A first of a short series:
Front page of Christianity Today is carrying a short dispatch post of our time at the gathering: http://www.christianitytoday.com/
At the ceremony circle:
On our third day at the rainbow gathering in Palenque, the morning food circle was followed by a "focalizer group" to determine the type of ceremony to occur on the 21st. These are the festival moments I feel most compelled to participate in. From our camp only Cate From Asheville was there with me.
The discussion centered around only a couple topics and lasted almost all day. The first topic was the location of the ceremony. The second was the nature of the ceremony. The ceremony had a talking stick to regulate discussion and keep interruptions at bay.
Most of the Rainbow Family wanted to hold the ceremony on the archaeologocal grounds at the temple site. They were willing to sneak in over the mountains on a four hour trek to come in a back way if necessary. The temple site is not open at dawn and gaining access appeared to be impossible, because even the Mayan elders were not holding ceremonies on that day. It seemed clear from the discussion by those who were familiar with the government, and the site that access would prove difficult if not impossible.
A young man with long dreads (which defines 50% of the young men at the gathering) told a story of holding a siege type ceremony at Tikal, Guatamala - complete with riot police on 12/12/12. He was part of a Rainbow Caravan that started a year earlier in Canada, and made it's way to the international Rainbow Gathering in Guatamala to meet another caravan coming from Argentina. Those who wanted to gather for a ceremony in Tikal went to the temple grounds and were denied access. 80 people stood in a circle in front of the gates, and began to hum, "Om." Then they walked through the front gates untouched. They created a sacred fire, and began a ceremony in the rain which began to fall. Soon the riot police arrived. One last girl tried to protect the sacred fire, but the guys carried her out. The whole event ended peacefully with the police driving many of those who had walked or were on bike out to the distant entrance. The wiser locals did not consider this a best example to follow in Palenque.
The circle was filled with many interesting characters. Many people had no opinion on the meaning 12/21, but felt that unity was important. Most ideas were no more creative than holding hands in an "Om Circle." Some people did not care if the date was important. Some thought it was the beginning date for the transition to the age of Aquarius. One long white bearded gentleman called Raja Merk Dove said he was a Senior Interplanetary Space Ambassador, and encouraged unity. The Interplanetary Space Commission was in charge of helping take care of "trash planets," and of course, Earth was considered one because of the way we treated the planet.
At one point, Cate took the talking stick and stated graciously that she desired to see her path represented. She was a follower of Yeshua - Jesus, and He is the Prince of Peace. She desired a moment to seek His Spirit. Oh, yeah. Cate rocks.
I spoke after Cate. My goal is often to open only a slightly larger crack in the opportunities which present themselves to us.
"Shwmae fy nheleu. Fi ydy Phileo. Oedd fy nhadau yn dod o gwlad Gymru."
I translated my own words and then continued. "Hello my family. I am Phileo (this was the name Shlomy had given me). My fathers came from the land of Wales."
Then I talked about how I felt connected to the early Welsh saints who were likely the last of the ancient Druids. Who (it is said) were slaughtered by the Romans. Then I spoke of how I could bring to the table of our common gathering something from this tradition, and I suggested an Eisteddfod experience - a place for poets and musicians from many traditions to share their skills.
After all, an open event with many people sharing seems far more open to the Gospel than silence and "Om Circles," because good news does come through proclamation - no matter how silly that seems at times.