Homecomings: Online Intro to the Art of Creating & Relating to Home 12/28

Join Ellen Solot, founder, artist, and guide on Thursday 4pm pst.

Get ready for the new year with a complementary home tour where Ellen shares ways to explore and enliven Your Home. Peak into grace spots that will surprise and delight you as you think about what makes your bodyspirit glad!

Participants will be able to share an item from home and dance on behalf of the journey to bring our homes into present time.

* How to be More at Home in Your Home
* How To Express Yourself Through your Home
* How to put your Values & Needs into your surroundings
* How to Play with what you have to Enliven You and Your Home.

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach said, “Chanukah is the holiday of the inside light, the hidden light, the light which is burning amidst the deepest darkness.” 
And how do we honor that hidden light? Sing, dance, be poetry, bring light home!

Ellen Solot is a teacher, artist, therapist, and founder of Homecomings®: The Art of Creating and Relating to Your Home. She holds a BA in Creative Arts, SFSU, an MA in Somatic Psychology, Naropa University, and 7years of study in Japan. Her work is an integration of visual anthropology, Qigong and mindfulness practice, art, body psychology, and her love of spontaneity and processes like InterPlay!

Cost: Free/ Register Here. 



Ensoulment’s Key Question: Will it dance?


Great Love invites me to dance, play, create, serve and live in the wonder of every aspect of life on Earth. I know that it’s not that easy. As one mystic friend said, “Choose your hard.”

I’ve had many times of feeling incredibly distraught. Remarkably, love keeps arising out of nowhere, an answer to prayer. One time this love really did a number on me and I couldn’t resist dedicating my life to it. Ever since I’ve been signed up for amazing lessons like “Clarity of Vision, Efficiency of Energy, Courage to Love.”

Is someone at work behind the screen, a magical engineer or fairy godmother who seems to know what we need next? Some days I would say yes, that’s how miraculous and strange it feels each time I listen to and get help or a new assignment revolving around body and soul.

One of my very first assignments was to bring body and soul together by fostering freedom and love through dance and the arts.  This is particularly challenging in a culture and time that is bent on material possession, promises of safety, production and ME ME ME

Still, when Phil Porter and I discovered that we could create dance and theater on the spot, streaming a synchronous reality where each movement seamlessly falls into place we knew we wanted to share that creative conscious  joy and that it could have world changing effects. InterPlay arose to offer grace-loads of fullness, beauty, wisdom, and connection IN BODY among those who  play with movement, voice, words, stillness and connection. This seems critical to the dream of healthy happy soulful people.

InterPlay showed me that the body’s genius is PLAY! This form of embodiment doesn’t ask for change or improvement. It triggers unconditional instincts and asks only for willingness. It doesn’t need wealth, status, or achievements. Mistakes, judgment, progress aren’t too important to play. Most amazingly, the play so often consider irrelevant fosters conditions conducive to Ensoulment! Play is magic. It unlocks the genuis of soulfulness.  This is why the spirit of play and creativity is emblematic to every course I teach. YAY!

Another initiation to being fully ensouled is learning how to regulate sensitive energy states. I wondered how I would ever manage the highs and lows in my crazy interactions with self, others, and god when I didn’t even know how to pay attention to them? Being so open, my enthusiasm drove me like mad, I’d get high as a kite, and hit the skids without knowing how I got there. I got triggered by unusual energy states and communications. Hormones? Fortunately, teachers, artists, healers, mystics, and psychics showed me how to keep energy on a more even keel.

Initiations are a different way to approach a fully embodied ensouled life. For those with higher than normal sensitivity life is not just about healing. Those who have gone before us know the way. Who are your teachers? What soul skills are you practicing?

In my next post I will be sharing some exciting new offerings that support listening to body and soul!  Stay tunes. 

If you are a first time reader, do consider signing up for letters, posts, and events from the Hidden Monastery. Check out the new look and name of my site at cynthiawinton-henry.com

InterPlay, Mysticism, Feminism, Nature, and Dark Times: Year End Review

There is too much in the title above. 

That’s the problem.  There is always too much to put in a word or sequence of words. Yet the words “InterPlay, Mysticism, Feminism, Nature, and Dark Times” are the mythopoetic standing stones of my experience, especially right now. I cannot let go of any of those words.

