Surrender Story: Mary Mermaidia

MeSurrenderWOW WOW WOW! Surrender 2015 was the most amazing 6 days! I thought I was going to a camp-out.
It was so much more… a life experience I will NEVER forget.

I felt such growth within myself through my daily pathwork: Ecosex & Creativity. A deep purge from the core of my being, that I didn’t quite understand, flooded out the first day. The second day I was able to explore and process these feelings. By the third day, I felt fully integrated with my higher self. I even made love to a tree!

Then there was all the other fun stuff going on every day, all the time. The singing & ritual, the smiling, the hugs, nakedness, sex sounds in the forest, great food eaten in community, clothing exchange, connecting, making art, music & dancing, sharing, the workshops, story telling. The LOVE. Feeling like everyone there is a dear friend.

I even had the opportunity to facilitate a woman’s snuggle in the forest. It was so natural and progressed so organically beautiful. We reveled in our sister spirits.  I am honored to be asked to do it again this year, as well as a ‘Frolic in the Forest’ on Saturday night, where anyone who wants can participate.

Surrender is one of the highlights of my summer. I will be back EVERY year!

Mary Mermaidia

 

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Surrender Profile: Osprey Melissa Huffsmith

This post is our first in a series intended to give Convergence newcomers a chance to feel more deeply into the inner workings of Surrender. We are kicking things off with a reflection by Osprey Melissa Huffsmith—a shamanic practitioner, dancer, and musician offering their talents this year to the ritual and musical aspects of the Convergence.

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 Initially I was very skeptical about Surrender. I only felt comfortable attending after I had a one-on-one conversation with organizer Teri Ciacchi, who graciously gave me an in-depth description of what this Convergence is all about. Teri spoke about honoring women and queer people, transforming sex from something recreational to something spiritual, and healing our wounds so that we can do a better job at helping to heal the Earth’s wounds. She spoke about community, support, and the power of the collective. She talked about the necessity of us humans bringing our spirituality back into our bodieshonoring the raw physicality of nature as sacred and magical. Coming from a background in Earth-based spirituality, the ritual aspects of Surrender helped me to feel safe and at home with the edgier topics I was just beginning to explore.

I think that overall Surrender does a good job of creating a safe place for people to explore their growth edges as well as providing a spectrum of activities to serve a diverse group of folks. It’s not all just about sex in the woods (though that option is available!). My Surrender experience has been primarily about discovering my gifts, sharing my voice through song, and feeling safe enough to speak my truth in each moment. The first consent workshop I ever took was at Surrender, and it changed all aspects of my lifenot just how I communicate around physical touchbut core issues of self-trust and self-love. It was incredibly empowering to be held in a safe space where I knew my “no” would be respected and my requests for connection would be met with authenticity. It really wasn’t an option for me not to share this work; I knew from my experience that I would bring it back to my community to educate people about consent. I took notes at that first workshop and started facilitating consensual touch workshops in Eugene a couple months later. When I returned to Surrender the next year, I was invited to help lead cuddle parties… what a turnaround! To go from a novice workshop attendee to a facilitator in just a year was a huge growth for me.

Part of consent education involves coming into our voices in a new way: Learning to speak up when we’ve been too silent, listening when we’ve been too loud, having curiosity, asking questions, and being vulnerable. I have been a creative artist my whole life and wrote my first song about ten years ago, but there is a big difference between writing songs for yourself and sharing your songs with a community! Surrender was one of the first places I began to share my songs with larger groups of peoplemy first year, tentative and shaky, around a small campfire, and my second year, loud & proud at a large group ritual(though still shaking inside!). I am grateful for the ways this Convergence has helped me to grow as an artist and a human being.

