4 events: El Boalo, Palma de Mallorca, San Sebastian, Urrez
El Boalo, Spain: report by Lourdes Rad
We held an SOPP ceremony and music circle in El Boalo, a village near Madrid, on May 19. More than 120 people took part. We introduced each continent by reading poems and prayers from different religions. Then, I called out the names of the countries, and all the participants responded by saying, “May peace be in (name of country).” After that, I sang a song to begin a Circle of Sound for Healing Nature. For more than two hours we played music (drums, didgeridoo, and other percussion instruments) together for the healing of nature. It was so beautiful under the mountains of Navacerrada, Sierra de Madrid. It had been raining and snowing the whole weekend, and it stopped on Sunday from 11:00 until 14:30, just in time for our gathering. From there, it started to snow again!
Palma de Mallorca, Spain: report by Marta Nogareda Moreno
This year, our gathering was organized by my dear friend Pilar Mañosa, which freed me from the work of preparing the event and allowed me to recover the spirit of the SOPP. As a result, our SOPP gathering this year felt very spontaneous and genuine.
Some ten women answered to our call to participate. Almost all of them knew about the event from previous years, and I could feel that we were all relaxed, confident, and committed in a very familiar space—the Bellver forest, a natural space very near the city of Palma.
We started by gathering in a circle, holding hands, breathing and feeling the spirit of that place, the trees, the air, and the still warm sun. Then, Pilar led an activity to connect with Mother Earth and Father Sun through our human bodies, readying us to be open channels to convey love for humanity.
In the center of our circle we placed a globe and objects representing humanity, the animals, the plants, the oceans, the winds, and our ancestors. We could feel the unity of all. Spontaneously, I asked the group: Here you have humanity. Now, we have the opportunity to tell humanity what is deep in our heart. What would you say? Then, a flow of loving, supportive, healing words came out from our mouths. We felt that all of humanity was being revitalized and awakening, and how what was dark became healthy and light. We kept talking to humanity, feeling more and more enthusiastic about being able to uplift humanity. We felt powerful, affectionate, and yielding. We felt a power to make humanity pulse with life again.
We were so energized that I felt we had to dance before moving on to the second part. So, Regina guided us through a Sirtaki, a Greek dance that made us move our bodies and express the joy in our hearts.
Then, we returned to silence. We prepared ourselves to express and affirm peace on every continent and in every nation. We continued with the same practice as before, this time ‘talking’ to each continent with words that came up for that specific piece of land, because each continent inspired in us particular feelings and loving words. We proceeded to present each flag in order. The whole ceremony was very heartfelt. We tried to feel the place where each nation’s flag should sit on the ground. As a result, American nations sat next to African nations, and flags from the Pacific region were eventually neighboring Europe. We thought it was a fantastic idea that nations could experience being next to continents and countries that are usually remote to them. In short, the whole world gathered in a mixed dance of nations that usually do not have contact—Fiji with Hungary, Tanzania with Paraguay, Guatemala with Zimbabwe!
At the end, we did a dance of blessings, which we do every year because we simply love it! It is very inspiring and animated: we bless the earth we walk on, we bless the different peoples, we bless the persons that are there with us, and finally we bless ourselves. After the ceremony we had a picnic in that magical, natural place.
San Sebastian, Spain: report by Lola Sousa
Once again, we met in San Sebastian, in the wonderful Palace of Miramar, with its magnificent views over La Concha Bay, to celebrate peace together in infinite universal harmony.
There was a heavy storm on Friday, with hail in some places, and the heavy rain continued on Saturday, as if the atmosphere was cleaning out for the occasion. On Sunday morning it was still raining, and we were happy to have an indoor place to gather, but as the ceremony progressed, the sky began to clear up, and by the time we finished, it was already fully clear.
Last year, it was the first time that we held an SOPP ceremony in San Sebastian, and we anchored the energy at this location. This year, we only had to continue, and everything felt much easier.
A large number of people gathered together—about 70-80 in total—from children (more than last year) to our veteran friend of over 80 years, whom we love and admire. Many of the participants were people that I have known for some time, but there were also people who were new to me—friends of friends, etc. The family continues to expand!
We started with a dance to honor the place, in others and ourselves, in which the entire universe dwells, recognizing that we are one. I read Masami Saionji’s message for the occasion, something that is always appreciated. We shared, from the heart, the inter-spiritual wisdom, with representation from Brahma Kumaris, Buddhism, Christianity, the Amma-Amalurra community, and independent spirituality, as well as a prayer from Byakko Shinko Kai. In addition, we honored other spiritual traditions that were not present, through their prayers, enjoying and discovering the various messages of peace, which are one and the same in essence.
We also heard the voice of the children, explaining what peace means for them, and the beautiful poem “What is Peace” written by Mother Mangalam in Malaysia. We then had a special moment to honor and thank our dear Mother Earth. We were led into a deep prayer of connection with the Earth, and together we sent our gratitude and love: Dear Earth, I’m Sorry, Thank you, I love you. We finished with a dance to honor her.
This gave way to the flag ceremony, to send our wish for peace in all the countries of the world, presenting their flags, one by one, and saying the word ‘peace’ in the official languages of each country. Many people have commented that they enjoy this ceremony very much, as it allows us to send the vibration of peace straight to the places and the hearts of people around the world. This year, some people said that this part of the event felt much lighter than last year.
The children raised the Earth flag, following a spiral pattern around the room until they reached the center, where they stopped solemnly. We joined hands in a circle and listened to the poem “Creation of the Universe”. Then, there was a mantra, a deep silence and a closing dance.
Many participants said that they liked the ceremony a lot. People who had participated before said it was much better than the previous year. One woman commented that, upon entering the room, she felt a great openness of the heart, something that she had only felt in very special places and situations.
Indeed, we had prepared everything with much love, so that we were internally prepared, and so was the room. You could feel the energy that had been anchored, the 21 mandalas displayed around the room, the flags, the world map ‘rug’ on the floor, and all the other objects that we had used in other ceremonies.
After we had cleaned up, the weather finally allowed us to go outside, so we closed the day in the garden next to the palace, sharing our energy of peace with nature, the trees, the sea, and all the people who were there. We said goodbye until next year, because we assume that we will do it again next year! And the truth is that, above all, we love to come together and share from the heart. And this is a great opportunity to do so, at least once a year. Thanks to everybody for being there and making this event possible, and thanks also to all those who could not come but were with us in spirit. We are all one.
Urrez, Spain: report by Asun Serna
Urrez is a small village located at the foot of the Sierra de la Demanda. The environment is very rugged and natural, with no power lines or other modern technology. There is, however, a direct connection with the universe through a pillar of peace that was installed years ago with the participation of the inhabitants of the village as well as the friends of Burgos and groups which came from the Basque country, Madrid, and other areas.
This first pillar of peace of Spain, a simple, old oak anchored in nature, inspires our Symphony of Peace Prayers celebration every year.
The ceremony this year was accompanied by wind, clouds and a fine rain that seemed to play with us, as this year winter and spring seemed to be intertwined.
The prayers for the nations unfolded as we walked in nature for about 2 km. To the rhythm of drums, we sang and danced, each continent greeted by music. The stormy weather ended up turning to snow, but everyone stayed to complete the prayers before returning home.
This year, our gathering was filled with much freshness, as we welcomed some new people, who each contributed something new and different.
We closed with a huge collective hug, forming a human mandala, where we could feel our brotherhood and our childlike heart—an embrace towards a future that is evolving and growing, a body of people wrapped in the warmth of the love for humanity that is emerging. Thank you to everyone for your joyful participation and the gift of your energy.