The capstone gathering for this organization, Long Dance, occurs annually at the Autumnal Equinox in September, and has done so since 1990.
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What is a ‘Long Dance’?
The term Long Dance means just that: a long dance lasting from sunset to sunrise. It is a traditional Native American ceremony practiced for millennia by indigenous peoples in the Americas. Many cultures around the world celebrate in a sacred way by holding a special annual ceremony that honors the Earth Mother, the living systems of Nature and the wonders of being a spiritual being on a human journey.
Having celebrated its 25th year in 2015, Long Dance has a strong community. While the ceremony is danced by women only, men do stand in support as members of the Thunder Lodge, our brothers who honor the women by holding sacred space and safeguarding the ceremony. We are deeply grateful for the Thunder Lodge’s support of this spiritual work and have expanded ceremonial opportunities for them with a Brothers-only Sweat Lodge, and a shared Pipe Ceremony and spiritual teachings.
Why do a Long Dance?
In our beautiful Central Coast of California, we are privileged to reside on some of the most beautiful and blessed places on this Turtle Island (aka North America). The West Coast shelters the Western Gate, a sacred denomination of this area which we honor with our prayers, mindfulness and our women’s hearts, every year at Long Dance.
The intention of this Long Dance is to gather within our gender, to reconnect with our Earth Mother, to support the healing of wounds, to provide the chance to undertake a re-dreaming of one’s life, to celebrate our warrior/wild woman/Artemis aspect, and to have permission to be fierce in our personal process. It is a transformational event for everyone who comes.
Where is Long Dance held?
Long Dance is held on California’s Central Coast in San Luis Obispo County. This area is about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and is served by a major airport at San Luis Obispo.
There are four days of camping and sharing possible during the Long Dance event. The first two days of Thursday & Friday accommodate campsites, but please do note that all camping gear is put away on late Saturday afternoon, before the Long Dance ceremonies begin.
When is Long Dance?
Long Dance is held annually, around the time of the Autumnal Equinox.
The first two and a half days are a time of teachings, gathering, Village Building and Beauty Way time. Saturday evening through Sunday mid-day is dedicated to the Long Dance ceremonies. We break down the Village on Sunday afternoon, and always leave the site better than we found it.
Who puts on Long Dance?
Long Dance is sponsored by the Circles of Empowerment, under the aegis of a non-profit organization also known as the Church of Empowerment. We have changed our group name from “Church” to “Circles” to more widely embrace the many peoples who are drawn to our offerings of safe and sacred ceremonial expression.
We are dedicated to building a committed community in support of one another and for the benefit of global healing. Circles of Empowerment offers support to individuals is to provide them with a safe space for spiritual expression and healing. Dedicated to bringing the traditional ways forward for the next seven generations, we provide ceremony, build community and care take our Earth Mother. We hold respect for the power of the circle, for shared prayers, and we facilitate and lead group meetings on a regular basis year round.
Circles of Empowerment serves a very diverse population of people, those who are in need of grounding, guidance, stability and loving support as they face the many challenges of modern life in contemporary society. While the founding Church is emphatically non-denominational, it offers a Native American inspired Medicine Way that encourages every member to delve deeply into their own tribal affiliations in the belief that we all possess a spiritual connection to the Earth Mother in an authentic, unique and indigenous way that we may honor by our sobriety, discipline, sharing of traditional knowledge ways. Clan Mother Hua Anwa is the spiritual lead of our community.
Long Dance in the Press
Please be sure to read these various articles that explain what Long Dance is like and why women and men keep coming back, year after year, to do it again. Some folks travel thousands of miles to be with us!
We love our community and our community loves us back. Please read below to learn more about us!
Whenever Women Gather by Jessica River Willow Daem
Long Dance 2008: Dancing for the Greater Community – by Stefanie Clark