by T. Sivia Rabinovitch
On Friday night, 16 November, a group of the magickal
activists in Ottawa for the G-20 meetings, sponsored a "Living
Waters" ritual at the Parsival Waldorf School. Approximately
100 people attended, from all walks of life, spanning ages from
babes in arms (nursing and gurgling contentedly) to spry community
members in their 70s.
The ritual was not heavily advertised in advance which was a sort
of good thing; the crowd which might have otherwise attended would
have profoundly overflowed the space available. A mix of Reclaiming
Collective people, local Midwife organization members, and other
activists orchestrated most of the ritual activities. In the centre
of the room was a blue pool of water (which, as I recall, was salt-water)
surrounded by flowers. Starhawk helped lead the meditations, using
various drums (bodhrann and doumbek) to keep the heartbeat-rhythms
The focus of the ritual was on a healthy earth and healthy environment,
and through this, healthy people. Each participant was given a glass
stone. We were asked to think about the things which have caused
us tears, and focus this into the stone. Then participants were
invited to choose a partner from the room, and discuss what has
caused us the sadness. After this, each participant was asked to
exchange stones with their partner.
Next we were asked to find new partners, and talk about what we
have to offer to each other, and to the world. What do we bring
to those around us? Again, we were invited to discuss this with
our new partners, after pouring these qualities into our new stone.
As before, the stones were again exchanged.
Thirdly (and much magick is done in threes), all participants were
invited to meditate on what their hopes and dreams are; hopes and
dreams for themselves, for the world around them. What made us happy
and fulfilled? What could we strive for? Again, we meditated on
this and poured energy into the stones.
All participants were then invited to place our stones into the
pool of living waters, and a wordless chant ensued throughout the
room. Slowly at first, a snaking spiral dance started in the room,
picking up speed and counterpoint musical tones. Starhawk invited
each participant to look into the eyes of each other person
as they passed during the spiral dance. Eyes brushed eyes, faces
were serious, smiling, laughing, and/or crying. The entire world
danced by each person's face: dark and light, young and old, male
and female, conservative and radical. Some participants winked,
others smiled; some even launched quick kisses to other dancers.
As the energies built throughout the room, the pace of the chanting
and volume increased. Finally, the energies were sent out into the
world, to friends and family; to protesters and homeless; to four-footed
and two-footed, to rock and grass and waters. The energies were
then grounded, and the crowd was invited to take a stone back out
of the pool as a keepsake and reminder of all we had meditated on.
I did arrive a bit late, so I missed the teaching of a couple of
chants (which were, as most are, easily picked up after a verse
or two were sung) and some of the introduction to the ritual itself.
After the energy was grounded, Starhawk taught the
participants a "revised" or "reclaimed" hymn
about flowing waters and going down to the river to pray (I was
unfamiliar with it, but it certainly sounded like a Gospel piece
to my ears). Discussion then ensued about who would be doing what
during the Saturday marches, where which group would be marshalling,
what they would be wearing, and the non-marching efforts others
could help with (e.g., media coverage).
It was a wonderful and uplifting ritual, and I for one am glad to
have been given the chance to share it with the diverse community
at Parsival School Friday night. To Lisa Fithian [spelling?] and
Starhawk, and the rest of the organizers (many of whose names I
did not catch) my heartfelt thanks for the evening and the energies
given and sent.
The ritual was non-denominational (although most attendees
would probably define themselves as neo-Pagan and/or Goddess spirituality
participants) and very focussing in nature.
To do magick is to change consciousness. To change our world, we
must do magick. To survive, we must change our world. Maybe we need
more magick in our world.
Dr. TSivia Rabinovitch, Dept. of Religious Studies and Classics,
University of Ottawa.
3:24am Tue Nov 20 '01
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