Tuesday, August 2, 2016

HEAT!

Heat!

Heat! It conjures up images of fire, rising temperatures, passion, even a movie. But it's much
Solar Eruptions
more influential in our lives and is something we often take for granted. Earth is in the "sweet spot" in its distance from the inferno of the sun. Without the sun's heat, the temperatures on earth would reach hundreds of degrees below zero and pretty soon life on earth would end. And should the sun itself vanish, the gravity that held things together would instead allow all comets, asteroids and planets to fly off into space or each other.

While science defines heat as "the energy stored inside something" (like the core of the earth) temperature is a measurement of how hot or cold something is.  Heat travels and moves around and through objects. Things that are hot cool down (like a cup of coffee) and things that are cold get warmer (like a cup of ice-cream.) Then there's weather which is an atmospheric condition defined as temperatures of hot or cold, and atmospheres that are sunny or rainy. Weather is driven by air pressure, temperatures interacting with moisture, and the sun's angle relative to the axis of the earth.

That's heat in a nutshell. But why is it so important? Because weather shapes the earth. Andalso because weather, with its temperature extremes of hot and cold, has an extraordinary impact on human health and well-being. In the northern hemisphere August is a month
Frying egg on sidewalk
synonymous with heat. The temperature is so hot wildfires abound and often sidewalks buckle in the heat. Some daring souls have fried eggs on their car bumpers during the month. August is also the "high season" for catastrophic hurricanes. Hurricane Katrina caused one million people to leave the Gulf Coast and move to other parts of the country, becoming the largest diaspora in the history of the United States.

The heat of August, coupled with high humidity, also contributes to exploding tempers and emotional outbursts. Like the weather, pressures in humans builds up. Police reports show violent crimes soar in the hot months but less so in the cold months.Archaeologists and psychologists say there's a link between the environment and human behavior. Evidence exists that extreme weather caused crop failures that led to unrest, uprising and the downfall of civilizations from Babylon to the Mayan Cultures to the dynasties of China.

But consider this.  Research scientists at UCLA Berkeley have been seeking a "grand unified theory of the environment and human behavior" that crosses location and time with the only constant being us. The research concludes that a degree of fluctuation from average temperatures or rainfall results in a predictable change in human conflict. They said this conflict is played out on NY subways, as well as influencing the regional and national levels. When heat is added it escalates. For instance when policemen were placed in a "heated simulator room" they were more likely to fire their guns when assaulted. The environmentappears to be affecting how small scale conflicts can escalate into larger ones.
Searing passions
You're probably wondering what this has to do with you personally. Sufi mystic Pir Vilayat suggests one should always "look for that which transpires behind that which appears" to get a better understanding of events. What if there's a correlation not just with the weather affecting humans but rather with humans affecting the weather? I don't mean humans causing climate change, though that's an aspect of it. Rather, what if the emotional state of humans is the actual cause of the weather we experience? What if the angry and fearful behavior of humans creates the volcanic disturbances in the weather?

We're living in a violent period of earth history. Civil discourse and respect for one another has taken a back seat. It's evident in how we treat each other, the litter we leave on beaches and parks, and the value we place on the self and personal gain. If an argument in a heated moment can poison the atmosphere between friends so powerfully that it's felt when others come into contact with them, then it seems logical that contaminated atmosphere will also radiate out as
Us and the weather
part of the weather? Enough heated arguments (wars, election campaigns) will create disastrous storms because our personal "atmosphere" is affected and so too is the overall global weather atmosphere.

When Pir Vilayat said "look for that which transpires behind that which appears" that phrase becomes a directive for each of us to carefully observe our actions and make a determination on how we're influencing others. We are not alone in this! We are inter-connected as one being. What happens to one of us happens to the whole.  That includes our affect on the environment and weather.
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                                                                                                 Jo Mooy - August 2016   

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ten Years Shredded

Ten Years Shredded

"How long do I have to keep these tax records?" I asked my tax guy. "Three years but ideally
seven." he replied. I dug deep into a five-drawer file cabinet, and found tax returns going back ten years beyond the ideal seven. So, I made a cup of tea, plugged in the shredder, and sat on my office floor with a pile of folders intending to make short work of shredding ten years of my life. But I learned there's a huge chasm between intention and execution.

