i'm so envious of everyone who was able to be there for this. it's a rare and beautiful thing to conjure up a sacred space under these conditions, with the right alchemy of freedom and purpose and determination and cooperation. i'm afraid the "postmodern economy of desire" has chased these sacred spaces even further to the periphery: it seems like, these days, having something like this with any regularity—unless it was a well-kept secret or overtly religious—would immediately start to tip into the profanity of mundane hedonism, without the ballast of a shared spiritual language to keep it upright.

we have a very popular annual music festival just up the road here. it's been going strong for over 30 years; i'm sure it felt exactly like what you're describing for the grown-up Flower Children who started it. it still retains some of that older, gentler, nurturing magic, but that energy is being smothered by the desperate, self-immolating hedonism of the younger generation. the music is still the same—but the drugs have gotten harder and the drinking is meaner. by Night 3 of the four-day festival, the fairground feels more like a besieged refugee camp than a celebration: kids in K-holes; drunks slumped in the wreckage of tents; fights and injuries; harsh vibes all around.

i can't judge: i was one of those drunks, not so long ago. but then again—when i was partying in my twenties, i probably would have benefited much more from a sacred space, instead of yet another venue for getting fucked up.

i'm sure there are still plenty of small, spontaneous gatherings that retain some sense of the sacred. i just worry that, the more we need them, the harder they are to find.

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An old post but a good one! Such a lot of great work and fantastic things achieved.

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There is more to say than I suspect you’d be willing to read but there are a few synchronicities here for me.

I live in Longmont, Colorado just a few miles from where Allen Ginsberg taught and created the Jack Kerouac school of Disembodied Poetics. Kerouac writes in On the Road of Longmont and his first impressions of the Rocky Mountains laying in the grass at a gas station while hitchhiking to Denver to meet up with Neil Cassidy and Ginsberg.

Because of this I’ve had my own dive into 60s counter culture material looking to find what went wrong and also to better understand why it had such resonance. Flawed as he was, Kerouac’s belief in the sacred was sincere. He was devout and prayed for humility in his journals even as his work and actions seem so unbelievably contradictory at times. Rereading that material I could see parts that laid the groundwork that would tear apart millions of families, including my own. Even still I see that work as sacred, like the necessary end game to the story of separation. Your school called Home, is a fitting counter to that part of the counter culture.

Also for what it’s worth Dark Mountain was something that bonded me and my significant other when we first met. We had both unsuccessfully tried to go back to university to restart our lives in environmental fields in our 30s. Ten years later (almost to the day) I got to publish my first essay and my own short reworking of On the Road in the publication you started. Thank you for that and this post.

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Your comment about how political movements use people up like a kind of fuel is insightful. At times while marching in political rallies I have sensed a broad loneliness. So many people gathered together, but for an abstraction that no one actually touches. There's an industrial feeling to such social arrangements. We end up mimicking the machine-like structure we are trying to overthrow.

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