CHARDI AND EMILY
A professional story-teller, published author and shamanic artist, Chardi Christian has been working with women doing deep soul work since the early 90s, running divine feminine workshops using art and story to reclaim connection with soul life. Her work with women is inspired by story, myth, archetypal image and the inner drama of the unconscious. Greatly influenced by Karl Jung, she supports women to explore the ways they can excavate archetypal forces from the shadows of their unconscious, bring them into the light and utilize their energies in conscious life. Focusing on the different aspects of the divine feminine, her own art making has evolved from; shamanic practices to Eastern European folktale and mythic imagery to our relationship to the land and story. Her workshops, which she has run in Sydney, Perth, Finland and San Diego, have explored various themes, from Retrieving The Divine Feminine, Soul Totems, Dreaming Mandalas, Ancestor Boats, and Life Quilt squares, to name but a few.
‘All my work is a developing exploration of; the rich world of unconscious images and archetypes from the inner landscape, and the images in stories and myths which are humanity’s heritage’
Working with fabric, paint, felt, sewing and embodiment Chardi’s work and the community building it involves was featured on ABC TV program ‘Compass’ along with other publications. She has exhibited her ‘Soul Totems’ at major Sydney galleries such as Barry Stern, in Iceland, Helsinki and San Diego and has just returned from a prestigious artist residency program in Iceland. It is through the development of this work that she runs workshops in creativity, inner story and outer image, creating powerful communities of women in the process.
Chardi’s passion for myth and story has seen her become also one of Australia’s leading storytellers, working in Theatre-in-Education since 1984. Inspired by her early studies in improvisation, clowning, mask work, storytelling and other forms of corporeal mime, she was a founding member of ‘Shuttleback Theatre’, and worked in the improvisational community Theatre Group, ‘Playback Theatre’. Chardi also performs in the wider community, and has built up a following in Sydney and in Finland for her storytelling shows for adults. Chardi is regularly invited to perform her stories and run workshops in Finland, S. Africa, England, New Zealand and the USA and at creative festivals including the Sunne Festival in Sweden, a gathering of professional actors, musicians and directors which explored Nordic Storytelling as a performing Art, where she was invited as a special guest to open the festival, run workshops and perform. In 2005 she published her much acclaimed children’s book ‘The Selkie and The Fisherman’ based on ancient Scottish tales of the Selkie, exploring the relationship between the masculine and the divine feminine
Born to parents who were dedicated Iyengar yogis, I remember waking up most days to my parents doing headstands in the kitchen and trying to copy them. When I started formally practicing as an early teen, I had a familiarity with the poses, but I don’t remember when I first learnt them. My mother, Chardi Christian, also bred me on a diet of myth and story from as long as I can remember. When her work started to focus more on the divine feminine I too was introduced to ‘The Goddess’ and her many aspects. As a result my relationship with Yoga was always evolving hand in hand with my relationship to the archetypal power of ‘The Feminine’.
I have fond memories of coming home from school to women sitting around our kitchen table, sewing, laughing, crying, telling stories. Or of having to sneak in the house quietly, tip toeing around sage smoke smudging and shaman drums beating (often arhythmically, ha ha) as there was a women’s ritual going on. Coming into my woman hood during those wild and woolly teenage years, I am so grateful for the community of women she worked with and the mentoring and love they provided for me. I know that so much of my intuitive sense of how to create, how to teach creativity, facilitate and hold space was developed during those early years absorbing the energy of mum’s work.
While I feel like I have always had Yoga around me, my early spiritual practice was most influenced by goddess work and my sense of Yoga was more in terms of physical Asana. As my practice developed in my 20s I started learning more about Yoga’s philosophical container while working with teachers from the Satchidananda lineage and I fell in love with the possibilities of the practice. In my early 30s I started to encounter more flow style, dialogue rich forms of Yoga and that is when my love affair became a committed relationship.
Since then I have trained with and been inspired by many other incredible teachers coming from a multitude of different lineages, such as Tara Judelle, Aimee Pedersen, Shiva Rea, Ana Forrest, Pixie Lillas and Marybeth Zang. This has formed a rich and complex weave to my Yoga tapestry.
The core existential concepts informing my teachings come out of a non-dualistic, Tantric lineage that conceives of the material world and the body as an expression of divine consciousness. The spiritual journey for me is essentially a journey of integrating and embodying all aspects of the human experience, thereby coming home to the divine truth of our nature. In terms of personifying this divine truth, I tend to work more with Hindu Gods and Goddesses (Believe me I pestered them endlessly for help in the creation of Flowers and Fire!!!) however ultimately it is my experience that illumination is available through a multitude of conceptual and physical vehicles and forms.
In short, having experienced the transformative power of a diverse range of approaches and lineages, and with an equally varied professional background in education, textile art, costume design, somatic therapies, and a brief stint as professional story teller, my aim as founder and creative director of Flowers and Fire Yoga, is to weave together the disciplines of Yoga, prayer, meditation and creative manifestation to support the transformative journey towards a more graceful, mindful and creative state of well-being.
So now we come full circle. What mum taught me about creativity and using divine feminine energy, magnetism and flow has allowed me to create Flowers and Fire, which will in turn allow her to bring her incredible work to the region (in combination with my own developments on these teachings)
In order to create an intimate and safe container for this work, numbers will be limited, so please contact us for any early expressions of interest or to book a place