News from China Galland:
An Addendum

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Lisa Rafel's One Soul Sounding

Circle of Love

Woman's Dream Quest

Labyrinth Pilgrimage

Reda Rackley's Eros in a World on Fire

Thomas Berry's Evening Thoughts













Dear Friends, 

I’m sending this addendum to the newsletter of 9-18-06 in order to let you know about some important presentations by members of my community – it’s an unnamed, diverse community that has grown from my work with Images of Divinity,  the 2005 Black Madonna Conference, the Circles of Love work that’s been going on since then and my current writing.  It turns about to be too much for just one newsletter. 

To keep this one manageable, I’m only going to put in the briefest of descriptions along with links that will take you to an expanded newsletter on my website.

But first, I  need to explain the photo at the top of the earlier newsletter – a sculpture by David Newton of a heavily scarred freedman's back.  It’s the centerpiece of the powerful Dallas Freedman's Memorial Park, a major reinternment site of Freedmen burials at which an important scene in Love Cemetery takes place.  It was also the subject of a book and a PBS documentary that was aired nationally.  More buried history.  Unfortunately, this description was inadvertently left out of the last mailing. 

In this addendum I’ve placed, on the top left, a photo of Willie Mae Brown, a member of the Love Cemetery descendent community.  She’s standing next to the reassembled headstone of Ohio Taylor’s grave.  Ohio was born enslaved and died a free, black farmer.  He’s the ancestor of several people I write about in Love Cemetery. Taylor's headstone had been knocked apart and was lying underneath the wisteria in pieces.  We put it back together on our first community cleanup with the help of Boy Scout Troop 210 from Marshall, Texas.   The wild overgrowth shows you how much like a jungle the cemetery was.  We have now cleared 1.6 acres all the way to the ground, in large part by hand.  There are roughly 40 grave markers now visible, many of which are nameless.

It's been such a pleasure to be in touch.  Thank you to all who've written back with congratulations on the new book and offers of help!  I'm stopping here, only because of time.  I could continue this list and keep going for another day, so much good work is being done. 

You can always give us feedback on our blog, including other news and events.  Just go to and click on “comment” below the most recent post.  This what the Circles of Love blog is for!



Now the events and the links:


Our friend Lisa Rafel is leading a Fall Equinox event this Saturday night, September 23, in Oakland. Lisa Rafel performed and wove the music of her Tibetan bowls throughout our summer, 2005 Black Madonna Conference. it will be extraordinary, knowing Lisa and the performers and musicians she's assembled. 

Here's more information about this upcoming event:

You are invited to join me in celebrating the Autumn Equinox in an enchanted evening of ritual, music, chant and dance with some of the most exciting performers and artistic masters in the Bay Area. This will truly be the one Equinox celebration that you will want to attend! Buy your tickets now as seating is limited. tickets can be purchased on-line at

One Soul Sounding
Concert and Ritual
Saturday, September 23rd - 7:30 p.m.
Lake Merritt United Methodist Church
1330 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland (between E.12th and E.15th)
$22 - General   $15 - Seniors and Students

During this most dangerous time of fear and reactivity in the world, it is important to provide a sacred space for people to come together on this Equinox and feel the balance of light and dark.

While we all recognize the power of the light, it's important to see how the dark has a special power all its own.  It can be like a mother's womb - a place of birth and a cosmic silence that springs forth with creative potential and inner knowing. When we feel ourselves in balance, we feel freedom and celebration. For this night, we will gather our heart’s wisdom, weaving our ancient threads together.

Come sing, laugh and dance - touching heart, embracing soul…we are one soul sounding.

The extraordinary performers who are joining together to share their artistry and music and their deep understanding of ritual include:  the remarkable improvisationalist, Rhiannon; master Didgeridoo recording artist, Stephen Kent; Oshun Priestess and storyteller, Luisah Teish; vocalist and award winning song writer, Judith-Kate Friedman, recording artist percussionist and pianist, Geoffrey Gordon; ritualist and percussionist,  Evelie Delfino Sáles Posch; violist, Eleanor Angel; and ritualist dancer Arisika Razak, who is coming back from Malta just to  dance for us; and new music by Lisa Rafel and Jami Sieber.

