Friends of Creation Spirituality launched a completely new, bold and beautiful website for the Cosmic Mass. With in-depth content on the history, vision, theology, and community of the Mass, along with dynamic photos and poster designs from past Masses, this new site will be building the local and global TCM community over time. Come and visit at TheCosmicMass.com!
- Find the history and vision that drive The Cosmic Mass…
- Discover the interspiritual, ancient/postmodern theological principles behind the ritual…
- Tap into the spirit of community as the TCM network evolves…
- Get involved through the self-directed training...
- See the breathtaking imagery being created for the Cosmic Mass in the “TCM Art” blog posts…
- Hear the personal stories of planners and participants in the “TCM Voices” blog posts
Excerpt from “The Cosmic Mass: A New Home for an Ancient Ritual“
By Matthew Fox, (c) 2000
The philosophy behind the TCM is simply this: Worship needs to be enlivened by paying attention in these post-modern times to the emerging post-modern language so that communities can pray together in a deep and effective fashion.
True prayer takes place in the heart and not just in the head.
Dance/Breath/Spirit-that is the clue to why the TCM replaces pews with a dance floor and replaces reading with taking in the spirit while dancing and receiving lessons from images of video and slides with DJ and VJ enhancement. A brief “teaching” is usually included. The text orientation of modern worship (the modern age having begun with the invention of the printing press) gives way in the TCM to context.
By altering the form of worship through taking in the elements of rave celebrations three things happen: First, new life flows through the ancient liturgical formulas and second, ravers are relieved of the drug aspect of raves and learn they can get high on worship itself. Third, the priesthood is not projected so exclusively onto a single minister but everyone participates in midwifing the grace of the event (no vicarious prayer!). Because everyone dances, everyone is offering their priestly sacrifice.
A drug therapist for youth brought fifteen of her clients to a Cosmic Mass. On the way back in the van they said to her: “This is the first time in our lives we have gotten high without drugs.” Getting high is everyone’s right. Transcendence is everyone’s need. Our souls want to travel and drink in big experiences. Worship ought to do this for us. It’s difficult to affect with our noses in books be they prayer books or music books, holy or unholy books. But getting high on beauty and on dancing (and sweating) hard is ancient wisdom.
Is this truly a Mass? Of course it is. If you deconstruct the Mass, taking it apart and looking for its constituent parts, you will find that the Mass follows the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality: The Via Positiva or celebration of existence (Thomas Aquinas says this is the first dimension to Worship: To say Thank You for Creation); the Via Negativa or sorrow for sins; the Via Creativa, the blessing of wine and bread as the food of the Cosmic Christ; and the Sending Off which is the Via Transformativa.
Our first 18 minute dance is during the Via Positiva, the last at the Via Transformativa wherein we receive the energy to be the spiritual warriors we need to be to transform society after we leave worship. In between there is a deep experience of shared grief (via negativa) often including wailing and lamentation and the sharing of communion (via creativa)…
Themes for the Mass, which attracts not only many kinds of Christians but also Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Taoists, Jews, pagans and goddess people, have included the following: The Green Man; Imagination, Dreams and Visions; the Return of the Divine Feminine (where we danced in the context of 400 images of the goddess from all the world’s traditions including of course the Black Madonna and Mary from the West), the Celebration of the Sacred Masculine, Gaia (usually on Mother’s Day), The African Diaspora, the Wisdom of Rumi and the Sufi Tradition, Kabbalah and the Jewish Mystical Tradition, Feast of Lights (in December), Celtic Spirituality, Flowers, Plants and Trees, the Holiness of Animals, Our Lady of Guadalupe, The Sacredness of Our Bodies and more. The themes are of universal attraction just as dancing is and worship is. Dancing of course takes us into our lower charkas where we literally connect with the earth and so this kind of worship truly serves an ecological era.
One of the most satisfying aspects of the TCM is the coming together of young and old who work together to plan the celebration (we do one per month). Such a celebration takes up to twenty-five persons with varying talents ranging from DJ’s and VJ’s to rappers and electricians, carpenters and altar builders (in addition to a central altar there are usually at least four other altars in the four corners to depict the theme of the Mass), live musicians, theologians, ritual leaders, security, graphic artists and more. A more or less “permanent” team of seven persons helps plan each Mass and contact the unique “talent” for each mass. All this work builds community and “liturgy,” the “work of the people” truly happens in the process.
Reinventing Worship has never been so much fun or so much work or so needed.