The project was not what I expected it to be. As each folder was opened and the contents spilled out, my business and personal life from decades ago captured my attention. Taxes paid to the different cities and states I'd lived in brought up memories of not of what I had to pay (outrageous) but of the relationships and long-term friendships forged in each place. I recalled my first boss Tom who taught me an adage that I used throughout my career. Tom said "Twenty percent of the people do eighty percent of the work so feed the eagles and starve the turkeys." I wondered about him and those long gone friends.  Where were they today? Did they remember me as I now remembered them?

The contents also spoke to both sad and happy life events. A lawyer's letter notified me of an investment that passed to my sisters and me upon the death of our mother. It was a loving reminder of her and how many years she'd been gone. Savings bonds receipts, purchased for each grandson when he was born, required an accounting with the IRS. I remembered leaving
an important executive meeting when the phone call came in that the first one was born, and my hair-raising drive from Connecticut to New Jersey to see grandson Deegan.

Charitable donations were made in honor of events that touched the world. There was one to the NYC Firemen's Fund after 9/11 which brought up long ago memories of a day engraved in the hearts of all - especially New Yorkers. Three file folders later there was a different donation to the efforts in Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami killed 230,000 people and devastated that region.

It took several hours to go through all the files. As I did my old life came into focus and was remembered well. I recognized it as a life well lived, filled with joys and professional rewards. W-2s showed a career with many promotions and much promise; while expense accounts recalled travel all over the country and to foreign ports. As I thumbed through the receipts I smiled remembering the events, banquets, guests and friends made along the way.

Recalling the memories I realized it was a life I had to leave behind in order to live the life I really wanted to live. It was impossible to do the work that consumes me today while continuing to live the old life in the Corporate world. Rewarding as it was, I had to leave it behind in order to pursue that which has since become a life purpose.
When a life purpose emerges you realize it's not a hobby you're pursuing but a powerful and meaningful path. It's a path that family or friends might not understand and they might actively try to thwart it. I experienced that for several years before making the final break. When it occurred the dominant feeling that overpowered all the others was "Freedom." I had the freedom to pursue that which brought me overwhelming happiness and purpose.

Those folders were a reminder that the path to meaningful happiness can take a 90 degree turn at any moment. It comes unbidden but is merciless in its demands for notice! If one is strong enough to do it, willing to ignore well-meaning guidance from family and friends, and courageous in resolve, the rewards to pursuing a new path are remarkable. Shredding tax documents reminded me of the strength and courage it took to close the door on the old life and open the door to something new.

All the skills learned in the old corporate life enhance the new one. I teethed on computers, perfected presentations, developed marketing plans and writing proposals - all still in use today. That life was ideal for the time I was in it. It afforded me happiness, and a good living to raise a family. As Ten Years were Shredded it reminded me there were no regrets. My past life brought me brilliantly to this new one here! At the end of the shredding I realized happiness is wherever one is planted.
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                                                                                                 Jo Mooy - July 2016   

Monday, June 27, 2016

THE BLUE RAY

The Blue Ray
I first learned about the Medicine Buddha when a Buddhist friend from California did a prayer meditation for my mother who was very ill. She said the Medicine Buddha is an enlightened
being known as the healer of physical and mental illness. He is depicted seated, wearing the three robes of a Buddhist monk, holding a blue-colored jar of medicine nectar in his left hand with the right hand resting on his right knee. He holds the stem of the Myrobalan plant which is considered an exceptional universal healing plant. A lapis lazuli blue aura surrounds him.

In the years that followed, my knowledge of the Medicine Buddha remained subtle and uninformed. But apparently that prayer she invoked for my mother was destined to sow seeds that would begin to emerge a few years later when my brother-in-law went to Nepal and brought me a beautiful Life of Buddha Thangka. It had all the aspects of Buddha, including the Medicine Buddha, painted on it. Soon after the painting was hung over our altar the Medicine Buddha began to make its presence known.

