Meet the Facilitator
In a time where everything indigenous is at risk of destruction, Jones has become an advocate for the revival of the conversation between the modern world and the wisdom of Indigenous Cultures. Sorrowed by the very loss of the wild in modernity, he has dedicated much of his life to re-establishing an alliance between the two.
Over the last 35 years, Jones has trained and worked with such renowned teachers as Malidoma Somé, Michael Meade, Daniel Deardorff, Sobonfu Somé, David MacMurray Smith, Linda Galloway, Francis Weller, Stephen Jenkinson, Martín Prechtel, Marion Woodman and Robert Bly.
Through his dynamic studies in mythology, ritual, rhythm, dance, counselling and storytelling, he has developed a unique style of facilitating what has become an increasingly necessary experiential discourse between humans, nature, and the spirit world. He is the author of "Medicine Without an Expiry Date: Indigenous Remedy for Modern Trouble."
Meet the Facilitator
ARTIST STATEMENT 2020
Artist Statement for Jan 01, 2020
For the past twenty years I have had an independent practice working with people in gatherings I have organized, designed, and led. The gatherings work in the way of the Earth’s traditional peoples, re-inviting nature and spirit into a “larger than only human” community. In these gatherings, the interdisciplinary concept “it takes a village” informs the creation of learning environments that encourage transformative extension on aspects of self, and the way self relates to social, natural and imaginative environments.
I see education as overlapping with leadership training, and the development of ecological and systemic recognition of whole systems. The gatherings I lead understand personal psychology as part of a full ecological process. In effect I have been a self-employed facilitator of community development and personal growth. I see facilitation (following Trevor Bentley) as, “the provision of opportunities, resources, encouragement and support for the group to succeed in achieving its objectives and to do this through enabling the group to take control and responsibility for the way they proceed.”
My main framework has been inspired by several teachers. Dr Michael Meade, (Mosaic Foundation)
works with myth and its modern application, extending upon the work of Joseph Campbell, and others. David McMurray Smith (Fantastic Space) works as an independent educator in Personal Performance and Theatre studies since starting his own studio after an academic career as a director and producer. Foremost, Dr. Malidoma Somé has brought the indigenous wisdom of his people, the Dagara of Burkina Fasso to share with the West to, originally on the instruction of tribal Elders.
Somé’s assignment (and genius) has been to bridge the gap between indigenous ways of knowing and the modern. His education was unique, combining a western academic education (he holds three Master’s degrees and Two PhDs) with a traditional one (he is also a traditional diviner, shaman, and initiated Elder). The implied charge passed on to me is to give the seeds of this knowledge an independent planting in the modern world—working with the practices of indigenous knowledge in a modern setting.
Examples of my work include rituals with the elements of fire, water, earth, mineral, and nature, which are the five “clans” of the Dagara mythology. Specific purposes range between healing from grief and ancestral wounds, to liberating creative energy, the expression of authentic voice, recognition and remembering of life purpose, and restoring love for the Earth and nature as community values. Traditional storytelling, which historically has always educated about the intersection of personal life and the life of the community, is a foundation stone of the work. Therefore, in the above context, rituals are events that serve to create a space where communication between the human and “other-than-human” worlds can happen. Each is simultaneously specific to a purpose and general to the ongoing issues of community, healing, and initiation.
I see the current challenge of critiquing a dominant culture based on limitless expansion and consumption of being an issue of zeitgeist, of world view or paradigm, pervading all but marginal spaces. In such work, issues of human experience—feeling, imagination, embodiment, intellect, and spirit must be central to any attempt to re-orient and express human existence in a fashion in tune with ecological realities. By necessity, this work is rightly innovative and improvisational to ensure it is responsive to needs and conditions, adopting models from various disciplines, and adapting them in bricolage where seemingly appropriate.
Curriculum Vitae for Jan 01, 2020
MODERN RITUAL PROCESS AND STORYTELLING
INDEPENDENT EDUCATOR Mythic Nature, Forgotten Waters 1999 — Current
STUDIES with Malidoma Somé, Michael Meade, Sobonfu Somé,
Martin Prechtel, Robert Bly, Marion Woodman, Daniel Deardorff,
Wendy Jarvis, Kushad Watson, Francis Weller 1995 – 2015
Deep Democracy Institute Cairo 2018
Spirit Horse Cauldron of Plenty Wales 2019
PERFORMANCE / CREATIVE PROCESS STUDY
Fantastic Space Enterprises, Uncommon Sense,
Wondertree Education Society, Harbour Dance,
Western Front, Russel Shumsky, Pepe Danza Vancouver 1992 – 2015
Study areas: Physical training for performers, emotional
training for performers, ensemble work process,
creative process training, clown, exploratory movement,
Jazz Dance, African Dance, Wondertree Learning
Consultant Training, Drumming (Jembe)
INDEPENDENT WRITING AND RESEARCH
“Medicine Without an Expiry Date: 2014
Indigenous Remedy for Modern Trouble"
Introduction by Dr. Malidoma Somé | 512 pages
Co-operative Hunting With the Bionic Eye Vancouver 1997
[Community Television Volunteer Manual
Day Long Health Workshop 1994
[Vancouver Persons With Aids Society]
Project Manager West Africa Motorcycle Mapping Sierra Leone 2017
Assistant Dar Es Salaam Ramani Huria Tanzania 2017
Odyssey Substance Abuse Services for Youth Vancouver 1991—1994
Youth and Family Counsellor
Counselling Training, Various 1988—Current
Kitsilano Neighbourhood Television Vancouver 1985—1994
Award: Best Youth Video (WCCCTA 1992)
28 minute documentary
Independent Community Television Cooperative Vancouver 1997—2000
Director, Writer, Live Talk Show Host
Editor, Camera Operator, Workshop Instructor
Board Member, Membership Director
Evergreen Integrity Calgary 1979—1982
Landscape Design and Installation
The Garden Keepers Vancouver 1984—1990
Landscape Maintenance and Installation
Alchemy Handcraft Vancouver 1995—2015
Bikram Yoga Nairobi [Construction Consultant] Kenya 2011
Fire: Maasi Land, East Africa
Tanzania, East Africa, home of lions, wildebeest, gazelle, elephants, and zebra, surrounded by ancient African magic, very near the heart of human origin, Olduvai Gorge. The first peak of my childhood imagination was not in the Rockies, fringing the Great Plains in Alberta, where I had been born, but Kilimanjaro, tallest mountain in Africa. Returning to Canada, I soon learned that North America also once had herds of buffalo (according to historical accounts) thirty miles wide. I was irrevocably lonely for the seething life of the "dark continent," and more than that, for something that would take time to understand: I was forlorn for the very loss of the wild in modernity. I knew at a young age the truth of those lines from Wallace Stevens:
"It is equal to living in a tragic land to live in a tragic time."