According to Wikipedia, the total casualties from armed conflicts in the past three years around the world have abated. Still, there are four major wars with over 10,000 mortalities each and ten conflicts with 1,000 to 9,999 fatalities each in the current and past year and tens of millions of people have been displaced due to confrontations. The strongman politics has been on the rise with Vladimir Putin in Russia, Rodrigo Duterte in Philippines, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, and Kim Jong-Un in North Korea. On May 22, a bomb was detonated in a concert in Manchester, U.K. 22, mostly young girls, were killed along with over 100 others injured. Terrorist attacks have shaken the sense of safety and created enormous anxiety among peoples around the world. Last year, then candidate Trump’s recorded video was uncovered in which he proudly proclaimed how he grabbed women by their pussy against their will and the late Fox News Founder Roger Ailes was fired for the long practice of sexual harassment. Early this year, Fox News terminated a contract with Bill O’Reilly, a political pundit, due to his alleged long-term sexual misconduct. At schoolyards, kids have been bullied due to their ethnic background, sexual orientation, and gender identify.
The macho, violent, and aggressive attitude and approach permeate our world. According to the teaching of Daoism (or Taoism), our world has been tipped over too much to the Yang side. It is refreshing and encouraging to see Tai Chi/Qigong masters Sharon Smith, Marie Favorito, and Jamee Culbertson of the U.S. and Renu Li of Germany pull their energy together and undertake an important mission to organize Immortal Sisters Conference, scheduled for Aug. 25-30 and taken place in beautiful Catskill, NY.
Inspired by Thomas Cleary’s book, Immortal Sisters: Secret Teachings of Taoist Women, the goal of the Immortal Sisters Conference is to gather together women practitioners and enthusiasts of Qigong and Taoist spirituality to inspire, learn, empower, and share the ancient wisdom of “Returning to the Tao.” Its goal is to cultivate balance for women’s lives and for Mother Earth. Returning to the Tao means returning to harmony and balance with nature, communities, and ourselves. 20 outstanding female scholars, martial/Tai Chi (Taiji) masters, Reiki experts, and holistic healers will present Taoist meditations, Qigong, healing modalities, sexuality practices, panel discussions, activism, entertainment, and even a Cacao ceremony. Sharon Smith says that the conference celebrates and supports women in their endeavors to create a better world and gives them a safe space to share and learn from each other.
EVE ENSLER is the Tony Award-winning playwright, activist, performer, and author of the theatrical phenomenon and Obie-winning, “The Vagina Monologues”. Eve founded V-Day, a 20 year-old global movement to end violence against women and girls that has raised over 100 million dollars and One Billion Rising, a global mass action campaign in over 200 countries.
LIVIA KOHN, Ph. D., was a Professor of Religion and East Asian Studies at Boston University as well as visiting professor and adjunct faculty at other universities in the U.S., Hungary, Japan, and Singapore. Her specialty is Daoist religion and Chinese long life practices. She has written and/or edited 35 books and over 100 articles on Taoism.
DAISY LEE is the founder of Radiant Lotus Women’s Qigong (RLWQ), a self- care system of Qigong taught by women for women in 13 countries. RLWQ draws upon the wisdom of women’s Qigong practices from China, Tibet and the West.
LINDSEY WEI is a 24th generation practitioner of Wudang Chun Yang Sect of Daoism. She trained for 10 years in all of the Wudang internal arts in China’s Wudang Mountains. She is the author of The Valley Spirit —A Female Story of Daoist Cultivation.
DEBORAH DAVIS, Lac, an acupuncturist, herbalist, and medical intuitive with more than 25 years of experience, specializes in women’s medical qigong. She is the author of Women’s Qigong for Health and Longevity: A Practical Guide for Women Forty and Older, as well as the accompanying DVD series on women’s Qigong and has created transformational practices for every stage of a women’s life.
LETHA HADADY , D.Ac., has spent forty years working with natural healing modalities, including traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, Tibetan Buddhism, as well as light, laser, and radio frequency energies used for rejuvenation. Her books include Asian Health Secrets, Personal Renewal, Healthy Beauty, Feed Your Tiger, and Naturally Pain Free.
