Thursday, 16 July 2009

Circus priests

Anthony is holding a big, smooth meter-long wooden magical wand from a Shaman in Haiti that was given to his great grandfather. We're drinking wine and smoking fags in his country garden late on a summer night.
In Haiti, the man who holds the community's singing is the Shaman, he says.

I see a theme emerging. In many cultures the role of the entertainer and / or MC is combined with the role of spiritual, um, MC. Yes spiritual MC. Master of Ceremonies.

An example is Chartwell in Shona singing. He gets us going, he keeps us going, we get high, and some would call him a shaman, he says.

In Theyyam rituals of Northern Kerela; the dancers and musicians are also spirit mediums which the people go to for connection to the gods. Circus-priests.

In Britain entertainment has largely split away from religion or spirituality. In my few experiences of British church the music has been as palid as an overboiled brussle sprout; the high energy of music has moved to concert halls and night clubs.

That's ok.

But does the Fun Fed's form of entertainment have more in common with Shona and Theyam than Camden's Electric Ballroom? And if so, what does that make our organisation, and our facilitators, actually and potentially? From the perspective of an atheist? From the perspective of a shaman?

And what exactly do we mean by spiritual?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bri, you absolutely must read 'the spell of the sensuous' by David Abram, it's all about this. He's a magician and he finds how magic is the domain of the shaman, which is not so much about fun as about guarding the spirituality, and to some extent the morality, of a community. Then he gets all into spiders in caves and stuff like that. And 'the silent conversation between things'. I've got a copy, I'll lend it to you. Z, xx