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Sam Guarnaccia

Thank you, Jennifer for the topic, and Orla for your phenomenal comments! There is so much to say, but the first thought is of Thomas Berry’s saying that ‘we need a COSMIC LITURGY’, or as he said in Dream of the Earth (p. 215), “that we renew our human participation in the grand liturgy of the universe.” Liturgy and ‘ritual’ are not necessarily synonymous, but there is a resonance here. And resonance is an apt and pregnant word since music is so often a part of both. My ‘A Celtic Mass for Peace’ (http://samguarnaccia.com/celticmassforpeace/about.php) for instance, as an expression from the Celtic stream of ‘Christianity’, is often used in ‘liturgical’ settings, and is full of ‘ritual’ expressions arising form centuries of Celtic cosmology. But it is the MUSIC that helps create the space for the NEW awareness to emerge from the old forms.
From Berry’s ecstatic essay: ‘The Epic of Evolution’…..”This joyful fulfillment found expression in poetry and music and song and dance, a fulfillment that continues to find expression in our children running through the meadows……such is the beginning of education….of acquaintance with the universe……Ultimately it is the awakening of the universe to itself. This is the beginning of poetry and music and literature. It is the beginning of cosmology…”.
If all of our rituals, our Library, would pass this test…..that they would awaken us with “exuberant delight and unending gratitude”…..for “a universe where every mode of being is lived by a shared existence with all other modes of being….in the great community of life”, that would be a worthy standard.
One of the gifts of the Arts (particularly music) to science, the phenomenon of (at least partially) bypassing the rational mind, allows even us adults to ‘experience’ the Mystery with uncontrolled passion. When I practice the classical guitar, or sit at the piano to write, there is a great deal of ‘hard science’ going on, but within a set of rituals that create space for what Scott Peck once called…..’GLORY’. A mind set free. ‘Things’ happen……there is EMERGENCE….the appearance of unpredictable, surprising phenomena and understanding. Within the structure of ritual, there is the possibility of immense freedom.
Our project, the Emergent Universe Oratorio, a celebratory expression of the Universe Story, flows from these understandings.