Community Rituals


Public Seasonal Rituals

These rituals are participatory, ecstatic, and co-created and are open to those who identify as women and to children. A donation is requested to cover rental fees, but no one is turned away for lack of funds. In order to respect both the sacred space and participants’ confidentiality, please leave your cameras and cell phones at home. Also, please leave your cynicism and critiques at home. Sacred space is created when we give undivided attention, support, and respect to ourselves and each other, and in particular to the priestesses who volunteer to serve. Your energy and enthusiastic attitudes make rituals fly!

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Much Experience do I Need?

None. We warmly welcome both newcomers and experienced ritualists. Carolyn isavailable before and after rituals for individual questions and priestesses explain what is happening as we guide each stage of the ritual. The only criteria for participating is that you come with an open mind. The mixture of experienced and new participants makes for dynamic and unpredictable rituals–from experienced ritualists, we ask for patience and leadership. From new women, we ask for open-hearted risk-taking. We gather to create a microcosmic world in which we take responsibility for our self-expression while attuning to the energies of others in the circle.

What Does “Participatory” Mean?

Participatory means that your attention and energy are required to co-create the ritual that is most needed in this moment to reach and heal the women present and the world at large. You will never be asked to do anything that is uncomfortable for you, but we need you to contribute by focusing your attention on the proceedings (in addition to singing, dancing, and sharing in other ways–if you would like). You may arrive in a variety of moods–contemplative, happy, quiet, melancholic, exhuberant–all of which are welcome. Our rituals typically transverse a wide emotional and psychological landscape so that wherever you happen to be will likely be met with validation. Women often report leaving these rituals in a more grounded, clear, and connected space than when they entered.

What does “Ecstatic” Mean?

Ecstatic means that there is space for your full self expression, but never any pressure to express yourself in a particular way. Our rituals facilitate experiencing the joy of life and living through words, song, dance, drumming and responding authentically to how we are touched by another woman’s contribution. Our rituals do not contain didactic lectures or rigid rules of behavior, but rather, generate emotionally safe space to let it all hang out spiritually!

How do I Prepare?

Please spend time contemplating the themes of the season, at your altar, in meditation, while enjoying nature, or on the bus commuting home. Have you noticed the shift in seasons? What is happening in nature now when you look out the window? How does that make you feel? We always light candles for intentions, so you may want to think about what is most needed in your life right now to help you move forward on your true path (or, alternatively, what do you most need to let go of?). Bring a candle in a holder, items for the altar (if you like), musical instruments (if you like), plate and utensils, food to share, and anything else that will help you be physically comfortable.

Children

Children accompanied by women are warmly welcome. Throughout history, humans have learned not in classrooms, but by being part of community circles, noticing and observing, and contributing when called. In our current age-segregated society, there are few opportunities for children and adults to be together in meaningful ways. At these rituals, we have no separate, special activities for the children–rather, children are invited to sit in the center of the circle for safety, contribute during spell-casting and Offerings, and sing and dance with the community. My experience is that children are captivated by the beauty of the space, the candles, songs, and stories, and they stay engaged throughout. Our rituals m

ust appeal to our Child Selves–for both women and children– to be powerful and satisfying.

Please join us!

 

 Bay Area Rising

CaroOBR

Bay Area Rising is an all-volunteer multi-cultural, multi-generational, and multi-spiritual collaboration, I founded and co-coordinate. We’ve produced 4 community performance rituals in conjunction with Eve Ensler/VDay’s One Billion Rising global movement to end violence against women, girls, and communities.

Our purpose is to create vibrant, energetic rituals with world-class performers to educate, raise energy, offer healing medicine, and generate funds for small non-profits contributing to peace and healing for women, girls and communities.

On the Full Moon Friday February 14, 2014 we offered ‘Stand for Real Love’ in Oakland. This was a sold-out event full of both recognition of the damage of violence and a huge celebration of life. We gathered $13,000 for expenses and donations to 4 terrific non-profit organizations: IDEX, 1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence, American Indian Child Resource Center, and Tibetan Sisterhood Project.

In 2015, we sponsored a rally in downtown Oakland with the City of Oakland on Friday Feb. 13 at 5:00pm and on Saturday Feb. 14, at 7:00pm we offered a performance ritual entitled “Evolution” with world-class local artists and ritualists to express our anger at violence in our communities, heal and celebrate life, and envision a new world. We raised funds for IDEX, International Development Exchange and the Bay Area’s 1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence.

In 2016, Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and Oakland native led us in a moving high-energy evening with a focus on black and brown girls at Oakland School for the Arts’ Sweets Ballroom. We raised funds for the Butterfly Movement, the Radical Brownies, and IDEX.

 

Eve Ensler with Bay Area Rising priestesses Afia Walking Tree and Carolyn
Eve Ensler with Bay Area Rising priestesses Afia Walking Tree and Carolyn

ONE BILLION RISING began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. On February 14, 2015, Oakland will join activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and women and men across the world as we express their outrage, demand change, strike, dance, drum and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.

“When we started V-Day so many years ago, we had the outrageous idea that we could end violence against women,” said Ensler. “Now, we are both stunned and thrilled to see that this global action is truly escalating and gaining force, with union workers, parliament members, celebrities, and women of all backgrounds coming forward to join the campaign. When we come together on February 14, 2015 to demand an end to violence against women and girls it will be a truly global voice that will rise up.”

Please see the Bay Area Rising Website for more details.

SFRL North