Subject: raw

Here's my story, and it's gonna be raw. It will reveal a lot about me, good or bad or whatever you want to call it, more than it will reveal anything about the ceremony or Frank or anyone else there. The experience has to be felt by yourself because it is deeply magical and different for everyone.

I was afraid. I was excited. The room was decorated with awesome psychedelic art that my eyeballs were melting into. I didn't talk with anyone but just waited to see how this thing unfolded. I wondered how I would become involved. I was afraid and terribly excited.

I knew there were plants because I met one as she was arriving and we were looking for the entrance. But when Frank said everyone was a plant, reality warped a little and all of a sudden everything was questionable and mysterious - although this took a little longer to sink in on a conscious level. I wondered who D.E. was and Catty, the two I knew were going to be there.

I found it difficult to focus on the first poems being read and while I was trying to listen to the words I noticed a man looking at me intently so the look seemed more like ogling to me. I felt uncomfortable with this and tried to avoid his glance. The band was mimicking my flip-flopping stomach as they jammed eratically and rolled over each other. The poems seemed like a constant low hum in the background like the hum of the outside world as you are leaving it behind. A few people spoke to me and I felt a little less afraid because everyone was so kind and accepting. We were getting comfortable. I forgot about the man who I thought was staring at me.

I have to admit that the first nakedness I saw seemed to prance around a little peacock-like even though no props were adorned. Total unabashed naked glory wanting the eyes fixed on its fleshy canvas. I love to look, but I have been trained to only glance. I was scared. Things started to come up from my neurosis and walls become so apparent but I have been naked with strangers before. This was not new to me. I'm not afraid of my body. Accept for my stinky feet.

One thing that I will have to say, Frank, you give away your secrets too early. Anyone there for the 'sex' may leave if you bore them silly the first couple of hours...but they won't leave if you tell them this is your strategy within the first 1/2hr! They will know to stick around for as long as it takes. This tactic would be more effective if you told everyone after the boredom sets in. Anyway, it wasn't that boring at all. I could watch you and Linda for a long time with constant amazement and admiration.

Then the warning: Frank is leaving us but we will feel him. As he disappears into the cave a line suddenly appears between 'audience' and 'actors'. Just as it starts to threaten the whole thing into expectations I am approached by the plant I am aware of. She whispers to me that if I wear one of her slips I'll be one of the performers. I'm amazed at how easy it is and how accepted I am. I put on the slip and wander around giddy with excitement and knowledge that I'm really a plant. A mass of others is already forming and I walk around them not sure how to join in. Ah! There's an inviting stomach to sit on! I take a tentative seat on the soft form and am almost instantly enveloped in caressing arms.

The play is so much fun. We're all just kids again as we yelp and run and roll around without any hesitations. There are no lines. Walls crash. Someone even puts their face right up to my 'stinky' feet and inhales deeply. I'm blown away by my own small dillusions. I dance and get carried away, racing through the space 8 feet above. I am aware of the openess and I try to be a good playmate having fun and taking it where it leads me. I feel a hand on my clothed breast but I am more taken back by the kissing which feels oddly personal to me. I am free, but I want to be honest. I will not do something I don't want. I just hope that this can be conveyed through my movements because I don't want to talk about anything. I don't want to break the swelling magic, the ritual that is so removed from logic.

Photo by Michelle Angel

I see others being blindfolded and taken into the cave and I wonder when I will be invited. As I play with someone, he gets tapped on the shoulder by Mikee and then he turns to me and asks how he will know who I am in the cave. He touches me to remember what I feel like.

The playing starts to level off and calm down a little as anticipation for the cave mounts. Finally I feel Mikee's tap and he invites me to join. I am blindfolded and led to the front of the cave. While standing there, someone approaches me and starts to caress my whole body. I stand there feeling like this is part of the preparation for the cave. Hands moving over me, pelvis thrusting into me, kissing on my mouth, I slowly move my hands around but mainly I stand still giving in to this individual preparation - kneeding me into sensual passion. I wonder how long this lasts when I feel Linda take me by the arm. She continues the ritual with a cup of sonoma and words that will give me the power to control my enfolding into eros. I have never been without my sight like this and the words fill my head as if they're generated by my own inner-voice. It feels like a dream.

I am not allowed to speak of what happened in the cave but I will say this. I felt and this moved me. Tai Chi swimming through touch and breath. Deeply erotic. I confronted my femininity sharply and tears came from frustration and relief. I was pushed and at times afraid wanting to speak but the waves of feeling and flesh dictated that nothing could be tainted. Holy trust. I moved with my spirit and was safe.

