House of Mica Peace Chamber Newsletter - January 2016
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The Sacred Act of Walking

If we are “breath, matter and movement”, then, walking – one of our most basic forms of movement – must be a sacred act of God’s unfolding.  One of my most treasured practices is an annual pilgrimage.  As with many of the best things in my life, I learned about the value of walking from Beautiful Painted Arrow, Joseph Rael.  In Northern New Mexico there is a tradition of walking to this sacred spot, the Santuario De Chimayo, on Good Friday.  Thousands of people from distant parts of New Mexico (and from around the world) make an annual pilgrimage to Chimayo around Easter time.  As a child, Joseph walked the 30 miles from Picurius Pueblo to Chimayo.  As an adult, he would walk from his home in Bernalillo, NM to Chimayo – a distance of about 75 miles!  It took several days of course.  One of the songs included in the 12 CD set titled Sacred Sounds is called “Walking to Chimayo”.  This is a song that Joseph would sing while walking.  If you have the CDs, check it out! 

Over the years, I have done the pilgrimage to Chimayo several times.  It is always very inspiring to be one of thousands of people to participate in this pilgrimage.  I have seen people make this pilgrimage on crutches, people walking for the benefit of ill family members, people carrying crosses the entire distance and parents praying together with their small children for the entire walk. Closer to home, here at the House of Mica a small group of us pilgrimage each year to a local sacred site, such as the Grafton Peace Pagoda, or the Shrine to Mary in New Lebanon, New York, or to a sacred site in the Adirondack mountains.
The practice of pilgrimage can be found worldwide, in every spiritual tradition.  So what is it about walking that makes it so sacred?  Let’s explore the sounds in the English word, “w-a-l-k”.  The first sound, the sound of “w” is the metaphor for “two forms of descending light”.  When we walk, we use two legs.  We plant one and then the other. In perceptual reality, we live in duality.  But within that duality we have a split of a second between steps where duality disappears and we visit this balanced state of one-ness.  But mostly in this place, we swing between the extremes of duality – right and left, light and dark, birth and death.  The process of walking - left leg, right leg, left leg, right - washes the psyche.  Moving in duality and traversing split seconds of balance/ unity, serves to purify us.  This is the letter “a”.  The letter “l” has to do with ascending light.  When we walk the process of purification helps to inspire upward motion, ascending light.  Walking raises energy.  We often feel more energetic, more alive after walking or running.  Inspiration comes through.  We are lighter, more buoyant.  The “k” of walking refers to the process of planting.  As we walk we become lighter and ascend but with each step we are also planting something into the earth.  After a Sun-Moon Dance you can see the tracks that dancers planted into the earth.  What are we planting?  With each step we plant the awareness that God is here, in this moment, in this place.

Joseph published a short book many years ago about walking.  He said that walking is “Ta-chi- who” and he referred to this as “God is walking here”.  “Ta” is the sound of the first foot hitting the earth, “chi” is the sound of our legs brushing against each other, and “who” is the sound of the second foot hitting the earth.  Check it out for yourself. 

To put this all together:  when we walk we become the metaphors of “two forms of light washing and purifying consciousness”.  We become “ascending light” and we “plant the awareness that right here, right now, God is walking”. Walking is holistic health in action.  As we walk, we clear the mind, heal the body and come to a deep understanding that right here, right now, God is walking. 

At the House of Mica Peace Chamber, we encourage dancers to walk as a form of preparation for the Sun-Moon Dance. I encourage all of the peace chambers and dance communities to include walking among your spiritual practices.  The Spring time is a really wonderful time to take a pilgrimage, to walk to a sacred site.  By doing this we honor "walking" and also keep alive the principle idea of pilgrimage as well as the lessons Joseph was sharing with us all those years that he walked to Chimayo during Easter week. 
Mid-Winter Drumming Vision Quest

Friday, January 29 - Sunday, January 31

We will gather at the mid-winter to take a sacred journey inside. We begin with a Sweat Lodge ceremony at 6 pm on Friday evening. After a pot-luck feast, we enter the peace chamber and have periods of drumming, followed by periods of rest and dreaming. Entering the eternal present, we will use the drum to travel deep within the self, and at the same time, into the far reaches of the cosmos.  Ceremony concludes on Sunday morning with a feast. Clean-up and Talking circle concludes by 2 pm. 

Please bring a frame drum, layers of clothing, tobacco, clothe for tobacco bundles and standard fare for the sweat lodge (bathing suit, 2 towels). We do have a couple of drums that may be borrowed if you do not have one. 

Registration required no later than January 16th. 

