The six principles compared to the principles of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a tradition honoring African-American culture first celebrated in 1966. It is based on a synthesis of philosophies drawing from Afrocentrism, cooperative (or socialistic) economics, and black nationalism. The founder, Ron Karenga, described the principles as “the seven-fold path of blackness: think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black.”

Bridge of Light is a new tradition honoring the full dignity and equality of all people. It is the fruit of ideas generated at the 2004 Gay Spirit Culture Summit in Garrison, New York; first promoted by writer Joe Perez; first celebrated in 2004. It is based on principles of integral philosophy and spiritual evolution, however it does not require adherence to any particular worldview or perspective.

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Creativity, freedom, integrity, self-reliance, harmony, love

The following descriptions are intended as a starting point for developing your own beliefs and ways of honoring the Six Principles of the Bridge of Light. They are intended as a source of inspiration for discussion, stories, ritual, essays, art, song, dance, education, and fun.

Principle 1. Creativity. Light a purple candle to honor Creativity. This principle affirms the vital life force of the universe and our connection to Eros. We especially honor queer artists, musicians, and all who create and protect beauty and life . . . children with their curiosity, enthusiasm, and abundant energy . . . and the creative principle within each of us. Affirmation: “we are creators.”

Principle 2. Freedom. Light a red candle to celebrate Freedom. This principle affirms our individual self-respect, collective power, and the pursuit of joyful self-expression in community. On this evening we honor freedom fighters, activists, pioneers, and heroes . . . and our own inner warrior or protector. Affirmation: “we are free.”

Principle 3. Integrity. Light a blue candle to affirm Integrity. This principle stresses the value of looking within to search for meaning and purpose in our lives and of recognizing our personal responsibilities and duties, honesty and accountability. Gay and lesbian parents, teachers, and mentors are especially honored this evening . . . as well as our own impulse toward authenticity and treating others as sacred, precious beings. Affirmation: “we strive for integrity.”

Principle 4. Self-Reliance. Light an orange candle to celebrate Self-Reliance. The principle of Self-Reliance reminds us of our need to define our success in terms of bringing our individual interests into alignment with the common welfare. We especially honor our scientists, inventors, analysts, thinkers, researchers, and business people . . . and every person’s drive to self-determination and contribution to the spirit of innovation. Affirmation: “we are self-reliant.”

Principle 5. Harmony. Light a green candle to embrace the impulse to harmony and integration as it is expressed in the best and highest insights of every culture, time, and place. This principle focuses on cultivating sensitivity (especially to people who are different from ourselves), acceptance, gratitude, and living in harmony with all beings. We honor the Earth and all who work on behalf of a clean, safe, and healthy ecosystem. We also recognize peacemakers. Affirmation: “we strive for harmony.”

Principle 6. Love. Light a yellow candle in recognition of love and lovingkindness in all its forms. This principle honors each person’s ability to give gifts of blessing, passion, and to be connected to their feelings, other people, and to Spirit. We honor all people alike with unconditional love and compassion . . . and we share our stories of the hope, wisdom, and faith that supports our commitment to selflessness in the face of all obstacles. Affirmation: “we are love.”

Bridge of Light: Dec. 31, 2006











By Joe Perez

At this time of year, major religions from throughout the world celebrate holidays designed to signal the warmth of family and community amid the winter gloom. These celebrations often use the symbol of Light to represent hope, unity, and spirituality. Other seasonal holidays mark the arrival of the new year and provide an opportunity for introspection and setting visions for the year ahead.

Until recently there have only been two sorts of winter holidays: on the one hand, traditional religious ceremonies grounded in one particular faith; on the other hand, secular traditions devoid of any recognition of common spiritual bonds capable of uniting people in a higher purpose. However, three years ago a new twist emerged: Bridge of Light (BOL), a new winter celebration intended to stress the shared threads that unite people of all faiths and philosophies.

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