GASS PRESENTS

    The Gender Alliance of the South Sound is very pleased and excited to have the opportunity to host the 4th Annual Trans-Spiritual Council "Convening of the Councli" here in our home base of the South Sound, Tacoma, Olympia and Gig Harbor, Washington.

    The Trans-Spiritual Council is a non-denominational collective of spiritual teachers, healers, writers and leaders who are also transgender. Together they represent a blending of spiritual traditions, including Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Native American practices and precepts. The goal of the council is to affirm and honor the various pathways and encourage the bonding and building of community among those who share the vision of compassionate spirit rising around the world. Though the message of the council has particular resonance for the LGBTQ community, these thoughts and ideals are applicable to all people in their quest to better understand their self and the world.

    Only once per year do the members of the council "convene." Previous Convenings of the Council have occurred in Albuquerque, NM and St. Paul, MN. This is the full council's first visit to the Pacific Northwest. This year's Convening will occur during the time of the Autumnal Equinox, with events from September 19-24, 2012. Events will take place in Olympia, Tacoma and Gig Harbor. All events are open to the public, though RSVPs are requested for some events. The full schedule of events is included below:

  • DHARMA TALK: Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 9-10pm, Transgender Discussion Group/Gender Alliance of the South Sound, Olympia.

      Prior to the official Convening of the Council, Leeza Edwards, whose spiritual pathway leans toward Eastern traditions, will lead a "Dharma Talk" with the Transgender Discussion Group of Olympia, focusing on the current state of the LGBTQI community as well as how to live from a more inspired perspective. The title of the topic is "a blessed transgender community: living mindfully". A traditional dharma talk is one that teaches/presents a Buddhist text or precept. Which is often followed by inquiry from the listeners/attendees and addressed by the presenter.

      LOCATION: 4th floor, 317 4th Ave. East (next to Jake's). Please arrive before 8:15pm, and ring the "UCAN" buzzer outside to access the building.
      RSVP: Not required.

  • THE OPENING ADDRESS/TOBACCO OFFERING: Friday, September 21, 2012, 7-9pm, The Rainbow Center, Tacoma.

      The official opening of the Convening of the Council takes the form of a traditional Native American invocation and "tobacco offering," in which Wren Walker Robbins, Two Spirit pipe-carrier and master storyteller of Mohawk ancestry, guides a meditation on some of the energies and spirits that infuse Indian spirituality. This is a moving and growth-inducing ceremony and talk. If you have never experienced Native American spirituality, this is your chance.

      LOCATION: Rainbow Center, 741 St. Helens St., downtown Tacoma, WA.
      RSVP: Not required.

  • ONENESS BLESSING & AFFIRMATION CEREMONY Saturday, September 22, 2012, 2-5pm, Point Defiance Park, Tacoma.

      With assistance from the full Trans Spirit Council, Virginia Stephenson, who brings experience from mystic Christianity, Buddhism, Wicca and the Mystery Schools tradition, will lead and officiate a grand "Blessing and Affirmation Ceremony" for LGBTQI individuals and allies this afternoon at the Gig Harbor overlook on Five Mile Drive at Point Defiance Park.

      LGBTQI people are rarely provided with symbolic community affirmation and blessing of their accomplishments and pathways. This ceremony seeks to address this situation by creating sacred space amidst a gathering of friends and allies, celebrating each other's lives, choices, achievements and commitments, and at the same time building community and solidarity. We invite you to join in this remarkable and uplifting celebration of the Rainbow Tribe! The ceremony is non-denominational, open to those of any or no particular spiritual tradition.

      Please arrive promptly by 2:00pm so as not to disrupt the service in progress. At times we will be sitting on the ground. You may be more comfortable if you bring a cushion or pillow to sit on.

      LOCATION: Five Mile Drive, Gig Harbor Overlook, Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, WA.
      RSVP: Yes, please email contact@SouthSoundGender.com

  • SPIRIT WALK/PIPE CEREMONY Sunday, September 23, 2012, 2-4pm, Kopachuck State Park, Gig Harbor.

      The Trans Spiritual Council will lead a "Spirit Walk" and Native American Pipe Ceremony this afternoon at Kopachuck State Park in Gig Harbor, WA.

      The Spirit Walk entails an approximately 1.5 mile hike through the State Park. Near the end of the walk, the group will participate in a Pipe Ceremony led by Mohawk pipe carrier and Two Spirit medicine woman Wren Walker Robbins. Participants may, at their discretion, participate in ritual smoking of sacred tobacco. Smoking of the tobacco is not required to attend; however an attitude of reverence toward the tobacco is requested. Tobacco is regarded as one of the four sacred plants by many Native American tribes.

      The terrain is hilly, so the hike is moderately strenuous. Wearing sturdy walking shoes or boots is recommended. Unfortunately, this event may not be appropriate for those who would have difficulties with such terrain.

      A PotLuck dinner will follow the Spirit Walk at Rainbow Ranch, just a short distance from Kopachuck Park.

      Please RSVP to contact@SouthSoundGender.com if you are planning to attend either/or the Spirit Walk or PotLuck. Thanks.

      LOCATION: Kopachuck State Park. You may join us at Rainbow Ranch (5820 98th Ave NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98335) before the walk, or meet us promptly at 2pm at Kopachuck Middle School track parking lot, at the southwest corner of Kopachuck Drive and 56th Street, Gig Harbor, WA 98335. Click Here for Map
      RSVP: Yes, please email contact@SouthSoundGender.com

  • WRITING WORKSHOP/TALKING CIRCLE Monday, September 24, 2012, 3-4:30pm, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma.

      Wren Walker Robbins and the Trans Spirit Council will lead a Writing Workshop and Talking Circle at the University of Puget Sound this afternoon. Participants will be asked to write and share on the subject of the Intersection of Gender and Spirituality. How does your gender inform your spirituality and vice-versa?

      This is the final public event of the 2012 "Convening of the Council," an annual gathering of transgender spiritual leaders and teachers. This year the Council comes to the Pacific Northwest for the first time.

      The Gender Alliance of the South Sound, the Rainbow Center, and the University of Puget Sound are gracious hosts of this year's "Convening of the Council."

      LOCATION: Trimble Forum, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA.
      RSVP: Not required.

    All events are open to the public. Note the events that we request you RSVP, so we can have an estimate of number of attendees. We are happy to have you join us in a spirit of unity and compassion.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE TRANS-SPIRITUAL COUNCIL, VISIT: http://transspiritcouncil.org

    ALSO... Be sure to tune into the Trans-Spiritual Council's BlogTalk radio show every Monday evening at 8pm: Click Here! (Archived shows available anytime)

    For all LGBTQI individuals, even those who may not be able to attend this year's convening, please take a few moments to complete this survey. Click Here. Thanks.