One morning in meditation two figures appeared on either side of the Medicine Buddha. The one on the left identified herself as the Bodhisattva Chandra, Goddess of the Moon. The one on the right identified herself as the Bodhisattva Surya, Goddess of the Sun. Both of them appeared in a sea of blue color. In the scene were shades of the most extraordinary clear blues with streams and pure rays of blue everywhere. I wrote down the meditation with plans to share it with our local women's circle, which I did in 2014.


Fast forward two years later. The local Buddhist Center invited the community to a Medicine Buddha Empowerment. An empowerment is like an initiation. It's a ceremonial ritual handed down in an unbroken lineage for thousands of years. It consists of prayers, blessings, a guided meditation, and an initiation into practices associated with a specific aspect of the Buddha.

Walking into the center my eyes fixed on a poster of the Medicine Buddha. Normally the Medicine Buddha, portrayed in blue, sits serenely alone. But this one was different. What caught my attention were the two deities on either side of the Buddha - the Goddess of the Moon and the Goddess of the Sun. I recalled the meditation from several years earlier as the bell rang for the ceremony.

An empowerment is a very singular and purposeful experience. No two are alike. After a series of teachings and chants the meditation guiding the empowerment began. In the stillness, the visuals that were called in took over my being. I became immersed inside a Blue Ray of light. Blue filled every cell in my body. I had no consciousness of anything but The Blue Ray. I felt blue, saw blue, and experienced blue. There was a notable collapsing of the physical entity into this absorption by The Blue Ray. It was like experiencing blocks slowly falling away until nothing but a Blue Ray remained. In that state, I was submerged into a vast healing space that was timelessly held by the being known as the Medicine Buddha. I had become the Blue Ray.

Since the empowerment the effects of the Blue Ray continue. When needed for healing, it's
summoned as though it never left. A cold, accompanied by 2 weeks of coughing, caused the muscles around my ribs to become painfully inflamed so I decided to visit my local physician. On a scale of 1-10, the pain was a 10. Before going to the doctor I summoned the Medicine Buddha in meditation. An hour after meditation I went to the doctor. When asked the level of pain, I said a 6. The doctor prescribed muscle relaxants and an anti-inflammatory medication. By the time I got home the pain was a 2. I filled NO prescriptions. Over the course of 6 hours, a severe pain in the ribs that had been with me for two weeks, disappeared completely in the Blue Ray of healing.

Lama Tashi Namgyal said, "If one meditates on the Medicine Buddha, one will eventually attain enlightenment, but in the meantime one will experience an increase in healing powers both for oneself and others and a decrease in physical and mental illness and suffering." That is the force of the Medicine Buddha and the power of The Blue Ray!



                                                                                                 Jo Mooy - June 2016   

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Off The Bucket List

Off The Bucket List
Everybody has an opinion on it. Everybody wants to do it. Everybody thinks if they're not
actively pursuing it, they've failed. "It" has been a hot topic for decades in seminars, blogs, newsletters, for the new age faithful, and for those who make a living off the subject. IT is Ascension. 

When I googled the topic of Ascension 43 million entries came up. I clicked on some of the readings, dumbfounded at the many interpretations cloaked in religious, psychological, or inter-dimensional covers. I was struck by the warnings of physical and emotional symptoms that can present before ascending to the 5th or 12th dimensions - your choice! This is made even sillier when so many sites seem to copy one another's opinions and material by propagating the same information.

So, how do we get out of this quagmire of Ascension? First place I'd start is taking the whole conversation about Ascension as something one has to do, Off The Bucket List. It's difficult enough living an earth life with all the interpersonal relationship issues we deal with, making a living, raising children, being a good citizen and being a decent human being. Why add another level of complexity to that?  Especially as ascension is neither a process nor a destination.

Ascension is either a huge crutch or a great hindrance for those on the spiritual path. Those who
"teach" you how to ascend, no matter the fanfare or notoriety associated with their teachings, are either a great distraction or they are negligent in their offerings. There's no place to "ascend" to. Why? Because this is our evolutionary glide-path and it goes on forever. 

