Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Sacred and The Profane

Visualizing the sacred is not hard for many of us.  Iconography of images spanning vast aspects of time and culture throughout recorded history are easily brought to mind.  But "profane"?  No, I do not write of the modern usage of the term, but instead, hints of its older meaning.  The word profane derives from the latin "profanum" and sacred, "sacrum".    Profanum encompasses all that we know through our "senses" as well as all that is common in our daily lives while sacrum encompasses the ultimate unknown of Spirit.  This concept took physical shape in ancient temple designs by separating a common area (profanum) from the area of communion with Spirit (sacrum) and continues to reverberate into the present.
The idea of sanctity and profanity exists on many levels in the experiences and people that we love, especially, the intense relationships forged through years of attending festivals like Spiritfire.   Many of us see each other only a few times a year, and yet the power of these connections serve to carry us throughout the intervening seasons.  We come together as a community and create our "sacrum" visa vie the fire circle.  We leave behind our daily concerns and turn our attention wholly to the celebration of Spirit through the vehicles of Fire, Drumming, Dancing, Chanting, and each other.  The immersion into the rhythm of festivals can be slow, fast, easy, hard, or any number of things along the spectrum, but the intensity with which we open our hearts to the experience catalyzes our relationships to ourselves and others.  Thus, community!  

We often strengthen these community ties each festival we attend, or try to find or create similar situations locally on a community level.  But, what I'd like to know is how each of us carries this concept on a more individual basis.  How do you incorporate the sacred and profane in your lives?  



Josselyne said...

This is such an important question to explore!

Manifesting what we do at the fire in other times, other places, can happen in so many different was.

It's only recently that my professional life (teaching) has felt more "in line", or melded, with the aesthetics of the fire circle experience that I love so much. Playing music daily; helping young college students realize their own dreams; fighting to help the arts be recognized for their contribution to our society... and other aspects all help me stay connected.

Aside from academics, just the effort to grow our own food, live with a smaller footprint, and understand the ecological/environmental system we live in here in VT has been a very strong part of staying connected to some of the messages we speak and sing at SpiritFire.

I feel blessed.

Lyra said...

"The intensity with which we open our hearts to the experience catalyzes our relationships to ourselves and others. Thus, community!"

Now, this is downright juicy. So, if I'm understanding this correctly, the intensity of our vulnerability to Being Here Now forges instahumanbond. Right?

Well, yeah. Sure. I'm down with that. I think of a lot of my closest peeps with whom I've shared a sunrise or score or more. I also think of the crisis phenomenon, for lack of a better term--the deep connections forged wicked quickly during crises. Come on. Isn't there a term for that? You know what I mean. So, in a way, festivals do the same thing, though it's (usually) more in a bliss/ecstasy kind of way.

Social crisis. Common blisstasy. In each case, hearts torn open wide, defense walls crumble, and the only moment that matters is Now.

So, Jeanette, when you ask how we incorporate the sacred and the profane in our daily, individual lives, I think of this as another way of asking us how we keep our hearts open, as open as we dare at a festival. My first instinct is to say, yo, I can open my heart and be all blisstatic for five days, but, full time? For real?

But then if I reread your post, and I think about incorporation as opposed to compartmentalization, and I recognize that the blisstacy is just one manifestation of opening one's heart, and I think about how I interact with others...I'd say, yeah, I've learned how to open up enough with this blessed tribe to dare to do so with others. Not all the time, but sometimes. I've learned how to thank my awesome student for his offer to give me a Book of Mormon, until discovering that another student had already beaten him to it, and upon asking me if I had a religion, look him in the eye and smile and say, yeah. "And what religion is that?" "I practice a form of earth-based spirituality." "Oh. That sounds interesting. Well, if that's what makes you happy..." Yep. And all the more so that I knew he got it on some cellular level and knew that it was somehow ok.

I think that there are many ways in which I meld the sacred and profane to such an extent that I don't think about it, or don't differentiate between the two. Yet in terms of opening my heart in interaction, like the one just mentioned...those are the moments that bring me straight back to the sacred fire, or, from another angle, communicate through Spirit.