Women's Web of Life Dance


  Spider medallion

Women’s Web of Life Dance

September 7-9, 2012   


The Women’s Web of Life Dance is a vision quest dance for women. We weave the web of life with our dancing feet, forward and back from the center, and around the center in a spiral. Consciously living the web for 3 days, each Dancer is able to see the threads of her life, the consequences of her choices, the power of her decisions, her capacity for change, her power to heal.

The Dance is about seeing, understanding, and ultimately taking responsibility for what we set in motion. It is about gaining understanding of how we affect the strands next to us and across from us, indeed the whole web of life. With a fire at the center of the arbor, the dance brings a woman deeply into her own heart and creative life force, and helps her feel how her life affects and co-creates the whole. The dancers dance alone, yet always together, in the Web of Life.

The women dance to the beat of a drum and the voices of singers, alternating dance and rest. "It is through stillness and movement that we discover the interrelatedness of all things.” The arbor is egg shaped, with 12 trees around the perimeter and a 13th tree inside the edge of the dance area. Dancers set their tents around the edge of the arbor, which will be their home for 3 days.  Dancers dance without food or water from sundown Friday to Mid-day Sunday, supported by the Drum, the Singers, the Fire and the Spirit Warriors.

The Women’s Web of Life Dance is the vision of two elders in the Peace Chamber community: Gail Cully of Oklahoma and BrendaSue Whitmire of Georgia. They each received parts of the dance separately, and realized they had been given a vision to create together. For years they chiefed the dance together, raising up other chiefs in the communities that hold this dance. In 2012, the Web of Life dance in Hope is chiefed by Brenda Sue Whitmire and Carla Sanders.

The contribution for this dance is $375. This covers the expenses necessary to hold the dance. (There is never a charge for ceremony.)

 A $50 nonrefundable deposit holds your space. Payment plans are available, please contact Diva Carla to discuss the options.

An interview with Diva Carla or Brenda Sue is required to participate in the Dance. Please email carla (at) HopePeaceChamber (dot) com to schedule a brief phone conversation.

Spring Equinox Sweat Lodge in Hope

Springtime blessings to you!

We hold this lodge two days before the equinox, and as Jupiter and Venus are moving apart from their beautiful abundant conjunction in the western sky. The energy of these two planet is of opening and receiving, two active principles of creation. We will bring this energy into our prayers in this lodge.

Thank you and welcome to all who have accepted the invitation. Here is a reminder and the details for people who are new to our community.

Jupiter and Venus Sweat Lodge
March 18, 2012!

Noon to 6 pm approximately

Gather: Noon
start the fire in a sacred way and dress the lodge.
Enter Lodge between 2:30ish pm
between 4:30 and 5 pm  continue celebration with a potluck feast.

You may bring a stone about cantaloupe size for the lodge, and the donations of blankets are always welcome. Other information about what to bring to a sweat lodge is at the end of this message.

$30 offering
Do ask about Service opportunities to help with some of the work needed on the land
Do you have dry firewood? An armload or two of wood is always welcome. Come to land on Friday or Saturday and you can use the chainsaw to help bring up some dry, dead cedarwood.

Visit this web page for more information about Sweat Lodge Ceremony at Hope Peace Ceremonies.

The Sweat Lodge is a ceremony of physical remembrance that we are reborn every day, and we do not take our past into our future.

How do we enter the lodge, the Mother’s Womb? on the cornmeal line, from the FIRE, propelled into the lodge by the masculine fire energy. We stay in the lodge/Womb for a season, a timeless tour of the Medicine Wheel. There we shed the past, and are carried to the center. We are reborn, emerging from the Mother head first. Remembering what we knew when we were born: That we are divine, and we know why we are here and what we have to do. Whole and perfect just as we are!

The Land is especially calling Men to come with your Masculine Fire to participate and serve in this lodge on New Year.

The Sweat Lodge goes on in all weather.: rain cold snow clear.

Watch your email for more information about the Women's Initiation and Women's Web of Life Dance, as well as Peace Chamber movements. There is a lot happening. Call me for more information on anything.

Are you available to help out on the land? Call me!  I appreciate it very much!

Working with Fire



This week I was invited to share some fire experiences as a guest blogger at Shaman Medicine Woman: a contemporary perspective. Shaman Medicine Woman is Carla Goddard, a fire keeper, and a contemporary shaman and metaphysical healer and teacher. She is from Maine, Waldo County, in fact, just a few miles up the road from Hope Peace Chamber, though she now makes her home in Florida.

Dr. Goddard is a model of generosity, and a treasure of spiritual insight and vision. She shares worldwide via social media, blogging, books, and radio. She is a vital asset to her local community in service as a healer and comforter. My life is profoundly richer since we met at Facebook last year. I am grateful for all I learn from her every day!

Here is the opening of the article I wrote at Shaman Medicine Woman:

The revelation of Fire is a personal one, and I share it with you that it may illuminate how Spirit speaks to you, and how all oracles work together.

