Friday, April 8, 2011

Far Out!

Yep. He's kissing the sky. What a shaman!

The astrological configurations that began earlier this year and will continue through 2017 are, in many ways, similar to what was going on between 1963 and 1968. I was just ten when JFK was assassinated, fifteen during the summer of love. Though I remember clearly how the old paradigm shattered during those years, I was so young that maneuvering through it - shifting my point of view - didn't require a strategy. In 1963, my role model was the character Doris Day played in the movies. By 1968, it was Janis Joplin. Oh yeah - everything changed during those years, but I was an adolescent. From my perspective, it made sense that everything changed, internally as well as externally. In the aftermath of the '60s, I adopted the sex-drugs-rock n roll lifestyle for a number of years. Not only was it fun, but it got me through the day. I think ... I can't really remember those years clearly.

But that was then, and this is now. The energy of what's going on right now feels familiar; still, a little historical context never hurts, right? As a part of my research into strategies to help us through the current tumultuous time, I added Woodstock: Three Days of Peace and Music to the Netflix queue. The DVDs arrived in the mail this past Tuesday, "coincidentally" in the midst of all the hand wringing, teeth grinding and hard work going on down the street at the Capitol. You can't plan for perfect timing like this - receiving a movie about a peaceful gathering in the midst of contentious engagement? Talk about intelligent design! Wow.

It took me two days to get through the movie. I watched it in chunks, for a few minutes at a time. The experience was so provocative that I had to keep switching it off to reflect, also to marvel. It is a truly brilliant movie in so many ways. Though dated, of course, it speaks volumes about how one segment of American culture made its way through the upheavals of the '60s and '70s. It is a film of a huge, three-day ritual. I learned so much watching that movie again after so many years. Incredible. A year ago I doubt seriously it would have had that kind of impact. Timing is everything.

One way we civilized homo sapiens make our way through paradigm shifts is by gathering, by ritualizing (and thereby clarifying and organizing) the energy of the moment. Woodstock was a grand ritual of peace in spite of difficulty. The people who came to the concert provided serious horsepower for the shamans on stage who, one after the other, punched through a big wall of energy. I think of that congealed wall of energy as the Mad Men status quo. Do you know what I'm talking about? The people at the concert were softened by drugs and alcohol which no doubt helped get them through the horrible conditions of having to live side by side for three days through rainstorms, without adequate food, water or shelter.

I would have been miserable had I attended. I am so grateful to everyone who was a part of that ritual of peace, I really am. I'm sure every moment of the experience could not have been fun. The people there knew Something Was Happening, something more than the music. They stuck with the energy, in spite of the challenges. Wow.

Of course Woodstock was not the only ritual gathering from that time. The demonstrations against the war, also the marches in support of Civil Rights and the Women's Movement, helped organize the energy at hand, helped us recognize the new pattern in the midst of the chaos of change.

Clearly, our ritual gatherings during the current upheaval are taking place here on the network, in the world of blogging, on Facebook and Twitter. We've seen how, in Egypt, for instance, the democratic revolution that knocked Mubarek off his throne was birthed through this new way of gathering.

For a long time I've been trying to figure out why it's so exciting to be a part of the blog universe, why Facebook seems, to me, to be important - i.e. a lot more than a "time suck" as people often say. After seeing Woodstock this week, it's coming to me that through this kind of truly global interconnection, we are being given a glimpse of the pattern that's coming into being, of what is possible to co-create in time/space, of what follows the chaos of these next few years. Staying connected this way, even (or maybe especially) the connections we make to people we've never met in "real" life, will keep us afloat while the current status quo breaks into a million pieces. Nothing is certain, but we have each other. That's what matters right now.

I don't know about you but I am so grateful I don't have to stand in mud, tripping on acid for three days, in order to be a part of the current grand shift. Whew! What a time to be alive. Wow.


Country Joe and the crowd singing "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die." POWERFUL magic, oh yeah


steven said...

reya if you look at the long arc of our lives, haven't we been incredibly fortunate to see, experience, even create so much of what has clearly been necessary and then also to have had the capacity to undertake the extremely hard work that has allowed it to take place. there's more to come - lots more, but it's nice to be helping build the bridge between. steven

Reya Mellicker said...


Jo said...

Steven put it perfectly, as always. Great post, Reya.

I will never forget the vision (in the movie, of course) of a beautifully pregant Joan Baez and that angelic voice...awe inspiring.

Elizabeth said...

Such changes..........
let's hope this is a time of revolution
but a reasonably peaceful one
now we of the peace and love generation
are graying

much has been accomplished
the end of the useless war in Vietnam for example
I do wish we could get out of Iraq and Afghanistan

but the forces of evil --the ones who want to give to the rich and take from the needy
(aka Republicans)
are still on the loose.....

however, things, on the whole are better than 50 years ago......mostly......

went to an art school alum meeting yesterday
the first ever
what fun it was to talk of 1968 in another country....

I'm knitting a sweater for a baby shower on Sunday
life goes on......

Have a mega-blossomy w/e
and much love

Meri said...

Yep -- been sayin for a long time that we're weaving a web of peace here in blogland.

Linda said...

I think you have some "mind expanding" thoughts percolating in that beautiful brain of yours, Reya!! It is truly unbelievable what people will endure to get their point across.... like the artist in China, Ai Weiwei, for instance. Here's what I don't like. People go through all these movements and strife, they learn, society changes for a moment........ and eventually we find ourselves back almost at square one, beginning to, as Steven pointed out "create what is clearly necessary" once again. How much strife will it take? All we are saying........ is give peace, love, the earth a chance. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. =D

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I lived through the same era, but just a few years younger (six when JFK was killed, 11 during Woodstock). I remembered many of these events as something just out of reach that I hoped would be repeated or that I could experience on the same level as an adult or teen. By the time I reached that age, the times and tempo had changed. I've never felt completely "of" an era but can appreciate aspects of each. The closest I came to it was during the rise of HIV/AIDS activism in NYC in the late 1980s and early 1990s. That time too, alas, is now as much a memory as Woodstock but still offers lessons and power in the present.

Reya Mellicker said...

I'm still reflecting on the film, the timing of when it landed in my living room, and the budget deal just struck last night.

All of it is so interesting. Thanks for your thoughts.