Saturday, May 7, 2011

An experience of silence when leading ritual

Today a delightful and memorable occasion for me, leading a ritual for a former colleague and her husband with their wider family and friends to celebrate a wedding after a legal ceremony in Europe.

In a lovely garden in a forested area called Kauipo forest south of Adelaide on a sunny autumn day we gathered in a circle for this ritual of welcome and incorporation, lighting a candle, the couple tieing a purple ribbon around their hands to symbolise their individuality and connection and then family and friends making an archway with upraised hands to welcome and bless the couple. This was not a formally religious occasion but replete with ancient and more modern symbolism.

In my reflection I spoke of Epicurus and his ethicl perscrition for a tranquil life, living simply and with appreciation and cultivating deep friendship with time, ability and commitment to deep conversation. Epicurus saw this as a remedy to the sickness of attachment to the pursuit of aquisition of more and more possessions, status anxiety and the influence of popular opinion and superstion. Epicurus' philosophy stems from his materialistic world view but one can commend the ethics without buying the foundational belief particularly for those too ruled by ideas of duty and commitment.

During the ceremony which for me was new ground both philosophically and geographically I noticed that as I was speaking, relating, community building with the people gathered around that at the same time there existed within me a ground of deep internal silence and stillness, a fountain of energy. There was nothing within objecting or criticising or questioning. The word flow is much overused but that seemed to sum up as a metaphor what was going on for me,
Sound, logoi, words flowing from the well of internal silence and stillness and experiencing deep connection from all surrounding me, land, air, people and plants all joined. I am grateful of course.

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