Tom Swiss

Tom Swiss describes his spiritual path as "Zen Pagan Taoist Atheist Discordian", which usually baffles questioners enough to leave him alone. He an NCCAOM Diplomate in Asian Bodywork Therapy; also a karate student and teacher, holding the rank of sandan (third degree black belt); also a poet, a musician, an amateur philosopher, and a professional computer geek. He has previously presented various workshops at FSA Beltane, the Free Spirit Gathering, and the Starwood Festival, and has recently begun work on a book about Zen Paganism.

Zen Paganism: or, Why Buddha Touched the Earth

Since its beginnings 2,500 years ago, Buddhism has existed with, borrowed from, and lent to poly- and pan-theistic paths including Hinduism, Taoism, Shinto, and Bon; it may have even played a part in the creation of modern Wicca, through the works of Crowley and Gardner. Some of the same factors that have lead to the rebirth of Paganism in our culture have also resulted in a greater interest in Buddhism in the West, and many modern Pagans are finding that Buddhist ideas can lend depth to their practice. We will discuss the basic tenets of Buddhism (mostly from a Zen perspective) and how they might be integrated with Neo-Pagan practice, and do a few mindfulness meditation exercises.

Introduction to Acupressure and Shiatsu

Shiatsu (Japanese for "finger pressure") and acupressure are forms of Asian Bodywork Therapy, which use pressure and stretching to relieve pain and stress. According to the theories of Chinese medicine, these techniques help balance the flow of qi, or vital energy, in the body. We will discuss and practice the use of acupressure points for physical, emotional, and spiritual balancing, and also learn a simple self-shiatsu routine. If time permits we will also do some partner work. Please bring a mat or towel to lie on for stretching.

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