marker blackGatherings: celebrating interconnectivity

logo of the 6th Gathering by Joseph Rael

We are Being in Vibration


marker black Previous Gatherings

Every few years an individual chamber hosts the Gathering.  These meetings began in 1997 at The Center for Peace in Tennessee, USA, the First Chamber Gathering.  The second took place in Australia at the Casurina Peace Chamber near Maldon, Victoria, in 1999.  The next was in Texas, USA, at Song of the Redtail Hawk, and in 2003 the fourth was held at Earth’s Ancestral Voices in North Carolina, USA.

In 2005 participation was expanded to include the chiefs of the ceremonial dances that were also gifted from Spirit to all races through Joseph Rael:  the Long Dance, the Drum Dance, and the Sun Moon Dance.  This meeting was held at House of Mica in New York State, USA.  In 2008 the Gathering came to The Light House in Scotland, and this is the story which is told on this page.  The seventh Gathering took place in July 2011, hosted by Birdsong, Pennsylvania, USA, the Seventh Gathering. The eighth international Gathering was held in Wind Walker, South Africa in September 2014. The ninth Chamber Keepers’ and Chiefs’ Gathering took place in 2017.  The host Chamber was Sweet Beautiful Waters located in the Tucson Mountains in Arizona, USA.

The tenth Gathering will be held in September 2020 at Rainbow’s End in California, USA.

marker black How the sixth Gathering came to Scotland

In November 1999 Joseph made his first trip to Australia invited by the Casurina Peace Chamber keeper, Junitta Vallak.  On the first weekend there was to be a Sun Moon Dance, the first in the Southern hemisphere, the following weekend a Gathering of the peace chamber family.

Casurina chamber interiorI travelled there, only expecting to go once.  But, as it turned out, I have now been five times to participate in ceremony there.  During my fourth visit the idea slipped into my mind that it would be possible to hold a Gathering alongside the Sun Moon Dance in Scotland, the Gathering on the first weekend and the Dance on the second, completing the pattern of this pathway between the north and south hemispheres made by our sound peace chambers and our dancing; a great way to thank the power of inspiration that enriches our lives.

On reflection it seemed like a lot of work!  And I bargained with Spirit in this way:  ‘Oh, I will do it, if the chamber and dance families in Scotland give their support.’  And they did.  The Graham family, from the Skye Chamber, who had also been in Australia for the 1999 events, were the first to step forward and we, Ocean, Scotty, Selena and I, met and talked about how we would organise it.  At the dance site we had most of what we needed but one thing was missing:  a sound peace chamber!

We had no funds, and we owned no land, but we had the people who love this path and  The Light House  came into being; a temporary structure built by volunteers for an outlay of fifteen hundred British pounds, funded, one way and another, by the people who love the work.

All was ready in September 2008 for the Gathering in the Scottish borders, at the place where we sing and dance for peace on land that was fought over for centuries in the struggles that divided Scotland and England.

 The Light House Chamber

marker black Gathering Memories from Alexander (Scotty) Graham

ScottyTravelling to the Gathering I was nervous:  Would everything go well?  How would I react to being with so many strangers?  Would I get tongue-tied?  I managed to calm my emotions, telling myself that I could do this, and do it in a good way.  In the event, when the delegates began to arrive, I felt very at ease, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

Denise and I, as native born Scots, were to lead a procession to the chamber accompanied by a young local piper; he and I wearing full highland dress.  I do not enjoy being at the forefront of events but as we walked listening to the skirl of the bagpipes I realized that being a representative of my beautiful country was a great honour.  As we strode slowly across the field my heart rose and I felt proud to welcome all these people who had come to our ancient land for this celebration.

At the first meeting each delegate spoke about themselves and how they came to be at the Gathering.  It came to my turn.  Was this really me getting up and speaking?  Yes it was, and I was enjoying it; noticing that the others were just ordinary folk like me; wondering if they had felt the same trepidation as I had?

As it happened I would not be there for the whole weekend as my niece and her family had come from Australia on a short visit and I was going to meet them.  I had not seen them since 1999, at their home in Melbourne, when we attended the Gathering at Casurina.  So, the next morning, I left to spend a day with them.  And this was not the only family matter that was going on for me that weekend.  My wife, Ocean, and I were constantly on the phone to one of our daughters who was well overdue to give birth.  Lots of important things were happening at the same time.  I had a truly wonderful meeting with my Aussie family on Saturday.  On Sunday they left to continue their travels and I set off back to the Gathering.

