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Thoughts on Doofing

Article posted by sylk on 12th Aug 2002

By John H-S "Sylk"

The first time I went to a doof blew me away, I immediately recognized there was a whole lot more going on than most people consciously understood. Ever since I have had various shots at putting my thoughts and experiences into words. To sum up, this blurb is not directed at any specific individual or crew, quite a few of the things I have suggested I haven't yet applied to myself. Over the last few years I have spent a great deal of my time thinking about parties and I guess this represents my first real effort to order and share those thoughts. I have also attached wrightings by Kath Wiliamson and Antara Leyolah both of which I think link well with what I am trying to say. Read on---

Remember the first few parties you went to, the growing excitement, worrying about getting lost and the sense of achievement just from finding the venue. The first thing you see is the light, then, when you turn off the engine you hear the bass thumping. As you walk in amongst the trees you look around. "Wow": You know already this is going to be something special.

Most of us who have been around doofs for a while, know something. We know that small bush parties are something special, we know when they are good, or poor, or excellent. We all talk about the vibe. We feel when it's there and when it isn't. Most of us know people who claim that attending a doof has changed their lives. What is this special-ness this magic this vibe?

If we understand what we do, are we prepared to take responsibility for it? Or should we leave the process in our unconscious trusting to luck and intuition. I have felt for a long time now that our parties teeter on the brink of being much more. But for several reasons, hardly ever quite make the leap. I think if more people consciously understand the process and actively co-create then we could make something truly enlightening.

So here are a few thoughts about what we do.

When we gather together under the stars and dance all night to greet the dawn, we are participating in a ritual older than time. Just the action of dancing as we do, links us ritually with all peoples who have done this before, right back before recorded history. This in itself is powerful magic, religions use the same techniques to build and then focus the energy of their followers. It is no accident that early Goa trance adopted so much religious or spiritual imagery. Like it or not, doof's bear the hallmarks of a spiritual group or sub-cult-ure. We can either deny this, insisting that we are just there for fun, or we can accept the bleeding obvious and work with it.

Assuming we chose to work with it what does this imply? First we need to examine the issue of responsibility, both personal and collective. On so many levels, the amount of responsibility we assume dictates how deeply we experience. On a basic level, should we leave our garbage, denying responsibility and passing that responsibility to the organizers? Should we just pick up our own garbage or should we pick up any garbage we see? If we see a new face do we offer a smile or wait for one from them first. Those of us with experience have a responsibility to greet and welcome newer faces, demonstrating by our actions the preferable behavior. When we reach the point that we feel personal responsibility for everything within our field of awareness, then we are participating fully in the now.

Of course all of this stuff applies to life in general but often life is easier to deal with if we focus on small chunks of it. Parties are a microcosm and by focusing on how we can improve our experience at a party, we learn and this can then flow on to improve our whole life experience.

"Last year I took a 70 year-old Zen monk to a rave party. He was curious enough to overcome his dislike of the music until his face lit up with a revelation. 'This is meditation!', he shouted above the noise. Later he explained that the walking meditation he taught involved being fully aware 'in the moment' without any internal dialogue separating actions from intentions, and that the same definition applied to the dancers all around him." © Nicolas Saunders

When everything at a party clicks into place when there is so much energy on the dance floor that you can't stop dancing. When you lose all awareness except this moment, feeling at one, yet part of a much greater whole, then you are on the brink of spiritual realization and the party is on the brink of GOING OFF.

Dancing symbolically aligns us with the whirling forces of the universe. Dancing together focuses and amplifies our light our energy. The dj's, having collected the early scattered energy and focused it, then build that energy in a succession of peaks, each one higher than the last, interpreting and directing the flow of energy on the dance floor. Building and resting, responding yet guiding, the relationship between dancer and dj requires immense responsibility and trust.

Too many dj's and dancers misinterpret and disrespect this relationship, confusing trust and responsibility with adulation thus getting lost in themselves rather than giving themselves to become whole. Here I suspect is a major part of our problem. Too many Sydney dj's are also promoters so once this essential relationship between dancer and dj gets confused then the relationship between the promoter and the party is also corrupted.

