Ritual Gatherings Community Spirit

Christmas?  Does it really celebrate the spiritual.  If it were a ritual to celebrate the birthing of Christ consciousness, love, and a resurrection of hope for this world how different would that be from The Holidays – a 100% enterprise designed to make us consume.  Maybe Christmas should be renamed ‘Stuffmas’ as it no longer seems to have anything to do with the original sentiment.

We’re realizing more and more just how vital it is for us to begin to shift to living by the the natural cycles of life which in the indigenous tribes were cause for celebration and prayer.

The solstices and equinoxes and full moons could be marvelous opportunities for gathering together more regularly in community and celebrating the simple events of ‘life on earth’ and all that sustains us.   This was sent to us by a friend.firebyforest

Around the Fire by Morwen Two Feathers

The fire flickered, flames leaping and undulating, blazing heat melting the surrounding snow. Overhead the swaying trees danced with the stars. A few feet from where we stood the river flowed, bearing silent witness in the frigid night.

It was Winter Solstice, and nearly 200 intrepid people had hiked into the woods to celebrate the rebirth of the sun at the darkest time of year.

Long ago, the collective life of the community was made coherent with celebrations like this. Attuning to nature’s cycles and the cycles of human life, tribal cultures gathered regularly to sing, dance, play music, and tell stories.

There was no “audience.” Culture was not a spectator sport. Every member of the tribe, even babies bundled on their parent’s backs, was a participant in creating the tribe’s culture. Everyone with a body danced. Everyone with a voice sang.

Somewhere along the line in western culture, this changed. Role differentiation is a hallmark of cultural development. As the division of labor proceeds in economics, so does it develop in the arts. Individuals specialize. Music, dance, drawing, storytelling, become something done by the few for the entertainment of the many. The role of audience is born.

We can look around and see the resulting fragmentation of modern life. We can look inside and feel it. Entire industries are built upon the professionalization of art, the creation of audience which is also market.

This can be observed in other areas of society as well: business, politics, and religion all have audiences in the form of consumers, citizens, and congregations.

Celebrities and experts capture our attention and define our reality. Sometimes it seems we are spectators of our own lives.

There is growing recognition that our culture is in need of healing, being made whole. And while I’m not suggesting that the answer to our cultural fragmentation is to stop patronizing the arts, I do think that one way we can begin to reconnect that which has become disconnected is to stop watching and participate together in singing, dancing, music-making, story-telling, and creating beauty.

Standing around the bonfire singing with my neighbors, I felt part of a tribe. It didn’t matter that some of the singing was off-key. The community is strong enough to hold all the voices.

Now, as the waters rise with melting snow, the seed planted that Winter Solstice night is quickening. My roots in this community grow deeper. I’m looking forward to meeting you around the fire in the days to come”

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