Nancy Dancing Light and I met about nine years ago when she was facilitating a shamanic workshop called ‘ Reclaiming the Dragon Path’ near Guildford. It was the first time that I had met an inspired shamanic teacher, who embodied dragon energy with the Divine Feminine wisdom of the Goddess, through the expressive arts, including movement, ritual, and nature connection.
Nancy offers a humility, grace, and creative flexibility, that only a true artist knows from their deepest soul’s journey. Her effortless ease in shapeshifting between the worlds and her authentic vision shared during our Moving Mandala workshops changed the course of my destiny forever.
It has been such a challenge for me to articulate the power of The Moving Mandala. It is undoubtedly a transformative programme, working at a very deep level to clear any blocks in the chakra system using movement, art, voice, shamanic journeying, ritual, and being in nature. On the last day of the programme, we work with Archetypal energy, dancing a 12 pointed star to offer all our cleared energies, to the Earth for healing. This energetic container has shifted and brought into balance many aspects of my own life, so it is my honour to offer a deeper insight into these teachings, from my perspective and through the words of Nancy Dancing Light.
I completed the Moving Mandala teacher training with Nancy in 2014, meeting 6 other shamanic practitioners along the way, who I feel now to be my soul sisters. I particularly respect Nancy’s openness and vulnerability to be guided by Great Spirit at all times, making sure that we were on track as a group, and individually.
Nancy now lives close to the land in Nova Scotia with her partner David. Her ancestors have spread the length and depth of the British isles and she has run many pilgrimages to sacred sites and different areas of the UK, to help her Canadian community process and honour their ancestral lines. She has passed the mantle of the Moving Mandala to Lorriiii Dragon Dream, and with a small group of Moving Mandala practitioners, we aim to continue offering her teachings to the world now.
This article has been written as a result of bringing together letters that Nancy has written to the Moving Mandala Teachers and a film that we made when she was last in the UK, as well as an interview I did with Nancy in 2014. I want to share Nancy’s story and how the Moving Mandala came into being.
I had a creative and seeking spirit, and a love of the outdoors. I’ve always been sensitive, artistic, and spiritual. I was living where there was a lot of dragon energy in the sea caves along the coast of Nova Scotia. And we were on healing land that had been used for healing before by First Nations. We were a destination for people to come when they travel and these three wise women found me. They were looking for my husband and me, they were guided to come to a certain place in Nova Scotia to see us.
These three women stayed at this sea cave place. They sat in their cabin for a week watching us see if we’re the right ones, and we were watching them!. They changed my life by giving me an energy shift and a shamanic initiation, it was like being rewired to hear the land. It offered me a chance to connect deeply with the ancestors and root me in the earth.
My inspiration first came from visiting sacred sites and performing full moon ceremonies through the seasons in Canada. On hearing the land, it also became my teacher. I have been deeply committed to Native American practices throughout my life. One of my Indigenous teachers spoke in the lodge one day, reflecting that he didn’t see a spiritual materialist and wannabe, he saw a person who had to go around the whole wheel in this lifetime and take the essence of that journey for the benefit of myself and all our relations. He put a red hand imprint in red ochre on each of the four directions of my drum to keep me in mind of my purpose.
I was a very shy person, so it was a long process. I didn’t know if I wanted to be doing this crazy stuff in a sense, but I knew that this change was necessary, because something bigger than me was moving through me. I wanted to be in wonder. The motivator was that I wanted to believe there’s something bigger than us, that’s guiding us.
Then, I got permission from Spirit to bring other people into the circle with me.
I became involved in different Aboriginal practices, indigenous practices, as well as creating workshops myself, and participating in the Sundance. After several years of doing my mandala practice, I went to India to receive a mandala teaching called the Kalachakra, in a location where the teachings originated through Shakyamuni Buddha. I felt that to teach this path, I had to go into more traditional practices, experience them, and then strengthen the container.
At the beginning of this century, I was told by spirit that people would need a lot of support for change. And there came through me that this Mandala would be a holistic approach to doing shamanic practice, that can involve creativity. And that creativity could take the form of movement, sound, awareness, colour, and so all of the arts could be involved. And spirit would call for these different aspects of us to be brought together in a circle.
What made you realise how important embodiment was as part of the practice?
After those three women left me at the sea caves in Nova Scotia, I had such a deep experience of spiritual healing, that I started changing my movement from the head down, just like a baby: headfirst and then down to the feet. I had to go through a re-birth, just like a baby. There were some pretty rough adjustments in
terms of my energy, and it felt kind of scary, so I must have agreed to do this before I came into this lifetime. After this, my sensitivity was just completely upped. I believe, I sore to the level of light, that was necessary for everything to unfold with the Moving Mandala.
It was very confusing to feel my pain, and get all this information, and then try to organise it for myself, I had to just feel my way along. I went to the Findhorn community, to a workshop with Carolyn Myss. It was thanks to her for filling in the piece about the chakras, because this gave me something to hang my experience on.
After that, I lived close to the land and I went off-grid for a while, I have always lived close to nature. It helped me to relax entirely, and realise that I’m doing my part. It all just wove together and it seemed to be part of a divine plan. And it made me trust the vision I was given by spirit within an inch of my life. I have had to learn to trust that whatever is needed at the time will come.
Please continue reading this article in parts 2 and 3 of my blog.
For all Our Relations. Nancy Dancing Light and Ali Rabjohns.
The Moving Mandala Residential Programme will be running a retreat at the Earthspirit Centre From 16-20 September 2021. Please see this link for more details.
For further information about the Moving Mandala and its history, go to www.travellersjoy.ca