I bow to InterPlay! This is my way to enter into the continuous integrative birthing and rebirthing of life in connection with body, earth, and divine Source that I encounter that upholds me so well that it causes intense love to flow endlessly from me. Service is the name I give to my best actions.

InterPlay: the intersectionality of so many things…

  • body, mind, heart, and spirit;
  • me, you, us, earth, the All;
  • movement, voice, word and silence (the creative intellects of human wisdom);
  • creating, destroying, releasing, renewing;
  • all people and ideas;
  • wisdom and lack of wisdom;
  • time, space, energy, effort;
  • purpose married to unconditional purposelessness or play.
  • sending, receiving, indwelling, having, and claiming of information

It seems that this would be complicated. Yet, when I dance or sing in the moment with supportive formulas and friends I can be simple. I can also be vast. 

Dance and song/breath birth experience. They locate our energy and plug us into the big system. Susanne Langer, art philosopher, sees dance as creating a virtual realm of power. She recognizes the rhythms of sound and breath as activators of Elemental Time

If you want to find, position, release, or receive power from the wider system- dance. If your want to come into sync with time, engage your voice.. If you do not, you are left to slower methods.

The Feminine Earth: To dance with sound and beat, breath, and word is a form of birthing. As a birther, or an artist, what comes through me is both of me, but immediately not mine. This is also the nature of feminine consciousness, or mothering. I invest in creation in a direct energetic way. In psychology we call this attachment. I am fierce in my attachments. Too much so. In order to honor the birth therefore I must not only protect, I must dignify what I birth. This requires me to release it. Detaching from what we birth DIGNIFIES creation. This is true nurture. It is also the nature of a divine feminine justice.

As a dancer, a sacred dancer, I am a mystic. This simply means I acknowledge the magnitude of mystery in birth, life and death. As a woman, born to birth, AND to be myself, balancing the hormonal floods of suffering and joy, and wired to work and play relationally, I don’t aspire to transcend what I am blessed to touch, form, dance.  The idea of transcending into the divine as an escape, I understand, but not unless what She has birthed has turned to pain alone.

I am very glad that a few weeks ago I was given a dream. In the dream I looked into a dark cave of water descending like a well. Like a great birth canal going down into the center of the Earth, I saw that it was lit at the surface in golden light. In it there were dancers swimming as if it was a bath.  It was the baptism of the dancers.

In Judaism and Christianity water rituals are about purification and change in identity and commitment. The Jewish mikvah, a bath of ritual immersion, “leaves the person floating–momentarily suspended without breathing–substituting the usual forward moving nature and purposeful stride that characterize his or her waking movements with an aimlessness, a weightlessness, a detachment from the former environment. Individuality, passion, ego–all are submerged in the metamorphosis from the larval state of the present to a new existence.”  

The women with whom I shared my dream shared similar encounters with the Divine Mother. Through them I recognized the invitation to be held by the Earth and the Divine Feminine in a new way.  For me this may be the first time I can fully claim the power, joy, privilege, and gravity of being a Sacred Dancer, a term I have resisted for 40 years.

Dark Times:  Those of us who know intense violence, who have been violated and shunned, and who are shoulder to shoulder with other oppressed people, live with underlying dread. To see violence blatantly advocated by a world leader and his cronies would be unbearable for me if I didn’t have the Universe of Love and Lovers, The Way of Art and Healthy Ritual Practice and enough to secure me through the Tragic State of Affairs we are now in.

The good or bad news is that I am in training for times like this.  When 9/11 hit I was coming out of a holy breakdown and had some horrendous and hopeful dreams. I was prepared to respond in love.

It feels to me that this whole year has been preparatory. Here are a few lessons.