MAX DASHU founded the Suppressed Histories Archives in 1970 to research and document women’s history. She created 150 visual presentations on female cultural heritages from an extensive collection of 15,000 slides and 30,000 digitized archaeological and historic images. Dashu has keynoted at numerous conferences and has created the videos: “Women’s Power in Global Perspective” and “Woman Shaman: the Ancients” and is the author of Witches and Pagans: Women in European Folk Religion. 148,000 people from around the world follow her “Suppressed Histories Archives” page on Facebook.
ROBIN WANG is the 2016-17 Berggruen Fellow at Stanford University and Professor of Philosophy and Director of Asian Pacific Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Robin is the author of Yinyang: The Way of Heaven and Earth in Chinese Thought and Culture. She has done fieldwork on contemporary female Daoists in China since 2005.
SAIDA DESILETS, Ph.D., a thought-leader and change-maker, has published several books: The Emergence of the Sensual Woman and The Illustrious Jade Egg and had her innovative method featured in few best sellers regarding women’s sexuality.
WENDY LANG is the founder of the Empty Mountain Institute and Shamanic Chinese Medicine. Her areas of expertise include Medical Qigong, Daoist Mysticism, Channeling, Meditation, Soul Retrieval, and Exorcism.
SHARON SMITH teaches Taoist health/spiritual practices and is a visual artist, astrologer, and event producer. She is a Senior Instructor in the Universal Healing Tao (UHT) system and is also certified by the International Sheng Zhen Society. She has received numerous foundation grants for her work with seniors and in community mental health.
MARIE FAVORITO has over 30 years experience as one of North America’s Senior Instructors of the UHT. With Dr. Peter Wayne, Marie and others developed a curriculum and lead classes for a study conducted for the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard Medical School.
JAMEE CULBERTSON is a Senior Instructor of the UHT and an Alexander Technique Instructor with Alexander Technique International. She trains teachers at the Boston Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music, and the Alexander Technique School in Cambridge, Mass. She teaches Tai Chi for the Research Program at Harvard Medical School as well as to veterans and their families.
RENU LI is a Senior Instructor in the UHT system and teaches mainly in Europe. For more than 35 years she has been involved with holistic approaches to healing body, mind, and spirit. She works full time presenting the Taoist teachings and trains new teachers in Germany and other parts of Europe. She is the founder and director of Tao Yoga & Qigong where she teaches and organizes classes with other TAO teachers.
MARILYN COOPER opened her first Kung Fu school in 1980 and has been teaching Kung Fu and Tai Chi ever since. Marilyn is the founder of a national non-profit institute called “Pushing for Peace”, whose mission is to promote a Tai Chi program designed to help prevent youth violence and promote mental and physical health.
ELISA BROWN is the host of “The Heart of Art with Elisa Brown” on PBS. Originally trained as a classical singer, Elisa has been a featured performer around the world, singing a wide range of vocal styles.
LYDIA RIEDELL is a Reiki Master and Licensed Massage Therapist who brings to life ancient rituals of both personal and planetary transformation using harmonic tones and frequencies created by playing Tuning Forks, Tibetan Singing Bowls, Crystal Bowls, Bells, Gongs, Rattles, Sacred Solfeggio Chimes, and her voice.
CORNELIA JECKLIN is a spiritual musician, healer and energy worker. Co-Developer of the TaKeTiNa Rhythm Process, she implements Taoist practices into working with rhythm and Korean drums. Lately she brings her work in “Change Management” and “Cultural Change” for companies.
RACHEL SANTOS is a Tao Tantric Arts and Associate UHT Instructor deeply inspired by the language of the elements and the infinite possibility of divine expression through the physical body temple.
This conference will take place at Menla, NY. Menla is located in a region of the Catskills renowned for its unspoiled beauty, variety of wildlife, abundance of rushing streams and rivers, and ancient forested mountains. For additional information of the conference, you can visit http://immortalsistersconference.com.
(Edited by Doc Luecke.)
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