Suggested donation: $150, more if you can, less if you can't.

New Mexico Sun Moon Dance will take place on Thursday, August 18 to Sunday, August 21st 

Join us on sacred land in Abiquiu, New Mexico for the Sun-Moon Dance.  The arbor is set in the beautiful New Mexican landscape overlooking sacred mountains and holy places. We will begin the dance on the night of the full moon. If you are interested in joining us as a dancer or support person,you must contact us before July 21.  

Sun-Moon Dance in East Greenbush, New York
Friday, August 5 to Monday, August 8

The Sun-Moon Dance will take place here on the grounds of the House of Mica Peace Chamber in upstate New York from Friday August 5th through Monday, August 8th. The sacred vision quest dance is open to all who feel called to participate.  A four year commitment to dancing is strongly encouraged. Many people in our community continue to dance each year after completing eight, twelve or even sixteen dances.  Through dancing we fall in love with life as we place ourselves on a path of healing and self-inquiry. We dance back and forth to the Tree of Life to honor our ancestors and bless a path for our descendants.  If the thought of communing with earth and sky excites you, then you may want to strongly consider dancing, Please contact us no later than July 1st.  If you are interested in serving as a support person, please contact us as well.  You must be prepared to be on the land for the entire duration of the dance.  

Arrive Early for Teachings and to Prepare the Dance Arbor
Many important teachings are shared and important work done the week prior to the dance.  It is important for the ceremony, and for you as a dancer or support person, to arrive on the land early.  Please consider arriving on Tuesday or Wednesday to contribute and learn from the pre-dance preparations.  
Caring for the Land

All dancers and support people should plan to arrive no later than Thursday at 6 pm and should plan to assist with clean-up at the end of the dance.  Plan to remain on the land until all clean-up is complete, which is generally late Monday afternoon. 

Opening to Your Wisdombody
A Day Long Workshop with Elisa Cotroneo
Saturday, April 23rd, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Through placing awareness on Breath, Matter and Movement we will heighten our experience of the movement that “we are” and how this is connected to the "all that is". Elisa will share ancient and contemporary practices to dive deeply into the soma and directly experience embodying the great mystery. These practices are offered to the individual as a way to delve into your personal body, mind and spirit in resonance with the divine.
Upcoming Sweat Lodge Ceremonies

Saturday, January 16 - Post Holiday Spiritual Tune-up 
We will start the fire at 10 am.

Saturday, March 19th - Join us in welcoming the Spring

We will start the fire at 10 am.

Saturday, April 16th - Sweat Lodge  
We will start the fire at 11 am. 

Sunday, June 19th - Join us in welcoming the Summer.
 We will start the fire at noon.


Please call or email at least one week in advance to let us know you would like to attend.  Bring a modest bathing suit, two towels and your favorite dish for the potluck meal.  Please plan to be here for 6 hours after the lighting of the fire.  Donations of $15 to $25 appreciated.  More if you can, less if you can't.


For updated calendar information and to learn more about the peace chamber and our events, please visit our website at


New Ceremonies of Being and Vibration
Saturday, May 7th, 1 pm to 8 pm

During this special day of ceremony we will gather in the chamber and around the pond to conduct ceremonies from Joseph's newly re-issued book, Being and Vibration.   Many indigenous traditions explore the metaphor of life emerging through a series of worlds or states of consciousness.  Joseph describes these new ceremonies as helping us to emerge into the New World or Fifth World. As a species, are we evolving into a higher state of awareness?  Can our consciousness evolve to the point where war, violence, poverty and oppression are no longer a part of our experience?  How are we growing spiritually as individuals and as a community?  

These ceremonies are simple and not physically challenging.  Please bring a pouch of tobacco and some cornmeal. We will be spending some time in the chamber and some outside so please bring layers of clothing and good footwear. The evening will end with our monthly Fire Ceremony.
We will share a pot luck meal around 6pm. All are welcome.  Suggested give-away $25, more if you can, less if you can't.  

 If you would like to purchase a copy of Being and Vibration, please contact us
Fire Ceremonies for Peace and Healing the Waters

On the 7th of each month at 7pm, we gather in the courtyard of the peace chamber to light a fire for peace and cleansing of the waters.  All of the peace chambers around the world conduct this ceremony.  We create a fire in a sacred manner, offer prayers and sit around the fire.  There is usually chanting, teachings and sharing.  Please email or call 518-729-2429 to let us know you would like to attend. 

Check out our youtube video about the House of Mica Peace Chamber Fire Ceremonies
Copyright © 2016 House of Mica Peace Chamber, All rights reserved.

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