Surrender really is a cultural and societal movement of people who are empowered to love the earth and each other in more sustainable ways. The community is what keeps bringing me back! Since attending for the first time two years ago, I have grown in ways previously unimaginable. It isn’t just the material presented at Surrender that has helped me growalthough that is excellentbut rather the people I’ve met who are now supporters in my life and members of my extended family. For anyone who is considering attending but is unsure of whether or not you will feel accepted, know that there is a large community of kindred spirits waiting to welcome you with consensual, loving arms.
Osprey_Karen_2015 (1)

Osprey (L) & Karen (R) performing at the 2015 West Coast EcoSex Poetry/Music Tour, Eugene, OR

I am thrilled to be part of the Surrender organizing team again. This year, I will be performing original EcoSexy songs, chants, and spoken word, as well as helping to coordinate the large-group rituals. When I’m not at Surrender I live in Eugene, Oregon, where I dance, make music, and work with developmentally disabled teens. I also practice shamanism. For more information and to hear my music, please visit ospreyhealing.com.

Warmly,
Osprey

“What the… ?!” – A Primer on Ecosexuality

By Katie Vincent

Allow ourselves to experienceWhen Ecosexuals share their identity with the world, the response is often somewhere along the spectrum of blank stares and raised eyebrows to drool and hungry eyes. Some even surmise you avoid humans altogether and instead go about humping rocks and trees (well, as long as it’s consensual…). We know, friends. We know. And we’ve got your back.

To clarify and circulate the essence of ecosexuality to a more expansive network, our very favorite event organizers, Rev. Teri Ciacchi and Lindsay Hagamen, filmed last year’s plenary talk at the 2015 Ecosex Convergence. The edited result, entitled, “WTF is EcoSex and How Can it Get Us What We Want?”, is offered entirely free of cost and features many resources, along with a serious grounding meditation at the beginningWe encourage all Ecosexuals to watch and share widely with their networks!

Scroll down to the bottom of this post to watch!

Seeing that the film itself spans 45 minutes, a few essentials are distilled below to help facilitate quick consumption of all the yumminess:

Highlights

On Identity…

“Ecopsychology is the theory, ecosexuality is the practice. It turns out that identity and identity politics have a lot to do with what motivates people. A sense of belonging… [an ecosexual identity] will make it easier for you to take a position about loving the earth. Then you can back it up with ecopsychology if you need the scientific cred.” — Teri

Engage with the Earth as a loverOn Partnering with the Earth…

“I consider [the Earth] my first and foremost partner… It’s the first and foremost part of my decision matrix: How do I spend my time? How do I eat? How do I nourish myself? How do I relate to other human beings? How do I use my erotic energy? The earth and life are the first and foremost filter through which I make my decisions.” — Lindsay

 

On Lovers…

“We need to know the body of the beloved Earth in the same way. When we have a sexual partner, we want to know every nook and cranny of their body. What gives them pleasure? What gives them joy? What scares them? What frightens them? We are being called to do the same thing with the Earth.” – Lindsay

On Rewilding…

“Rewilding is the return to primal human experiences: Sex, death, rage, joy, mother nurturance… the things our animal bodies want to express. They’re a part of human experience. We have been trained and socialized to repress and hide our essential nature… This is a place where we get to restore our primal emotional experience. We are big enough, mature enough and have enough inner resources or resources as a group to be with those feeling states. They are not going to destroy us. We need to be able to claim our wildness.” – Teri

Design ourOn Human Relationships…

“If we are engaging with the earth as a partner, that means we all share a partner. And we are metamors: We love the same entity. And so then it invites us… to seek connection with each other instead of distance because we share a love.” — Lindsay

On Ritual…

“[Bill Plotkin] says we need to be together and sing and chant and play drums and dance and fuck in the woods and do magic together because it speaks to a different part of ourselves than beta-focused [dualistic] consciousness. So that’s what we’re here to do. To use these [ritual] technologies to activate an initiation in us so that we can grow up and have adult-adult relationships with our lover the earth who is also our mother in some ways.” — Teri

 

Watch the film below to find out more about “motherfucking,” environmental activism, collective unconscious, soul vs spirit, polynormativity, and so much more!

If would like to support the creation of this film and more films like it — please consider donating to Surrender!  PayPal.Me/Surrender

Do the words resonate? Consider joining the Ecosexuality movement by either attending the 2016 Convergence, finding us on Facebook, or accessing some of the resources below.