We live in and are a part of an eternal universe with cycles that rise and fall, over and over, in perpetual motion. The cycles are endless. There is a constant in this however.  It's called consciousness. And, the best behavior in consciousness is one of compassion for self and for others. It goes back to living one's life as a decent human being. If we've got this unnecessary burden of having to ascend, we live our life with one foot nailed to the floor and the rest of us way too busy trying to "ascend."

Forget about Ascension. Take it off the bucket list. Instead, grow where you're planted. Smell the roses. Show the kids the butterflies. Teach them good manners and respect for others. Make sure they're mindful of nature and the planet. Teach them compassionate consciousness! And every now and then show them a little magic. That's ascension!
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                                                                                                 Jo Mooy - May 2016   

Friday, April 1, 2016

SHADING THE SUN

Shading the Sun
It's an adage that's taken on mythic importance in spiritual circles. It's a principle in the
Hermetic teaches of Hermes Trismegistus, the "Thrice Great" Hermes. The common phrase most of us know is, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears." But the principle in the old treatises reads, "When the ears of the student are ready to hear, then cometh the lips to fill them with Wisdom."

So who are these teachers? Where do they come from? And what do they do for us? They are the teachers great and small, who inspire us. They make us strive for greatness. They encourage us to be the best we can be. They advise us and they guide us. They can be spiritual mentors - our parents - certain friends - a grandmother - a beloved teacher - or even a casual meeting with someone briefly met. Yet, their influence is extraordinary because in some way meeting them changes the course of our lives.
Other than family members, quite often these teachers seem to appear unbidden. They come with the brilliance of the sun, illuminating everything we are and everything we do. Even those who come for just a short time leave a mark that's remembered long after their departure. Some come to derail our assumptions and beliefs, leaving us like a tattered garment. Yet, in all cases WE summoned them.  So how is it then that the student was ready but zealously shades the sun of the teacher?
There's an electric charge when the teacher appears. The student resonates in harmony with the teacher and the teachings. They're drawn like a moth to light. Whatever the teacher says, the student absorbs and makes it her own. The teacher is put on a pedestal shining brilliantly for the student. This goes on for some time until one day the student becomes disillusioned for some perceived slight or misunderstanding. Most times this is due to the "human-ness" of the teacher or the student's belief in their own "self-importance." The student puts up a barrier distancing themselves from the teacher and the teachings and in effect, Shading the Sun

The student is seldom mature enough to understand that it's not the teacher's failings 
that have caused the distance. Rather the challenges or disappointments the student feels are a direct tool to further their understanding and evolution. Nonetheless, the student goes looking from place to place for another teacher. Eventually, they will find the teacher because it is the law of attraction, of cause and effect, that brings the next teacher forward.
Eventually, after running from place to place, searching for the ideal teacher, the student will realize there is only one teacher. With that maturity she will become the teacher some other student is looking for. The cycle will continue, the student will be ready and the teacher will appear. And the Shade on the Sun will be lifted once more.
 
                                                                                                 Jo Mooy - April 2016   

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Re-Imagine the Stage

The great bard, William Shakespeare, once wrote, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances..." These words suggest that
we live in a world where the "script" and the "actors" in our lives are malleable. Through the use of imagination this turns out to be the case.  

Walking into a government facility can be intimidating. First there's security to pass through. Pockets are emptied, purses overturned, and guards watch you as though you're on the FBI most wanted list.  Once you're through that obstacle, then you're confronted by overworked, underpaid, clerks who would rather be anywhere else than waiting on you.  When you finally get to the front of the line and your name is called by the clerk, the belligerence is palpable.  They know the rules.  They know what forms are required.  And answering your questions is akin to pulling teeth. 

Such was the situation on a recent visit to city hall.  The clerk was not happy. Her answers were short, curt and at times antagonistic. She was going to make life as difficult as possible for everyone she encountered that day.  A typical reaction reaction would be to respond in kind or to defuse the situation by being overly polite and smiling.  With this clerk, it didn't matter.  Her face remained passive with a touch of arrogance.  When she dismissed us by saying "fill out the forms on the computer at the kiosk" which was conveniently far across the room from her, we knew any questions we had would not be answered without getting back into line.  So we
headed to the kiosk to begin filling out the forms she required.