Most organized religions lose touch with true spirituality at the point when the believers allow the priests to take their power and absolve them from personal responsibility. As opposed to accepting guidance and focus from the priest, whilst maintaining personal ownership and active participation in that which is co-created.

By accepting responsibility for what we bring to a party we can own what we take away. If we continue to desire a real alternative to mass-produced mass marketed entertainment then we must stop bringing the attitudes of the mass market to the party. This whole rant can be encapsulated in the original rave slogan P.L.U.R.

"Get what you give, shall be the whole of the law"

In the 3 years I have been making parties in Sydney there has been an almost complete change of guard. Sure it is natural for people to move in and out of scenes but perhaps if the old guard made a more conscious effort to pass on their knowledge and insights then the newer generation would be better prepared to leap into the light rather than continually reinventing the wheel. If you are moved to create take a moment ask has this already been done and if so could I better direct my creative energy to contributing to what already exists, rather than reinventing the wheel again.

It isn't that frightening to accept emotional gratification from adding to the whole rather than insisting on being recognized as an individual. After all, that is what happens when we allow ourselves to dance!!! .

When people ask me to teach what I know about organizing parties. This reply keeps leaping to mind "I don't organize parties I motivate people, I make myself a catalyst around which the idea of a party gathers and finds expression, creating the circumstances in which a party can occur" Putting a generator and some speakers in the bush is not making a party, neither is hanging lights in the trees. These are just bits of technology: the party exists in the people who come.

Tekno anarcho-activists understand the power of the gnosis of trance, and may use lots of tricks and techniques to "direct" the energy of the dance in a certain direction. Sound, as discussed above, is the most obvious one in initiating inner-knowledge and journeying, but artists have also buried crystals under dance areas, used static visual art or computer generated visuals, and in particular, there are investigations into the symbology and iconography of ancient magical and spiritual traditions. Very recently, I found myself dancing on a black floor covered in a 22 pointed star - the artist is perhaps a Qabbalist - and I soon found myself gyrating in sweat drenched orgiastic communion with the other trancers. These gatherings may also provide a space for the exploration of geometric designs and how they may affect the consciousness of humans and their environment. There are often "healing" areas as well including yoga, massage, mind machines, aroma therapy and so on. Meditative rituals, drumming sessions and chanting often open and close gatherings. (From Trance Magic by Kath Williamson)

Dion Fortune in her book "Applied magic" explains the process and implications of creating a thought form as applied to group dynamics. This process is perhaps easier to explain with a negative example. Take a group of rioters, each individual person would unlikely be capable of the acts carried out by the group yet collectively they will destroy property and violently even fatally attack other people. The process that occurred to incite these people goes something like this. BTW this is exactly the same process, which religions use to empower their images and aspects of the divine. You create a symbol representing certain emotions, thoughts and ideas then you concentrate your attention on this symbol while experiencing the emotions it represents. As more and more people concentrate on the same symbol it builds up until it has some aspects of reality. Rather like walking through the bush one person leaves almost no marks of their passing but many people walking the same way begin to carve a track or path.

We carve a track or path in the eather for the symbol we are focusing on. At a certain point this becomes a channel for the cosmic mind stuff, the limitless light of the Quabalist or the samhadhi of the Buddhist. Then the flow of energy is reversed the symbol channels the cosmic energy back to those who are focusing on it differentiating the cosmic energy with the original emotions and ideas embodied in the symbol. In the case of rioters that symbol is likely transitory achieving existence and channeling energy for a time then dissipating as the crowd eventually calms and disperses. In the case of religion those symbols become much longer lived having power for hundreds sometimes thousands of years.

I suggest that a very similar process takes place at a dance party. The primary difference being that there is rarely an obvious symbol for the crowd to focus on. You have a large number of people gathered together experiencing intense or heightened emotions; usually this group also has similar desires and expectations. Many experienced promoters subtly provide symbols to take the focus of this energy. Geometric or sacred shapes and symbols over the center of the dance floor images of certain aspects of universal energy near the stage etc. See the attached article Creating A Sacred Space

Promoters / crews

As well as personal responsibility we need to look at the responsibility of the promoters. Weather the party is fully legal or not the promoter has both ultimate responsibility and a duty of care, both to their party and to all future parties. If something goes terribly wrong the effects could last for years (remember Anna Wood).

