|The Sirius Rising Bonfire, with the Dragon burning at the top of the Pyre.........|
|Fairies in the Fairy Corner.......|
|Shrine for the ancestral Lighters|
|Artist Leslie working on the Dragon scupture that flies from the bonfire at the end of the festival|
I do have to say that I was disappointed with the "Spirit - Labyrinth" ritual this year. It was a beautiful ritual that took place at twilight at a labyrinth illuminated with candles in previous years.
Sirius Rising developed the tradition of having 5 rituals, each devoted to a different element, which occur each day of the festival. The Festival concludes with the bonfire and the burning of a Totem sculpture...........in much the same spirit as Burning Man. In the past my favorite ritual was the Labyrinth beautifully created by a group from Chicago. In fact, I have a personal investment – Frank Barney and I dowsed the places where the labyrinth and the "Ancestor mound" are placed, finding ley crossings there, atop a hill with a magnificent view. The land itself is specially suited to raise energy, and as people climbed the hill at twilight they were afforded a panorama of sky and field. They passed through an entrance, and prepared to make a journey led in silence into the labyrinth, with lovely background music affording ambient backdrop. It was magical as the skies darkened and people moved among the candles awed by the sense of being "between the worlds". You walked out to see yourself participating in a spiritual journey shared by everyone else, a universal pilgrimage into the center of our lives, and out again renewed.
But not this time. There was neither silence, nor even a specific entry point. No one led us into the labyrinth, with the result that people passed each other in confusion, many not even sure how to get into or out of the center. People talked, laughed, the music was barely heard above the babble. And the so called “ritual” – someone portraying a "circus ringleader" announced loudly, with a microphone, that we should "come and see the show!” informing people that they could go “left or right” to get in or out. Before people even began to enter, confused, from all 4 sides of the labyrinth, this same "facilitator" announced that they could “stay if you like, or come on over to the fire circle"........and promptly left, with a confusion of people wandering around field behind him. And before that, where in the past people were invited to experience a meditative entry into a sacred labyrinth.....between the “ringmaster” blabbing away (I wondered when he was going to announce the dancing girls and the beer), we also had a group in the middle, giggling, and making an inept attempt at improv while they vaguely talked about the importance of "spirit". Whatever energy might have been there they drained away in no time at all, leaving behind them confusion and disappointment.
Perhaps I shouldn't write about this here, because there are so many people affiliated with this festival I both love and admire. But there's something happened here that needs to be said - something we all need to think about.