Half-way through page one we could hear her angry comments in the background.  As if on cue, years of spiritual training kicked in.  We could change the atmosphere in the room as well as change the situation through the power of imagination.  "We know what to do, so let's do this" we said to each other.  "Let's change the stage and the situation."

We imagined the clerk in a peaceful bubble of pink light.  We imagined her happy at home and at work. We imagined all her worries and anger dissolving.  We imagined her with the word LOVE prominently written across her chest.  We saw radiant pink light pouring from her as she greeted every new person who came to her window. We saw the mask of anger on her face dissipating and it being replaced with a smiling face.  Then we continued filling out the forms.

We returned to the line to complete the paperwork. As we moved up to the front of the line
the clerk suddenly got up, closed her cubicle, and left the room.  We looked at each other wondering what had just happened.  Then, another window opened.  A beautiful, smiling, face greeted us. The new clerk now waiting on us, said, "Ladies, good morning.  You've come to the right window. I'm here to make your experience at City Hall perfect."  The contrast between the first clerk and the second could not have been more pronounced.  One actor exited and another had appeared on our little stage. 




Then we realized what we'd done and what had just happened.  Our training had worked a magical transformation.  We had Re-Imagined the atmosphere around the clerks on the Stage of City Hall. We had rewritten the script. What we created with our imagination had been delivered by the second clerk. She was smiling. She was happy.  She was pleasant. She loved her job. And she told us that since she was child, she always knew she had a special purpose in life. Eight years ago she discovered that purpose was to serve everyone with respect and LOVE.  

So the next time you're presented with a situation that is less than desirable, re-imagine it.  Re-write your script with the power of your mind. Perhaps the Bard was right, "All the world is a stage..." Be the playwright and the director of a life worth living.
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                                                                                                 Jo Mooy - March 2016   

Monday, February 1, 2016

Elevate the Senses

Elevate the Senses
Gino the Wine Knower
Returning from a month in Italy, most friends asked, "Was it great?" Expecting a yes answer they quickly moved on to the next topic. Others were more curious, wanting to learn more about the trip.  When they asked "What was the best thing you saw or did in Italy?" it would have been easy to say Florence, or Sorrento, or Tuscany. Instead I had to stop and reflect on not just the journey, but the experiences that wove themselves into my being and which now present as the best things about Italy.
It began with Gino who was known in Tuscany as a "wine-maker" but who called himself a "wine-knower."Reverently touching the vines he said "God and nature make the wine. Only by observing nature, the sky, the earth, the wind and the water do you know the wine." He continued, "Wine is not liquid. Rather wine is the heat of the sun, and the womb of the earth which produces the wine in this sacred valley where grapes were first discovered 2,600 years ago." 

Gino felt the drinking of wine should be a slow and holy journey.  And indeed, his wine stories were a metaphor on living a conscious life.  He asked, "Why do you race to the end of the
Four Generations of Gelato Makers
journey?  If you do, it's quickly over!  Go slowly and enjoy the pleasure of the trip. Bring all your senses into every experience and elevate each sense along the way. Smell the musk of the earth that produced the wine.  See the crimson color created by the chill air.  Hear the tone of the liquid as it's poured into a glass.  And feel the tingle at the back of the tongue as you taste it. That is how you become a knower of wine!"

Gino was the first of many Italians we met who said the same thing, delivered a similar message, and made you realize the Italians really do live like this. Theirs is a modern country, yet their lives are tied to the old ways - the elements, to the cycles of the moon and sun for planting, and the tides that come in and out. They do this as a matter of course, and without fanfare.  They do not rush about.  They take each day, each hour, each moment for what it presents. Every day they go to market for fresh produce or meats. The are restored in a three hour rest mid-day when stores close and dinner is served.  They work hard but
Family Sunday Dinners
take rest as needed.

