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Essential Elements of a Sacred Arts Circle

Community is the goal.
Art, practice, and relationship provide the way.

Sacred:

Because we set aside a time and space to release expectations and impositions, mindfully experimenting with the possibilities of our highest selves.

Arts:

Because the vehicles of this transformational play are the diverse arts of human expression.

Circle:

Because we move and live in circles within circles, where all are connected, and all are one.


There is no audience, there is no performer. There is only our circle of expression and exploration woven together without plan or schedule, according to the ebb and flow of inspiration and relationship.

The Three Keys: Relationship, Practice, and Scale

Relationship is the content of our lives. It is the essence of our life's experience. The Sacred Arts Circle is entirely devoted to creating, transforming, and discovering increasingly healthy and inspiring relationships with ourselves, our environment, and each other.

Practice is the essence of growth. Practice requires work and discipline over time. There is no instant transformation. Through the consistency of practice we develop the skills and familiarity to build increasingly beautiful relationships.

Scale refers to the limitations of individual relationships across time and space. The depth of the community relationships pursued through this practice necessarily limits the size of the circle. The greater the number of peripheral and anonymous participants, the more superficial the practice is. Depth and quality of relationship depends upon living at a more intimate human scale.

The Essential Structure

A circle of two or more people. Practice for your selves and the right people will be drawn to your circle.

A regularly scheduled practice time, i.e., once a week for 1.5+ hours on Sunday. Repetition over time is key. Meeting once is an event, gathering a hundred times is the beginning of a practice.

A flexible opening and closing frames the circle as a time of sacred activity and mindful relationship.

Sacred Arts Circles are Never For Profit.

Sacred Arts Circles are multi-denominational. Spirit is recognized in all paths.

Facilitation is increasingly shared as members of the circle become familiar with the practice.

The Method

The arts provide the vehicles for building relationship. Each participant balances between expression and reflection. Self-expression emerges from inspiration that is sparked by the reflection of others. This results in a cycle, a spiral, of unfolding interrelationship.

We have found that drumming, dancing, chanting, and spoken word provide fertile ground for nurturing a Sacred Arts Circle. Rhythmic group activity produces an energetic matrix that brings people together, and also inspires other kinds of creative expression. Note that drums and rhythm can also become a hindrance when they overwhelm opportunities for silence and other kinds of artful exploration. The vehicles for relationship are potentially infinite. A group of visual artists may develop a Sacred Arts Circle with a quality and character that is different from one that is constructed around music.

There are only participants. All who are present influence the character and quality of the circle through the particular details of their engagement. There is no audience. Each individual is both actor and witness. If either of these roles becomes unbalanced within the individual or the group, the circle will struggle. If either of these roles atrophies, the circle will die. To create life we must engage with and appreciate its mysteries.

The circle is allowed to flow. Presentations that awkwardly interrupt the natural rhythm of expression and reflection are to be avoided. This kind of interruption is evident in the presentation of premeditated performances and offerings that superficially divide the circle into audience and performers. The Sacred Arts flow out of the relationships of the moment. People arrive with their preparations and their skills, but without expectations for their use. A drummer may come with a particular drum, but decide not to play it because the appropriate moment does not arise. Similarly, a poet may have a poem in mind, but decide not to share it because the time was not ripe. Learning to find one's place in the flow is part of the great beauty of this practice.

The circle is both honest and safe. It is a place to both try on new modes of expression and to explore the impact of expressing feelings and thoughts that are otherwise hidden.

The Metaphor

The symbolic meaning of the circle is as infinite as those who create it. Each Sacred Art Circle will enjoy its own story, its own mythology. It is also helpful to recognize that there is a fundamental correspondence between life inside and life outside of the circle. By creating and exploring harmonious relationship within the circle, we work towards developing the skills and insights to build more healthy relationships outside of the circle.

You are the artist. You are the magician.
Share and Discover.