Although it might feel sacreligous to some, imagine a spiritual rave during which you are called on to the dance floor with music spun by Divine DJ’s. Jesus, The Buddha, Yemaya, Kwan Yin and Shiva are rockin’ the house with their celestial song stylings. They know that music stirs souls and is really a form of worship. Have you ever been to a rave? Originally, it was a place of loud music, drugs and wild goings on. The intent, I imagine was to transcend the ‘ordinary’ day to day existence and connect with the Divine. I’ve attended a few events that were, instead fueled by the fire of faith in different forms. I was introduced to the phenom by Matthew Fox; formerly a Catholic priest who was defrocked because of his beliefs that ran counter to those of the Vatican and instead became an Episcopal priest. He refers to his co-creation as a Technocosmic Mass. It is a true collaboration as it is planned, designed and carried out by folks with a shared vision of what worship can be. Music, dance, chanting, ritual items, creation of altars, celebrating union and com-union amongst a group of what I call ‘overlapping soul circles’, sweating your prayers, offering praise to Spirit. It does, in the midst of this freedom to BE, have a particular structure.
The Cosmic Mass: A New Home for an Ancient Ritual By Matthew Fox © 2000
According to the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality: The Via Positiva or celebration of existence (Thomas Aquinas says this is the first dimension to Worship: To say Thank You for Creation); the Via Negativa or sorrow for sins; the Via Creativa, the blessing of wine and bread as the food of the Cosmic Christ; and the Sending Off which is the Via Transformativa. Our first 18 minute dance is during the Via Positiva, the last at the Via Transformativa wherein we receive the energy to be the spiritual warriors we need to be to transform society after we leave worship. In between there is a deep experience of shared grief (via negativa) often including wailing and lamentation and the sharing of communion (via creativa).
I was honored to be on the planning team for two such events; one at Pebble Hill Church in Doylestown, PA and other via Common Ground Fellowship in the Philadelphia area. Such love and ingenuity went into putting them together, as if the One whispered into our ears, inspiring us to make them full sensory happenings that, rubbing our hands together with glee, we knew would delight and enliven those who attended.
This past October, I joined a group of yogis and yoginis for Yoga Rave Philly as we danced, prayed, meditated and experienced yoga off the mat to the heart pounding rhythms of many bands including the Baltimore, MD based Bhakti Tree. By the end of the night, surrounded by my ever growing tribe, I was sweaty, wrung out, inspired, spirit infused and drunk on The Divine (a good thing, since I don’t drink alcohol).
(That’s me, by the way in the lower middle portion of the photo, elbow up next to one of my favorite dance partners, my friend Gary Schoenberg)
www.thecosmicmass.com Matthew Fox
http://soundcloud.com/bhaktitree/ links to Bhakti Tree’s music
WHY I YOGA RAVE! http://vimeo.com/elan/videos from one of the organizers Elan Gepner