Resources from the Film

 

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The Return

Thank you to Robin Lynn, of ThePresentSense.com, for sending us this beautiful poem:


The Return

 

Some day, if you are lucky,

you’ll return from a thunderous journey

trailing snake scales, wing fragments

and the musk of Earth and moon.

 

Eyes will examine you for signs

of damage, or change

and you, too, will wonder

if your skin shows traces

 

of fur, or leaves,

if thrushes have built a nest

of your hair, if Andromeda

burns from your eyes.

 

Do not be surprised by prickly questions

from those who

barely inhabit

their own fleeting lives, who barely taste

their own possibility, who barely dream.

 

If your hands are empty, treasureless,

if

your toes have not grown claws,

if your obedient voice has not

become a wild cry, a howl,

 

you will reassure them. We warned you,

they might declare, there is nothing else,

no point, no meaning, no mystery at all,

just this frantic waiting to die.

 

And yet, they tremble, mute,

afraid you’ve returned without sweet

elixir for unspeakable thirst, without

a fluent dance

or holy language

to teach them, without a compass

bearing to a forgotten border where

no one crosses without weeping

for the terrible beauty of galaxies

 

and granite and bone. They tremble,

hoping your lips hold a secret,

that the song your

body now sings

will redeem them, yet they fear

 

your secret is

dangerous, shattering,

and once it flies from your astonished

mouth, they-like you-must

disintegrate

before unfolding tremulous wings.

 

– Geneen Marie Haugen

What’s Sexuality Got to do With Ecology or WTF is EcoSexuality?

What’s Sexuality Got to do With Ecology or WTF is EcoSexuality?

Rev. Teri D. Ciacchi, MSW; Rev. Sarah Heartsong, MA; and Christina Dietrich

 

EcoSexuality is about honoring the divine sexual nature of our planet and of us as part of the interconnected web of all existence. –Sarah Heartsong

 

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. –Albert Einstein

 

New Ways of Thinking

Our current and shared reality presents us with an unprecedented number of interrelated problems, whose combined trajectories include the possibility for the unprecedented destruction of species and habitat. The urgency of this situation calls for myriad and complex solutions that are grounded in ways of “thinking” perhaps wholly unlike anything you’re familiar or even comfortable with. Our collective thinking must change so that it emphasizes many differing types of intelligence and combines those with more holistic states of consciousness. In other words, our language and our ways of “knowing” need to evolve if we are to generate new cultures and societies that will sustain our final chapters on this beautiful, still verdant planet.

 

The thinking we’ve been handed by our dominant capitalist culture is that the Earth is an inert ball of minerals and resources, provided for humans to exploit in whatever way The Market sees fit, turning it into a literal trash heap. Alongside this childish, short-sighted perspective on physical resources, we’ve been taught to believe the world is full of things that come in pairs, necessarily setting them up in opposition to one another: man and woman, penis and vagina, black and white, rich and poor, animal and human, nature and God, embodiment and transcendence…ad infinitum. This creates a default perspective of demand and lack (if he has something I get nothing) and it sets us up to destroy not only ourselves, but our sole source of survival: the planet.

 

Changes in our thinking, changes in our in consciousness, and changes in our language are required if we’re serious about actually stopping this genocide of our existence. We agree with the Buddhist teacher and scholar, Reginald A. Ray, that the Earth is an awake, life-filled, enlightenment-being entity, which the Buddhists call Bodhisattva, who is reaching out to us and supporting us as we struggle to evolve to bring forth an embodied experience of Love for all Life.[1] With this understanding all people, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, are capable of experiencing a sense of communion with each other and extending that into the natural world through connection and communion with the Living Earth. Intentionally and intelligently increasing our felt experience of connection with Nature and Its divine seat in us is a useful path forward in changing worldviews and shifting to a space where significant positive change can emerge.

 

Sex, Gender… EcoSexual!