The hearts of the Italian people are tied to their relationships with family and friends.  We learned Sunday was family day across Italy. Nothing interrupts Sunday meal gatherings that span several generations.  Yet, with warm hearts they invited us into their family celebrations. Seated at an open air restaurant by the Bay of Naples, we shared food and drink with them.  We were strangers, yet they offered us appetizers and tastes of food off their plates, along with glasses of Limoncello.  With my broken Italian and their broken English we laughed and talked and felt part of an extended family though we were far away from our own.

What was the best thing about Italy?  The people!  In Tuscany, we remember a "wine-knower" who was really a philosopher. In Sorrento we remember afternoons spent with a shop owner who told us her life story and called us "her angels."  Also in Sorrento, we remember four generations of gelato makers, learning about their religious faith, the loss of a child, and the joys of being a
Laura & Luca's Shop
large family. In Rome, we got taken for a ride by an unscrupulous taxi driver.  But he was overshadowed when Zina (an Italian warrior princess) came to our rescue, driving us around Rome at a fair price then picking us up at dawn to go to the airport so we wouldn't get caught by another unregistered taxi. These were the people who were the best thing about Italy.

Like Gino said, we experienced a most holy journey.  It was one we took slowly with elevated senses.  We touched the core of the people and their land.  We were embedded with them, their families and their stories.  Now, each of those treasured moments and the people who brought them to life are forever etched in our hearts.  On Valentine's Day we especially remember them.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Making History

Starsoundings Journals

Making History

It was early January 2006.  Our house was empty, and without any furniture.  Friends said, "We need to bless your house.  When do you want to do it?"  I said, "The night of the full moon."  To prepare, I went to Walmart and bought eight folding chairs. On the full moon January 14th, eight friends, who would become close friends, sat on folding chairs around a cardboard box turned into a makeshift altar, burned incense and invoked blessings for the house.  It was the start of what became known as The Women's Meditation Circle.

They said, "Let's do it again on the February full moon."  We did. By March, the group of eight had doubled as word spread in the community.  Before the end of the year we were regularly seating forty women in the homes of members.  Soon, no home was large enough to hold the group.  It was time to find a permanent home.  In 2008, David Less, director of Rising Tide Spiritual Center heard about the work of our group and offered their center on Friday evenings for the Women's Meditations.  It became a mainstay at Rising Tide and has been our spiritual home
ever since.

What's so special about the Women's Meditation Circle?  Why has it survived for ten years when other groups haven't?  I believe this is why.  Every circle is a rimmed container, but this one is uncommon. At its start the Women's Meditation Circle set a vision of raising human consciousness by raising our own.  With respect and integrity it reflects that vision to others.  It opens wide to all the women who come in the door. It's a place where strangers become friends and friends become family.


In their own words, women said: "I find love and acceptance every time I attend a gathering."  "It's a place where I learned  how to meditate." "It broadened my understanding of spirituality." "No matter how wretched my week has been, when I walk into that space I'm grounded and feel peace and contentment." "This circle and these women are my spiritual home." "It's my north star, constantly guiding me back home." These testimonials were borne out when The Women's Meditation Circle won Natural Awakenings "Nattie Award" as favorite meditation group for six years in a row.  The magazine retired the category in 2015.


Women from different religious backgrounds or spiritual disciplines find a neutral home here. 
They, along with leaders of many spiritual centers in southwest Florida, are chosen to lead the twice-a- month meditations. Though their practices are varied they nourish the collective spirit. We've had Gong Meditations, Pipe Ceremonies and Balinese spirituality. The nights of Drumming, Connecting with Animal Totems,  and guided imagery meditations, pack the room as readily as those on Mindfulness or Honoring the Ancestors.


The work of The Women's Meditation Circle is not limited to just leading meditations.  Equinoxes and Solstices are celebrated on each seasonal change.  Children and men not only are invited to attend, but are active participants in the ceremonies with kids reading their messages of hope for a peaceful world.  We support charitable organizations through special collection efforts, like The Hope Project in India which helps the poor in Delhi and The Mayors Feed The Hungry Program of Sarasota and Manatee counties.


