What a week. The ups and downs continue here. My foray into deeper mysteries continues along side my day to day concerns. Such is the way of it, you wouldn't want to be pulled too far one way or the other.
I find it is a constant balancing act between staying grounded and also opening to the wonders of life. If you get too bogged down in the mundane life loses its shine, if you wander in the lands of myth too much you lose all connection to consensual reality. For most people it is the loss of mystery that becomes the more dominant end of the pendulum. This is typical for western society. We bleed the mystery out of our children before they get too old. Some people take far too much joy in the process. The business of living is important, but so is having a reason for going about the business of life.
So ladies and gentleman the reason for ceremony comes into being. Well one of the reasons is to create a touchstone to mystery. We are all much more than we seem to ourselves and the world we inhabit (for that matter so is the world). Occasionally we need a reminder of that connection to the mysteries beyond our conscious knowledge. Ceremony can act as a gateway to that unknown and often untapped potential within us. Believe me with the culture we have we need a reminder. (Some people need a siren and five alarm fire).
The truth is we do the miraculous everyday. We create the world in a particular way just by showing up. In quantum physics they'd say we collapse the wave form into the particle form of matter and energy. What we see is a product of what's out there but also what's inside of ourselves. So if you want to change something the best way to do that is to change yourself, and change how you look at it. It really is that simple, but not always easy. Changing our minds is dicey, we like things to remain fairly predictable. We need some way to access that other vision and ceremony provides that bridge. The ceremony is not the change, we are. It helps us access it though and for that it is useful.
This week I had the opportunity to participate in a large ceremony with one of my teachers and shamanic groups in my area. There was a despacho ceremony (there's always despacho). This ceremony was different in that it was linked to a larger one that was a global event. The Global Vigil Fire happens twice a year, once in the fall and the spring. Shamanic practitioners light bonfires all over the world and pray for the world, weaving webs of power between the fires like ley lines. Through these fires they connect with one another, and help support each other.
Our group was much larger than I expected it to be. Most of us had been to gatherings before. We were greeted with a brand new fire pit. I called in the energy of the south for the fire. I had brought my dijeridu for this, I'm not very good at playing it but people seem to like it. The fire was lit and it burned furiously bright. The wind came creating a vortex of flame sending the sparks high up in the air. To me it seemed like it was our prayers rising up into spirit. This fire had green in it at the base and several times during the burn I saw strange colors in the flames. As we began to drum the fire danced with us. It was several minutes in before I began to hear voices singing, not around the fire but coming from within the fire itself. I couldn't tell you what they were saying, but my drum changed to match their tempo. At one point my speed doubled suddenly, not by my choice but by the insistence of the fire. I began to dance and move about listening to the singers in the fire. Oddly enough whenever I stopped the rest of us around the fire stopped. I felt like I was holding the rhythm for people. (Sorry to all you tired ones I made drum faster). After I finally lifted my voice to whoop and sing back to the fire our group started joining in too. Later that night as we watched the last bit of fire burn and talked strange colors would appear in the fires and a light came out of it that was not of the flame but very bright like a strobe light.
I had been exhausted all week. I actually had debated whether or not I should go. I had hurt myself in my studio the prior week. Still I had made the choice to go. I am very glad I did. Some of my major aches and pain went away that night. While I was tired I no longer felt so worn out that I would drop. This after nearly an hour of dancing and very intense drumming. The voices from the fire worked a bit of magic on me. I hope my gifts did the same to others around similar fires around the world.
So other than the field report why tell you this? Well has your heart been longing for mystery of late? Have you gathered with others to support each other's quest for beauty and wonder? Do you ever connect to the great web of life to draw strength or give aid? Have you let your cares loose in ceremony? There is magic in coming together, in connecting with something greater. Why not gather a few like hearts and minds together for an evening around a fire. Tell the fire your dreams, your hopes, and what you love. Give support to those around you as they spill their wishes into the light of the flames. Be mindful of all the others in the world sitting by the fire speaking their words into it, and give them your love as well.
Peace and Blessings,