Last night Lucretia MacEvil and I attended a New Age God and Goddess party. We were invited by a friend and being of the Pagan path ourselves, and being Solitaries, we thought it would be a good experience to see how it was done in a group circle.
About five minutes from the home in which the party was being held our friend and her friend (whom we also know) both dropped-out on us. So we were going into this not knowing anyone, and usually covens and other Pagan gatherings are rather private due to the possible persecution of neighbors and others were they to know you are not only not of the dominant faith in the U.S., but also worship a “fringe” religion. But we are always up for a new adventure so we went anyway.
The first sign this wasn’t “typical” is the fact that the home of the host was way up on the hill overlooking the whole valley. This was not an “average” home by any means either. It was a million dollar plus home. When we arrived the attendees were not what we had envisioned, either. Instead of being your typical “hippie” Pagans (we were told there would be many there from the Burning Man project and we would know a few) it was mostly well-to-do middle age men and women. There was wine (lots of it), cheese and crackers and cakes and chips and all sorts of goodies to eat. It was different.
Then the circle started. We migrated downstairs to the large finished basement in this home. The circle was being headed by two women, very eclectic women. Rather than being a Pagan circle, it was a New Age gathering exploring love. Not just romantic love, but real love. The love you feel for yourself, for your partner, for your neighbor, for someone at the grocery store you’ve never met, even the asshole who just honked at you because that light had already been green for 0.001 of a second and you hadn’t started moving yet.
First we had an opening meditation — or at least as much as you could have in a mixed crowd where at least half had never meditated. From there we did an exercise of going around the circle, stating your first name and giving the word you most closely associated with love. It seemed hokey at first, but as we went around the circle it became very apparent that “love” and feeling love meant something different for everyone. In fact, from the 40+ people there, the same word was only repeated once. I started to become very attentive as this realization of difference, yet sameness, revealed itself to me.
We then had a discussion regarding “love”. Lucretia had some great comments and even mentioned the word “compersion” which outed us to a few in the room, and the immediate acceptance with them was like a dark brotherhood you share and keep from the “non-believers”.
We then did another exercise, what would be the last for the night. We formed a “Tunnel of Love” with everyone standing in two lines facing each other. Each person, when it was their turn, was to walk through the “tunnel” with their eyes closed and just let all these strangers express their love and friend toward you in whatever manner they express love (no, there was no sex). As people moved through the “tunnel” others would touch them, they would hug them, they would whisper things they felt about them in their ear. Again, it seemed a bit hokey at first, but it was comforting, though it was very foreign to me to just reach out and touch someone I didn’t even know. I mean, this would get you arrested at WalMart.
When it was my turn one of the eclectic women heading-up this gathering took my face in her hands and said to me “Leave your mind here. Take it out of your head, stop over-thinking everything and just be. Leave your mind here, it will be here when you return.” Wow, I’d never met this woman before tonight and she had me pegged. My biggest block to meditating is shutting-off my mind. I observe everything around me all the time. Some may say I’m quite and shy at parties, but in reality I’m just watching them. People facinate me. But she wanted me to stop that for a few minutes. So I dove into the “Tunnel of Love” with my eyes closed.
As I walked through people touched me. People, both men and women, hugged me. People, both men and women touched their hand to my chest and “felt” my heart. They rubbed my shoulders and made comments about how I carry too much of the world’s weight upon them. They whispered things in my ear about the energy they felt from me. It was flattering. I went through the “tunnel” having over 40 people touch, hug, stroke and whisper to me. It was comforting. Very, very comforting.
At the end I thought some of it might have been fake and maybe they said the same thing to everyone that came through the “tunnel”. But comparing notes with Lucretia and others afterward things said to me were not said to them at all. Different things were whispered to them.
Lucretia had a smile that was 10-miles wide. And she couldn’t quit smiling. It was an incredible experience for her since she is self-conscious about what others think and here none were. They told her how beautiful she is and what good energy they got from her. Things she needed to hear from others, but these others had never met her before, so how did they know this?
The most incredible thing I learned by the “Tunnel of Love” was how having your eyes closed and just accepting love and affection from anyone completely changed how you accepted it. With your eyes open you see certain people and you tell yourself “I am not attracted to that person and I would not want to be physical with them.” The preconceived biases regarding others we all carry. Yet, with your eyes closed, not knowing who is touching, hugging, whispering to you, all that drops away. What you thought you knew about someone by looking at them was not at all who they are, or what they they think of you. It took my eyes being closed to really open them.
And all this came at the right time in my life. Recent life stresses have brought my spiritual journey to an abrupt end since I’ve been so busy that by the time I have time to even meditate, I fall asleep doing so. Last night kick-started me again. I am very grateful to the host of the party and those two eclectic women for sharing themselves with me. It is what I needed, when I needed it. It’s funny how that happens in life, huh?