Ten years have passed since our simple beginning.  From eight women we've grown to well over five hundred now. On January 8th we will celebrate our Tenth Anniversary on the New Moon.  It's fitting that we do this on the New Moon for it symbolizes new beginnings. It's a time when we review the past and then set new goals for the future. Our vision remains the same but our vitality is enhanced by the many new women who come each Friday to the meditations. We cherish those who have been with us for ten years and we continue to hold the circle sacred embracing all who enter. 

Jo Mooy - January 2016 


Sunday, December 6, 2015

WHY WE DO CEREMONIES

Why Ceremonies?
Torches at the four directions glow in the fading light of day.  The scent of incense fills the air.  A drum beats an ancient rhythm as the notes of a flute entwine with the drumbeat. As the celebrant approaches the eastern directional gate, a hush falls over the assembly.  Candles on the altar in the center of the circle are lit one by one.  An invocation accompanies the lighting of each.  With the sacredness of the ceremony set, the story of the event is choreographed to dance and 
music.  This is ceremony!

Humans have celebrated with like rituals and ceremonies for over one hundred thousand years.  Archaeologists found pottery, tools, and cave paintings indicating they were an essential component in the lives of every ancient culture.  Societies recognized the seasons of planting and harvest, the movement of the moon and stars, and honored birth and death.  At some point,  religion crept into the ceremonies complicating or altering many of the ancient practices.  Yet the dates marking the seasons were kept with attributions to the different Gods of each religion.


For the past twelve years ceremonies have been an integral part of the practices in our community. Individuals with similar beliefs mark the dates by participating in or supporting the vision inherent in each gathering.  The past decade offered up a rare occurrence that happens only once each century.  Between 2001 and 2012 the calendar dates 01-01-01 through 12-12-12 were identified as cosmic trigger events and celebrated as such.  On each of the triple numerical dates, a special ceremony, tied to the numerology of the date, was held. It ended with a large gathering on 12.12.12 known as Sounding the Bowls where hundreds of crystal and Tibetan bowls were sounded in concert across the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. 

But what about ceremonies?  What are they and what do they do for the human psyche?  And why should we in the modern world do ceremonies or rituals?  There's an easy answer.  Rituals and ceremonies connect us to an ancestry and history that provide a glimpse into a time and heritage long past.  When performed in the modern era, they remind us to halt the noise of everyday life and to remember the meaning of sacred space and the power of seasonal changes. Even more, they acknowledge the spiritual mystery inherent in celebrating special events, stimulating reverent qualities in all attendees.

It's easy to identify with Equinoxes and Solstices which represent Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.  But if you've been part of these gatherings, you know each season or ceremony carries its own frequency that changes from year to year, though the event is the same.  


Each celebrant brings practices that makes each ceremony unique.  For example, a Celtic Bard might enact a story of the Return of the Light on the Winter Solstice that includes the use of hundreds of candles.  A shamanic practitioner might instead use the power of imagination to journey into the darkness to find the light and return it to earth.

When children participate a benign sweetness descends on the gathering.  There's recognition by all assembled that the next generation is being introduced to sacred patterns of harmony and reverence.  And in their own way, the children respond.  Shy ones find their voices, enter the circle, and speak to their elders with wisdom and clarity.  The more outgoing children take leadership roles in the ceremony, writing prayers, poems, or wishes for peace on earth. 


The size of a gathering can affect the energy either positively or negatively.  But if the gathering is set in a containment field, like a circle, it's much easier to feel sacred rhythms. An altar at the center of the circle makes a statement to all attending that this is a holy gathering. 

The role of officiant is important and carefully orchestrated. With exceptional power, they hold the containment field intact while voicing the intentions and impressions needed to make the ceremony solemn and reverent.  When the intentions are set, the candles lit, incense is burning, drums are sounding, and dancers weaving around the altar in the center, the audience responds with awe for they have become entwined with the ceremony.


From these many gatherings, people connect, a community is built, grace flows, and blessings are bestowed for family, friends, and all beings on the planet.  That is the sacredness of ceremony which really answers the question, Why Ceremonies
 
Jo Mooy - December 2015     

All Journals are archived on the website: Starsoundings Journals