sacred activism

Fierce Compassion with Lama Willa Miller

Enlightenment For All

Practitioners of meditation are often accused of navel-gazing, ignoring the problems of the real world. But with the rise of Engaged Buddhism and Ecodharma, it is clear that many practitioners are not satisfied with simply finding inner peace and want to use their practice to meet the needs of a hurting world. And in fact, Buddhism has had a long history of teaching fierce compassion - as evidenced by images of "wrathful deities." Compassion isn't just being nice; compassion is speaking truth to power and taking bold action.

Join us as we talk with Lama Willa Miller who is an expert in Tibetan Buddhism and Tantric practices, which are ways of working with the manifest. Tantra is a valuable tool for changemakers who are building a more just world and can offer ways of transforming the self for the sake of others. As the Bodhisattva vow says, none of us are free until all of us are free.

Image from  The Mary-El Tarot

Willa B. Miller, PhD is the Founder and Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston, MA and its retreat center Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH. She was authorized as a dharma teacher and lineage holder (lama) in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism after completion of two consecutive three-year retreats in the nineties. She is an editor, author and translator and holds a doctorate from Harvard University in Religion, and is currently Visiting Lecturer in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School. Her academic teaching interests include Tantra and the Body, Buddhism and Ecology, and Buddhist Contemplative Care, among other topics. Outside of academia, her teaching specialties include the body as a door to awakening, natural meditation (mahamudra), and heart-cultivation (lojong). She is interested in the practical integration of meditation into daily life, and has participated as an advisor in several scientific studies on meditation.

In This Episode

Michelle Alexander

Naomi Klein

The Shock Doctrine

Psychedelics on the Spiritual Path with Katherine MacLean and Colin Pugh

Raising Consciousness

Photo by  Smart  on  Unsplash

Photo by Smart on Unsplash

Religious leaders of traditional religions are often skeptical of the short-lived mystical experiences that entheogens like psilocybin, ayahuasca, and MDMA can bring about, even though those who have taken these consciousness-altering substances often report profound insights into the human mind and soul. At the same time, many people who have used psychedelics eschew the rigid dogma of religious institutions. Scientists have thrown themselves into the mix of this controversial topic by showing how various substances can not only lower anxiety and ease PTSD, but also inspire qualities like forgiveness and compassion. Can spiritual practice and psychedelic use come together?

Katherine MacLean and Colin Pugh think so and join The Rising to discuss how these substances can, and should, be integrated with spiritual practice and community support - and how this can change for the better not only oneself, but the lives of others as well.


Katherine MacLean is a psychological scientist, teacher and meditator. In her academic research at UC Davis and Johns Hopkins University, she studied how psychedelics and mindfulness meditation can promote beneficial, long-lasting changes in personality, well-being and brain function. In New York, she co-founded and directed the Psychedelic Education & Continuing Care Program (, focusing on group integration for psychedelic users and training workshops for clinicians. She currently lives on an organic farm and is preparing to be a study therapist on the upcoming Phase 3 trial of MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder. Learn more:

Colin Pugh is the organizer for the Brooklyn Psychedelic Society, a community dedicated to educating individuals on how to use psychedelics effectively and safely for personal and spiritual growth. Colin also has a strong interest in contemplative Christianity, Buddhism, psychedelics, and political change. He currently works as a freelance product manager and lives in Brooklyn, NY.


Changing our movements from within: Spiritual Direction & Movement Chaplaincy with Perry Dougherty and Ed Cardoza

Spiritual Care for Changemakers

Photo by  Smart  on  Unsplash

Photo by Smart on Unsplash

Social justice work isn't work that you go into just because you need a job or a paycheck. The desire to be part of creating a more just and equitable society is a calling from within as well as a manifestation of the interconnectedness of our world. Because people working on the front lines of justice so often bring their whole selves to the work, self-care and self-reflection are crucial tools for creating changemakers who can lead from a place of integration and embodiment of the values they most want to see in the world.

Movement chaplaincy is transforming our social movements by bringing spiritual care and guidance to activists. Through spiritual direction, an ancient practice of accompaniment that manifests across wisdom traditions, changemakers explore how they relate to themselves, others, and humanity. This, in turn, can help build healthier and more sustainable movements by growing self-awareness, strengthening relationships within organizations, and amplifying the impact those organizations have on the world. The folks at Still Harbor are on the forefront of this emerging field and join The Rising on Episode 15 to discuss the importance of this work that is changing the way we do social justice.


