The Most Powerful Rite

Share thoughts and ideas regarding what can be done to meet contemporary humanity's need for rites of initiation and passage.

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The Cove
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The Most Powerful Rite

Post by The Cove » Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:36 pm

What is the most powerful rite you have ever seen or participated in? Why is it powerful? What myth was it reflecting/invoking if any?

I must ponder my answer myself but I thought I would throw this question out there into the associated unknown before I decided not too.
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Post by noman » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:51 am

By far the most powerful ritual I can think of in recent history was the funeral of John F. Kennedy. I was too young to know it first hand - but according to Campbell and others it was a marvelous display of rites. I even heard an Englishman say that the Americans (who are not known for their taste in pageantry) got this one right.

Societies need leaders. And when leaders die – societies need to somehow come to terms with a new world without this one particular icon. We begin to name airports and buildings after the person. Or we burn candles as a sign of respect and shared grief. It is about marking the moment of transition – etching it into our memory – making it special.

And the myth of the eternal flame is one of eternal life. John Kennedy will live on in memory in the same way that the pharaohs of Egypt live on in our memory.

- NoMan
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Post by The Cove » Tue Apr 10, 2007 12:11 pm

I will give half the answer. One I have seen on the net. It was a rite/act of self immoliation. That gets me to the core.

The death of the king rite as noman has described is a great one & one that can unify normally disparate elements in society - if only for a little while.

The other half - the most powerful one I participated in - I am still deciding upon.

It seems the power of a rite changes upon ones relative reflection upon it at different times further down the line.
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Post by Martin_Weyers » Tue Apr 10, 2007 9:23 pm

Hello The Cove and Noman,

I'm currently attending a Tai Ji workshop in Zürich (Switzerland), lead by Chungliang al Huang, who already collaborated with Joseph Campbell, creating Tai Ji forms and rituals that are suited so serve modern individuals. Chungliang uses some fundamental symbols to help people focusing on their center, getting in balance with the powers of space, earth, body and psyche. He has also created a series of forms that relate to the hero's journey. Campbell and Chungliang called that Mythbody to live by. We started with those exercizes today. I'm an absolute beginner, but can tell you, that Tai Ji has a strong effect both on body and psyche just from the beginning. The most powerful rituals I have experienced in my life so far! http://www.livingtao.org/
Works of art are indeed always products of having been in danger, of having gone to the very end in an experience, to where man can go no further. -- Rainer Maria Rilke
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Re: The Most Powerful Rite

Post by madara » Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:33 am

The Cove wrote:What is the most powerful rite you have ever seen or participated in? Why is it powerful? What myth was it reflecting/invoking if any?.
Recently on the spring Equinox 21.03. there was a powerful energy flow through the 20 000, maybe 2 million including on-line internet participants celebrating the birthday of an incarnation of Adi Shaki in Pratishtan India.
It was awaesome.
Experiencing the cool breeze of the Holy Ghost, called “Ruh” in Islam, “Paramachaitanya” in Hinduism “Ananada” in Upanishads – “the path of the pollen” – native Indians.
It is experienced as nothing else but Joy, Liquid and all-embracing, flowing through you, dancing with the stars moons and suns . It is indeed The Sat-Chit-Ananada state of mind. It is the actualisation of the myth of the second birth – ‘dwi-jaha’ as a “Divine child”.

Before participating you have to go through the initiation - the myth of baptism. You have to receive your second birth - from your own Kundalini awakening. That is really felt as a cool water flow on your head.
This is the 4th dimension that is opening in you after the Self-realisation given by the living incarnation of Adi Shakti - the Love of God almighty
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Post by Neoplato » Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:30 am

Here's more info from wiki for all those (like myself) who are not experts in eastern mythology.
Shakti, from Sanskrit shak - "to be able," meaning sacred force or empowerment, is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that move through the entire universe. [1] Shakti is the concept, or personification, of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as 'The Great Divine Mother' in Hinduism. On the earthly plane, Shakti most actively manifests through female embodiment and fertility - while also existing in males, in its potential, unmanifest form.[2]

Not only is the Shakti responsible for creation, it also the agent of all change. Shakti is cosmic existence as well as liberation, its most significant form being the Kundalini-shakti[3], a mysterious physiopsychospiritual force.[4] Shakti exists in a state of svātantrya, dependence on no-one, being interdependent with the entire universe.

