Temple of Eros

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A letter to a friend about the thing I created at my home burn.

 

With some luck, bust mostly a lot of really hard work and very late nights over the course of about three months, I created an absolutely gorgeous space. The shelter tent was covered with lengths of gold damask that stretched from the ground on one side all the way over the top and to the ground on the other side. Within the tent, I covered the ceiling with gold and rose sheers. The inner walls were made of gold and red damask, with coordinating panels hanging crosswise to provide a bit of privacy for each meditation alcove. At the back of the tent, I constructed an altar and hung a wooden hoop.  Participants would go through the four self-guided meditations, then light a stick of incense and place it upright in a bowl of earth. Then, they could tie a strip of colored cotton fabric onto the hoop to mark their place in the global web of human interconnectivity. The hoop was burned in the temple/art burn on Sunday. At night, the tent was illuminated with white, orange and red twinkle lights. I almost think it was even more beautiful at night.

 

My workshops went alright. As best as they could in an unpredictable, free-form environment. It’s hard to get hippies to be anywhere at a particular time to do something even remotely structured. So I didn’t have any attendees for my first “Explore Eros in 13 Questions” workshop – 13 questions to contemplate and discuss our individual and collective expression of erotic energy. I had 5 or so folks in the second one, which was scheduled for a time when there would be more participants on site. At the end, they asked me to lead a brief meditation. Although that was not something I had every really done, I had a feeling it was within my ability to do so. And it was.
The “all genders” undressing ritual was attended by a total of 8 lovely folks, including someone I connected with before the event who became my co-facilitator. I asked him to co-facilitate because the all gender ritual was shaping up to be comprised of all male participants. I felt a little hesitant about being the “demo” for the undressing ritual. Thankfully, some femme-type folks showed up as well. When I counted off, we discovered I had accidentally counted off two groups of masculine folks and one group of femme folks. I decided to just go with it. Especially since if I broke it up, it would be one femme type person in a group with two masculine folks and that felt a little uncomfortable to me. We did a “consent bonding” exercise in the beginning. This included simple statements about being committed to our own empowered experience, and our commitment to foster the same for others. Several people who had come inside to see what was up decided to leave at that point – I’m so grateful for that. They were exercising three of the 11 Principles of the our burner community: participation (Try things out! You can stop whenever you want!), radical self-expression (Be yourself. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, don’t worry about leaving a situation that’s not really what you’re looking for.) and Consent (Do things you want to do, don’t do things you don’t want to do, and get informed, enthusiastic consent when doing things to/with others – self explanatory!). Once those folks skipped out, the remaining participants co-created a lovely ritual.
It was raining pretty hard during my women’s ritual, so it was just me and two other folks. I went first, since they both seemed so nervous. After the second person took their turn, we sat on the ground awhile, water collecting around us and thunder crashing in the distance. We talked about what was happening, about our experience of this particular gathering… we discussed our feelings about being without clothes and all the emotional stuff that was coming up. Finally, the last person took their turn being revealed in their human corporeal format.
It wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was an amazing experience. It was a good first try. Lots of folks participated, especially when I wasn’t there – I tried to stay away because I kept fiddling with the lights, the music, the altar. The temple had work to do that it couldn’t do when I was nearby. But I know it made an impact. I heard stories of people’s experience later and understood that it was needed and it was wanted – which is what I suspected, and why I decided to take the plunge and go for it in the first place. I’m going to take it back next year, I’ve already got plans for new things to do.
This is one aspect of the Thing that I must do on this particular trip to earth.
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