My husband and I live off grid in the remote rainforest of Northern NSW, where we practice living deeply in tune with the rhythms and cycles of the earth. The name of our home is Ningendo, which means the way to be human. We have students come and stay with us who are interested in cultivating consciousness through deepening their connection with spiritual practices in the natural world. For more information on our deep immersion programs see our home website: ningendo.com.au. My own creative offering is called Tsukido and translates as the way of the moon, and the story as to how it was birthed into being can be read below …
The story of Tsukido begins with another story: the story of Bluebeard (or perhaps you know this story as Fitcher’s Bird). It all began many years ago. I had just pulled up in the driveway, pondering an aspect of that story when the door of my mind was suddenly flung wide open and I found myself in a moment of deep insight. Suddenly it was crystal clear what no longer served me in the hierarchical structure of the martial art of Aikido that I had been teaching for some years …
The founder of Aikido was a deeply spiritual man and he was clear that there is a dance of union between Izanami and Izanagi: god and goddess; that both masculine and feminine energies are to be respected equally for their differences in the creative act of this art. Yet this was not how it played out in practice in the patriarchal culture of Japan: especially after his death. As the founder is reputed to have said in his last years, ‘It saddens me that when I look back no one is following me’.
So I began to integrate what I was learning in women’s circles and teachings into the dojo and onto the mat, and things began to change. It was subtle at first but then my classes started trending towards greater numbers of women, and finally I allowed myself to ask the cardinal question: What would Aikido look like if it had of been born to a matriarchy? I knew this was not the endpoint I wished to reach but I felt that until I knew the answer to that question, I would not find the dance between Izanami and Izanagi.
And so I decided to separate the practices so that I could journey with my question and Tsukido was born. Like the founder of Aikido who created that word to describe ‘the Way of Peace’, Tsukido was created using the ‘do’ or path aspect inherent in many Japanese spiritual arts, with the prefix for ‘moon’ to mean ‘the Way of the Moon’. For what was instantly clear for me was that this practice needed to be cyclical: that women’s cyclical nature needed to be honoured in this spiritual path. This pattern of cyclical renewal is embedded in the natural world and constantly playing out in our experience as living beings on this earth. The Founder was aware of this and many Aikido books reference his deep reverence for nature:
Those who practice the Art of Peace must protect the domain of Mother Nature, the divine reflection of creation … The subtle techniques of a warrior arise as naturally as the appearance of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Warriorship is none other than the vitality that sustains all life.
So the bones of this practice Tsukido are in re-membering and honouring our relationship with nature and her cyclical ways, knowing that they hold a pivotal key to restoring balance in ourselves and in the world. This art’s creation has also been informed by the healing art of shiatsu, shamanic studies, and self-sovereignty. For a deep awakening to this understanding occurred for me that day in the driveway as I realised exactly how much I, and our culture as a whole, defer to an external authority.
So now, many years on from that initial question that birthed Tsukido, and a deepening of what an entirely matriarchal approach would bring, I believe an answer has found me. This answer returns us back to the dance between the masculine and feminine within, and speaks specifically to fierceness as an inherent aspect of the feminine. It is a summons to the Warrioress within.
It is called the Amazonian Arts.
What are the Amazonian Arts? Click on that title in the heading tab and let’s begin …