Kunselling Mandala

Words & Photographs by Cindy Faulkner

We held two Vajra Dance events in Kunselling this summer. Both were well attended. For the first one, a Deepening Course of the Song of the Vajra in July, we were still under Covid restrictions so we filled up all the rooms at Kunselling with single occupancy, and then had someone camping and someone in the much loved caravan. The weather was incredibly hot and sunny for Wales , breaking a new record everyday. We danced the whole programme outside and ate outside for all meals. We had to adapt our programme to the appearance of the sun directly on the Mandala as it came out from behind the ash trees, so we began early at 9 am and finished at 11.15 am. Then we were able to resume at 7 pm and dance till 9 pm, as the heat finally abated.

dancing aug 21

Many of us went swimming in the lake or the river Wye in the afternoon, and some stayed in the cool of the old farmhouse, indulging in such things as watercolour painting, thanks to our patient painter/ dancer, Suzy Rose Fasht. At the end, to coincide with the full moon and the global Vajra Dance practice day, we held an intensive 24 hour retreat of Vajra Dance practice with sitting contemplation. We maintained silence for 12 hours during the day, which was very conducive for entering into the practice.

summer shots

We returned to Kunselling in August for the Annual Vajra Dance Retreat Week. Covid restrictions were now dropped so we filled up the place more — and the Mandala! The weather was a totally different kettle of fish, rather idyllically suited for dancing in the dome: dull, cool with the occasional rain.

My personal experience of this retreat was one of letting go, shedding tensions on all levels. I was able to go deeply into the energetic aspect, going from deep tiredness to a feeling of light and ease. My physical niggles that appeared in the first couple of days, simply disappeared and the notion of effort too.

We had a party on the last Friday to celebrate the double birthday of Anna and Benedict. Benedict has been a wonderful Vajra Dance coordinator this year and hopefully will be able to continue with the virtual aspect as he migrates to Hungary to begin a post for Maths research at Budapest University. Meanwhile, Rowan has said she will help out actually at retreats.

As well as dancing from 10-7 pm each day, we held 2 Ganapujas. This retreat was a great time for members of the community to get together to practice and to renew the bonds of friendship and samaya which are so important to us. On both retreats, we had wonderful cooking from Rowan and Natalia. You never eat better than at Kunselling!

Many thanks to all who helped to make this happen and to our Master, Chögyal Namkai Norbu, who gave this treasure to all of us.