How we think about sex, gender, and biology is relevant to and informs our ability to solve the complex and interrelated problems of Earth’s ecological devastation. If we accept the premise that we are all part of an interconnected web of existence, then our personal experience with this web represents our relationship with our Earth. At core, the Earth’s fundamental truth is that creative life force energy IS sexual energy, whether used in an act of procreation or not. Therefore the meanings we assign to sex, genitalia, gender, and sexual expression are core components of the paradigms that we need to shift if we want to survive.

 

Sex and Birth are connected because of the biological relationship between human reproduction and what we have constructed socially as “sex.” More simply put, it is a biological fact that one ovum must combine with one sperm in a suitable environment for a zygote to develop into a fetus and be born as a new human. While this is a description of reproduction it is not a description of sex. What IS sex? Very few people actually agree on what sex is.

 

In the dominant culture, the meaning of sex is most commonly collapsed to indicate “penis in vagina” experiences for the purpose of procreation or recreation. In the wider US society, when one man with a penis and one woman with a vagina connect these genitalia then “sex” is what is occurring. This procreative-focused definition extremely limits the actual expression of human sexual behavior and activities. In pornography and erotica there are unlimited variations of ways people have sex recreationally, yet still this does not capture fully the essence of a holistic definition of human “sex”. These limited biologically driven understandings of “sex”, as procreative or recreational only, are not what “ecosexuality” is all about.

 

An ecosexual definition of sex goes beyond these and counts at least three forms of sex: for procreation, recreation, and most importantly, for communion. Sex also provides a shift in human consciousness. Sex for communion deepens levels of intimacy and connection through sharing the touch of bodies and emotions. Consensual sex with other human beings, regardless of gender, creates experiences of closeness and unity. This kind of sex can generate a sense of being a part of the interconnected web of all life. It is this third realm of sexuality, the experience of communion, which is extended to other life forms, that EcoSexuals focus on.

 

EcoSexuality is not about physical penetration with genitalia; it’s about having deeply intimate, loving connections with people who choose to share a space of vulnerability and empowerment. Because EcoSexuals have chosen to have an adult relationship with the Earth, this sometimes results in their choosing to exchange energetic/erotic connections with one another in naturally-influenced or even outdoor settings. EcoSexuals might benefit from a sensual walk through Nature, drinking in the Beauty and Pleasure of a sunset touching the clouds and coloring them with a rainbow while being tickled by the Wind moving through their hair. An EcoSexual worldview expands understanding of sexuality in a way that moves humanity to be in greater loving relationship with our Earth and all Earth’s creations.

 


 

A Rite of Passage

If one views/experiences/knows the Earth as a living being, a Bodhisattva, who cares for us through the act of creation, bringing us pleasure through sensual experiences ofNature and with whom humans are constantly in communion, then it is possible to see how we could view her as both mother and lover. As people raised in a predominantly patriarchal, puritanical, consumer-driven, disembodied, short-sighted, childish world, it’s incredibly confrontational and uncomfortable for us to consider this. We haven’t been exposed to or educated about having an adult relationship with our fellow humans, much less with the Earth our collective Mother and Lover. It is actually much easier to stay child-like in our interactions with Her, remaining in the space of Earth as Mother. EcoSexuality now becomes a rite of passage into an adult relationship with our Mother Earth who is also the Lover, a transformation She experienced through the embodiment and manifestation of Her Sexual Energy.

 

Remember the moment when you realized that your mother had sex…that she was a sexual being? Many people find it difficult to reconcile that fact with what they know of the mother persona. However, this realization has no cultural relevance to people who are raised without the worldview that sex unnatural, dirty, and sinful; only to be conducted in dark, hidden spaces; and not to be seen by anyone. These typical Western beliefs separated Nature from God. Everything made by Nature, anything naturally creative, was deemed to be bad or nasty or something “nice” people didn’t do.

 

As we see it, a big problem in Western society is that the dominant culture doesn’t like to think about Mother Fucking; in fact, motherfucker is one of the Seven Dirty Words according to comedian George Carlin.[2] So, here comes an EcoSexual who says, “we’re moving into a relationship with the Earth as a lover rather than mother” and someone from the mainstream culture (who thinks mother fucking is bad, sinful, or repulsive) has absolutely zero positive context in which to respond. In fact, they’re going to think the EcoSexual is crazy. Or depraved. Possibly both.