The quality of your production will not only affect the mood of your party but will contribute to how people feel about parties in general. If a new person attends 3 bad parties in a row, how likely are they to keep coming back? How many new promoters jump straight in the deep end organizing their party then finding on the day that they had no idea how much; or even what type of work is involved.

Some things to think about before jumping up to make a party:

  • Do you have enough crew to do everything that needs to be done and are they reliable,
  • Location, will you get sound complaints, how will you deal with them?
  • Venue - access, parking, whose land is it, has the area been used / overused before, are there any natural hazards that need to be lit or signposted.
  • First aid - is anyone in your crew qualified? Do you carry a sufficient first aid kit? Do you have a plan in case of a major accident or overdose? How will you handle it?
  • Bush fires - do you have extra water, basic fire fighting equipment, and an evacuation plan?
  • Rubbish removal and cleanup - have you saved enough space to transport it and enough time and energy to pick it up.
  • Is track and path lighting,
  • Toilets,
  • Will you work directly with the metaphysical aspects of the party or have you organized someone who will.

These are just a few things that every promoter needs to consider weather the party is legal or not. As a promoter try this - stop for a moment think to your self "I rely on the trust and good will of those I hope will come", "am I doing everything in my power to deserve that trust".

It might also be worth asking your self, why am I making this party?

Thoughts on DJ'ing

From time to time the same debate seems to pop up, people asking how new dj's can get to play, or why they aren't getting to play enough etc. It seems that in Sydney at least, the whole DJ debate is all tied up with the rest of the party promoter politics for obvious reasons stated above. Let me start by saying, there are a lot of far better dj's out there than I, these are just some thoughts that seem important to me.

To begin we must separate clubs from bush parties, I have played at a few clubs but I think the skills required for playing clubs are different enough that I don't feel qualified to examine them. Allot of what I think about DJ'ing is linked to what we have written above so at the risk of saying things twice lets look at it from a dj's perspective.

A bush party is much more than a club night, on the most obvious level the music goes for heaps longer. 12 to 16 or more hours compared to 8 hours or less in a club. People speak of a bush party as a journey. A journey must have a beginning an end and something in between. Before you even get up to play you need to consider your place in that journey thinking about what has been played before you and what is likely to be played after.

"DJing, like dancing, is a constant interplay of spontaneity and ritual. (This is not to say that these are opposites). In this respect it is like tantra. If you make love with your partner all night, it may seem in retrospect to have been "a coherent journey" , but it is not likely to have lasted all night if either of you had a linear agenda. So what to do? Stir up emotions? Push and pull? Tease and compel? More than anything else, it is the ability to be attentive to the Here and Now that synchronizes us with the Endless Flow. (By r-anima@qb3.so-net.or.jp)

Anyone given enough time and practice can learn to mix, and if they have a good ear for music they will learn good track selection. It's the more intangible aspects that really interest me. Whether the individual dj is consciously aware of these aspects or not doesn't necessarily matter, I still believe that they are in effect.

The dj's job is to guide the dancers through their journey, being aware of where they have been and where they are going while staying focused in the moment. The general wisdom says overall the journey goes something like 10 to 12 pm funky warm-up 12 - 2am building up to 2 - 4 am strong psychedelic twisted etc.. then getting deeper and slowing down before first light then into lighter more uplifting morning tunes etc. Within that general framework there is vast room for expression, primarily by track selection the dj has to express their own individual style while responding to feedback from the dance floor and external considerations. Weather, lighting, type of dance floor, type of bush, experience of the dancers, substances, all these things will somehow influence what should be played. Of course not all of this will be conscious but it will have an effect.

I once knew a dj who told me "the dj is GOD" to which I replied "the dj's job is to guide the dancers to the realization that they are god, and only in so doing do they earn the right to share in the joint godhead they have helped create"

Some dj's interact more than others, think about how this interaction affects your perception of them. How do you feel about a dj that stands there almost immobile never making eye contact, compared to one who is dancing scanning the crowd smiling etc.. I remember one party where the dj spent most of his set miming / faking this interaction. Then the main sound cut out and it took him at least 30 seconds to notice that the crowd had stopped dancing, with the fold back and headphones on his eyes closed he had no connection whatsoever with the crowd.