  • Learn to sit at the foot of the cross.  When others are in agony do not flee, do not problem-solve, be faithful in love, and recognize the power of what is transpiring.
  • Be fortified by art. Receive the offerings of others as often as I can. In the Spring I was given a great windfall of such opportunities. Do not resist beauty.
  • Be in covenantal community. Last winter I went to church leaders to share my grievances and ask for support. (Few know my story of renouncing my ordination.) Now I am doing the pew work and struggling to live in the tension of what I can and cannot change. Why? Because I haven’t found people outisde church who covenant to hold each other through death, show up for others in food, prayer, and art. As a mystic I need this.
  • Dance my prayers. In the winter I began co-hosting two online dance chapels in order to specifically pray in dance. I’ve never found a church to welcomes this in worship as a regular practice. Rev. Nancy Pfaltzgraf is my partner. I don’t expect to be transformed when we pray. I do it to build prayer muscles and because I trust Earth’s response to my bodyspirit more than I trust the perceptions of my mind. Perhaps these dancing prayers are why I dreamt of the baptism of the dancers in Holy Mother Earth.
  • Rejoice in and claim the work of others. I have so many amazing friends doing stellar work, taking actions that I cannot.  I consider myself part of their body, supporting them with exoskeletal muscles. Soyinka Rahim, Selisse Berry, Rinku Sen, Krystyna Jurzakowsky, Coke Tani, Caroline Blackwell, Phil Porter, Stephen Winton-Henry, all of the InterPlay Life Practice Program Leaders and a whole slew of people in the Hidden Monasteries that I visit.  I welcome you to claim my work as yours as well.
  • Go Out to Respond with Art. With Catherine Jolly we prayed into the dream to respond to violence by bringing beauty and mercy to places of distress. With her we designed a template that is now in place and has been used four or five times. Each time we feel the relief of prayer as we embody together in community the love and faith we have in the Earth’s best wisdom.
  • Change the Race Dance.  Racism is a body deal. To change racism we need body treatments. Song and Dance are the best medicine, safer and more energizing than discussion and rebuke alone. Getting in the dance together can move discussions to a more powerful and direct and transformative place. Following Soyinka I support this practice to deepen into broader community and leadership in the coming year. Each time I lead this, I am humbled and empowered to really be present to partnering for a sacred world order.



This week I will gather the Hidden Monastery at High Hope Ranch in GlenRose Texas with 15 other InterPlayful Mystics from Ohio, DC, North Carolina, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Chicago, and California. We will be resting into one of the holy and hidden places of love on Earth next to Fossil Rim Wildlife Sanctuary. We will begin with the blessings of a Supermoon. We will listen alongside other mystics, receive guidance from each other and pray for wisdom. We will have a blessing of rattle. Through the few years I have been leading this I am assured that powerful support will arise, not just for us and our leadership, but for the wider community.  I wish I could tell you how magical this is—but hopefully you already know.


I will take you in prayer as I always do, incredibly grateful for all who love me, and for teachers who are everywhere, and the inheritance of wisdom that is flowing through us now from the ancients, the elements, and the unborn. I pray into the depths of life for a quick end to abuse of power and a glorious flowering of compassion.


With particular homage to Christ, Thomas Merton, Connors McConville, Carla deSola, Alanon pals, Soyinka, Phil, Stephen and Katie.


If you would like Resources and Love in this Shifting Ground Time Link here to see and download poetry and wisdom Post Election.





Rattled? Then Rattle!

Medicine people rattle. Early dancers dance with jingles, rattles and bells.

HARRINGTON, ME - AUGUST 13: Donna Augustine, who also goes by her spirit name Thunderbird Turtle Woman, shakes a rattle during a traditional dance conducted during parent's night at the Blueberry Harvest school at Harrington Elementary School in Harrington, ME on Thursday, August 13, 2015. Many of the school's students come from families from the Micmac Nation in Canada, most from either New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, who have a tradition of coming to Maine annually to rake for the blueberry harvest. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer)
HARRINGTON, ME – AUGUST 13: Donna Augustine, who also goes by her spirit name Thunderbird Turtle Woman, shakes a rattle during a traditional dance conducted during parent’s night at the Blueberry Harvest school at Harrington Elementary School in Harrington, ME on Thursday, August 13, 2015. Many of the school’s students come from families from the Micmac Nation in Canada, most from either New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, who have a tradition of coming to Maine annually to rake for the blueberry harvest. (Photo by Whitney Hayward/Staff Photographer)

IT IS GOOD TO RATTLE! Rattling is shaking in a divine way. “To First Nations people, shakers or rattles represent rain (for prayers of abundance and prosperity) and tears, especially those of emotional release. Tears of joy signifying when the mind, body, soul and spirit connect. Ceremonially, rattles are used in cleansing and purifying, spiritual guidance work, celebration and in thanks and respect to Ancestral Spirits.”

