For the record, I am certified as an ecstatic trance instructor by the Felicitas Goodman Institut based in Germany. That I met the requirements for certification was entirely serendipitous. My connection with Felicitas Goodman is personal and I made it clear that I only accepted the certificate out of respect for her and to honor her work. My acceptance was and is contingent on my being spared the petty politics, malicious gossip, and venomous backstabbing endemic among her followers.
I have to say Nana Nauwald, who gave me the lifetime certificate, is the one person associated with the Cuyemungue Institute that has actually kept her word to me. Most of the time I am blissfully unaware of the inner machinations of the group. This is aided by the fact that I live in New Mexico and do not speak or read German fluently. When I do get whiffs of either Institute’s dirty laundry it is usually through the American side. I quickly came to regard the official letter declaring me persona non grata , signed, sealed, and delivered to me by the board of the American branch of the Institute in the late 90’s as a great gift. Being de-institutionalized relieves me of any obligation to participate in any kind of hoopla on this side of the ocean.
However, it soon became clear that my rejoicing was not the desired response. Shortly after I arrived in Germany on my first visit, Nana received an irate phone call from the American side of the Cuyemungue Institute telling her that I was willfully flouting their authority by just up and flying to Europe and traveling around visiting people there on my own without their permission. That I thought I was journeying to the homeland of (some of) my ancestors , delivering gifts, visiting my friends, and pursuing my spiritual path was irrelevant to them. All I could do was laugh at the idea that these people were so obsessed with me and my activity and so self-important that they thought their position on the board of an insignificant non-profit gave them absolute control over all aspects of my life . Eventually the board members in question had to have realized that they were making themselves look ridiculous and slunk off with their tails between their legs.
It was outrageously inappropriate behavior though and in retrospect perhaps I should have taken their profound and persistent disregard for the rules of society and the rights of others much more seriously, because they have not let up. As it became clear that de-institutionalization didn’t result in my vanishing into oblivion or my collapse into weeping and gnashing my teeth in despair, I became an object of even greater interest, envy, and emulation. I have been variously irritated, amused, and aghast at the antics of the board and instructors of the Cuyemungue Institute which happens to include:
- Rainbow Bridge workshops appeared on the Institute curriculum when I was involved with putting together an intercultural event called the Rainbow Bridge Conference,
- Instructors, advisers, and board members were instantly experts on the World Tree when word of my work on the World Tree cards started making the rounds,
- When word got out that I was working with the grandmother’s circles, those too abruptly appeared at the institute
- When I published my About page on this blog mentioning the importance of honoring and healing the land, suddenly there were summer solstice workshops honoring the land at the institute
Lest you think that the Institute’s choice and timing was sheer coincidence, random chance, pure synchronicity, or simply accidental, rest assured that I’ve considered all these possibilities. I’ve done my very best to conjure up constructive explanations, but being a member of LinkedIn, a site that is kind enough to notify people of who visits their profile and when has disabused me of my illusions.*
Recently I received a LinkedIn request to connect from a long time board member whom I had never met. I make a point of at least attempting to be polite when I am first contacted so I accepted the invitation with a note remarking that we had never met or communicated and perhaps now that could change. I got no reply, but continued to get notices of them viewing my work. When I queried this behavior and noted that it was a continuation of a long-standing pattern among board members, the reply I got was that this individual had no need to communicate with me because their intent was to take my work on the medicine horses and the cave paintings of Iberia (click here) off of my site and use it in their own workshops!
Which made me just a little testy. I do realize that the circumstances I was born into, the situations I find myself in, the perceptions I have of those situations, and the resulting life experiences accumulate in unusual if not unique stories. In general I am willing to mentor others and share what I can (click here). However, taking my information and guidance, presenting it as ones own, refusing to acknowledge me or my work, and slandering me to boot tends to alienate me. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but I’ve let far too much slide by for much too long. I think it is way past time to confront the situation and put a stop to this.
Before the rumor mongers start, let me also state that yes indeed Nana Nauwald has experimented with integrating some aspects of my work with my ancestors and the runes into her workshops on occasion. However we have had many a talk about the difficulty Germans have in connecting with their indigenous ancestors, she has expressed interest in and we have discussed my work, and although there have been occasional lapses in communication over our 20 year friendship; in general, we acknowledge and respect each others efforts.
*The sorry saga continues as I’ve had a sudden, and might I suggest NOT entirely coincidental, upswing in anonymous viewers on LinkedIn since this post went up.
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