Members of the Council were asked 5 questions by one of their greatest supporters around the period which they convened in 2011. The valuable insights this offers was recognized right away and to that, we thought we’d share these questions and there responses. In reading, we affirm you’ll have a deeper understanding of each council member, while getting a glimmer of the intangible elements that brought them together, thus creating the Trans-spiritual Council. Preceding this is a quote from Virginia.
“Our charge is to renew the Light, even before we are free. Indeed, it is partly oppression that gives us great personal power, as we break its power by our intentions in our spiritual work. As we do this time and time again we gain confidence to see the unseen and to see the unseen manifest itself in our lives. It is time for us to shine. It is time for us to take our place in the ancient places where we can help the world. Yes, for our sakes and the sakes of all.”
~ Virginia Stephenson
As a transgender person who is building a community around myself, how can being in contact with the council help/support me?
Virginia: The Council seeks to be a support to all trans people, of all nationalities, ethnicities and genders. We offer a review of the spiritual heritage of trans people, our gifts given by Creator for the raising of the consciousness of the world. We offer specific support to all people on their spiritual journeys, and we recognize that our communities, our tribes, clans, families, friends, is truly where our gifts are to be manifest and shared with the world.
Leeza: By teaching how mindfulness and compassion are the cornerstones of all Loving and sustainable communities. Offering guidance that’s also Loving and sustainable- we begin by reframing and indeed re-imagining what’s possible and then weave together, with the threads of compassion, clarity and joy- communities grounded in purpose and intention.
What a joy it is for the council- to engage in community building which includes opening our hearts and listening to the softest voices among us.
Through my transition I have noticed shifts within my thinking and how I view the world, what is happening to me?
Virginia: The crossing of genders can produce foundational realizations in a person. When we cross something as basic and seemingly immutable as gender, a new way of looking at our world and our lives, opens to us. Our observations of the world become heightened, and our interactions with our world become experiences of the moment. Eventually as we are spiritually attuned to our journey, we begin to notice parallels with other parts of our lives. We realize that our view of the world may be able to be expanded into other parts of our world. And we begin to believe that truly: all things are possible. Relax and ride the journey as you transform in all the parts of your life.
Leeza: Indeed there is a growing realization among many that there’s more to the gender journey than mere physical transformation. It’s this ever deepening realization that a profound and mystical spiritual journey is unfolding. I recognize this as one of the greatest gifts in my life experience. It has been the great teacher for me. Guiding me in letting go of rigid mind and allowing greater Truths to be revealed within. Equally, it is a great teaching for the world is it not? That my very existence challenges every biased, rigid and conceptual thought about what it means to be a gender, to have a gender, to be identified as gender.
I’ve heard talk of clans and tribes, is the Trans-spiritual council a council of native american transgender people?
Leeza: In the west, there’s an off topic view of the words “clan” & “tribe”. We have an initiative called “Clans: reclaiming and rediscovering spiritual community”. And it speaks about the organic process of how we create/establish relations and how these culminate as a chosen family. The Trans, queer, gender-queer and intersexed people understand intimately what it’s like to be cast out and the feeling of being an alien in an unfamiliar world. Certainly the Council understands the value of incorporating indigenous, ancestral traditions and world-views. So as a modern society- when we think of how family and community is born and sustained- we begin to recognize the healing power of coming together. From this perspective, there is a knowing that clans and tribes aren’t an exclusive construct of the “native american”- it lives in practically all cultures.
What is your role in the Trans-spiritual council?
Virginia: I am a visionary and teacher, so I attempt to see the big picture of our world spiritually and our Universe and try to see where the Council fits into the transformation that is happening. How does our mission support and impact the trans woman in Iowa that struggles with suffering, or the privileged trans person at the University, or the transman at graduate school getting his degree. I also am a teacher , and attempt to interpret concepts of higher consciousness into practical explanations as well as rituals using meaningful symbols to help us to evolve to more understanding of ourselves and our world. Also, my love for the other Council members gives me the great joy of working together with them, to support them, and to feel their support for me. In this we move as one…….
Leeza: I am the vessel for the Council- holding space for its work and as a co-creative partner in all that we do. As a spiritual teacher, I participate in finding and expressing the language which deepens the dialogue- thus broadening the perceptual frameworks into what’s possible and necessary for healing and living fully. My role includes incorporating all wisdom traditions as a humble, Loving student of them all. And as well, am the reminder that the Council wasn’t born out of a need to exist but rather it’s the inevitable outcome of conscious evolution.
Do I need to be a member of the council in order to do work with the council?
Virginia: We welcome all who could help us and join with us. We reject the common occurrence of hierarchy in our organization, and we look at all of us as together in this world and journey, and comparisons with others are meaningless. For example, I would love to work with a group, who together we could write ritual together, or write a school curriculum, and teach each other and help each other. Then we could report back to the Council to see our creations implemented in our mission.
Leeza: We invite and certainly encourage your participation in all the ways you can imagine. The Council can use your co-creative gifts and talents as a supporter, ally and the like. Your voices are welcome here with us and we’re always available to listen and engage with all who feel aligned with the Council’s mission and vision. We’re quiet enthusiastic to connect with other organizations and individuals who feel that such an alliance is mutually beneficial.
Wren offers the following…
For me, spirituality grows out of the connections I weave to all the many things around me. From my family and friends. From my coworkers and the everyday people I meet out on the street or pass in the hall way. For me, spirituality is a constant experience of relationship. It is planted in the soil of my community and my connections to my past and history. It grows out of my relations to plants and animals – out of my sense of place in the world. When I garden these things, I am tending my spirit. When I smile. When I laugh. When I cry. When I reach out and impose my will upon the fabric of the world around me I am dancing within the circle of my life. A friend of mine, David Bryce a Universalist minister, has said that spiritual pain grows out of our isolation – when we are alone, we experience this kind of pain.
I believe spirituality grows out of the tapestry of our interconnections. That it is as complex and woven as our own identities – shifting and changing – a mysterious act in any one moment – a healing journey of being and becoming.