We envision a world where communication is embodied, emotionally intelligent and connective.
We recognize racial, economic, ecological and other social injustices to be rooted in the trauma that naturally results when the sacredness of our relationships to our bodies, to one other and to the earth is disrupted due to the misuse of power, colonialism and domination-based paradigms. Our leadership approach is about cultivating a sacred relationship to power through developing embodied, empowered and trauma-informed communication with our own life-force energy. Our programming works specifically to teach the subtle energy processes operating within the ceremony of the African-rooted community dance circle as a pathway to remembering and healing our sacred sense of belonging to nature.
Our programming is rooted in invoking the ceremony of the African-rooted community dance circle and understanding the subtle energetics operating within it. The community dance circle is a ceremony of using rhythm, movement and attention to express, perceive and relate to feelings and the subtle energies of emotion and intuition. Humans are not the only ones who engage in this ceremony, horses also engage in this ceremony with one another in their herds. And there is an ancient relationship in many cultures between the drum and the horse. These non-human spirits hold immense wisdom about listening and attention. People have worked with them for a long time to learn to listen to many dimensions of consciousness.
We do this work with the intention of relating to trauma and working sacredly with power. Our perspective toward understanding power is informed by several paths that help us enter into the deep connection of horses and African Indigenous Wisdom: Relational Somatics offers us many practices of understanding our own deep need for belonging and connection and to recognize the ways that the community circle and the equine herd both engage deep processes of cultivating these experiences. Sri Vidya Tantra Yoga offers us an ancient science of perceiving, understanding and working with vital and subtle energy. We apply this science toward the subtle phenomena occurring within the community dance circle with the specific intention of understanding how to negotiate with the energy of trauma in the body and community. Authentic Movement is a movement meditation practice that engages the body's intelligence, the somatic unconscious, and the imagination. It supports the psyche's drive for integration through the power witnessing the body and offers us the opportunity to bring attention to this same witnessing principle which is inherent in the African Community Circle practices and within Equine Herd wisdom and behavior. Equine Facilitated Learning is a field of practice that teaches us to learn from the wisdom and leadership of the horses themselves. It asks us to partner with them, learn from them and be with them as equals.
The similarities between the way horses communicate with one another and the way we teach and learn African-rooted rhythm and movement are striking. Both engage polyrhythm, mirroring, witnessing, breath, listening and sharing deep feeling to cultivate a communal experience of presence in which the experiences of life can unfold and integrate in the body and community. The Embodied Leadership Project is committed to uplifting Black Women's leadership. Not only is there an incredible shared cultural language between Black Women and horses, there is a mirrored historical experience of enslavement and exploitation.
We believe that uplifting the leadership of Black Women in solidarity with horses engages a powerful perspective on deconstructing, understanding and learning at subtle levels the incredible power of polyrhythm and movement as tools for relating to trauma, freedom, and re-connection to one another and the earth. This perspective serves us all, across races and cultures, supporting us to examine the unconscious impulses for domination and enslavement within ourselves and engage in a practice of working with power in a way that is trauma-informed and non-predatory.
Where we've been
We believe in the possibility of diverse communities
where all being’s voices are heard and valued. We are doing the work of undoing oppressive and divisive culture which marginalizes people and experiences, silences our voices, and makes our stories invisible. It is when we have meaningful and connected relationships to others that we think most clearly and creatively and act with innovation, empathy, care and understanding.
Jamila Jackson (she/her), MFA
Founder and Director
Primary Equine Collaborator
Young Women's Program Members
The Young Women’s Program is a supportive, empowering and connected community for young Black Women to engage with and train in a powerful, culturally relevant and liberating approach to leadership. The program provides free leadership training combined with opportunities for paid research and teaching through ELP and BWLI. Learn more about this program here.