BATHED BEATEN BLESSED ~ Varanasi Update November 04 2015
Greetings from Varanasi,
Welcome to our BATHED BEATEN BLESSED "Death & Transformation" project
We have known each other since 2001 and have collaborated on various projects before, including the original GENTLY DOWN project 10 years ago. We have many similar interests, but we also operate on completely different wavelengths when it comes to processing and reacting. The beauty of our friendship lies in the friction and frustration created by that difference. And ALWAYS ends with a laugh, a hug and a better understanding of ourselves and one another.
10/26 ~ BATHED
We made our way under cover of darkness to the far banks of the River Ganges to bathe each shirt. We then returned to Chet Singh Ghat to let them dry in the morning sun.10/27 ~ BEATEN
In India the local laundry person is called a "dhobi wallah". It has been said that what they are really doing is using your clothes to break the rocks.
We are attempting to work with energy, metaphor and myth on this project. And our hopes are that by using the shirts as talisman our dhobi wallah Lakshmi is loosening up and washing out some of our deeply embedded unconscious habits and patterns.
To heighten the potential effects of this process, the shirts (and perhaps ourselves) were beaten under the glow of this months full moon.
10/31 & 11/1 ~ BLESSED
First a water ceremony called 'abhishekam' was performed at The Kashi Vishwanath temple, Varanasi's main temple, on October 31st ~ All hallows eve ~ The night of the dead. What a blessing! It is not easy to gain access to this temple. Photographs or recording of any kind was strictly prohibited. We actually had to leave our phones at the gate.
The next morning was Dia de los Muertos ~ the Day of the Dead. We performed a fire ceremony called a 'homa' at a small Shiva temple in a quiet section near the end of town.
We kept you all in our hearts and minds during these ritual, praying for peace, happiness and well being.
After the ceremonies each shirt was hand numbered and prepared for shipping.
Our friend and GENTLY DOWN documentarian Darren Keith had the good sense to suggest for ceremony and for closure that we set 108 lamps afloat at dusk.
We've watched these shirts change and transform. We have done our best to share the process with you in hopes that this can act as a conduit for positive change and transformation ~ for those who have followed us along and for those who will eventually wear them.
It's not too late to participate. There a just a few shirts left in various sizes.
Feel free to contact us or simply purchase one HERE.
GENTLY DOWN October 04 2015
These shirts are not simply shirts. They are transformative wearables; magical talismans. Each shirt reflects a spark of the marvelous, thread together as a necklace, a single journey, into and through the transformative power of the river of life.
Please be aware that by procuring this shirt—you are not simply buying a shirt—you are embarking upon transformation. You are joining us. You are adding your own specific energies to our collective adventure, woven together into one single necklace. This project consists of 108 shirts, 108 unique individuals, 108 unique beads, thread together through a single resonant purpose, a journey of cleansing and transformation. Each piece is a part of this whole.
We are washing away our clinging, washing away our habits. Like a stone’s ragged edges becoming smooth, we are loosening our fierce grips of control, just a little bit, and allowing ourselves to be changed, soothing and relaxing our reactive selves. Together we open our hearts towards human generosity & kindness; we become our true selves. So each shirt reflects this. Each shirt embodies the art of transmutation through the waters of life.
DAY OF THE DEAD IN THE CITY OF LIGHT
Our journey will be focused upon the Ganges river—its symbolism, it’s mythos, and the practices upon the banks of this river. The practices of cleansing of transformation here are as old as history itself.
The Ganges is a divine river along every fragment of its length and is the embodiment of all sacred waters in Hindu mythology. She flows in heaven, earth, and the netherworld, and, consequently, is a "tirtha," or crossing point of all beings, the living as well as the dead. The waters of the Ganges can also be both pure and purifying. It wipes away the sins of the bather, not just of the present, but of a lifetime. No place along her banks is more longed for at the moment of death by Hindus than Varanasi. They believe to die and have your body burned at the river’s banks will bring eternal salvation and liberation from Samsara, the cycle of birth-death-rebirth.
People come to Varanasi for many reasons, but one popular reason is to die here. To shed our mortal coils here and be burned in the fires on the banks of the river. The ultimate transformation.
The holiest of cities, Varanasi is called the city of light, but is truly the city of death. Therefore we thought it would be appropriate to carry out our task on Halloween, the western ‘Day of The Dead’. Our goal is to investigate and contemplate our own relationships with mortality, resurrection, ancestry and purification while once again taking 108 shirts to be BATHED, BEATEN and BLESSED in the sacred River Ganges. And once again you will be able to follow us along
We decided to come to the river with transformation in mind, but also with the spirited playfulness of our American autumnal collage of traditions—the tricks and treats of Halloween, the Día de Muertos of the popular Mexican holiday, and the catholic holiday known as All Saints Day.
Ancestors play a roll in these traditions and will be honored and fed in the hopes that they are nourished. And as such our own decisions are not driven by the hungers and genetic memories of the past, but by kindness and generosity of each present moment.
WHAT TO EXPECT
We will be sharing the journey online, through social media. Each 100% organic cotton shirt will sell for US$108 + US$20 global shipping and handling fee. US$5 of each shirt sold will be donated to the “Clean Ganga Fund”. Nurturing Ganga to create a safe and better ecosystem.
The project has three phases— (1) Bathed (The process of cleansing); (2) Beaten (The process of change, surrender, shedding, letting go, of persevering through hardships and traumatic experiences); (3) Blessed (The process of birth, renewal, morning light)
In 2005 GBSK and Just Perception took 108 shirts on a journey along the Ganges River from the plains of Haridwar to the source of the river at Gaumukh high in The Himalayas. Each shirt was bathed at Haridwar, traditionally washed and beaten on the river’s rocks at Uttarkashi and blessed in an ancient ceremony in the temple at Gangotri.
The concept of the ‘Gently Down’ project was to take a mundane item like a T-shirt and see it go through a process of transformation, and hopefully for the recipients and us to experience a personal transformation as well. All the while you could follow your shirt along on the trip via live blog posts. The live blogging didn’t go exactly as planned due to early days of internet technical glitches as well as other obstacles put in our way by forces seen and unseen. But we were able to complete our mission and deliver all the shirts to their very satisfied new proprietors.
A lot has happened in the 10 years that have passed, but our friendship and desire for new collaborative projects and experiences are still in tact, so we’ve decided to do ‘Gently Down 2.0’. This time we will take 108 shirts to The Ganges River at Varanasi, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, the birthplace of Buddhism and the spiritual capital of India.Purchases can be made HERE
Barry & Spiros
GBSK & Just Perception