Please shake off your day job and dance into our interview with Chris Deckker, founder of Earthdance, by Willi Paul.
Visit Online: Earthdance 2009
How did this event come into your vision? What are the primary goals that you wish to achieve?
It came to me when I visited the Kings Chamber in the great pyramid of Giza, 14 years ago. The kings chamber was very strong and I stayed within for about an hour. At one point I went into a spontaneous trance and had a vision of a global synchronized prayer using dance as the medium, with many locations joining across the world. That was the vision for Earthdance. The goal is simple. To harness the exponential power that happens when we synchronize our collective thought and focus on a unified intention. Another goal is to allow everyone who participates to feel the universal power of music.
What is a "Reclaiming teacher" teacher?
From my understanding, a reclaiming teacher teaches the art of sacred ceremony and the unification of spirit and politics.
Tell us how the community Earth Mandala represents the sacredness of life?
The word Mandala is a derived from the Hindu language and is a circular design arranged in layers radiating outwards from the center. The mandala has a rich history in many ritual-based traditions. It is found in the Tibetan art, Australian Aboriginal sand paintings, in Hindu cosmology, in ancient Mayan architecture, in Celtic art, and in Native American ritual and art, where earth materials and used for prayer and protection.
The creation of the community Earth Mandala has been a tradition at Earthdance since 1999, when the first mandala was created at the Golden Gate Park band shell. Community participation is what makes this co-creation so precious and so very potent, as people from all walks of life are invited to join in the creative process. Over the years, the mandala has been a wonderful focal point for community sharing and healing.
What is the most important Workshop to you?
They are all very special. However, one of the most potent workshops for me is the Elders Council. It is always so amazing to be in the presence of such incredible wisdom keepers.
Do you see Burning Man on the same plane as EarthDance?
Burning Man and Earthdance are definitely very similar in that they inspire incredible levels of human connection and expression. However, Burning Man doesn't have a single pointed agenda. It is more of a "ground zero" concept set within a Bacchanal backdrop, where people are encouraged to express whatever they are feeling from dark to light without judgment, which is fantastic. Earthdance has a very singular mission of focusing global intention on peace. Earthdance is also not site specific and can take place anywhere, from people's lounge rooms to large festival sites.
How is sustainability like or unlike a religion?
For me the purpose of "religion" is to create a roadmap to understand the sacredness of life. Once you realize that all life is sacred you naturally move towards living in a more sustainable way - ie: you strive to live in balance.
Are you creating new stories and symbols in a drive for a new mythic reservoir for the planet?
This question reminds me of an old saying "Creativity is the art of taking a fresh look at old knowledge". I am just being creative with the ancient tools of music and ceremony, to bring a positive experience for the "tribe".
In the instance of Earthdance, the global tribe.
Can you tell us more about the synergy between the live music and the painters?
It's a wonderful fusion of artistic expression. When you watch the painters in action with the bands you can totally see them express the music through the paintbrush. It is a wonderful convergence of art forms.
What could the top issues be before the International Elders Council?
Sustainability and the preservation of the planet is one of the top agenda points for the elders. This year, they will be sharing wisdom on the importance of the youth in the changing times, as our international Earthdance theme for 2009 is "Blessing the Children".
How do know a shaman when you see him/her?
It is more of a feeling. Most Shaman's I have experienced are the most humble, heart centered people I have met. It is not a role that is accompanied with theatrics and ego.
Please offer us one of your poems or lyrics.
I think the Earthdance Prayer for Peace
would be a great way to end.
We are one global family
All colors, All races
One world united.
We dance for peace and the healing of our planet Earth
Peace for all nations.
Peace for our communities.
And peace within ourselves.
As we join all dance floors across the world,
let us connect heart to heart.
Through our diversity we recognize Unity.
Through our compassion we recognize Peace.
Our love is the power to transform our world
Let us send it out