The Kundalini Yoga Sisters were working with fire krias, body and breath, as I made the sacred fire for their sweat lodge on the other side of the Mountain. My firekeeper was in the Kundalini practice with the Sisters, so it fell to me, the dance chief and water pourer, to work with the fire.

The firewood delivery was greener than expected, and we had 24 hours of torrential rain. Soaked earth, wet wood. It would take a fire to dry the wood before the wood could heat the stones. I prepared “treats” for the Fire beings: fatwood, pine cones, and firestarter chunks wrapped in newspaper. The fire beings were pleased and came to my aid.

What a hungry fire! Tending it was like hand feeding an alligator. I spent two hours inside the fire circle, giving myself to the fire. Eyes watering from the smoke, hair singed, legs burning hot, snot flowing, I laughed at myself. Lodge keeping is a medicine of mud, blood, smoke and snot. We fear nothing, we who work with the elements. We are Medicine Women. Nothing phases us.


Please visit Shaman Medicine Woman to read the rest and explore Dr. Carla Goddard's many offerings and resources.




Ceremonies for Solstice Mystery

Email info at hopepeacechamber dot com if you'd like to particpate in these events.

The time between Samhain and Winter Solstice we descend into the mysteries of the dark time of the year. In this time of Long Nights, Inner Stillness, and Winter Stories, we make extra time and space for ceremony to support our dark journey and celebrate the promise of Light's return.
Here is our ceremonial calendar for the dark time of year.


December 7 - 7:00 pm  Fire Ceremony
You are welcome to join me around the fire

December 9, all day
Hope Peace Chamber model makes a public appearance at the 8th Annual ESTIA EcoPeace Conference featuring Inanna! at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast.

December 10 - Full Moon Sweat Lodge
For Men and women together
Collecting and moving this Full Moon energy, eclipse energy, and preparing for the darkness.
Gather at 2:00 pm to light the fire, Enter Lodge around 4:30, Potluck Feast following sweat.
$30 offering

December 21, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
24 Hour Winter Solstice Chanting for Peace
Hope Peace Ceremonies
We gather around the Peace Chamber model to chant the vowels according to Grandfather's teaching.
Pie and tea afterward. RSVP to Diva Carla by email.

December 25! Christmas Day!

January 1, 2012! New Year's Day Sweat Lodge
Back by popular request, we will hold our traditional New Year's sweat lodge ceremony on New Year's Day.
$30 offering
More details coming soon.

Please share this email with people you know would be interesting in participating in ceremony with us, or receiving support from our work.

BLessings and Love,

Diva Carla

FireKeeping, by John Yona Usti

Firekeeping is a traditional custom of working with fire and all it represents. I have come along in the Cherokee tradition and have also had the blessings of teachers from other directions, including the homa path that accompanies Hinduistic worship and the oak/ash/thorn/yew process of pre-Roman Celtic philosophy.

Second, it is all about intention. What do we intend as a part of our custom? Anyone can strike a match, in one way or another, but to keep fire you must hold fire in your heart.

Third, a little goes a long way. The hottest fire is still just a blaze without a heart to hold it.

Our fires remind us of the great fire of our sun, the heartfire of our Earth Mother, the shining eyes of our Sky Father, and the warm pulse of life in all its forms, burning a lovesong past time and space.

That being said, on to practical needs.

You can use a little vessel if you can't build a fire in or on the Earth where you are. You can even do this inside, carefully, with good ventilation.

I like to work with clay pots, sometimes the little terracotta's at the hardware store, with a little earth inside them.

And I like to collect little bits of wood and other offerings when I travel, specifically to add their medicine to my fire, their nuance to my smoke, their sweetness to my prayers.

I am a bit old-fashioned about some of this, but I usually like to work with

* cedar, sweetgrass, sage, pine, oak, dogwood, and pecan, for their remembrance and their harmonies.

* cornmeal for abundance

* tobacco for clarity

* cinnamon for love

* red oak for strength

* homa herbs for east meets west

Our ancestors worked with what they had, so I'd encourage you to do the same. Offer what speaks to your heart. Same goes with sparkin' the flame. If you want to work with matches, use 'em. They're more neutral (energetically) than lighters, and you can toss 'em in the fire.

Remember that a little goes a long way, and enjoy the touch of the smoke in your hair, and its texture in your skin.

Our prayers go up in the smoke of our fires.

So has it always been, and so shall it always be.

John Yona Usti (Little Bear)

Cherokee Firekeeper and Teacher


Note: I never met John in the flesh in this life. We met in a long gone online community, Zaadz. One day I asked him to share his fire wisdom with me. He sent me this email, which I saved for nearly five years.

John Little Bear left the planet in the body this spring. His wife requested I share his fire wisdom on his facebook page. I share it through Hope Peace Chamber. I am working with fire a lot these days, and John Little Bear remains a friend in the fire.

I see you there in the North Sky, Little Bear.

Thank you.