In Shaktism, Shakti is worshiped as the Supreme Being. However, in other Hindu traditions of Shaivism and Vaishnavism, Shakti embodies the active feminine energy Prakriti of Purusha, who is Vishnu in Vaishnavism or Shiva in Shaivism. Vishnu's female counterpart is called Lakshmi, with Parvati being the female half of Shiva
Interestingly, we have the same story again about "that which is" becoming human and the way to experience this is through "baptism" or rebirth. Yes, the experience is quite overwhelming, and it "opens the eyes". I always get caught up in "and now what"?

I may have had a great spiritual experience, but come Monday morning "there's beans to be counted". Sigh....
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
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Post by madara » Sat Apr 11, 2009 2:39 pm

Neoplato wrote: I always get caught up in "and now what"?

I may have had a great spiritual experience, but come Monday morning "there's beans to be counted". Sigh....
After such an experience you never lose the way - even if it goes though the hell, to say nothing if it goes through the pitiful everyday's pains and sorrows(sometimes they are the hell itself). Even if you feel that nothig is left from you and your whole life is broken - you know (not with your mind but with your whole being) that there is the Great Biliss waiting for you ...one day. Your Spirit rejoyces and helps you to climb your own Everest.

After such an experience you have a goal, you have an idea about the aim of your life, and above all you have an inner criteria about what is worthy on your way and what is just a camoflage. You become a creative person that is bringing fresh water to the thirsty souls (in your office or to your students or just to your friends) without even mentioning that you have found the spring. I think this is enough for a human being.

But what is necessary is to come back over and over again to this sring of the water of life and fill up your Graal through meditation - otherwise what can be given from an empty cup.
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Post by The Cove » Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:02 pm

When the cup is empty give the cup.
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Post by madara » Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:32 am

The Cove wrote:When the cup is empty give the cup.
Yes - everybody is giving back his cup ( body) - at the end of this life.
I am talking about living in this life with the cup you have - small or big, from gold or from earth.
Chan and Zen masters were talking about giving up the cup (or the flute) but this is genuine only after mastering it (the cup or the flute). Otherwise everybody can easily renounce this life (cup) commiting a suiside or just a nicely talking about giving the cup.
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Post by Neoplato » Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:28 pm

Madara Wrote:
But what is necessary is to come back over and over again to this spring of the water of life and fill up your Grail through meditation - otherwise what can be given from an empty cup.
I totally agree with this statement. But I often wonder why this "reality" has to "drain" it so quickly. Luckily my "cup" has gotten larger over the years, so I don't have to return to the spring as often.
Chan and Zen masters were talking about giving up the cup (or the flute) but this is genuine only after mastering it (the cup or the flute).
Since I play music, I like the notion of the flute. Breath fills the flute with life. Stop blowing, you just have a hunk of metal or wood. It appears that the "ego" has control over the "music" at first, but when you eliminate the ego, you are now playing your own "song". 8)
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Post by madara » Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:09 pm

I totally agree with this statement. But I often wonder why this "reality" has to "drain" it so quickly. Luckily my "cup" has gotten larger over the years, so I don't have to return to the spring as often
Lucky those who have big golden cups. But even they are created in matter hence they have their limits.
To exist in the Maya (Illusion) of matter as "Homo Spiritus", we have to maintain the union between our unmanifested Spirit and His manifested Adi Shakti (the Divine Energy, Divine Bliss, Divine Love). Yoga means "Union" it is the so-called (in Judaism) "agreement with God". Yoga feels our cups with the Bliss of Adi Shakti. Thus we can live as "jivan-mukti" - "awakened in life" "awakened in the Maya" or I would rather say "Joyous in the Maya".