Rev. Perry Dougherty is the Executive Director of Still Harbor, Editor of Anchor magazine, and an Instructor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Perry serves as a facilitator, chaplain, and spiritual director at Still Harbor. She has a background in corporate training and development as well as non-profit development, communications, and management. Perry brings an informed perspective on social justice, pedagogy, and learning, which she studied at Washington University in St. Louis in receiving her B.A. in Social Thought and Analysis with a specialization in the Sociology of Education. Perry is an ordained Interspiritual Minister by One Spirit Interfaith Seminary. She brings her personal and professional interests together through her service by exploring where creative expression and narrative meet spirituality and social justice.

Rev. Edward M. Cardoza, MA.Min. is the co-founder of Still Harbor. Ed serves as a facilitator, chaplain, and spiritual director at Still Harbor. Ed received a Master’s in Arts in Ministry from Saint John’s Seminary School of Theology in 2003. He completed a practicum in spiritual direction at the Center for Religious Development through the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to serving with Still Harbor, Ed is also ordained in the Episcopal tradition and is priest-in-charge at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Ed serves on the board of directors for the global health non-profit Partners In Health, where he was the Vice President for Development for 6 years. He also serves on the board of Episcopal City Mission.

In This Episode

Adam Elenbaas, astrologer

Krishna Das

Deva Premal

Table Graces Reflecting Earth Charter Principles

Nuns on the Bus

Surrendering the White Ego with Abraham Lateiner and Margaret Johnson

When We Stop Defending Our Egos, We Liberate Energy for Real Change

In a deepening of our topic from last week, we get into the nitty gritty of anti-racism as spiritual practice this week. With our guests Abraham and Margaret, we examine what happens when we let go of the goal of being "good white people," humbly acknowledge the our complicity in racist and white supremacist cultures, and settle in for the long haul work of enacting paradigm change within ourselves, our communities, and our culture. 

photo by  Ben White

photo by Ben White

Margaret Johnson is an activist, a healer, and a spiritual seeker. She cut her teeth working for social change in the Catholic worker movement, and is inspired by the work of the Ayni Institute and the Momentum organizing community in developing frameworks for strategic organizing while upholding relational culture. Margaret is a licensed massage therapist and a Kundalini yoga teacher, and has participated in several activist movements and organizing communities.

Abraham Lateiner works to create spaces for people with dominant power to experience the freedom of surrender. He has found that when such people experience the “power-with” that comes with aligning with movements led by people at the margins of society, they can learn how to support those movements in sustained, sustainable, and sustaining ways. That, he believes, would be a true freedom. He is part of the core team of Freedom Beyond, a decentralized network of small circles of people seeking freedom from white supremacy.

In This Episode

The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler

Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein

Ethnoautobiography by Jurgen Werner Kremer and Robert Jackson-Paton


Shooglet on Instagram

Living in the Tension: The Quest for a Spiritualized Racial Justice by Shelly Tochluk


Anti Racism as Spiritual Practice With Jardana Peacock


Anti Racism is Ancestral Healing

Race and whiteness may be social constructs created centuries and generations long ago, but we have all been shaped by them in many ways, seen and unseen. Battling racism is not just a matter of thinking the right thoughts or believing the right ideas. To truly dismantle white supremacy, white people must be willing to look at the ways whiteness has shaped our sense of self-worth and identity. This is not just a political undertaking, but a spiritual one. It demands we go to the deep places of our own discomfort within ourselves and our ancestral lineage to begin to truly heal and transform the injustice of racism. 

Jardana Peacock is a spiritual teacher, writer, yoga teacher, and organizer in Louisville, KY. She is the director of Liberation School, a healing and spirituality school for changemakers that is the first of its kind located in the southern US, and the author of the “Practice Showing Up Guidebook,” an anthology for white people working for racial justice.

Jardana brings an incredible presence of humility and depth to this conversation and we get to talk to her about the ways in which she and others are working to bring healing, compassion, and care to organizing and activist work as well as learning how we can go deeper into our own anti-racist work.

In This Episode

Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown 

Crazywise the movie

Radical Nonviolence with Eric Stoner

Photo by Noah Berger

Photo by Noah Berger

Forces of Love

With antifa throwing punches at Nazis and navel gazers on mats far from marches and protests, it can seem difficult to find a way to work for justice that is both active and peaceful, fierce and loving. Nonviolence is a term in the common lexicon of social justice but it is misunderstood almost as much as it is used. Far beyond a passive pacifism, the philosophy of radical nonviolence actually requires an active commitment to "no harm" and is a way of embodying satyagraha, or "love force," a concept championed by Mahatma Gandhi.