When a medicine person rattles, their body and sound stimulate release. Our mirror neurons get shook even if we are just sitting there.

In Shaking Medicine, Bradford Keeney reveals shaking as one of the oldest healing modalities–practiced by Quakers, Shakers, Shinto priests and more.

Repressed bodies need shaking up, shaking out, and shaking down. Therapists working with TRE’s (Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises) support people to reset to peace by shaking out tension held in the body, quieting the mind where that held tension originates. Conditions like parkinsons, MS, restless leg syndrome, and epilepsy may relate to “an imbalance in the Sympathetic (fight/flight) and Parasympathetic (rest/digest) Nervous Systems brought about by held stress and trauma.” (see video below)

In this intense time let’s get rattled instead of rattling others! Shaking with others for brief periods happens in InterPlay! Sometimes I add a deep dog shake to the warm-up with two or three deep voiced releases.navajorattles1-296x360

Taking shaking on as a holy wisdom, I appreciate it when  my spiritual director blesses me with a rattle. I feel small kernels fall on me, seed prayers. An energy of release comes.

Do you have a rattle? I was gifted a beautiful rattle in India during an improvisational ceremony. Everyone in the room blessed and shook it.

I also have one with Kokopele on it. At the upcoming Hidden Monastery Retreat we’ll have a rattle blessing. We might even make one.

Sandra Ingerman suggests that we all make a rattle to connect our field of energy and to call in the strength of our global community. She says, “We all know the exponential power that comes from having a strong community focus on healing for others, all of life, and the planet.

“You can make a very simple rattle by taking an empty bottle and filling it part way with some seeds, or crystals, or small stones, or corn.

Keep this rattle on your altar at home. And everyday pick it up and shake your rattle while thinking about our global circle and radiating love and light to those in our circle, practitioners who work in different ways in praying for the web of life and the Earth, and of course to the Earth itself.

just this simple act of rattling while focusing on those being in service to the Earth will strengthen the field of collective energy that has unlimited power to create change and transformation.”


Here is an article about using rattles in healing.


Prayer of Mother Earth



I dance to pray, to contemplate, to connect as a living being with the Aliveness and Health of Soul.  I dance to love God/Goddess.

The events at Standing Rock, and the call of indigenous elders at the Parliament of World Religions ask me to love Mother Earth. They ignite my desire to be public in this prayer.

“Tell Others To Love Mother Earth” said the Piute man.

If my dancing is how I love Mother Earth let me speak to others who will listen, and be present as our indigenous are doing, in their prayer actions.

Today I will colead an Art Response at 15th and Lakeshore on Lake Merritt. This site is where an Ohlone Burial Ground was removed. Villagers were removed and taken to “missions.”

There will be no photography. There will be no social media. This is a sacred act.

As Art Responders we will gather to pray and clarify our intentions. In the burial area we will walk, stop as we orient to the history of the land and people. Catherine Jolly will play cello as we move in shapes and stillness as listen and respond to to this place, its beauty and life. We will honor sorrow and respect what we can do and cannot do. But at least for today we will love Mother Earth and dance for her children, our ancestors, and the beauty of the Earth!




Beth Bagwell, Oakland wrote in The Story of a City (Novato: Presidio Press, 1982), 5-6.

Chochenyo-speaking Ohlone Indians… settled in a village along the banks of Indian Gulch Creek in an area that became known as Trestle Glenn. The Chochenyo fished the estuary, thanking Duck Hawk, the hero and benefactor who had made the earth a safe place for humans to live, for the food they took from it. By 1810, the Native Americans were… relocated to Mission San José by the Spaniards who had arrived with foreign presumptions: domination, possession, control. Title to the land passed, for the first time, into human hands.

Huchiun and Jalquin tribes of Ohlone Indians were also concentrated in the area surrounding Dimond Canyon. A village was located on the campus of Holy Names College. The hillsides of the canyon would have been great sites for harvesting acorns, berries, and edible plants, and hunting.