Tonight, Sept 18, from 5-8pm —on the eve of Yom Kippur—Ritualist and artist Timothy White Eagle will be performing a durational ritual, inhabiting the Formal Gardens of Downtown Park, Bellevue as part of my nightly meditation space “A Great Unbridgeable Distance”, commissioned by Bellwether2018 .
Formal Gardens (northeast corner of Bellevue Downtown Park, behind Mod Pizza)
10201 NE 4th St, Bellevue, WA 98004
Come sit and witness Timothy’s song with us, listen to the voices of the ancient forest — long extracted from this land — eat honey cake made by my friends and mentors, sew on Nothingness Baskets with us, as we think on atonement and sweetness.
Learn more about the entire series here.
Timothy writes about what energy he’ll be working tonight:
Songs for the No Longer Trees" will be a three-hour durational work offering ritual to and in consideration of the pre-history of the park land we will be seated on.
We will be set up in the grove inside the formal garden near the north east corner of the park (wander around in the north east, look for the bathroom signs, you will find us in the grove over there). In this special spot, artist Mandy Greer, has crafted a medicine room where Indigo, red, black and gold pulse. A simple space which will change your vibration.
Here in Mandy's room we will consider the past, seek atonement and eat honey cake. I hope you will join me for this unique afternoon in the park.
Bring whatever you need to make yourself comfortable in the park on an autumn evening. Come and go as you will. Bring your picnic or pillow. Sit back and I will tell you a story, or sing you a tone.
Revealing more of what is behind this project……
… at its secret essence, is me sharing some coping mechanisms I’ve developed to manage and live with some deep dead-drops into depressions. But my aim is to move beyond what I am periodically wrestling with, and just give space for people to compassionately sit with themselves, an opportunity to lovingly probe our dark places together, personally— as in depression/suicide/mental health concerns, and societally — as in racism/ostracizing/erasure and environmental extraction and destruction. All create chasms and walls between people. I want to think about building tender bridges, even if shaky ones.
To do this, I’ve asked a group of creators to be guides, Timothy and the other nightly guides — all people who have mentored me, healed me, to share what they do with anyone who cares to gather at a meditation space I’m creating at Downtown Park each evening, with long elm tables created from a split-open tree, and communal woven indigo mats. Each evening, accompanying the guide’s work, will be hand-work meditations that visitors may choose to take part in, to release what they need to release in repetitive open-ended non-judgemental making.
Ritualist Timothy White Eagle, will be singing on the evening — Sept. 18th — to the ancient forest that, up until the past 135 years or so, thrived on the land of the park for a thousand of years. I realized, In the middle of Bellwether, synchronistically, falls the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. (Sept 18th at sundown) While I am not Jewish, my son’s ancestors are, and I honor their perseverance to walk out of Russia, to Liverpool, and then to Seattle, so I make kin with Jewish philosophical thought and recognize that ritualized atonement is healthy for the soul — amends are part of being a full human being, a part of flourishing, breaking bread with our imperfections and failings as part of who we are, of who all of us are.
One image that has stuck in me during my research and deep sitting with this land, is the great decimated wasteland just after this ancient forest was extracted, powered by the extracted coal from coal pits of the area, the decimated millions of interrelated organisms, animals and human community that has lived in community with this forest for thousands of years, the living peoples of the Duwamish. There is much to atone for.
Historical shame and personal shame when ‘brought to light’, out of the private hidden space, have the possibility of shedding — of letting go of us. I don’t know that this project will offer solutions, or even aim to, but it asks ‘can we try to move towards each other in honest embrace of all our failings? Let’s take the first step.” I want one night to make an offering to this idea of atonement, and its balancing ability to give health and sweetness to life.
Timothy and I decided to focus on Sweetness, more specifically bitter-sweetness. In his rituals, he often ends with the eating berries, to honor that no matter what else we shoulder, there is always some sweetness to find. This also echos a tradition of Yom Kippur, that on the eve of it, people ask a teacher or mentor or parent to make them a honey cake, as a way to honor that mentor.
This ritualized asking for sweetness from someone who has already given you knowledge might seem counterintuitive to our larger transactional society. But it is meant to remind one no matter how esteemed or high up one is, we all have the potential to need help and should be humble enough to ask for it. It is a gift and a blessing when we are given the opportunity to help another, because we are reminded the bounty we each have is not created by us alone, but the result of an infinite network of support. So being asked to make a honey cake is a symbolic gift of getting to share our bounty.
In humbling ourselves enough to ask for the cake, also gives the opportunity to know what it is like to be the one asking for help, that reaching out is a part of our interconnectedness.
Please learn more about Timothy’s generous and healing work. He’ll be creating a evening-length performance at On The Board this spring 2019.