When the prescribed end of the existence of our cups comes - we give them up. The Great Bliss is awaiting all of us - but not all can keep to it. If we have not being in connection with It during our lives - we are unable to sustain the light of thousand millions suns and frightened, we fall down to the earth again. (Tibetan Book of dead) But even without the Tibetan book of dead we can see in our lives how many things seem familiar to us from nowhere and how many fears we have - from no-actual experience. They come from the endless wheel of our births and deaths.
Thus it seems better to have the habit of being child of Spirit and Adi Shakti - than to be a child of Spirit and MayaShakti.
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Post by Neoplato » Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:45 pm

Thus it seems better to have the habit of being child of Spirit and Adi Shakti - than to be a child of Spirit and MayaShakti.
And once again we have the “ego self” and the “true self”. The “threads” are definitely overlapping.
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Post by Clemsy » Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:33 pm

What is the most powerful rite you have ever seen or participated in? Why is it powerful? What myth was it reflecting/invoking if any?
Well... I must say that I found the pre-Vatican II mass quite powerful. I think the combination of Latin, the dramatically more formal atmosphere and being a child resulted in a marvelous sense of mystery and an intimate connection with a deep past.

The most powerful moments came in the choir loft, as one of fifty voices, around a most impressive church organ.Christmas Midnight Mass probably gets the blue ribbon.

We go to mass every Christmas and Easter. I always find them disappointing. I wonder if I would find the older mass much different, or would it strike a chord. Difficult to tell as I shed Catholicism long ago.

Another possible answer, although I don't know if it really applies, is the following:

I was at the Central Park band shell in NYC for the memorial and minute of silence that the world shared in real time in honor of John Lennon. We were thousands, shoulder to shoulder with the grief so thick it was palpable. When Imagine poured out of the speakers the emotion went up a few notches. But when Give Peace a Chance came on, with its rhythmic repetition, people literally starting collapsing.

I have one image that holds all the power of the moment: This kid, bedecked in black leather, metal studs, chains and boots, someone you'd reflexively fear on a dark street, walked past me red faced, tear streaked, sobbing uncontrollably.

The minute of silence took us, took us all, beyond grief to a place I couldn't even begin to describe.

And people all over the planet were sharing the same 60 seconds, a unique moment in human history.

In terms of powerful moments, that gets the blue ribbon.

Why?

I can't think of any artist that had anywhere near the impact the Beatles had... on an entire generation... globally. That music is the soundtrack of my generation's childhood, and scored so deeply as to go way past appreciation into identification territory. They struck a chord and all of us resonated, together, to the sound.

When Lennon was shot, a part us us, that part of us down near the foundation of our psyche, nestled in our heart chakra that continued to identify with that sound and those faces, was pierced with an acuteness that shocked us.

And made us all, for a moment, children again, with our hearts wide open.

And almost thirty years later, barely a day goes by when someone doesn't pass the Imagine mosaic in Central Park, and leave some kind of memorial.

Image
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Post by madara » Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:51 pm

And once again we have the “ego self” and the “true self”. The “threads” are definitely overlapping.
It seems to be like that (in everyday's experience) - but during meditation in Sahasrara you discover that the threads of the ego(Maya shakti) and the threads of “true self” (as you call it) -intermingle.

With the growing in number of the threads of Kundalini shakti(“true self”) the ego's ballon is evaporating little by little.
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Post by Neoplato » Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:06 pm

Clemsy Wrote:
When Lennon was shot, a part us us, that part of us down near the foundation of our psyche, nestled in our heart chakra that continued to identify with that sound and those faces, was pierced with an acuteness that shocked us.
Thanks Clemsy for sharing that and bringing us back to the original question. I was too young to understand the significance of the event. The same was true when Elvis “died”. But now, being a “hobby” musician, I can appreciate how the power of music can touch people. I think music is a ritual in itself, that’s why it can “awaken” and touch us deeply. “Imagine” is now one of my all time favorites.
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
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