Going to the Chapel

"Really, who needs drugs when you can hang out here?" says 22-year-old Sacha Mulroney with a wonder-filled grin. "I wish I could sleep here overnight."

While slumber parties are not yet part of the curriculum, COSM does offer yoga classes, Tibetan bell ringing, art salons, full-moon and new-moon ceremonies, art classes, and lectures for people interested in visionary subjects like sacred geometry, yantra, and alchemy.

For the full-moon celebration, Eli Morgan has to set up a remote viewing space in the chapel. As the main gallery fills to capacity, young adults—Tool fans mostly—happily sprawl out on zabutons. A 103-year-old paranormal researcher named Alexander Imich takes a seat near nine-year-old wise child Leigh Singer, who will later deliver a poem to the large crowd. People sit on the floor, offering each other back rubs and introducing themselves with hugs. The ceremony—which includes two poets, a blind dancer, a rabbi, a shaman, a kirtan singer, a sitar player, and a visionary lawyer—goes on for far too long, but no one seems to mind much. A few even cry.

A dancer at the full-moon celebration
photo: Fred Askew
A dancer at the full-moon celebration

As people flow into the dance hall, the sound of drums and the smell of burning sage fill the air.

"This is a pretty strange scene," says 37-year-old Hannah Hooglander, a visitor from Ontario who was brought to COSM by a childhood friend. "They all seem so hungry for meaning. Any meaning."

"Art started as an expression of the sacred," says Alex Grey, as a crowd of admirers hover at his shoulder. "With the general decay and corruption of religious institutions and the disassociation and alienation people feel, it makes sense that art is again coming to play a vital role in nurturing the souls of postmodern people."

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