Blood, Ritual, and Play
The Bleeding Circle April-Sept 2023
Ritual and ceremonial space is play space, and shit gets done. It can be “serious” and still be playful. What type of spirits do you think you’re working with if it always has to be heavy and hard? We are in an experiential cornucopia, and all types of experiences are food for other beings, so just because something is getting fed doesn’t mean you’re doing what needs to be done. You think you’re going “deep” because it is a struggle, but the most ass tingling, world turning moments are at the convergence of pain and pleasure, birth and death, and play is the throughline to stay awake inside of it. Speaking as someone who has been addicted to making it all harder than it has to be.
The deeper the realness, the deeper the play required to go there. Deep play= a combination of refusal to abandon self, a consciousness of multiplicity, and absolute delight in all phenomena expressed through skillful relating.
We are gonna “GO THERE”, we are gonna look at things that we don’t really have words for, the mystery, the blood, the body, the taboo, the violence, the love, and we are gonna show up without stressing and straining and draining ourselves.
In that vein, here’s me riffing about BLOOD:
Blood is the portal and the teacher, to the way in which we are all implicated in world-tending. Blood is the answer to chronic cultural avoidance of taboo subjects, and the suffering that we and many other beings are reckoning with. Blood points us to surprise and depth, to source our ritual artistic expression from the place where emotion becomes sacred and uncategorizable. This crucible is possible because of the love that flows unconditionally, timeless and vast, from the centerless center of all things.
Blood is the disruptor. It stains your undies, knickers, panties, pants, skorts, skirts, bed sheets, couch cushions, office chairs, boyfriend shirts, bean bags, bedazzled yoga pants, and the sweatshirt you tie around your waist when the blood has already soaked through the first two or three layers. It makes ambiguous designs in fabric that offer divinatory omens (but do you even want to know? 2 day workshop and 37 minute certification coming in 2024). It spreads itself everywhere, just watch what it does in water.
Blood is the reminder of our origins; we all start as vampyric jelly fishfrogs in the belly of another being and there’s no coming back from that. Hark, our initiation into incredible and wonderful Strangeness. Our first lessons before we pop into the open air is the story of spirit combining with form, lived through spiraling cellular multiplication into different organismic shapes that have preceded humans, and therefore are our teachers. Blood is our first food, and the imprint of nourishment.
More egalitarian ancestors and kin looking at us in disbelief as we wrestle with even admitting that menstruation exists. Cheering us on but still casting side glances to each other as we make art that’s mostly just about refusing to hide it and how pissed we are that we ever had to. Imagine if everyone around us, children, elders, aunties, unckies, all genders and body formations, family and friends, hosted a simple and real acknowledgment of The Bleed? You go to the YMCA for storytelling night about menstruation, life, the moon, love, and death and it’s so chill babies can nap and people gaze easy and soft at each other, nobody fidgeting in a perma-panic because we’re talking about “Eve’s dirty curse”. When you start to bleed while you’re at a birthday party there’s an impromptu singing circle before the birthday cake because everybody knows you have to give energy and praise to that life and death force to bless the whole group. You go into people’s houses and everyone’s got the first blood-art their people made in adolescence displayed on their walls as good luck. When you go to a health professional with menstrual issues they ask you questions about your voice, your pleasure, and your relationship to balance and the divine because they know they are doing a spiritual service to the world when they help clients map their inner worlds with the cosmic.
There is a creative realm that does not need to constantly reference everything that is lacking or unjust. Where nothing is avoided or forgotten about the fucked up circumstances of people who bleed and the widespread cultural ripple effects that hurt everybody. But also where the artful expression discovers and becomes the cultural transmission, the necessary remedy itself. What will truly be medicinal for this struggling human realm will not be found only through the hurt feelings and exhaustion, it will come from direct, collaborative contact with the various nondual forces, spirits, energies, and presences that remind of us of what can never be taken away, exhausted, or destroyed. It will also come through the artistic devising processes that make that contact and its impact felt, explicit, and imbued in a new form.