by Nathan Vanderpool
As anyone involved in community planning knows, opening and closing a space of togetherness is essential for creating a sense of coherence and cohesion in time. The German gathering of Burning Man (Kiez Burn) didn't take place as planned in 2020. Nevertheless, 33 members of a crew called "The Beehive" decided to meet in a castle outside of Halle for a mini-gathering. I interviewed a few members of the crew and designed a custom ritual for initiating the weekend.
OPENING RITUAL (Re-uniting the Beehive)
🌳 PERSONAL VALUE
Social Curiosity: exploring the diversity of the people who are gathered together here: becoming familiar with those who are strange to me, and de-familiarizing those I think I know
PHASE 1: Embodiment Everyone in the camp stands together in a large circle. Everyone present shakes and jumps around to get their blood flowing. Then we begin with a "honey" meditation to feel our way into our bodies. We are all bees, buzzing around in this field. Buzz around and look at the other bees in our hive (1 min of wandering around making a bzzzz sound). Now collect some pollen with your tiny bee feet and bring it back to the hive (1 min of stomping). Wiggle your little bee bottoms to tell the others where they can also find pollen (1 min of booty shaking). Now settle down in the hive and feel your body resonate with the honey we are making (1 min of sitting down and feeling into your body).
PHASE 2: Recognition and Intention Now that everyone is charged up, let's fly around the hive again. Stay in your body and just walk slowly, circling around among all of the bees. Greet each other only with your eyes. When you hear the bell, find a bee near you and stand in front of each other. (bell sounds) Now stand quietly and look into each others eyes until you hear the bell again (2 min) (bell sounds) Begin walking around again. When you hear the bell, find a bee near you and stand in front of each other. (bell sounds) Now one by one, tell each other what you hope to experience during this gathering (4 min) (bell sounds) Begin walking around again. When you hear the bell, find a bee near you and stand in front of each other. (bell sounds) Stare into each others eyes and imagine how you came to this place. Imagine letting go of the person you were before you arrived and making space for the person you will become by being here. When you are ready, sit down together and face the center of the field where Nathan is standing.
PHASE 3: Connection Everyone sits in down facing the center of the field and Nathan leads a meditation on place (with pauses between each sentence): Close your eyes, and place your hands on the ground next to you. Imagine that there are roots growing out of your hands and into the earth. Feel the roots dig deep and ground you, making you strong and secure in this place. Feel the borders of your body above the ground. Now imagine that your body has expanded, grown to be as big as this group of people. And your body keeps growing... now it is as big as the town. Now it is as big as the country. As big as the continent. As big as the oceans around the continent. As big as the whole world. Search inside your body until you find the roots shooting down from the surface of the ground through your hands. Trace those roots back up into a body that is the same size as you were before we started this meditation. Be here with yourself and with us. I was reading about bees in preperation for this gathering. I learned that the way bees fly is very different to a bird. Their wings roll from the top to the bottom, creating little hurricaines of wind that propel them up off of the ground. Feel the wings in your back. Feel how you can roll them to create liftoff. (everyone rolls their shoulders back and forth together). Now let's sing this mantra together. I wrote it specifically for the Beehive: Beehive Mantra Flap my wings, hurricane speed Float to the flower that opens up for me
We continue to sing this mantra for about 5 minutes, until everyone feels synched up together. Then we begin making a buzzing sound (bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz), until it fades out and we sit in silence together.