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Boom Festival

If you want to get a hit of what the Boom phenomenon is all about check out their website www.boomfestival.org. The main reason I found myself at the Boom festival was because I was invited to give a presentation at the Eco Centre, for which Cynthia and I got free tickets. However, I was more than a little curious about this countercultural explosion called Boom, and sure enough this was a “gathering of the tribes” that truly blew my mind!

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It wasn’t the relentless, mechanistic thud of the 22 hour a day trance beats that did it though (give me Jimi Hendrix anyday!), it was the unbridled creativity and beauty of so many of the places, spaces and people that graced the undulating hills along the lake, each with its own ambience and village vibe.

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All around were amazing low impact structures made of straw bale, cob, and bamboo. Geodesic domes, tipis, and awnings of all shapes and sizes emblazoned with wild, colourful designs cast their exuberance against bright blue skies. In amongst these were delightful permaculture gardens replete with corn stalks, pumpkins and cabbages, herb spirals, ponds, sculptures and chill-out spaces that all blended to create a magical atmosphere of intimacy and harmony.

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Folks of all ages and nationalities gathered in animated groups in various locales for a smorgasbord of workshops…chanting, meditation, kundalini yoga, white tantra, aura reading, fire walking etc. There was a theatre staging dramatic expression of all kinds around the clock. In a large psychedelic tent called the Liminal Village there was a packed schedule of lectures on subjects ranging from Applied Psychonautics to Biodiversity to Experiential Astrology to Global Peace Strategies…and also the Paradigms Film Festival which featured some intriguing movies I wish I had had time to catch. Inbetween their meanderings between dancefloor, workshop, movie and beach, throngs of happy Boomers chomped and supped upon delicious the fresh food, juices and chai that were available in abundance everywhere.

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Others slept off the previous nights partying in clumps in the shady gardens or studiously rolled their next joint. While the festival was clearly awash in a sea of drugs, the effect in this otherworldly Boom set and setting seemed to be one of opening people up into greater connectivity and shared consciousness. Many one day they will realise that they don´t need the drugs.

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While I wasn’t drawn to joining the throng amongst the mind numbing electronic thud of the various dance floors, I was intrigued by an “original” trance dance ritual, which a friend had enthused about, that was to be propelled by real instruments over in a quiet locale called the Healing Area.

A group of about 30 of us gathered in a circular sawdust dance space surrounded by drummers and percussionists of very description. After some deep breathing exercises and a brief spell of silence in which we focused our attention on the intent behind our dance, we blindfolded ourselves with bandannas. This was the key element of the ritual, taking away our dominant sense to facilitate an inner journey.

For two timeless hours I and we all danced wildly to the most incredible surging percussion music I have ever heard! I was soon swept into a state of ecstatic abandon as my body danced itself spontaneously within a vast still space of overarching nothingness. The music shifted into many different rhythms and modes so that it never became one monotonous beat. Amazingly, although we were all close together on the dance floor, we did not collide. Sometimes there would be the touch of a hand or an arm, or a light brush as we gently came together, but never a harsh bump or an elbow. While all immersed in our own solitary dance in darkness, there was also a mysterious synergy that must have moved through the group as a whole. At the end we all lay belly down in shamanistic fashion, I felt profoundly relaxed and one with the great Mother!

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I have no idea whether it was directly related to the dancing but at some point during the next afternoon as Cynthia and I sat by the glittering lake next to our tent, I was overwhelmed by a wave of ineffable peace, emptiness and bliss. I was so immersed in meditation my mind could barely function and also I couldn’t really get emotionally in touch with any desire whatsoever to give my talk! I mean when one is dissolved in that knowledge of the utter perfection of everything as it is there isn´t really any desire to do anything! I wasn’t quite sure whether I could pull it off, but as the time came closer and we set off to walk around the lake to the Eco Centre, I was just interested to see what would happen.

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We arrived early enough to see the presentation before mine by an enthusiastic Spanish woman on “Spiritual Activism”. As it turned out it was the perfect lead in to my presentation on “Evolutionary Spirituality”. With trance music streaming through the open door of the straw bale dome like building, and numerous people milling around, some of whom were intently rolling joints, I thought getting anybody’s attention was going to be a challenge! Luckily I had the idea to begin by showing a 15 minute DVD called “the Awakening Universe”. This captivating film that powerfully brings the threads of cosmology, ecology and spirituality together in a vast evolutionary context, soon had everybody riveted.

As soon as it ended I jumped upon a straw bale and began speaking (or rather almost shouting to be heard above the trance) about the sequence of Big Bangs from Energy, to Matter, to Life, to Mind, that were part of our emergence as consciousness becoming conscious of itself. My passion flowed, and I have little memory of what I spoke about for the next hour. I don’t know how we did it but we even fell into a 5 minute spell of deep meditation together despite the cacophony of sounds that surrounded us.

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At some point it spontaneously morphed into dialogue as some people could no longer contain their excitement and a thrilling collective inquiry was in full swing by the time I had to end. So about 7 of us decamped to another batch of bales in the dome and continued to share our deepest experience of what it meant to be alive in these tipping point times.

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By the time Cynthia and I emerged from this whirlwind of crackling consciousness to our amazement many hours had passed and it was gone 1am. What struck me most as we munched on a delicious falafel beneath the blazing August full moon was that the thing that these few people appreciated the most was the opportunity, the opening, to speak about the questions, experiences and longings closest to their heart with others that really wanted to listen. Here we are, I reflected, in the midst of one of the hippest harmonic convergences on the planet, and yet how rare it was for people to discover a context together in which they could deeply explore the profound experience they may already be having, and in so doing merge in a living field of unity beyond the habitual modes of relationship and drug induced highs.

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So as I left Boom, mind blown in wonder, it felt good to have given something and I also felt grateful for now much I had learned from being here for a few days amidst the wild elegance and artistry of the gardens and buildings. And also it was inspiring to feel the care of everybody and the organizers in making it such a showcase for coming together in a harmonious and ecologically sound way. For sure Life was surging forth in all manner of new creative directions here and I hope to be a part of it again next time.

Pete

One Comment

  1. keirasun says:

    Hi Pete!

    Greetings from my parents’s log cabin in Vermont…baby Solaris and I came here after Portugal. Sorry we missed you at Boom – so glad to read how you and Cynthia caught the vibe there. I have my criticisms about the event (e.g., instead of charging 1 Euro for .5 liter of full-color, private label branded bottled water, how about a huge container with dozens of drinking tubes ON THE DANCEFLOOR), but, overall, we are lucky to have such a venue for a truly global gathering of the tribes. I met so many good energy people!!!

    Love your yurt; it is SO similar to the one that Nelson, Solaris and I stayed in last March on Sophie and Andy’s land.

    Peace, love and light!!!!

    Keira

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