Our Founder Fotoula Adrimi speaks:
I had the most beautiful experience of community when I was a child. I spent my summers with my Great Aunts who lived in a working class neighbourhood called Nees Pagases, on the outskirts of the city of Volos, Greece. I remember fondly how as children we came together every afternoon and ran around the empty streets – only one family had a car – while the old grannies sat on chairs on their doorsteps, gossiping and crocheting.
It was a place where everyone knew each other and cared for each other. The community knew who was ill, needed help, or food. And people shared their garden's produce and looked after those in need. Someone once left land in their will for a church building and the men gave their time and built a church. When there was a wedding, we all celebrated and attached money to the dress of the bride. And there was an exchange system, for example we traded the lemons from our tree with apples from the neighbours.
I remember a feeling of wellbeing and kindness, no matter what happened no-one was left alone. Life's struggles were not just the concern of the individual, there was a flow of strength from the community. This created a belief in oneself and gave each person strength to keep pursuing their life, even though there was little money or material things.
Of course there was another side to the community. Everyone knew each other's business and people were careful not to do anything that the community disapproved of. I remember my father wanted to eat sausages during lent, and my granny closed all the windows and doors, so no-one would know we were breaking the rules. This restrictive side was there because of the level of consciousness – it prevented people growing beyond the clear boundary of the community's beliefs and dogmas.
Growing up, life took me to different places and I longed to find myself and my individuality. I felt the strength of the community I came from, it was part of me, in my DNA. At the same time I could feel its restrictions, so I took the good bits, the love, generosity and kindness, and left the dogma.
I have also lived in places where there was no sense of community. In my university days in Paris I was astounded by the competition between students and the overriding belief of 'each for themselves'. I saw people who were desperate for love and community but had never experienced it, and were too afraid and rigid to open up to it.
In my spiritual path I have come across sacred communities. These communities were there for as long as each person felt to be a member. Sometimes sacred communities only last a short time. When I did my vision quest training in the Inyo Mountains, we formed a loving and supportive community for our time together. We had beautiful times of harmony as well as disagreements and clashes - when people come together their issues can be triggered. Yet, everything was resolved amicably and respectfully. Every voice was heard and help was always offered and received by the different members of the community. This community, this circle, stayed together for a month, and then we went our separate ways. But what we shared gave us strength and purpose, as well as healing, so we could continue on our life's path.
In 2013 I completed my Shamanic Teachers Training. Sandra Ingerman invited the group to set an intention about their life path. We were to take part in a ceremony where our community would hold space for magic to flow into everyone's life purpose. Before the ceremony, I went into nature to find out about my intention. The spirits showed me a vision of creating sacred supportive communities whose purpose was to be both personal and spiritual evolution, as well as bringing the light into our world during these times of transition. At the time I did not fully understand the vision. It was beyond what I had in mind, it seemed too big, especially for one person.
In the years since, my helping spirit ISET has continued to show me this vision. She said that it would be a great gift for us all to co-create a sacred community. To do this, we must leave behind the old ways of patriarchy. We must honour and celebrate our individuality and, at the same time, see everyone as equal, and see ourselves as part of the whole. This new approach takes us out of the mindset of competition and invites us to support, share, and care for each other, understanding that the more the community grows, the more we grow.
In a sacred community we have responsibility, and we accept that responsibility. We are all valued members and therefore we show up with our presence. We also stand up in our light and Divine power and do not stay in the shadow. We claim and embody our gift in the way that is best for us. We do not remain in the background because another person is in the foreground. We set aside the line of hierarchy and create a circle with Divine Love in the centre.
ISET showed me recently that out of this sacred community, many more sacred communities will grow.
This is my vision of community and what I hold in my heart for us all.
The ISIS School of Holistic Health
"Community is when I am seen and when I am heard. Community is when it is safe to be vulnerable with others."
"In daily life community is friendship, the joy of sharing the company of others. Love. Community reconnects me to Spirit, strengthens me and supports my soul"
"Unity is Community.
Earth and Heart as One"
"Community is the Heart of Creation"