 

Earth as Mother is beautiful and delightful; She nurtures and cares for us, makes sacrifices for us. And we really, REALLY like that, being narcissistic creatures by nature. However, if we continue to act like spoiled children abusing the Mother and taking Her sacrifices and gifts for granted, we miss our chance to be reciprocal, to balance our karma and to grow as people. We miss our opportunity to embrace Her as a Lover and move into an adult relational space, both with Her and with ourselves. We might even miss out on her gifts if they go away due to exploitation and abuse.

 

Embracing the lover aspect of the Earth is a form of valuable biofeedback helping us to heal and sustain the Earth. Neuroscientists and traditional cultures from all over the world show how humans can use language to make new neural grooves between stimulus and what is thought of, what is done, as a result.[3] By consciously changing concepts in our minds we start to act differently in our world, which influences others to act and think differently as those who are connected with us in this web of life witness/experience us and our newly developed behaviors. Because corporations are composed of humans, the worldviews of the humans who run them are really important, as are changing the worldviews of as many humans as possible to spread as much positive social programming and influence as possible. Knowing Earth as Lover helps to reprogram the mind to a more responsible and mature relationship with the planet, which calls for reciprocity and acts of love and generosity toward Her and all her Natural Beauty.

 

EcoSexuality now makes it okay to embrace the sexual nature of ecology, in ourselves and our communities, human and nonhuman alike. Nature is beautiful and sexual. Our bodies are beautiful and sexual extensions of Nature, so EcoSexuals find freedom and nourishment by expressing sensual play in and with Nature, and by communing with the natural state of our bodies and the bodies of others to whom we are drawn for sensual play. EcoSexuals seek to live wholly, sustainably, and sexually—while loving ourselves and the Earth, and appreciating our mutually-responsible, adult relationships with our community as well as our Lover, Mother Earth.

Surrender: An EcoSexual Convergence

Surrender: An EcoSexual Convergence is a gathering of wild souls in the sensual prayer of life. On June 21–23 we will gather in the woods on private land to celebrate the beauty of our bodies and share our love for the Earth. We will build community through the identity of ecoSexuality. The weekend’s activities will include rituals, organic foods, facilitated group sensual experiences, and educational ecoSexual workshops.

For more information, please visit our website: <http://www.ecosexconvergence.org/>

 

References

Anderlini-D’Onofrio, S. (2009). Gaia & the new politics of love: Notes for a poly planet. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

Herbert, N. (n.d.). Quantum tantra. Nick Herbert Home Page, doi: usps://usa.ca/95006.bouldercreek/box261/nick.herbert

Moore, G. (2009, July 30). Quantum sex. Examiner.com, Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/quantum-sex

 

 

 


[1] Ray, R. A. (2001, January). On the importance of relating to unseen beings. Shambhala Sun, Retrieved from http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2377&Itemid=243

[2] Carlin, G. (Performer) (1972). Class Clown: Seven words you can never say on television [record].

[3] Siegal, D. (2010). Mindsight: The new science of personal transformation. New York: Random House.

Check out our Surrender Chant Remix

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Listen to Lindsay & Teri describe some of the beautiful rituals and events at Surrender!

Upcoming EcoSex Events & What you can do to help

Fri May 10th

15036_10151624668130407_759632081_nPassion Play Ecstatic Dance and Cuddle at Om’Culture in Seattle, WA

Consider attending, helping at the event as a host or working the door. You can also promote your own work by offering an item from your work for the raffle or silent auction. To offer a raffle item call Brooklin and then send an email with the item decription to Brooklin Kayce. To offer a silent auction item call Serah Delani and email description of item to her.

