Many of us at the University of Creation Spiriuality have been former activist, cultural workers, artist and dreamers. As a poet and teacher of twenty years, I have experienced an identity struggle of oftentimes huge proportions in academic institutions, which are either too narrowly traditional or conservative or too dogmatic in its leftist ideaology. When I first heard about UCS it sounded too good to be true. Its philosophic mission to foster a creation spirituality institute that would teach diverse spiritual systems in a non-sectarian way was always a dream of my own. Yet here was a man with the wherewithal to make it happen! When I was invited to teach at the recommendation of Adriana Diaz, someone whom I’ve always admired, it was an opportunity to become part of a dream. Here was a space to explore inspired educational, spiritual, artistic and scientific ideas without fear of stigma or ridicule. Here was a school where it was not only tolerated, but encouraged to cross discipline boundaries and go deep into the well of darkness, light and transformation. Here was a visionary leader, who was capable of gathering dedicated creative minds around him, to forge a new direction from the heap of old ashes of failed academic and religious promise. I was like the quick red fox that eagerly jumped over the fence to devour the grapes. It has been sweet tasting.
I was invited by Nicole Porcaro to participate as a Ritual Leader at the New Millennium Techno Cosmic Mass for the first time. I had been to several Cosmic masses and was slightly familiar with its ritual structure. Each mass celebrated a specific theme to dram people together. However this was not your typical service or liturgy. The four main components of the worship consisted of Via Negativa, Via Creativa, Via Transforma and Via Positiva. It attempted from what I’d gathered, to celebrate the archetypal heroic journey of spiritual transformation through ecstatic dance, song and word. Within that framework, it was pretty much anything goes.
I had been asked to recite a poem which might relate to the Via Negativa component. The majority of my poetry up until recent years had been a deep descent into the shadow world so this was a no problem for me. I could do dark like nobody could.
I had deconstructed the Lord’s Prayer into a mirror of our own human destruction. Matt and the poet singers who had come before me provided a center from which I could feel the immense power of my words, supported by the energy of the room. Proppelled by my unrelenting energy and the soft beating drum by Peter Brokenleg and his group, my voice seemed to come from some place else. The words ignited of their own accord and I had only let myself be carried by the pull of their direction. At the end of the prayed, I cried “ah-h-men extending the “ah” into one long, sustained, exploding howl. I felt like a bomb had gone off, unleashing the incredible weight of human violence out into the open light of day. The demons of our minds, a pyramid of human skulls, a girl running naked from her own burning flesh, a bound soldier with a gun to his temple, black slaves roped together and all the horrific images unlocked from our past collective nightmare, were projected all around the room.
Our journey Via Negative culminated with the charging singing and drumming of the native drummers. Their cries seemed to well up from the grave of Wounded Knee, from the Trail of Tears, from the spirit of Sitting Bull, Crazy horse, Ishi and the countless weeping mothers all the way form the Black Hills to Vietnam. Who had done this to them? Who had left us with this incomprehensible legacy of guilt and sorrow?
After via Negativa the passage out of the black moon into the approaching light of Via Creativa and Via Transforma would be sheer relief and joy. There was no other choice but to turn away from the killing and the hurting and to heal, starting from within. The jubilant faces of rebirth, triumph, love and glory burst from the screens that had earlier exuded death and violence. The dancers moved in ecstacy and abandonment to the rhythms of the band. We locked hands and danced in a circle. We heard the wise womed speak and shared the sacrament with Christian, Native American, Buddhist and non-denominational prayers.
This is creation spirituality in process. There is no need to hide our fear. We are capable of uniting. We are capable of great good and reconciliation with our painful history. Together we have he capacity to change our negative ways. Yes we can tear down the fences! Yes we can reinvent ourselves! We are all visionaries.
In the end the solution to our human problems lies not in out gods, but in us. We cannot wait for divine intervention to prevent the next virgin forest for clear-cutting, or with eyes closed, stop the executioner’s ax, or call upon the wrath of Allah to prevent the destruction of our traditions and morals. Nor ought we wage wars in the name of our god. Orr misguided followers, in a dream of liberation. The fault lies not in our Gods, but in us. Whether fallible or infallible, all seeing or blind, monotheistic or polytheistic, we are the direct manifestation of the will of god. If God is a compassionate god, then we must be compassionate people, He or she is in fact a mirror of who we are. If every single being in the world had Buddha Nature, then in essence, we are all perfect and pure. Underneath the veils of delusion and ignorance, we have the capacity to educate our children to be loving and kind. We have the power to creat a nuclear-free world. Underneath the dust of self-cherishing, we have the means to feed, clothe and protect every single child on this planet. Every human being wants the same thing: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Thank you, Matthew Fox, for gathering us here. Amen.