I arrived back after dark and made my way to the chamber to join the Ceilidh.  Walking across the field I could hear the sound of fiddles, dancing, and laughter, so I opened the door quietly, hoping to creep in unnoticed.  No chance, the first person I met was Ocean who let out a cry, which I am sure was heard many miles away:  ‘Congratulations, Grandfather, our daughter has a wee girl!’  Well, I don’t have words to describe how I felt, but I was somewhere between Mother Earth and the outer limits of the Universe (if there are outer limits).

After hugs and kisses I was grabbed by others and the next thing I knew I was being paraded across the chamber with our guests lined up on either side shouting congratulations.  I could truly feel the love and happiness coming from them, I felt like I was in the midst of the most wonderful group of people one could imagine, this was true brother/sisterhood with love and joy filling the room, a never to be forgotten experience.

I have been very fortunate in this earth-walk and when I feel down and un-appreciated I look back on these great times and know that there is so much love in our world and we have so many blessings for which to be thankful.  My heart swells with feelings for which I have no words.

Monday came and sadly the people began to disperse to the four corners of our beautiful Mother Earth.  Ocean and I among them set off for the Isle of Skye to see our new grandchild, born on the day of the fire ceremony.

marker black Gathering Memories from Ocean Graham and Stella Longland

Ocean (hands up!) and StellaIn the afternoon of the opening day we walked up the wet field in light autumn rain, following our Scottish representatives and the sound of the bagpipes, towards the recently completed chamber.  As a ceremony of activation we circled the chamber while it was smudged within, and then, smudged ourselves, we entered.  The pipes fell silent, the central fire was lit, and prayers were offered to the Spirits of the directions by Scotty and Denise.  We made ourselves comfortable around the fire enjoying the sound and light show as light and wind and raindrops played upon the roof.

Stella read a message from Joseph which contained these words:

‘When more than one person comes to a Gathering, the Gathering becomes the gathering of the people’

Clan MacRael gift bagand we chanted that vibration to form connections between the people of the Clan MacRael who have been brought together by Joseph’s visions (Clan MacRael is entirely our own invention specifically for the 2008 Gathering, and is intended as a mark of respect to the ancient clan tradition in Scotland). Those attending the Gathering were from Germany, Denmark, England, Scotland, Wales, Eire, Brazil, South Africa, and, from the USA, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Virginia.  At the Sun Moon Dance there were also people present from Holland, Austria, Croatia, Italy, Australia, and Japan. In order to complete the connection with the chambers and the dance families worldwide we, the assembled people, called out their names.

 After establishing these connections we dug the sacred hole in the ground of the chamber and chanted the Earth blessing to connect our personal consciousness to that of the Vast Self.  Then we spoke our names and shared the story of a blessing that we had received from being involved in the work of Clan Mac Rael.

On the morning of the second day we took a meditative drum journey to explore the web of our world to find what sounds would be helpful at the present time.  We shared the healing sounds we had found and sang them as a group.  Then the chamber representatives spoke, telling us about their work.  We listened with interest to the many ways the chambers have been used for healing and teaching.  From these sharings the group formulated topics for general discussion and, after a tea break, this discussion took place.

In the afternoon the dance chiefs spoke, sharing practical details about organising the dances and discussing how to disseminate information about them in a good way so that the people who have a calling to participate can find the information they need.  Again we held a group discussion covering points of interest.

That evening we concentrated on sound work and people shared exercises.  For example:  singing the primal sounds into and out of the energy centres; spontaneous singing to shake out fear; laughing our way through the chakras; personal healing through group singing.

On the final day we took a journey into the future to look for healing sounds.  We brought these back and sang them into the seeds of plants.  These would carry the energy into the earth for future beings to call upon.

Later that day we held an open forum on mystical topics.  We remember little of this, only that the questions were stimulating and the answers even better!  We played the seven peace drums that are travelling the world.  They were made in Australia and started their journey there.  Moving towards closure we gave gifts to the delegates and then talked of the next Gathering.  We handed the energy of holding on to the Birdsong Chamber.

The last ceremony of the weekend was the fire ceremony at 7p.m. on the 7th.  Tom, from Birdsong, taught the ceremony to Josie, from The Light House, and this exchange strengthened the connection between these chambers and formed a link between the present and the future Gathering. Later in the evening we feasted and enjoyed a wonderful Ceilidh, supported by the Riddell Fiddles:  The Gordons were gay and the willow stripped. We had danced the hokey-cokey and we sang Auld Lang Syne and that’s what it’s all about;

oh, hoh-kii koh-kii koh-kii!………….  innocence seeded with awareness: that is beauty.

enjoying the ceilidhenjoying the ceilidh

 Our last action as a group that night was to write prayers on paper lanterns.  Lighting the candles suspended below them, we released them into the night sky and watched them float away on the light breeze.

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