The 5 Ethea represent the overarching thematic structures of the MogaDao practices and ideologies. The Ethea is simply an existential framework of approaches toward being—physical, intellectual, sociopolitical, and spiritual. As overarching themes, the Ethea establish structures of practice and philosophical consideration at once autonomous and related to the whole. The MogaDao Ethea are:
Mythopoetics: Emotion, Archetype and the Imagination
Fragility and Power: Post-Daoist Perspectives
Gender and Essence: Post-Daoist Theories
Numina and Soma: The Body Spiritual
Depth Sexuality: The Erotic Basis of Being
Mythosomatic Qigong is the name that Zhenevere Sophia Dao has coined to describe the spiritualized choreographies of the qigong she has created. With the exception of The Mythos Cylce (formerly called "Morning Medical Qigong"), which predates the major innovations and majority of Mythosomatic Qigong, and which has progenitorial movements derived from various sources, such as American acupuncturists and taiji masters, as well as brief exposure to Chinese medical qigong, all of the Mythosomatic Qigong forms are original choreographies. Although these movements derive from an initial concept of qigong as movement characterized by a certain heightened awareness to nature and the medicinal potential of the body, Mythosomatic Qigong conceives of this hieratic movement as primarily psychological and spiritual, placing Mythosomatic Qigong more toward dance and theater than the healing arts. The concept that mythos (personal, cultural, and ancestral mythologies or stories) and soma (the felt experience of the body's materiality) combine, in highly attuned movement, to draw the body and the soul exceptionally toward one another, is fundamental to these practices.
On the Matter of appropriation
"The question of the ethics of creating and innovating qigong is a real one. Qigong is an ancient Chinese practice that is related both to Daoism and to Traditional Chinese Medicine. From the time that I even knew of the concept of qigong, I began to imagine it as a physical theater of the soul. At the time when I briefly encountered actual qigong in China, I was reading deeply in Western Depth Psychology and in Daoism—Daoist texts, it feels important to emphasize, read in translation and commented upon almost entirely by white Western males. Directly I began to practice qigong, I began to imbue the movement with these influences, until I began to create forms that were original choreographies, unique artistic expressions of states of the psyche, or reflective of archetypal natures. The concept of qigong, therefore, flowered in my imagination into the physical theaters of Mythosomatic Qigong. Decades later, I am still assiduously studying Daoism—still, it must be said, primarily, through white Western male translators, and in the geography of America, not China—and still innovating these "theaters" of the somatic imagination. In all transparency, I am grappling with the ethics of this journey. I have created some 150 original Mythosomatic Qigong forms over the course of nearly 30 years; it has been a major part of my life's work. But is it ethical to innovate upon ancient practices at all? I don't know. I don't know where the line of appropriation is or might be drawn. Since I have called spiritualized movements that represent states of the soul "qigong," does that mean that all of the hieratic movements that I have created or ever will create are qigong? And is it truer and more ethical to say that it is qigong, because the combination of Daoist influence and nature assimilation is foundational to its premise, or to say that it is not qigong, because the dance and theatrical and psychological aspects are of foremost importance? These questions, as I mentioned above, are questions with which I am currently and deeply grappling. If you study this work with myself or any MogaDao teacher, please know that you are necessarily inside these selfsame conversations, which are terribly challenging, and at the forefront of the attempt to be ethical at the same time as imaginal and procreative with human culture."
~Zhenevere Sophia Dao
LETTER OF RESIGNATION, FROM ZHENEVERE SOPHIA DAO
It is with a humble heart that I announce that I will no longer be stewarding a tradition and teaching the mythosomatic practices of MogaDao within that tradition. The practices began with a paradox of archetype that, in time (some thirty years) has proved, for me, to be untenable. This paradox is best described as that between the healer and the artist. I came to study and to innovate qigong initially from a need to heal Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the illness with which I was diagnosed as a very young person. Invariably, those struck with illness, and who heal, often become healers in turn. This characterized my initial sense of my own journey. Decades later, I have come to realize that the very need to innovate qigong as intensely and broadly as I have was not, actually, stemming from a healer’s archetype, but an artist’s.
For a time, that paradox seemed fecund. But as the scope of my work—both forms and philosophy—branched more and more into the most tender and contentious areas of psyche, culture, and society, I must humbly admit that I did not have the personal resources to accommodate the quantity and degree of wound that the practices and ideologies brought forth. For my interest proves itself to be too discursive to be properly accountable to the psychological and spiritual upheavals that the practices and ideologies can incur.
Therefore, I will be turning my energies toward art and philosophy, forms of expression that cannot but exist in the field of their own urgency, even as they are perforce related to and endlessly engaged with the world. For the force of art is seen through the lens of a personal vision that must remain satisfied with its own exigency and experience, and not imagine, necessarily, that one’s own urgencies and visions are germane or necessary for others. Recent events in my personal life, and strains within the student body, have shown me that the aforementioned paradox, in my own life, between healing and art, amounts to a mistake in pedagogical judgement insofar as it is projected upon students as their own necessity.
To say it as succinctly as I can, Mythosomatic Qigong comprises choreographies that are too close to the existential urgency of their creator—me. Strangely, and here I am not being coy or facetious, the practices are more properly "taught" by the extraordinary MogaDao teachers, because, although they have learned them from me, they sift them through their own beings, offering them out with passionate excellence and clarity, but without necessarily the need to justify themselves through them.
The (largely unconscious) need to justify my being vis-a-vis my creations pitches my class atmosphere past the confines of pedagogy, and more properly into the arenas of art, and incurs disorientation thereby not germane to the atmosphere of responsible didactic pedagogy. To clarify with a parallelism: the need to justify oneself through one's creations is an artist's need; the need to offer powerful work to others because it has transformed one overwhelmingly seems to be a teacher's need. My life has settled upon the former. Even now I am creating new forms, and I know not what will become of them.
The practices and philosophies, however, still stand, and they are beautiful and powerful in their own right, and remain potentials of healing. These practices are in the excellent hands of the MogaDao teachers, whose contact information can be found on the Teachers page in the above Menu. But it is in my own transmission of my own spiritual need, to assimilate art into healing as the farthest reaches of the soul, that has become problematic as a general foundation for transmission.
For this I apologize,
~Zhenevere Sophia Dao
MogaDao is a queer-based multivalent series of ideologies and practices at the intersection of somatic, socioerotic, and sociopolitical exploration and inquiry. “Queer" in this usage denotes a conscious and comprehensive undermining of institutions of sociopolitical normativity. We are a safe and profound training ground for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, transexual or transgender, asexual, gender non-conforming, or as queer consociates, namely individuals who are authentically called to surround themselves with queer consciousness in order to effect their own liberation through the undoing of cultural conditioning.
MogaDao's Ethea, or categories of thematic consideration, relate the body to notions of the soul, and to the lived experience of human beings in the circumstance of culture. Therefore, historically racially marginalized and oppressed groups and individuals are inestimably welcomed. For this reason, BIPOC scholarships are available on an ask-and-receive basis.
Study of the Ethea comprise queer ontologies, Mythosomatic Qigong, and somatic meditation. These practices are supported and illuminated by the emergent philosophy of Post-Daoism, originated by Zhenevere Sophia Dao. Post-Daoism combines inheritances of Western Depth Psychology with Eastern philosophical foundations, reinterpreting the former and extending and elaborating upon the latter toward a "justified ontology," or the affirmation of life.