Ever noticed those dj's who turn up half an hour before their set, stand around talking to other dj's for half an hour after their set then disappear again. What do they bring to the party? Why do they even bother they might just as well create a premixed tape, post it to the promoter along with a photo of themselves to put behind the dex while it's playing.

The dj can make or break the party they are the most obvious focus for the dancers attention, yet with out those dancers, without all the crew who decorated etc.. the dj is nothing. A truly excellent dj will of course be a good performer, but of the stage will be somewhat humble about their role.

Creating Sacred Space

© Antara Leyolah

Keys to creating planetary and personal healing ceremonies.

Ceremony is a metaphysical art form. Through using prayer, invocation, energy-work and creative visualization we can enhance the positive energy of a space. We've transformed many dingy dark nightclubs into beautiful light party zones through the techniques I am about to describe. People walk into the space and automatically feel light and happy and don't know why.

Many ancient cultures created medicine wheels out of stones to perform their ceremonies. This was a way of holding and focusing the energy in large open spaces. Other civilizations created temples where the construction was based on sacred geometry and an understanding of the movements of the sun stars the planets and the moon, like the Egyptian Pyramids and the Mayan Temples. We can also create a sacred space with nothing more than light and love and visualizing and creating etheric medicine wheel pyramids of light.

Invocation and intention

Throughout the world, mystic traditions rely on prayer and intention to "qualify" the energy of ceremonies, to qualify energy is to ask for what is and what is not wanted.

Asking for what you don't want

The first step to creating sacred space is to clear the space of any unwanted energies. Anything that is asked for three times in the name of the light programs the universal mind to give what you ask for. A simple invocation for initial cleansing is to ask that any energies or entities that are not of the light be gone from the space, and be transmuted into love now. Ask this three times in the name of the light. The American Indians used the herb sage as a herb for cleansing and it is effective when used in conjunction with prayer and intent. Water is also symbolic of purification; sprinkling water around as you ask that any negative energies be released and transmuted into love, also works to make a space sparkly and clear.

Sounding and intoning sacred words from universally aligned languages like Hebrew or Sanskrit also crystallizes the energy in a space. Simply chanting vowels like Aum, Om, or Ahhhhhh, works. The Kabbahlists would chant Kodoish kodoish kodoish adonai tsebaiyoth. One of the traditional Tibetan protector deities is Yamantaka he is traditionally called upon to cleanse dark forces and the mantra of invocation for this deities assistance is; Om yamantaka hum phat(pay) spoken 21 or 100 times. Will cleanse the energy of any dark forces. Another Buddhist protective deity is Padmasambhava who was the founder of Buddhism in Tibet and some people refer to him as the second Buddha. The mantra to invoke his assistance to cleanse and purify negative entities is Om ah hum vajra guru padme siddhi hung and works when chanted 21 or 100 times.

Asking for what you want.

Calling in the forces of light to fill the space with love and light instantly enhances the positive energy of a space. Generally focusing on communing with universal love, God, Goddess and Great Spirit ensures a good vibe. Positive energy or entities of any manifestation whether they come in the form of angels, fairies or star-beings are always keen to come when asked which act to protect, guide and charge a space up with beautiful, sparkly crystalline particles of universal energy. Which makes any dance floor fly high.

Invocation for calling in the forces of light.

We call upon the forces of light to fill this space with love and light, and to hold a space of love here throughout this event. That we may unify in love. We offer the energy that is generated here this night to travel along the pathways of light to go wherever it needs to go to assist in the awakening of humanity that we may live in peace and harmony on this earth. (X3)

Visualization for creating Sacred Space

Visualize an octahedron surrounding the entire space in which you are holding your event. An octahedron is a four-sided pyramid with the tip facing the sky and a four-sided pyramid with the tip pointing down into the center of the earth. Sense the center in the middle of your dance floor. Sense the middle of the octahedron on the level of the floor. Then visualize a central pillar of light, stand in the center and use your body as a bridge to anchor the universal light into your party zone. Seeing your own energy system as a tube torus and receive all that universal energy you've just called in from above and below and anchore it into the space through your central channel and out through your heart chakra, in the center of your chest. Raise up the female earth energy and then the downward male universal current. We receive when we breath so remember to breath. Do this at least 3 times, you'll find that this is very ecstatic and the more you plug in your whole body will begin to tingle. If there is a group of you doing this you can find a synchronized breath pattern and once you get to ecstatic overfill your whole body will begin to tingle then you can begin to spread that energy from your center throughout the entire space then out through your local area.