In the wake of Charlottesville and continued appearances of neo-Nazis throughout the country, newly awakened activists are wondering how to effectively respond. We are at a critical moment in history when it's important to re-examine the principle of nonviolent resistance lest we play into the violent methods of the oppressor. Nonviolence isn't easy, especially when there are strong forces luring us into reactivity and aggression.

Eric Stoner, co-founding editor at and adjunct professor at Rutgers University, joins us on The Rising to discuss the nuances of nonviolence and how not only is it an effective tool of resistance but also the force that has fueled social movements all over the world.

In This Episode

Eric Stoner

Waging Nonviolence

Life After Hate

This is An Uprising by Mark and Paul Engler

Beautiful Trouble edited by Andrew Boyd & Dave Oswald Mitchell

"Why Civil Resistance Works" by Erica Chenoweth & Maria J. Stephan

Richard Rohr on Nonviolence

#MeToo & Toxic Masculinity with Juan Carlos Arean

Photo by  Edu Lauton  on  Unsplash

Photo by Edu Lauton on Unsplash

From Hashtags to Healing

The shadow of America's misogyny is coming to light as more and more women tell their stories of sexual harassment and assault. The #metoo trend on social media gave many survivors a platform to speak and, whereas women used to be doubted and even maligned, this hashtag points to a shift occurring in the collective as the capacity to both recognize our personal traumas as well as hear the stories of others expands.

But how do we move forward from a hashtag to real healing? The narrow view of masculinity that runs rampant in every realm of our patriarchal society - exemplified by the Harvey Weinsteins and Donald Trumps of the world - harms not only women and non-males but also our boys and men. How can we reclaim both the sacred masculine and sacred feminine? Juan Carlos Areán, an expert in domestic violence prevention and interspiritual minister, joins us as we reflect on the toxic masculinity pervading our culture and explore ways to heal the pain and trauma at a soul level. 

In This Episode

Juan Carlos Areán

Chelsea's blog

Mother Wisdom Speaks, poem by Christine Lore Weber

Season of the Witch with Amanda Garcia Yates

Magic is Decolonization of the Mind

Photo by  Yeshi Kangrang  

Photo by Yeshi Kangrang 

Witchcraft, astrology, tarot...magical pursuits have exploded in popularity over the last several years. Just in time for Halloween, we talk to activist witch Amanda Yates Garcia, also known as The Oracle of Los Angeles, to learn more about what it means to practice magic and how we can bring it into our work for justice. This is a deeply inspiring conversation about the power of imagination, dismantling systems of hierarchy with models of shared leadership, the hard work that is needed to make our dreams reality, the importance of being connected to the earth, embodiment and pleasure, and much more.

Amanda is a witch on a mission to re-enchant the world through the power of art and magic. She was raised in a magical family whose forebears include the famed psychic Edgar Cayce, and learned to cast spells and read tarot from a young age. Her work draws on the Western Hermetic Mystery traditions, embodied energy work such as Reiki and Holotropic Breathwork, Shamanic Healing Practices, and more. Amanda also has an MFA in Writing/Critical Theory and Film/Video from the California Institute for the Arts.

Amanda has organized public rituals to exorcise capitalism, devour patriarchy, and bind Trump, runs a monthly mystery school called Magical Praxis, and hosts a radio show called The Oracle Hour. She recently made a splash after being interviewed by Tucker Carlson of FOX news about her participation in the Binding Trump movement. In the interview, Amanda provides a grounded, practical explanation of magic and ritual, and a clear-eyed, heart-centered intention to use her powers to create a better world that cuts through the cynicism and fear of the interviewer. You can learn more about her work at, or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.

In This Episode

Amanda's interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News

Bind Trump/Magic Resistance

Astrologer Demetra George  

Astrologer Chani Nicholas

Welcome to The Rising

Photo taken by Rebekah Berndt

Photo taken by Rebekah Berndt

Talkin' Bout a Revolution

What is The Rising? It's the longing we feel deep in our bones for the more beautiful world that our hearts know is possible. It's  the thrill that runs through our veins as we each step into our power and purpose to make that world a reality. It's the love and solidarity that binds us together as we fight for freedom and work toward justice. Rebekah and Chelsea are spiritual directors, intuitives, and activists who want to connect you to resources and practices that can inspire you to find your own sacred activism and sustain you during these difficult times of change.

In our first episode, Chelsea and Rebekah introduce themselves and tell you what you can look forward to.


In This Episode

Gloria Anzaldua, Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro

Miribai Starr and William Hart McNichols, Mother of God, Similar to Fire