Be sure to hear Lisa singing on

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For those who wish to join  the next Circle of Love, it’s scheduled for September 28 at 6:30 PM at the home of Lisa Rafel. These circles are inspired by our mutual love and interest in the Dark Mother. If you have any questions, please email

Go to  to read about our friend and IOD Advisor Judith Tripp's Women's Dream Quest at  Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, October 27 -28,

The Dream Quest gives women a chance to spent the night in the nave of Grace Cathedral, and to participate in life-enriching and empowering presentations, exercises and small group discussion. This October's theme is “Dreaming the Circle of Wisdom.”  

Also at Grace Cathedral, November 10th and 11th,  our colleague Rev. Lauren Artress's Veriditas Labyrinth Pilgrimage.

The Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress, a leading force in the Labyrinth Movement, will lead the weekend. Through lecture and discussion, small group sharing, partaking in meals and walking the labyrinth, the weekend will provide deep reflection, making space for the divine mystery. Friday, there will be an enchanting accompaniment for the evening labyrinth walk, while on Saturday evening a private harmony labyrinth walk will sum up the pilgrimage experience. Following the Pilgrimage there will be a Facilitator Training session on November 13-14, 2006.

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I also want to be sure you know about the work of Reda Rackley, who has helped guide me through Love Cemetery in more ways than one.  Reda, from a white family of slaveholders in Georgia, has been trained and initiated in the ancient African Dagara tradition of divination with the Ancestors.  Her lineage comes down through Malidoma Some, the acclaimed teacher and author (Of Water and the Spirits, Penguin). 

Reda presented at the Black Madonna conference, too, on "The Old Ones." 

Reda's website will introduce you to Reda's amazing work, her new C.D. “Mud, Blood, and Blackberries: Fictional Memoirs” and her forthcoming retreat:
Eros in a World on Fire

Living Radical Visions of Grace, Beauty and Love
With Reda Rackley, and Elise Collins Shields

February 24th-26th, 2006
Crown C Ranch, Sonoita, Arizona

Fee: $ 495/person includes all meals Friday eve. through Sunday afternoon
Please reserve your space with a check for $ 200 to:

CommonWell Associates Ltd,
4228 N. Placita de Sandra,
Tucson, AZ 85718

or email for more information:

Space is limited to 15 women. Please plan to stay for the entire weekend.

Through myths and stories, tending dreams, meditation and movement, art, journaling, nature walks, and community ritual we will open the gates for the erotic life force to pour through us and bless this, a World on Fire.

We will gather Friday afternoon, and end with mid-afternoon ritual on Sunday. Our accommodations will be at the historic Crown C Ranch (, one hour south of the Tucson Intl Airport, which includes 7 bedrooms, large gathering area with stone fireplace, screened “Arizona room” and beautiful walled patio.

Silence, gentle breeze, majestic trees and views will inform our weekend.

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A Must Read:   For the sake of our planet and all life, I want to be sure you know about my friend Mary Evelyn Tucker's critically important and wonderful new book of Thomas Berry's essays, Evening Thoughts.   

You can order the book online at: 
or call in your order to the Sierra Club Book line: 1-800-777-4726; FAX 1-800-999-1958

Evening Thoughts is a collection of ecological essays by Thomas Berry, a leading cultural historian, social critic, and environmental thinker. For more than 40 years Berry has been developing a comprehensive vision of a viable future for the Earth community. In emphasizing the magnitude of our current global ecological crisis he observes that we are ending the Cenozoic era and entering into an Ecozoic period. Berry frames our historical moment in light of evolutionary history in his critical essay, "The Epic of Evolution." He suggests that the challenge for humans is to identify the means of creating mutually enhancing human-Earth relations. Our way forward, he observes, depends on our becoming a beneficial presence for the Earth community. The essays range from commentary on "The Petrochemical Age" and "Global Warming" to "The Legal Conditions for Earth Survival". These collected essays are vintage reflections from one of America's finest environmental thinkers.

Ask your local bookstore to carry it.  We need this wisdom everywhere!


Images of Divinity
20 Sunnyside Ave. Suite A
Mill Valley, California 94941

For more about The Keepers of Love project, click here

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Images: Top: Willie Mae Brown. a member of the descendent community of Love Cemetery,  photo by China