Then each party is set up a pillar of light. The pillar of light is a channel for universal love. Then we can visualize linking up with each party creating a matrix of light that surrounds the entire globe.

We can continue to charge up the pillar of light as we dance throughout the event. Using this energy channel to send light and healing love energy to the heart of the planet and into the planetary grid. When we direct positive energy into the planetary grid it automatically assists to raise the collective consciousness and regenerate the planet. (For more information on the planetary grid and parties as planetary healing ceremonies refer to the article Conscious Parties for Planetary Peace on the Earth Dance web site)

At the completion of the event it is important to thank and release the unseen forces of light.

Invocation to finalize;

We thank all the forces of light for assisting us to hold a space of love. Go if you must, stay if you will. We bless you and release you. We bless you and release you. We bless you and release you.

Trance Magick

By Kath: "Eris told me to do this"

The music is the origin, the pumping lifeblood and soulfire. Psychedelic's and sound are a powerful combination, and when dance, vibration and movement are introduced, we are suddenly communicating with ourselves in very challenging ways, as well as with an infinite myriad of other energies, entities, ideas and emotions. Trance may seem to be such a personal and selfish activity on the surface but in actuality there are many layers of communicating happening on various levels among diverse entities, human and beyond.

The essence of the experience involves the secret "language" of sound, psychedelic's and movement, and the tacit realisation that the dance ritual is the inter-stellar conduit for such happenings. We are creating a Temporary Autonomous Zone for our minds to investigate the mysteries of the universe, as we once again, like our distant ancestors, cajole the spirits of the trees and the sky, the earth and the cosmos to come out to play - as one. Ancient earth drums dance in symbiotic merriment with the metallic inter-galactic beats as the circles of sound expand and astound our imagination with vibratory awareness.

In this changeling world of chance, shape shifters from distant corners find themselves sharing these profound wonders, and learning the empowerment of the mystical dance space. There is a pulsating awareness of sharing archaic understandings, reviving lost traditions, particularly unwritten traditions, and which are all invested with new technological innovation. The sounds are the new epic poetry of this century, and the modern wandering minstrels are fine tuning their harmonious and transcendental harps. We are returning to a relationship with ourselves and others which is removed from written language, and which undermines our absolute reliance on finding meaning within the world of words. The emerging magicians of imagination understand the realm of r-evolutionary connectedness, and that these experiences are not the property or production of a single person or corporation, but rather the combined manifestation of the community of sweaty heads. The knowledge is beyond consumerism and materialism, and the associated disaffected, alienated and generally self-destructive style of the industrial being. We are whirling the energy together, as one, rather than battling the forces alone. We're each a ripple, expanding ever outward, and learning how to recreate wondrous tales together.

Our convenient industrial cultures have practically negated our direct relationship with the earth and its seasons and cycles, and it seems that there is less and less reason to rely on, let alone investigate our instinctual being. Our experiences with sound, psychedelic's and the dance ritual are the stirring's of communicating via the ebb and flow of the earth's rhythms and letting it seep into our collective emotions. It is a simple exercise in the tremendous "power" of a group mind.

The resulting aspects of this form of communication can be life changing. The heartfelt rhythm of trance dance ritual is often one of the most liberating methods of communication and self-exploration that many Westerners have discovered. Mindblowing interactions happen through movement and into that intense white light of psychedelic shamanism which may tip us over into mysterious realms of animal spirits and alien possession.

