What Is Council?
The practice of council is both ancient and modern, with roots in many civilizations throughout the world as well as in contemporary organizational disciplines.
-Ilarion Merculieff, Aleut Traditional Messenger
Each of us knows the joy of sharing stories around the campfire or at bedtime or with like-minded peers. By removing the social barriers that keep us separate, council allows for the kind of listening that brings instant recognition that we are all, in fact, related.
Sitting in council, in a circle, speaking and listening from the heart, we remember…we know how to do this; it’s in our bones.
A Powerful Tool for Building Effective Communities
In her 2005 Bioneers keynote, Ohki Siminé Forest, a spiritual teacher of Canadian Mohawk decent, explained why the ancient council ways of Maya communities in Chiapas can be a model for all humanity.
As we enter into council with each other and with the Earth itself, as individuals, we find wholeness through the mirror of the circle.
In council we expect—and welcome—different, even contradictory, points of view. By revealing our own true stories, the stories behind our opinions, one at a time, we are reminded that our collective wisdom can be a healing presence.
In council, the boundaries of the individual voice and the voice of the circle interweave, whether this is a circle of kindergarteners (thousands of school kids sit in council each week in LAUSD as part of their school curriculum), the incarcerated, senior citizens, mothers, corporate executives, tribal elders, homeless youth, teachers, parents, a meeting of former strangers or fellow bioneers.
Together, we have the opportunity to experience ourselves in the equilibrium of the whole.
Join Us for Council Sessions at Bioneers 2014
The Council Tent is a beloved feature of the Bioneers conference. Join with fellow Bioneers each afternoon to experience this ancient and modern form of communication, this way to be together that honors relationships—with each other and with the Earth.
Unless noted, all sessions are with Ilarion Merculieff, Aleut traditional messenger, and Sharon Shay Sloan, council trainer and community steward. Sessions are interactive and experiential, and bioneers of all ages are strongly invited to attend.
Friday, October 17th
For most of human history, people have lived in small village clusters. From indigenous to intentional to family systems to global community, the face of our social structures are changing. We are about to have the oldest population in US history; soon, 1 in 4 Americans will be in their golden years. Can honoring their wisdom encourage innovative and timely solutions to our global and personal concerns? In this intergenerational Council, we will explore the role of elders in our world and what youngers, and middlers, have to do with it.
We are pushing Earth’s life support systems to the edge, enacting of a paradigm of “ infinite growth” and taking. Common sense and indigenous wisdom traditions affirm that a life lived with balance leads to a more harmonious coexistence. Coupled with a need for reconciliation across gender, race and other social divides, 21st Century Earth and community stewardship require partnerships beyond boundaries. Join with fellow Bioneers to engage an ethos for stewardship fit for the 21st Century. Rooted in the wisdom traditions and best practices of First Peoples, and the planetary perspective of Global Citizens, we will explore models and practices of living reciprocity as if our lives depended on it—because they do.
Saturday, October 18th
Restoring and honoring the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Masculine in our lives and communities is necessary to restore harmony with ourselves and with everything else in existence, and it begins in each of us. As the elders have said, nothing is created outside until it is created inside first. Leading from the “inside out” asks us to first embody the change we seek in the world, then what we do will become self-evident. Together, fellow Bioneers will explore the emerging paradigm of balancing the masculine and feminine, why it is important to our existence as human beings, and where it can lead us. How do we work together across the genders to restore a healthy balance between the masculine and feminine, the inner and outer dimensions of life? How do we apply this to our everyday leadership? (Double session.)
Sunday, October 19th
There is widespread understanding and despair that humanity is overexploiting the Earth’s natural systems, and an increasing recognition that we are only beginning to experience the consequences. It has been said that no amount of logic and reason will be able to guide us through the unprecedented times ahead, that only our hearts will prove adequate. The inner life, guidance, deep listening and “the quiet, still voice within” may prove some of our most resilient assets as we seek answers. Join with fellow Bioneers to share your knowledge, wisdom and life experience as we explore these assets, share vision and our aspirations for the world we want, and how we might get there.