work, The Circle Way that holds a methodology or framework for the doing of circle. I haven’t been blessed to experience Ann in circle but I have had the privilege of being in circle with Christina and have felt her deep holding and understanding of the energetics of circle. This to me holds deep being energy.

One of the things that I experienced this past week in circle was grief for the ways that The Circle Way hasn’t met me as a woman of color but has asked me to meet it. As people of color we are held and seen as a WE in this culture. We don’t often get to experience our selves as completely individual. On the other hand White people are seen as individuals, they don’t often experience themselves as a WE. The Circle Way strongly supports this movement to the WE. But as a person of color I need to first find the ME in the WE to fully return whole. My own grief this past week was how good we are as people of color in translating everything and finding the gold in it for ourselves. We haven’t often expected these places to meet us where we are at. There is grief in that for me.

This is how evolution works, it builds on what has been done before. So much of what I think Tenneson and I are up to these days is learning how to carry the both/and of things. Learning how to hold the Black/White, Male/Female, Masculine/Feminine, National/International, Diversity of religion, thought, and beliefs.

This year Christina and Ann are moving on to new adventures. Last year Malidoma transitioned to the land of the ancestors (we where at Hope Springs in retreat at this time as well). And six years ago Sobonfu transitioned to the land of the ancestors.

I felt all of them with us this past week. I am so deeply grateful for the ground they have each laid for us. I’m so deeply grateful for Christina connecting me with my dear friend and partner, Tenneson Woolf. I am most grateful for how all of theirs lives have supported me in finding more of myself.


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