Earth Dance: A Genesis

Teresa Rousseau is the founder of Earth Dance Circle.  In 1986 she had a life changing vision while in a "Stone People's lodge" with Grandfather Wallace Black Elk a Lakota elder.  It was from Imagethis experience that Earth Dance was born. Life circumstances informed her decision to become a healer and psychotherapist, to study shamanism, and train in soul-retrieval, as taught by Sandra Ingerman.

Her first Vision Quest in New Mexico near Chaco Canyon was the beginning of reclaiming her Native American roots.  It was through this pilgrimage led by Joan Halifax to these sacred ancestral lands, that something deep, mysterious and authentic was awakened.  Teresa began the long remembering of her life dream, leading her on a life-long exploration of indigenous wisdom.

Teresa's personal quest over the past 20 years has taken her to Arizona where she spent time with a  Hopi family who shared their generosity of spirit.  Invited to accompany them to Kachina Imagedances on numerous occasions, she witnessed both their traditional life ways and the challenges of maintaining these ancient practices in a world that was rapidly changing.   Her Navaho adopted family has also been a rich resource in learning to bridge cultures.  She witnessed Squaw Dances, healing ceremonies, attended pow wow's and participated in the Native American Church.


Teresa returned their warm hospitality by having Carletta, the teenage daughter of her Navajo family visit California. Carletta was delighted to experience what life was like far from the reservation in Chinle where she grew up, near Canyon de Chelly.  Carletta's father Justin was born in a hogan, a traditional Navajo dwelling in Canyon Del Muerto, which ironically means the canyon of death.  It is a nearby sister canyon to Canyon de Chelly.

Justin Tso's  creative vision was translated into beautiful paintings and his horses were a source of income that supported his large extended family.  Teresa has taken many friends and students to the canyon through the years. It was where she learned to ride a horse! She fell in love with a canyon pinto called Queenie.  Her Navajo friends trailered Queenie on the long journey to the Valley of the Moon in Sonoma, California. Queenie's California name became Cloud Dancer.  Cloud was a joy and delight for her daughter Arianna when she was old enough to take a ride!

Horse back riding into the ancient river bed that carved Canyon de Chelly is a source of inspiration for all who have been a part of this sacred place.  One is transported to another time and place.  Wilderness quests don't get any better than this!  Dreaming with the ancestors, the Anazazi (the Ancient Ones as they are called in the Navajo language) are present in the remarkable cliff dwellings and rock art that can't help but inspire wonder.  It was through her connection with Evelyn and Justin Tso that she was introduced to Johnson and Lizzie John.  These two remarkable elders are the gracious keepers of Slim Canyon another sister canyon to Canyon de Chelly.  This private canyon is a sacred container for questing.

Sheep Dip Canyon, Jane Antee, watercolorist

Wisdom and Love
Teresa's love of original cultures, first peoples, has taken her to Mexico to be in ceremony with Mayan, Aztec and Huichol elders.  She has also created many of her own ceremonies at the sacred sites found across the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.


She has traveled to Costa Rica in search of indigenous wisdom and has had the good fortune to sit in circle for several years running, with Nunkui, a Kichua woman from the Amazonian Rain Forest, learning her life ways and witnessing her handiwork: creations of paintings and exquisite traditional pottery.  She has also been to the SunDance, in numerous sweat lodge ceremonies and  for several years participated in the Naraya Ghost Dance Ceremony, in Montana.

Rousseau and Johnson John, keeper of Slim Canyon

Teresa is a "Metis," French for being of mixed blood.  She is of Ojibiwe and French descent. She is also Cree from her father's lineage and a mixture of other European ancestry.  She was not raised on the reservation but in a traditional Catholic family from the "shores of Gitchegumee' in Northern Michigan.  Her love and comfort with the wilderness grew from years spent in the northern woods with her five siblings, hiking, fishing, canoing, blueberry picking and exploring the white sand beaches of Lake Superior.

Earth Dance Circle 

Earth Dance Circle is committed to teaching the way of finding right relationship to ourselves, one another and the Earth.  It is through direct experience with our living planet  that we come to deeply respect and recognize our Earth home as a sacred being.


Earth Dance Circle promotes the deepening connection to all of life through Earth-Centered practices that honor ancient cross-cultural ways of healing.  Our gatherings mark the seasonal and celestial cycles that mirror the mystery of change. Celebrating life passages are central to restoring wholeness, authenticity and balance in our lives. Our teachings support remembering our life dream and purpose. Image

These teachings call upon us to claim our Self authority and our place in the circle of life.  Earth Dance Circle is dedicated to cultivating peaceful hearts and a peaceful world.


Teresa opened The Center for the Healing Arts in 1997 to provide a home for Earth Dance Circle and there establish a integrative health center. Her dream was to create a place for practitioners in the healing arts to work together to provide alternative ways to address the health needs of their community. She chose a beautiful 1850's adobe house which has its unique characteristic blend of old world sensibilities with a native American twist of art and decor. The center features a beautiful garden Medicine Wheel that is a lovely ceremonial and teaching space.



Teresa honors all her teachers from traditional cultures who have informed and shaped her life.  She is especially grateful to Kathleen Meagher, Angeles Arrien and Joan Halifax who have modeled deep commitment and love for that which has "heart and meaning in their lives." They have been a resource of inspiration, support and love through the years in seen and unseen ways.  I am also grateful to Steven Foster who challenged me to trust that I had all I needed in my medicine bag and was ready to offer my work to the world. Thank you for seeing me, and for the guidance through the work offered at the School of Lost Borders.


There are so many other people who have made Earth Dance Circle what it is and continue to support and seed the work through the way they live their lives as Medicine Singer Chiefs, singing their heart songs in all the ways they do.  Karen Kulman Sapper, Katrina Mayo Smith, Michaela Kahn, Vallie Sarver, Shelly Hanlon, Paula Abowd, Bo Sapper, Paul Maysonave,  Kelly Dillman, Nantar and so many more women and men who have contributed their deep hearts to the work through the years and held and believed in the vision. Image


My gratitude is beyond words.



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