The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. -- Albert Einstein
A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge. -- Carl Sagan
The religion of the future is here, now, alive and well, and practiced by the Temple of Divine Ecstasy in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Last month, I had the privilege of attending Utopia for the second time, one of two festivals sponsored annually by the Church. The other festival is Body Magick, held in the spring. As mentioned in last year's post, Utopia is a little more festive and a slightly less solemn than Body Magick, but with the exception of the Wheel of Life, a ritual reserved solely for Body Magick, the differences are subtle.
Utopia 2013, like each of the three previous temple festivals I have attended to date, featured excellent workshops and entertainment. During the workshops, an interesting array of topics covering sensuality, energy work, relationship issues and other matters of interest were presented. Friday evening featured a burlesque show by a beautiful young woman who performs burlesque professionally. She is well known nationally and has earned many awards and accolades for her dancing. Her performance was nothing like the burlesque of old I remember watching as a young man. This smokin' hot woman is genuinely talented!
The main ritual, held Saturday evening, was labeled an elevation ceremony, during which two acolytes, a man and a woman, were elevated to the priesthood. The double Moksha Magick ritual was beautifully done, with two massage tables positioned in a "v" pattern, connecting at one corner. An alter stood in front of the tables, covered with items of significance to the new priest and priestess. Overhead, Christmas lighting dangled from trees. Soon, naked magicians surrounded the tables and loving energy was released to a welcoming universe.
The new priestess was my instructor in a class I attended as a prerequisite to becoming a Moksha Magician. This was not coincidental, as teaching Moksha is one of many requirements that must be met before qualifying for the priesthood. To learn more about the Moksha Magick ritual, read my post dated July 5, 2013.
At the All World Acres store, I purchased a djembe, an African drum that is played in drumming circles each evening during the many festivals at the sanctuary. My goal is to participate in the Wheel of Life drumming circle this spring, so I am now hard at work learning how to play this beautiful instrument. I enjoy the drumming circles very much and am looking forward to contributing my dubious musical talent. Although I did not camp at All World during Utopia this year, I have fond memories from past festivals of falling asleep in my tent to the rhythmic sound of the drums, beating until the wee hours of the morning.
Incidentally, the djembe has gained some popularity since the release of The Visitor, a movie about a disaffected college professor drifting aimlessly through life before connecting profoundly with three strangers. One of his new friends is a musician who teaches him to play the djembe. His friends and the djembe open the professor's heart and dramatically change his life. See the movie, if you haven't already done so. It is well worth the investment in time and money.
Retirement is a major life change for anybody, and I am no exception. At times, I have been concerned about my purpose, fearful of driving through life on cruise control, although not nearly as aimlessly as the professor. While I realize I am not contributing much to society now that I am not working, my rate of personal growth has never been greater. I have read every book I can find on the subject of polyamory and am now re-reading some of the better ones. I have studied paganism and attended festivals. I am a Reiki Master and a Moksha Magician, learning all that I can about energy and energy work. Understanding relationship dynamics, and supporting the freedom to choose, while practicing and supporting the practice of divine ecstasy is a very important part of me.
Going forward, my guiding light is the topics written about here, on this blog. Now, it is up to me to do something constructive with my newly acquired knowledge and experiences. I'm still working on this part of the puzzle.