5 Transformational Rituals at Lightning In A Bottle

Article by: Graham Berry|@Festival_Writer

Thu May 14, 2015 | 00:00 AM

Every year, people are drawn from far and wide to attend the Lightning in a Bottle Music and Art Festival. Some come for the music, others come for the adventure or the art, but every so often one can encounter the traveling soul whose purpose at the festival is to experience a transformational ritual.

These rituals are the connective activities that bring us together and are typically practiced & treasured most by the veterans of the cultural underground. Rarely is the meaning of these rituals known in full detail, but to those who share in the experience, they are the true heart of a festival. Like a speakeasy jazz club of the prohibition era, transformational rituals are a sanctuary for the soul and it’s from the effect that these activities have on our hearts, that the term “spiritual” originates.

Ultimately, each festival has their own rituals. Some might be called “transformational” because they engage the festival-goer in a participatory, shared experience. At Lightning in a Bottle, several such experiences over the years have contributed to the incredible nostalgia that those who've attended in the past now feel. To further understand this phenomenon and the deep sense of community that emerges at these events, here's a collection of five of the most remarkable transformational rituals offered throughout the day at Lightning in a Bottle.

Yoga at Dawn

Lightning In A Bottle 2014 Art Gimbel  (6 Of 111)

Photo by Art Gimbel (Fest300)

Each year, LiB becomes a temporary home to several of the preeminent yogis of the day. This year's festival (happening over Memorial Day Weekend) will have Micheline Berry, Mark Whitwell, Felicia Tomasko and Michael Brian Baker joining the acclaimed Guru Sing Khalasa, to share lessons on everything from spiritual meditation to breath-work. For some, yoga is a primary reason they attend LiB and perhaps it’s the scenic landscape or the chance to learn from the best that draws in these crowds. But after dancing their hearts out the whole night, hundreds are consistently drawn each morning at LiB to roll out mats at the break of dawn together.

Morning Tea Ceremony

Lightning In A Bottle 2014 Art Gimbel  (51 Of 111)

Photo by Art Gimbel (Fest300)

To the unfamiliar, a teahouse at a festival may seem strange, even disorienting. The truth is, the Tea Temple is often overlooked as simply a modest structure that to the inattentive eye, could appear to be a shaded hideaway or makeshift cuddle puddle. This year, it should be a bit more memorable since the Lost Tea Party from Burning Man will be on display. Those who seize the opportunity for an intimate experience will find a chance to connect in a deeper way with strangers than they likely have in a long time. Not through just song or dance, but in a humble conversation over a shared warm brew. In the hustle and bustle of the modern festival, this opportunity is a refreshing one.

Afternoon Sound Bath

Lighning In A Bottle 2013 Art Gimbel   63

Photo by Art Gimbel (Fest300)

Nothing calms the internal tempest like a good sound bath. The soothing tones imbue a euphoric state that allows one to straddle this world and the realm of dreams. Like an undertow where ocean waves crash against the shore, the sound bath can carry you to another consciousness or serve as reminder that when stress piles up, sometimes surfing through it just requires a little surrender. Be sure to soak up this invigorating experience – it’s so worth it!

Evening Art Walk 

Lighning In A Bottle 2013 Art Gimbel   11

Photo by Art Gimbel (Fest300)

In collaboration with the Do Art Foundation and Lightning in a Paintcan, LiB offers an art walk, where viewers can enjoy live painting by celebrated artists. With a variety of styles that span nearly all genres, the art at Lightning in a Bottle makes for solid quality time with that special someone or a fun way to network if you’re an artist. The “official” Art Walk is on Sunday at 7pm until midnight and attendees even get the opportunity to place bids so that they can take a piece of art from the festival home.

Midnight Burlesque at Amori's

Lightning In A Bottle 2014 Dan Krauss

Photo by Dan Krauss Photography

At Amori’s Burlesque and Casino, Paul E. Amori, the Mayor of Lightning in a Bottle, hosts a cavalcade of creatures. But the heat really turns up for the burlesque acts that accompany each night. Conveniently located in the heart of the marketplace, it makes for a great meet-up spot and this year the opportunity to get a genuine sit-down dining experience is on the table. Whether you’re looking for a rest from the bigger main stages or you just need a place to have a conversation with your friends, Amori’s always entertains with a unique lineup, sultry dancers and loving vibes.

What are your favorite rituals? What festivals have the best ones? Let us know and we’ll share more of the ones you love!