The Third Principle: Self-Esteem

Bridge of Light, Yellow Candle

A winter cultural tradition originating from the LGBT community.

Short ritual: On New Year’s Eve, light a yellow candle, the third of seven, and let it burn through New Year’s Day.

Long ritual: Light a yellow candle each evening between December 28 and New Year’s Eve, the third of seven, and keep the last candle lit through the New Year.

Honor the Core of Spirit, the third chakra. Celebrate the evolution of Spirit in love and eroticism that first appeared in the era defined by the rise of the world religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Confucianism), beginning about 500 BCE and continuing to the present day.

The Second Principle: Eros

Bridge of Light, Orange Candle

A winter cultural tradition originating from the LGBT community.

Short ritual: On New Year’s Eve, light an orange candle as the second of seven, and let it burn through the New Year.

Long ritual: Light an orange candle, the second of seven, each evening between December 27 and New Year’s Eve, and keep the candle lit until New Year’s Day.

Honor the Fire of Spirit, the second chakra, the principle of Eros. Celebrate the evolution of Spirit in love and eroticism that first appeared in the era defined by the rise of the great divine and mortal heroes of the ancient world, celebrated in song and myths: Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Horus and Seth, Jonathan and David, Naomi and Ruth, and many more, beginning about 5,000 BCE.

The First Principle: Community

Bridge of Light, Red Candle

A winter cultural tradition originating from the LGBT community.

Short ritual: On New Year’s Eve, light a red candle, the first of seven, and let it burn until New Year’s Day.

Long ritual: Light a red candle each evening between December 26 and New Year’s Eve, the first of seven, and keep the candle lit through New Year’s Day.

Honor the Root of Spirit, the first chakra. Celebrate the evolution of Spirit in love and eroticism defined as it first arose in ancient spiritualities, including Wicca, paganism, and Goddess/pre-patriarchal religions (approximately 10,000 BCE and continuing to the present day).

Letter from a reader of Soulfully Gay

Adam writes:

I am a gay man and the son of a minister. He is of the UCC denomination but only jumped on the “open and affirming” movement when I came out. I bought your book today, and just finished the God is Gay chapter. I have always identified my resentment toward organized religion, and my father, separately: but after reading this chapter, specifically T.I.O.B.G, stuff fizzled up in my inner being that I didn’t even know was there. (I cried for probably the 5th time in 10 years)

I just want to say thanks…and I haven’t even finsihed the book (though at the rate I am going, I will be done tomorrow). I recently started my own intense self reflection and spiritual journey. I really connect.

 

BTW- I think the harmonious way you phrase otherwise difficult stuff makes you a poet—-in a sense. 🙂 

Enjoy the book, Adam. T.I.O.B.G. gets “finished” as a concept in the Deeper Connections chapter and modeled in “Bridge of Light”, so the whole book continues the T.I.O.B.G. meditation in a sense. And blessings on your journey.

LGBT Community Celebrates New Year’s Eve with Bridge of Light, a 3rd Annual World Spirituality Day Event

FOR RELEASE ON DEC. 14, 2006

Members of the worldwide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community are among those creating a more spiritual and reflective transition to 2007. The Bridge of Light celebration on December 31 marks the arrival of the New Year by honoring the full equality and dignity of all people. This celebration marks the 3rd annual celebration of the cultural tradition, founded in 2004. Today, the Bridge of Light is a part of World Spirituality Day, a non denominational global spiritual tradition modelled after Earth Day.

Seattle, WA — Members of the worldwide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community are among those creating a more spiritual and reflective transition to 2007. The Bridge of Light celebration on December 31 marks the arrival of the New Year by honoring the full equality and dignity of all people. This celebration marks the 3rd annual celebration of the cultural tradition, founded in 2004 by participants of the Gay Spirit Culture Summit (GSCS) held in Garrison, New York.

Although the Bridge of Light idea was the fruit of the GSCS, a gathering of over 100 spiritual leaders and luminaries in the international gay and bisexual men’s community, now the event belongs to anyone. All are invited to celebrate a tradition to affirm the full equality of all persons, setting visions for the year ahead, and symbolize their shared hope, unity, and spiritual heritages and principles.

The Bridge of Light tradition is part of the 4th annual World Spirituality Day, an event sponsored by Integrative Spirituality, a not-for-profit omni-denominational spiritual organization based in San Francisco, CA. World Spirituality Day is regarded as “The Earth Day for the Spirit.” Just as Earth Day is celebrated worldwide now, in many different ways, World Spirituality Day allows for a kaleidoscope of worldwide gatherings and events, big and small, year after year. Bridge of Light is one such type of event, celebrated by members of the LGBT community.

The nondenominational World Spirituality Day is simple to participate in and can be celebrated either alone or in a group. Bridge of Light’s distinctive contribution to this global tradition is to symbolize the many distinctive contributions of gay and queer-identified women and men from throughout history and in many cultures. Specifically, the Rainbow is offered as the focal symbol for Bridge of Light celebrations because it is the symbol most widely recognized as identifiable with the worldwide gay and lesbian community. The Rainbow is honored not only for its diversity but also for its underlying Unity behind the multiplicity of colors.

Joe Perez, founder of the Bridge of Light tradition and founder/editor of the Gay Spirituality & Culture Weblog, says: “The first two years of Bridge of Light celebrations have seen only small, private celebrations in homes. But I hope that soon larger group and community-wide parties will emerge. Social, religious, and civic groups are welcome to add Bridge of Light ceremonies to their list of winter activities. What makes this tradition unique is its focus on spiritual principles that are the common heritage of all people … and the vision that these principles can provide the basis for affirming universal human dignity, rights, and justice for the gay community and all people.”

Like Kwaanza, the holiday honoring African-American heritage first celebrated in 1966, Bridge of Light is a cultural celebration not requiring any particular set of religious beliefs. The central ritual of Bridge of Light is a candle-lighting ceremony intended to honor the distinctive contribution of men who love men and women who love women and others whose ways of loving mirror the beauty of the Divine ways of loving. As part of the Bridge of Light, six candles are lit on New Year’s Eve, one candle for each color of the rainbow.

Universal values and spiritual principles are honored with each lit candle: Creativity (by lighting a purple candle), Freedom (a red candle), Integrity (a blue candle), Self-Reliance (an orange candle), Harmony (a green candle), and Love (a yellow candle). Some celebrants of Bridge of Light also light additional candles to highlight additional traditions, values, and principles from their own distinct traditions.

Continue reading “LGBT Community Celebrates New Year’s Eve with Bridge of Light, a 3rd Annual World Spirituality Day Event”

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.

Continue reading “The six principles compared to the principles of Kwanzaa”

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.

Continue reading “Bridge of Light: Dec. 31, 2006”

Ritualizing the Bridge of Light

This year I celebrated an original New Year’s Day tradition: the Bridge of Light, a tradition to honor the spiritual equality of all people. The tradition’s central symbol is the symbol of pluralism–the Rainbow Flag of diversity–transformed into a multi-dimensional integral Rainbow Bridge, a symbol of the unity of Light behind the diversity of colors.

My own celebratory ritual was a simple, improvised candle lighting ceremony. I smudged my space and then lit seven candles each of a different color. As I did so, I uttered one word that called to mind the value that I wanted to honor.

As the ritual concluded, I felt serene and hopeful. This was a great touch to enhance New Year’s Day and really make the day seem more special. In choosing to honor the Bridge of Light today, I am not alone. A new tradition has been birthed, led in large part by the gay/queer community. Let’s keep our eyes peeled to see how Spirit chooses to work with this opportunity for a new winter celebration of light.