Artzenales, Spain: report by Lola Sousa

For the second year in a row, we gathered at the Amalurra community in Artzentales, near Bilbao. A rain that we didn’t expect surprised us early in the morning, but even before the ceremony started, the sun began to seep through the glass of the dome that surrounded us, connecting us with the cosmos. Below, we were connected to the earth through another underground room where, on that day and at the same time, a workshop on shamanism was taking place. Above and below we were connected with the same aim.

People started to arrive shyly, and we opened the ceremony. We started with piano music and the voice of Andrea chanting the mantra Lokah Samasta, “May all beings be happy,” a beautiful peace prayer. We introduced the ceremony and read Masami Saionji’s message to all participants in SOPP ceremonies around the world. We briefly recalled the five points of the Fuji Declaration, and presented the Soul of WoMen campaign, the cornerstone of our ceremony this year.

We performed wordless peace prayers, and then, feeling totally harmonized, we continued with more peace prayers and various readings. The friends of Amalurra (which literally means ‘Mother Earth’) offered a poem about the feminine energy composed for the occasion. Also written for the occasion was a beautiful ode-prayer to women and the African land, by an African woman. The peace prayer of St. Francis, representing Christianity, and one more prayer were also read. And all together we sang the Paternoster Prayer in the Basque language.

We performed a dance to integrate and balance in ourselves the feminine and masculine energies. Just when we were about to begin the flag ceremony, the women from Brahma Kumaris arrived, and we decided that it was the right time to hold the meditation to connect with our inner selves, which we had planned for the beginning of the ceremony.

After that moment of silence and connection, we were in the perfect condition to start the flag ceremony and offer our vibrations of peace to all countries in the world, by speaking the word ‘peace’ in the official language(s) of each country. At a certain moment, we opened the room doors wide and many more people, who were at the center for other activities, could enter and join the ceremony. We could feel how the energy was elevated by the presence of these new people.

We finished in a circle holding hands together around the beautifully arranged flags at the center, and sang together the Spanish version of the song “We are all Shining Divine Sparks,” which we had been rehearsing together the day before. Then, Andrea offered us another beautiful song on the piano, this time a Basque song about the Mother. We ended with a new peace dance to collect all the energy that we had created during the ceremony and send it out to the universe.

Finally, we shared hugs of excitement, of joy, of thankfulness, of happiness, of an accomplished mission. We knew that, once again, through us, and united with all the other people in many other places in the world doing the same thing that we were doing, we had carried out the universe’s plan. Maybe sometimes we had doubts, maybe we had obstacles in the way, maybe some of the preparations were difficult, maybe we sometimes focused too much on material things, but we knew that everything had a deep and wonderful sense, and that behind all that we could see with the naked eye, there was much more. Maybe we couldn’t understand it in its true dimension, but we could certainly sense and perceive it with our five senses, and all this was reflected in our faces of happiness.

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