Three events: Mallorca, San Sebastian, Urrez
Mallorca: report by Marta Nogareda Moreno
Our 2012 SOPP in Palma de Mallorca connected with the other SOPP gatherings around the world on the 20th of May. This feeling of oneness and planetary unity was the connecting thread that inspired our gathering. The cosmic alignment of the Sun, Earth and Moon on that day made our meeting even more magnificent, and we felt especially connected.
We held a very modest, down-to-earth gathering, with mainly women around the circle. We enjoyed various songs and poems, in Spanish, Catalan and English. During our flag ceremony we attracted the attention of some pedestrians who were walking in the public place. A few of them who were from Latin America joined in the circle in order to have the opportunity of affirming peace in their own countries.
The wind was very present that day, and at some point, some flags blew away from the mandala. It was very impressive to see the quick reaction of some of the women who picked up the flags and tried to ‘reorganise’ the world! By the end, the mandala had several keys, wallets, and other personal items that everyone had been putting on the flags to prevent them from abandoning the sacred circle. Everyone contributed their own precious things to keep the world united and in perfect harmony!
We finished our SOPP with a dance that honors the earth under our feet, the people around us and our own being. Finally, we held hands and sang John Lennon’s song “Imagine.”
This year, our SOPP gathering made room for all kinds of people—friends who had been with me from the first SOPP in Mallorca, as well as local people who had the opportunity to share something precious, such as a poem, a passage from a book, or a song. The general impression was that the gathering this year was clearly feminine, as it was attended mostly by women, with everyone united, smiling, singing, affirming peace and reorganising the world, envisioning it as it can be.
San Sebastian: report by Lola Sousa
The experience and the energy created after eleven years of intense peace work in Basque country enabled us to create the first Symphony of Peace Prayers in San Sebastian, capital of one of the Basque provinces, in the beautiful Miramar Palace. Since 2008, we have held SOPP gatherings in other parts of the province, and last year we held a great ceremony in Madrid, which opened the door wide for this year’s event.
The ceremony was wonderful in all aspects—participation, depth, unity, and so on. People who have connected with the Byakko community here over the years came together to carry out this beautiful gathering. We were like a family reunited, and this was the simple beauty of this ceremony and also the greatness of it.
The ceremonial entry of the flags, with music by Vangelis, opened the Symphony of Prayers, which flowed continuously, with each part separated only by the sound of a bell: a deep guided meditation by Brahma Kumaris; the heartfelt mantra Om Mani Padme Hum from Buddhism; the always beautiful simple prayer of St. Francis (Catholicism); a beautiful prayer from the Sufi master Hazrat Inayat Khan (Islam); the Universal Great Invocation; and the prayer of oneness offered by Masami Saionji at Fuji Sanctuary. We also performed a wordless prayer for humanity. Everyone participated in the various expressions of peace with deep feeling, and you could really feel the peace, harmony and union created there among all.
We also listened to the message from Masami Saionji for this eighth Symphony of Peace Prayers, and also a personal and complementary reflection by special guest Koldo Alday, who works in Spain to promote spaces and networks for spiritual union.
Our SOPP continued with a flag ceremony and an invocation for peace in every country on Earth, reciting the word ‘peace’ in the many languages of the world, so that the vibration of peace could reach straight to the heart of every nation and people. A wonderful musician named Amaia, who performed with violin and voice, accompanied and gave life to the procession of flags. In addition, there was a musical interlude after each continent, to make us feel closer to the land: the “Ode to Joy” for Europe, the mantra “Shiva Shambo” for Asia; “Baba La Gumba” for Africa; a Maori song for Oceania; and for America, the Native American meditative chant “Hara.”
Finally, again with the music of Vangelis, the Earth flag was turned around the mandala of flags we had created in the center, while we held hands in a circle, and then drew closer in a collective embrace, sending our peace out to the world. As a perfect closure, Masami Saionji’s beautiful poem “Creation of the Universe” was recited, and spontaneously, participants began to make affirmations, such as Peace prevails on Earth! Peace in our hearts! Peace in our families! Peace in our work! and so on. We closed with songs, hugs, and feelings of joy and peace.
Many of us stayed to have lunch together, and after cleaning up the room in the afternoon, we continued with more prayers, chants, and dances—no one wanted to leave! We were anchored in the place, with infinite joy and gratitude in our hearts.
Then, just as we were leaving, we saw the sun appear through the clouds, after days of heavy rain, and we knew that everything was fine and our mission was accomplished. We had done well our job on earth, and heaven had thanked us and shown its happiness together with ours. We said goodbye with endless hugs and made our appointment for next year, to be here in San Sebastian for another symphony of infinite peace and oneness.
Urrez: report by Lourdes Rad
The morning was bright and the sun was radiating its perfect energy as we walked from the village of Urrez to the hermitage of Santa María de la Cabrera. We walked for three kilometers, with five stops along the way—one for each continent. At each stop, we held dances, chants, and prayers from different traditions.
When we arrived at the hermitage, the national flags were waiting for us in a field, waving with the beautiful wind. We held a prayer ceremony for peace in each country, with many children present, and with drums and Tibetan bowls filling the air and the open space in nature. Children carried the Earth flag and continued drumming after the ceremony, asking to come back next year to celebrate peace.