When I emerged, I felt as though I just had a psychedelic experience. I felt like a naked creature, sensitive and vulnerable. The space seemed quiet as I made my way to the bathroom - I was having to pee through the whole cave experience!

Quiet chitchat commenced as I sat with others and was content to just listen. I felt welcome. I felt comfortable.

D.E.'s readings were the best I've ever heard. He brought Frank's writing to life and really enhanced the essence of the feeling. This felt like confirmation, a summing up of what the ceremony is all about. Feelings started to rise up in me and I realized walls that I've hidden behind for some time. I cried behind an old wall that has protected me through difficult times. I cried knowing it was there and how it has helped me. I cried knowing I was hiding behind it. (I just want to clarify here that this wall was not a fear of getting physically close to anyone. More of a social fear that, again, had to do with my being a female and my relationships with other females.)
We were told then to spread out around the room. I noticed the man who I thought was staring at me at the beginning of the ceremony and he came to sit next to me. I panicked and moved back a little farther away from him. He did not feel good to me. There was confusion as no one knew what was happening. Fear filled my heart as Linda told us to pair off - I did not want to be that man's partner. Something in me was violently revolting to it and my face was etched with stress. When she chose a different partner for me, I bowed my head down and prayed - thank you, thank you, thank you.... The man had been paired with another man.

My partner and I started to rock together. Any discomfort from the situation melted into our bodies as we got closer and breath slowed. I heard someone chanting (Mikee?) and as I listened to the words I visualized situations that needed physical/emotional healing. I was in my lovers arms, I was beside my dead husband, I was rocking with my mom, I was rocking my child, I was holding scared children and confused adults, I was holding myself. All of this melting and transforming as we rocked and caressed breathing slow. Individuals no more, we were symbols, two bodies holding onto each other as if we were the only two alive. This lasted a long time to me. My heart and mind were stretching out to humanity past the centuries to heal. It felt very good.

Wrapping/Rocking (Photo by Michelle Angel)

When this was over, I felt tired but energized. I felt a more calming excitement but my mind wasn't thinking concrete thoughts. Feelings were raw, walls were down and that's when I finally got to talk with D.E. I also met Catty and told her how much I enjoyed her article on Frank.

Frank, when I went in to talk with you I was very frazzled from hunger and tired. I had wanted to have a good deep talk with you originally but it just seemed like too much energy at the time. I was beaming and it would've taken a lot to get the smile off my face. I didn't really know what I was saying - just what was on the tip of my mind at the time, like the graffiti video. Is that why you think I'm discriminating? Because I was having a tough time with it? Actually, my frustrations were really about the technology as I'm using a couple of old vcr's to edit and the timing keeps getting screwed. Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about the cave - even though I knew I couldn't. I don't know if I can ever talk to you about that(?) I wanted to show you my photographs, but it just seemed too laborious to do that. I was thrilled when you asked me to dinner! A little disappointed when it didn't happen, but still thrilled that you asked! It's gonna take a while for me to assimilate the entire ritual.

Since coming back home, I am calmer. I feel more at home in the world. I feel more at peace with myself. More in tune with universe. I can't wait to have my photos developed and I will check Fred's photos which I heard were already up on the web. What a memorable night! Truly magical. Soul moving. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Love Jen

more to add

Since that night in NY, I'm still having fun exploring many things about myself through my experience. Although I know the intensity of this information will soon start to calm, for now it feels like concentric circles of water rippling outwards. Needless to say, I have more to add to my story.

Any fear or ambivalence or frustration I felt was my own. The man who I was frightened of could've been the sweetest, coolest, funniest guy there but I don't know because we didn't communicate at all except for the odd glance and my avoidance. It was my own fear that made me run. I haven't a clue what he thought/felt or whether he was the man who wanted to punch Linda and Frank.

Everyone I met was friendly and open. We were all uncomfortable, which seemed to make us all feel comfortable! The people (men and women alike) who had erections were pretty respectful and innocent considering how sexy it all was, even though it may have been hard (excuse the pun) to accept at first because of the great taboos in Western society. Gentle people.

I know my responsibility is to trust the magic. The magic was/is the place, the people, the happening, the life. It was/is real and false all at the same time. No bad, no good - just there. I'm taking it all in now, enjoying the ride.

I thank everyone who was there. Thanks for sharing yourselves.


Photo by Michelle Angel

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