On July 14 to 16 Aryaloka hosted the Freedom Beyond Fear men's weekend retreat. On Saturday afternoon, the rupa (the form; a statue) was installed with many hands working together. Although the origin and age of the rupa is unknown, Neil Harvey rescued her and several other rupas many years ago from a liquidation warehouse; he then donated the rupas to Aryaloka where they are now back in a context of Dharma practice.
During the ceremony, the directions were called and the local spirits/energies were respected and entreated to protect the Dharma. When the spirits of the air were called upon, the wind picked up noticeably. When the mandala was created in which to place the rupa, a black butterfly flew into our midst like a blessing. Once the rupa was in place, we chanted the Refuges and Precepts. This was likely the first time they had been chanted in the presence of the rupa for many years. When we were finished, several barred owls began to call out in the forest. Offerings were made and merits were given away to all beings.
The shelter in which the Dakini rupa stands is still under construction, so please be careful if you walk down to see the site. Thanks to Paul Dupre and everyone who helped Paul to build the structure. This will be a significant feature of the physical and spiritual landscape of Aryaloka for many years to come.