This is about a man who many of the Modern Mystery School initiates know as Ipsissimus Dave Lanyon. Many people do not know him personally as they may only encounter him once in a while, should they choose to take some of the advanced training further down the path of initiation. He is one of the lineage holders of the Modern Mystery School, holds a special place of leadership and authority in our tradition, and like any person in a position as such, there is often a bit of distance and a mystery about that person.
Many people find him mysterious, hilarious, entertaining, empowering, challenging or a combination of all of the above!
However, to me, he takes on a different role. As someone who sits a little closer to him, I wanted to share a bit of insight into the truth about the man known as Dave Lanyon.
He is my Sensei, my Guide, my mentor, my employer and my brother (in spirit, heart and soul).
Yes, I am his employee. So, let’s get that out of the way because that is an easy thing to counter me with, that I would only be saying nice things because he’s paying me. It’s true that he does pay me for my work at the MMS International Headquarters as administration, but I think anyone who has ever had a job will know that being paid doesn’t guarantee you will say nice things about your boss!
Let me start this story at the beginning. One autumn morning in 2003, I was driving my car but I don’t recall where I was going or why. I needed to be in this particular part of the city that I lived in. In an instant, a thought came to my mind: I need to sign up at a martial arts school which is right around the corner. As quickly as that thought came into my mind, so was I following it. Without any hesitation, solely following that inspiration that came barely minutes ago, I drove right up to that dojo.
A man opened the door for me and greeted me. I said, “I’m here to sign up.” He asked if I wanted to know more about the club or have a tour. I can vividly recall the surprised and pleased look on his face when I didn’t need any convincing. No sales pitch needed, just sign me up.
As I filled out the paperwork, we engaged in some small talk. As we chatted, I could tell he was looking through me at something else. I knew that I knew him, from some past life emanation or an alternate dimension, and I knew that he knew me, too, from the same other worldly plane. But that wasn’t discussed until several years later.
The man behind the desk was Dave Lanyon. The fateful day on which I listened so clearly to my inner guidance, I was led to the place where I would not only meet some of my best friends who I still walk the path with (Aleksandra Ceho, Sylwester Organka), but also to the place that became the threshold for learning of unprecedented magnitude. My then boyfriend, now husband, also trained there with us (Peter Lozano). Through our Sifu and coach of boxing and martial arts, myself (and those mentioned above) learned about living the warrior way of life, which inevitably led us to the path of initiation and the Modern Mystery School.
Fast forward a few years later, I became the first employee of Dave and Franca Lanyon at what at the time was the Modern Mystery School Canadian HQ. I began working for them in 2007. For a long time, it was the three of us. I assisted them as they brought the very first major initiations such as Healers Academy and Ritual Master to Canada. We worked very closely together, long hours, long talks, big projects, big growth.
Aside from their own families, for a long time I was the next closest person to these two people. They treated me like family, and continue to do so to this day.
Family is of massive importance to Ipsissimus Dave. He always has made his own family his priority as well as creating opportunities for families in the mystery school. He has given countless hours of his time, money and energy to creating these amazing opportunities of play for the kids in the community. He has annually created elaborate Nerf War days, setting up and staging fortresses in MMS HQ to have a full day of team sport and strategy. He’s sponsored and organized Holiday and Halloween parties, with so many gifts and goodies for the kids. He does this for JOY and shares that with the community.
Along with his wife Divina Franca, over the last 7 years, he has been passionate about supporting a local women’s shelter with outreach projects. Along with the co-operation of MMS Director of Administration and Charitable Contributions, Kathleen Petersen, over the course of the relationship with that shelter, there has been hundreds of thousands of dollars and in-kind donations provided, program support and direct contribution to the families utilizing this assistance.
There is the official help he gives, and then there is his generosity that goes unseen by most. He is insanely philanthropic and doesn’t boast about half of the charitable work that is done in his name with his time, energy and money. I’ve watched him for years create job opportunities, I’ve known him to pay people’s rent if they were short, to pull money out of his pocket and hand it over when people needed it. So many individuals and families in the mystery school have benefited from his generosity for years on so many levels
As a Ritual Master Teacher, Ipsissimus Dave trains students in the way of the warrior, it’s a tough path and the methodology around this style of training is hard, requires discipline and discernment. As the teacher on this path, he can be quite direct and honest — which not everyone appreciates. It’s not an easy thing to have your own shadow reflected back to you. Some of us on the path affectionately call this process …. Thor’s Hammer. Whether you’ve experienced it yourself in case, many Ritual master initiates know or have heard about the hammer of Thor.
As someone who has worked for Ipsissimus Dave THOR Lanyon for almost 15 years. I have experienced this. I couldn’t be in my position as long as I have been, longer than anyone else on the team, had this not been the case.
Dave is a man who does not put up with any excuses. He has held me to a higher standard when I wouldn’t do that for myself. He has called me out on my self-pity and self-sabotage dozens (upon dozens) of times. Every time was more painful and enlightening than the next, and every time….he was right. Every time, I came back clearer and stronger within MYSELF. Not blindly listening to him or following him… he helped ME to see MYSELF as who I truly am. Stronger, more confident, clearer.
If you are on the Ritual Master path, you will experience this to a degree in a class setting. This is an aspect of understanding the Warrior Way. In order to live this way, to hold oneself and others to the highest standard of their own best self, it takes a lot of love, strength, discipline and courage.
To those who know Dave as that Ipsissimus, as that Ritual Master Teacher, as that Warrior, you are seeing just one side of him, much like the one pillar of the Tree of Life, the pillar of Severity and Power and Strength. Which he is, he is fierce and intelligent and iron-willed. He is tough as nails. But he also has the biggest heart. He’s helped more people than he’ll ever accept credit for. Just like the other pillar on the Tree of Life, the pillar of Love, Mercy and Compassion, he is forgiving and caring, gives more chances to people than most would even contemplate, he is accepting and supportive, and will never turn anyone away. He may test you, he may be honest with you in a way you are not comfortable to hear, he may demand more of yourself than you will demand of yourself, and he will always hold the door open.
Just like he opened the door for me 18 years ago at that dojo.
A gentleman, he did hold the door open, but it was I who walked through it.
I walked the path and am grateful to have him guide me and redirect me along the way.
Thank you, brother, for holding the door open for me and so many others.