Sun May 12th

Green Action Day at Pioneer Plaza in Portland aligned with the Dalai Lama’s Environmental Summit event created by activist David Suzuki

Join us by handing out postcards and hugging trees in the Pioneer Block between 5th & 6th from noon -4pm

 

 

Fri May 17th

Queer Documentary Film Festival features Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens film: “Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An EcoSexual Love Story”

Surrender (meaning Me, Teri Ciacchi) and PDX As You Like It by Kim Marks will share a table at the event. Attend, tell your friends, help us staff the Table and pass out postcards

 

Sunday May 19th

Grounding, Anchoring Training with Henry Welch

10am-2pm at Temple Venus Asteria 3695 NW South Road Portland 97229

Training is free with suggested donation of $20 for Henry’s time and expertise. This training is for people who want to be anchors, guardians or dragons at the surrender event or at future Living Love Revolution Aphrodite Temple events

.

 

 

May 25th – June 2nd

 

Screen shot 2013-06-01 at 11.15.51 PMVillage Building Convergence in Portland (FB Event)

Friday May 31st Lindsay Hagamen presents on “Cultivating the Wild Within”

Saturday June 1st 1:00pm Teri & Lindsay teach embodiment workshop “Intentional Sexuality for Intentional Community”

 

Brooklin Kayce on Ecstatic Dance Under the Full Moon!

Join Brooklin Kayce on the Fire Path and for

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dance under the full moon this June at the EcoSex Convergence!

EcoSexual Event Calendar

It’s Spring and there are many EcoSexua activities coming up in the next few weeks.
Lindsay and Teri share a brief EcoSexual Event Calendar.

Why am I an EcoSexual? with Sarah Heartsong

 

Listen to Sarah Heartsong share why she is an EcoSexual.

Why are you an EcoSexual? Write us and we can post it on our blog!

What If the Earth Were Our Lover

What’s the EcoSex Convergence?

The Earth is Not Our Mother: EcoSexuals are Calling the Earth their Lover

The Earth is Not Our Mother: EcoSexuals are Calling the Earth their Lover

surrender_logo_300pxContact: Teri Ciacchi
Cell phone: 206-612-3511
Email: ecosex22@gmail.com
Event Details: June 21-23rd, 2013
Surrender: An Ecosexual Convergence
www.ecosexconvergence.org

 

As children we are told stories about Mother Earth, an all-giving resource that will provide for us, her children, forever. This mother-child relationship encourages us to take from the Earth’s ecosystems without respect or regard for the impact on the rest of Life. As a result, we are currently facing an unprecedented environmental crisis (global climate change, deforestation, mass extinctions, topsoil loss, oceanic dead zones, water shortages etc). Simultaneously, the U.S. is experiencing an epidemic in mental and physical health disorders that stem from the lack of connection with one another, the places we live, and meaningful work. A growing number of people around the world, particularly here in the Pacific Northwest, are advocating for a change in the way we relate to the Earth– to think of the Earth not as our Mother, but instead as our Lover. These people call themselves EcoSexuals and they embrace both the earth body and the human body as worthy of our respect and love. EcoSexuals are also exploring how our relationship with human sexuality impacts how we relate to ourselves, one another and Earth’s ecosystems. On the summer solstice, June 21-23rd, in a private campground in southern Washington, the wild souls who are called to serve the Earth will be gathering to celebrate one another and our earthly home.

Surrender: An EcoSexual Convergence will be a weekend sanctuary in the woods for 300 EcoSexuals to celebrate, connect, learn and create. Participants will be able to partake in educational workshops with topics ranging from intentional community to permaculture, belly dancing to sacred sexuality; large group rituals will be hosted throughout the convergence to build community and encourage cathartic healing; storytelling will engage the mind, ecstatic dance will awaken the body and sacred massage will attune the senses to fully experience the sensual prayer of life.

The EcoSex Convergence is creating a new culture around Love and the natural world– a culture of intimate abundance and connection. A culture where we are known, where what we do matters, where we can be wild and free and whole.

Are you yearning for REAL connection? Are you longing for SANCTUARY with Nature? Are you willing to EMBRACE the Earth as your Lover?

###

If you would like more information about EcoSexuality or Surrender: An EcoSexual Convergence, contact Teri Ciacchi, 206-612-3511, ecosex22@gmail.com