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Birthday Ritual for Tom Ross

the birthday bathing, Feb. 15, 1998

we're bathing in birthday light, rain, sun
and the new growth born into the world this day.

Tom's body was born this day, 58 years ago
and the new skin he reveals today is born...

born into this new place,
changing it.
born with these new people,
changing them.
born in new light and air and rain,
cleansed by these forces.

the birthday suit is the celebration vehicle.
we each begin life with a new suit of flesh.
we make our way in the material world,
deciding as we move, how we will respond
physically and psychically to everything.

let us venture forward,
cleansed with Tom.
let us embrace with fresh eyes
the view of everything.
let us embrace with fresh touch
the feel of everyone.
let us wander in elated innocence
be born into this new world.

we shall carry Tom into a new world.
we shall carry him physically,
drawing his body through our womb of bodies.
we shall squeeze him out of our womb, our grip,
pushing him into a new place of self.
and we shall bathe with him in delight,
the great joy of being present at the beginning
of his new year.

we shall move gently with him at his pace.
Lying, walking, crawling, holding him
as each of us moves with him for a while,
through the new world, naked to everything.
Tom's pace and motion shall be ours,
his voyage and direction shall guide ours,
his adventure shall consume us as we
take our birthday walk with him.

Who will respond to the newly naked voyager?
What will grab his attention?
Where will he go and what will he touch?
All of this shall be answered
as we escort him along the cleansing path,
of newly discovered exchanges and communion
that Tom will have today.

Our naked bodies are here to bless the new body
that Tom will inhabit for this new year!

birthday suit ritual

Womb Walk: A group body forms around Tom, moving around the park with him inside. At a point of readiness, Tom will plunge out through an opening between us and enter the park.

Body Reading Walk: We will follow Tom, reading his motion and gestures, stopping where he stops, doing with him whatever he does. Sometimes we will embrace a certain place, plant or person in the park. We will draw Tom into this communion physically. We will each have a chance to walk in embrace with Tom, reading his feeling for all that he finds, touches, every place he moves through.

Birth Walk: Tom will enter into many situations in the park and on the street. He will give himself, his body, and any gifts he wishes to give out. We will escort him through this gift giving. We will give ourselves, too. As he reaches out to everyone, we will be there, watching and giving ourselves, too. We will try to touch and give to everyone he reaches.

Walk of Celebration: Tom will enter into joyous physical and mental states. We will do everything we can to bring him into ecstasy. Our bodies will warm, guide, carry, and dance him around the places we travel through. We will bring everyone we can into celebration with Tom's body and our group body. We will all become a vessel that celebrates Tom's birth!

Walk of Blessing: Tom will be our sacred shrine. We will walk as slowly as possible, still staying in step with each other. We may sing, chant, or play rhythmic instruments. We will enter a state of awake dreaming. We will pray, dream, envision or muse on Tom, moving naked and vulnerable through the world. Our blessing will give him the strong feeling of our love and vigilance as he enters into a new year. Our vigilance will support him through darkness and open him to the new possibilities to become more alive this year. Our naked vigilance will last as a reminder to him to stay revealed to us during the new year of Tom's life.

"Again We've Survived!" Our group embrace and Samurai warrior salutation ends the birthday suit ritual. We are saluting each other for being unveiled together and surviving in this state of loving intent!


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