The World Trade Center, My Old Neighborhood

Sweat Lodge Sunday September 11
Noon to 8 pm
Noon to 3 pm Work is Worship
3 to 5 pm sacred fire and preparation for sweat lodge
about 5 pm enter lodge
Lodge followed by pot luck feast
Requested donation
$30  or more (money goes to Hope Peace Chamber building fund)

The World Trade Center, My Old Neighborhood
My two children were born on John Street, two blocks from the World Trade Center in Manhattan. The great plaza with its sculpture, fountain, and the reflective masses of those shining towers was their favorite playground. They both learned to walk and navigate stairs in that plaza. The World Trade Center was their home.

Twenty years later, the unthinkable happened. The Twin Towers fell down, and the dust has not settled. The tremors of that crash are still generating violence, death, and destruction a decade later, with no end in sight.

One year I was flying to Arizona for a conference, and it was my luck to go through security at the Portland, Maine, airport at 8:40 am on September 11. The detailed examination of my luggage was interrupted by a moment of silence, at 8:46 am, marking the moment the first plane crashed into WTC1. I am sure this coming Sunday morning, this ritual will be repeated.

I don’t usually mark the September 11 anniversary publicly, though in 2007 I wrote a blog post called The Medicine Wheel with pictures I took from the observation deck. Two weeks ago while working around the sweat lodge, I received the distinct impression to offer a Sweat Lodge ceremony to the public on Sunday, September 11, 2011. The intention is to remember, yes, but more than that, to pray for and celebrate Peace.

This coming month of September 2011, we are breaking ground on Hope Peace Chamber. We’ll gather at noon to work on the trees and prepare the Peace Chamber site for the machinery that is coming later in the month. At 3 pm we’ll light the sacred fire and Enter the Lodge about 5 pm, followed by the traditional pot luck feast.

I hope you will join us to peel logs and pray in the sweat lodge this coming Sunday.
Please RSVP your intention to join us, via email or phone.
carla at HopePeaceChamber dot com or 207-619-3482

Sweat Lodge Sunday September 11
Noon to 8 pm
Noon to 3 pm Work is Worship
3 to 5 pm sacred fire and preparation for sweat lodge
about 5 pm enter lodge
Lodge followed by pot luck feast
Requested donation
$30  or more (money goes to Hope Peace Chamber building fund)

Please share this information with Local people in Maine who may wish to know and attend.

Many blessings,
Carla Sanders

Passion, Peace, Abundance

The Work of Hope Peace Chamber is to let you feel:



ABUNDANCE: YOU KNOW The Way you Choose to Express YOUR GIFT in the world

You are Magnificent because you walk in the perfection of yourself everyday, no matter what.

September is Hope Peace Chamber Month

Watch this space for the breaking news about Hope Peace Chamber!

We are doing the site preparation and erecting the "woodhenge" structure in September.

We will be calling on you to help birth this baby.

At the International Gathering of Peace Chamber Keepers at Birdson Peace Chamber in Pennsylvania this summer, the baby Hope Peace Chamber model was blessed by Grandfather Benito Rael and the assembled Peace Chamber Elders and Keepers from around the world. With their loving attention and support the next phase of construction is in process.

I meet with Rhino Services to plan the earthworks phase of the project this coming week. We'll schedule the work in September, giving us enough time to prepare the trees for the wood henge. I'll know more about scheduling after this meeting.

Calling All Mission Partners!

Meanwhile, fundraising is amped up! I anticipate this phase costing between $5,000 and $6,000 dollars, with $4,280 of it for the earthworks contractor. He is also moving the trees for us. Last year various fundraising events raised about 10% of this amount. This year, the Peace Chamber speaks. It is ready to go in the ground.

Can you hear the call? There is a way for everyone to contribute, from $1 to $1000 or more. Use the chip in box on this blog. Watch for news about an Art Sale. And prayerfully consider if you are able and willing to pledge a significant amount of $500 or more. I will be in touch with you soon!

The sweat lodge is asking for you to come to sweat and pray for peace on September 11. It is the 10th anniversary of the attacks we remember as 9/11. My children were born in New York in the shadow of the World Trade Center, and they both learned to walk in the flat expanse of the great plaza between the Twin Towers. It is fitting that Hope Peace Chamber month is September, and we shall have a sweat lodge in remembrance and Peacemaking.

September 11 will also be a work day to prepare the trees. Come join us.

Diva Carla with the baby Hope Peace Chamber at the Peace Chamber Gathering.


Cooking food, peeling logs, and dancing

Party Invitation

Log Peeling Party

Hope Peace Ceremonies

Saturday, June 25, 2011

4 to 8 pm

Picnic supper cooked over an open fire

Bring side dishes and libation to share

Spend some time with your friends peeling the pine logs for the Peace Chamber.

Please come at 4 pm to have time to enjoy this portion of the party.

The bark comes off with a butter knife, it's easy and fun, when we are all together.

Bring friends and kids.

After the party, we can all go together to Simonton Corner for the Contradance, which starts at 8 pm.

 Please RSVP 207-619-3482

or carla at hopepeacechamber.com

Hope Peace Ceremonies

379 Hatchet Mountain Road

Hope, Maine