Monday, June 7th, 2004

flwyd: (inner maiden animated no words)
The second Potluck Tradition will again be at my apartment this Thursday at 7pm. If you can't make it, but would like to, let me know and I'll air your opinion for the next gathering time.

The first gathering went very well. We had eight people, all of whom figured it would be a literal, as well as figurative, potluck. This was quite fortunate, as the collective blood sugar level was a bit perilous. As it happened, everyone present self-identifies as Pagan, but that's not necessarily my intent -- it's a function of my local connections rather than any ideological exclusion. I think it would be great to have some participants who aren't Pagan. It's all about diversity of the dishes folks bring to the table.

To start things out on an eclectic foot, I opted to replace Ye Olde Traditional Quarter Calls with the following exercise. Each person announces what they bring to the Potluck. This is not done in any particular order, and people can bring as much as they want. It might be literal ("I bring chicken pot pie"), personality-based ("I bring mirth and reverence"), it might be hopeful ("I bring new friendships"), it might be inviting ("I bring the stabilizing power of Earth").

The second activity was a rather awkward round of word association, which was no great surprise. Even among experienced improvisers, the rhythm of word association with an unfamiliar group can be a little rocky. People who don't have much experience often get caught up in the particulars. They might lose it after someone says something funny, get caught up trying to think of the "right" word, or mishear someone and ask for clarification. The difference between the expert word associator and the novice word associator is not vocabulary. The novice says "penis" and giggles; the novice next to him thinks for five seconds and says "sweaty." The expert says "penis" calmly; the expert next to him says "sweaty" without thought. I look forward to working on this regularly. Green Sabbat had its share of stuttering word association exercises, but now we're able to do go for ten minutes on a theme, sprinkle innuendo, and expound profundity, all without breaking rhythm. It just takes practice and connection-building.

In the name of connection-building, the second activity was a series of Holy Moments. Two participants had to leave, so the remaining six of us spent several minutes a piece with each other person present. The idea behind a Holy Moment is to spend a few minutes with another person upon whom your attention is fixed. No words are permitted, but motion, sound, and touch are all fair game. When you emerge, you will (most likely) have a much stronger connection with your fellow momenteer. Our holy moments ranged from staring each other in the eyes to feeling each other's limbs to making monkey noises to mime.

After that, we did one of my favorite energy-building exercises, the Symphony of Cacophony. Everyone stands in a circle. One person starts making a noise such as snapping, stomping, clicking teeth, or shaking keys. Everyone else in turn joins in until the whole circle is making noise, miraculously producing interesting music.

After that, we had gingerbread and apple juice and talked about our goals for Potluck Tradition and our religious and spiritual backgrounds. My desire for a non-hierarchical eclectic playful close group was echoed several times. It's got potential, and you can be a part of it!

I hope to see you there. And if you can't make it because you live in another state, have regular Thursday commitments, or whatever, start your own Potluck! It's not a lineage tradition and it's hard to do it wrong, so give it a try!

Blessed Be.
flwyd: (asia face of the earth relief)
Man and TanksOn June 3rd, 1989, the Chinese army massacred an unknown number of pro-democracy supporters. The Chinese government remains unrepentive to this day, and arrested many people who tried to publicly mark the 15th anniversary. One strike each against peace and democracy.

Storming the Beach6/6/4 marked the 60th anniversary of D-Day. It was an incredibly bloody battle, so it's not the greatest anniversary of peace. However, it was a major turning point and led to the end of a warmongering and violent regime. A good day for democracy and not terrible on the peace scale.

Actin' PresidentRonald Reagan died on Saturday. His affect on peace and democracy was somewhat ambivalent. On one hand, he demonstrated that anybody can become president of the United States, even if you don't know what you're talking about. In all seriousness, though, he mastered the ability of getting people to like him, which is how democracy works. His administration supported anti-democratic governments or rebels in Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua, Honduras, South Africa, Indonesia, and elsewhere. His election was helped by a secret deal to exchange hostages for weapons. A strike for both peace and democracy there. His primary contribution to peace was outspending the Soviet Union on nuclear weapons, though it takes the paradoxical (but well-reasoned) logic of nuclear brinkmanship to see this as a step for peace. That said, his death is neither a loss nor gain for democracy. After ten years of Alzheimer's may he rest in peace.

All in all a fairly bleak week. Let's hope this week is a better weak of peace and democracy.
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