The sounds and jewel-drenched rhythms produced by trance tekno artistis seem to be more and more profound in their ability to communicate the most extraordinary thoughts, feelings and deeply resonating primal understandings. It's the re-discovered "language" of transcendence which transports us to many "places" within and outside oneself, some pleasant, some frightening, but always enlightening. In the thrall of dark possession, the sounds may take on "physical" forms as the possibilities of personal spectacle are revealed as boundless. From Gothic subterranean Vampyric cathedrals through to tacky eerie 1970s lollypop spiral lands, and beyond the divide of time to the r-evolutionary chants of the Dreamtime of our ancestors, we shimmy and shake through a kaleidoscope of bizarre and boundless scenes.

In forest settings this magical transcendence is very potent, as the energies are charging and morphing and zinging around people and the ether. We may become little "animals" investigating the primal, orgiastic, instinctual aspects of our nature. We may find ourselves in swirling vortexes and see people moving as one with each other - completely tranced out and sharing some unknown luv. Swings between 'light' and 'dark' in the music show that the sonic wizards are in tune with a universal life journey - the cycle of birth and death. Here is the "coming of age" ritual which Western culture has long forgotten. Here is the rich manifestation of the cycle of life and death and rebirth, and we're creating and sharing this together. It is about learning the joys of numinous contemplation, and sharing the lust of awareness with others. This is such a powerful way to investigate the heart of darkness, and we should be passionate in letting it flourish! It's the taboos and secrets that give energy to the "sicknesses" and imbalance.

In creating spaces of mystery and providing points of departure and return for exploration, the sounds can be "blasting off" as well as "grounding" points. One may feel incredibly "aged" after such experiences, but not necessarily in terms of lost physical vitality and exuberance, but rather the process of the "exhumation" of the ultimate reality can leave one feeling exposed to the understandings and underbelly of all the crones who have come before, or may exist elsewhere. Western communities are very happy to challenge and stretch themselves physically - in fact, this is considered a very healthy and acceptable activity - but investigating the depths of the mind in a similarly extreme way can be considered illegal, if not heretical. However, one could consider this rhythmic transcendentalism as the "bungey" jump of the mind.

It's liberating and self-expansive to explore all the ways in which our consciousness can interact with ultimate reality. Psychedelic's like darkness, intensity and movement to activate the supernatural transmissions, and these gatherings often seem to provide that. It's important, too, to find the psychedelic tekno parties. Tekno is not a homogenous culture. Seek out the gatherings held by and populated by your fellow freaks, and once you've found the psy parties, you then need to find the gatherings where most of the people there are using psychedelic's (and I'm not including ecstasy here) with the intent to explore this very illuminating method of trance magic. It's this exchange of collective "high" energy which may prove to be outstandingly potent in the manifestation of the "group mind", and the higher people are prepared to vibrate, the "madder" and more diverse, the resulting energies can be.

Tekno anarcho-activists understand the power of the gnosis of trance, and may use lots of tricks and techniques to "direct" the energy of the dance in a certain direction. Sound, as discussed above, is the most obvious one in initiating inner-knowledge and journeying, but artists have also buried crystals under dance areas, used static visual art or computer generated visuals, and in particular, there are investigations into the symbology and iconography of ancient magical and spiritual traditions. Very recently, I found myself dancing on a black floor covered in a 22 pointed star - the artist is perhaps a Qabbalist - and I soon found myself gyrating in sweat drenched orgiastic communion with the other trancers. These gatherings may also provide a space for the exploration of geometric designs and how they may affect the consciousness of humans and their environment. There are often "healing" areas as well including yoga, massage, mind machines, aroma therapy and so on. Meditative rituals, drumming sessions and chanting often open and close gatherings.

Let's celebrate this new found awareness, and continue to lovingly co-create such psychedelic playgrounds - the alien circus has come to town - where the playfully serious explorers, all possessed by the sounds, writhing and shaking wildly in unison, have suddenly found their minds in the same sonic whirlpool. We're all "seeing" or "understanding" the experience in many and varied ways but there are many moments when powerful energies - lifeforces and spirits and understandings - are created and exchanged with those around. A vibe of openness and friendliness is the least that that these gatherings can achieve - that's the bottom line. Socialising in the conventional sense is not really necessary. One psychonaut's mind is good but a lot of them coming together in this vibratory symbiosis can be a potent experience when exploring those indescribable states of being.