T’ai Chi and Sacred Landscapes

T’ai Chi and Sacred Landscapes

The mist shrouded Springhead during our pre-dawn walk up the hillside to practice Chi Kung on the high ridge where we watched for the Tiger and Dragon. They soon appeared as the morning mist receded and the backs of the hills slowly emerged.

The week-end encouraged us to explore the rhythms of the day both in the lovely autumnal garden and the surrounding countryside.

Springhead is a potent site, we learnt of its ancient history dating back to the Bronze Age. The Sacred Bowl/Sacred Landscape refers to the concept of the creative connection between heaven and earth and the biosphere between. There is resonance between the personal, working on the chi collected in the lower dantien in the bowl of the pelvis and the transpersonal, the place in which we worked, the source of the bubbling spring, the sacred bowl of Springhead.

This was an experiential time as we followed Rodney and Louanne’s teaching. We worked on the elements in many different ways. Practising Tien Hsiao encouraged us to work with the wood element signalling being earthed, heavy (sung) and also indicated presence, being as fully present in the moment as possible, connecting with ourselves, each other and our surroundings.

Rodney led the six healing sounds practice enabling us to work with and the vibrational flow of energy, each sound linked to a negative energy to cleanse and a more positive energy to nurture and restore balance.

Louanne facilitated pair work; working with the energy between us, becoming more attuned, using ‘lotus hands’ to feel and guide the flow. Later, we were invited to choose a spot in the garden to attune to in the same way, working with the vibrational energy to give and receive energy. This was not hard to do in the glowing, sunlit garden. Pair work helped us become more aware of our partner’s energy and how to move in and out of that force field mindfully, attuning to the other and working both neutrally, defensively and offensively.

Morning and evening meditations helped ground me and helped us all come together in a place of stillness and communion. And after, we heard more about Springhead from Louanne and Rodney especially the Gardiner family who nurtured the estate and created a centre for the arts and traditional cultures which is now held as a trust for all to enjoy. Using natural objects from the grounds and surrounds such as fallen leaves, berries, bark and moss we developed a mandala which grew daily until our final, moving sharing of our experiences of the week end.

It was fun! We were playful in our serious study of the form and gladly grounded our bare feet in the lush grass, moving with the fire of autumn, flowing with the water element by the water side and breathing the clean Dorset air moving in, out and around us.

We missed Tew but conjured him up in the guise of a swan who then joined the group. We celebrated in the richness and diversity of Louanne and Rodneys’

thoughtful teaching, preparation and creativity. For me having two teachers provided a wonderful balance and variety of teaching and interpretation of the form.

We came in ravenous for the bountiful food prepared so lovingly by Alisar.

This was my initiation to Springhead. I found illumination, camaraderie, a creative and kindly holding environment and inspiration. Thankyou.

Sue Beecraft

(and thanks to Rodney for guidance)

Nov 18


With many thanks to Janet Bell, John and others for their wonderful photographs.