The Atonement will be a fully immersive, spiritually transformative art experience aimed at using the power of story and ritual to heal the spirits of those who’ve been deeply wounded by our modern Western culture. The intention is to create a powerful consciousness shifting, empathy building, experience that can be replicated/revisioned by artists all over the world.
The audience enters a temple-like structure, clearly a sacred space, but not of any identifiable religious affiliation. Each member is ushered to a space on the floor where they lay down, head on a pillow for comfort, looking up at dome-shaped structure. The floor of the temple will be designed to carry the vibrations of the music. Scale is dependent on resources.
The Atonement is a co-created project that will involve the artistry and passion of many. As of this writing the team consists of M. Renee Orth as the project’s midwife and Christi Dietrich as word alchemist, and Sarah Stewart as visual enchantress. The magic of musicians, singers, visual artists (computer and conventional), set designers, DJs, builders, poets and writers is essential to bringing this experience forth in a powerful way. If you are inspired by this idea and would like to be a co-creator please email ReneeOrth@gmail.com.
Before entering audience members will be asked to remove their shoes as they are entering a sacred space. They are prepared for the experience with a warning that this ritual may shift their consciousness permanently and may challenge their belief systems. Consent must be given knowingly and freely.
A young woman, our protagonist, is struggling with the isolation, alienation, commodification of our dominator culture - she is feeling deeply alone and unworthy.
Black and white, grainy, chaotic images of her in modern life - traffic, a boss yelling at her, swiping in a dating app, social media, TV, past due bills, etc. These can be photographic, drawn, CGI.
Cacophonous sounds - honking, shouting, general TV sounds (canned laughter).
Distress, anxiety, alienation.
We see our protagonist ingest a substance from a medicine bottle.
Abrupt turn to a soft white light. She is seen floating into lightness.
Relief, and as the silence continues for a bit longer than is comfortable, an arising sense of impatience and/or anxiety in some.
Our protagonist encounters her deceased grandmother, Lucy, and we learn our protagonist’s name, Zoe. Zoe is thrilled to see Lucy and tells her how much she misses her, and then is confused - where are we? Lucy explains that Zoe is dying.
Soft white light concentrates to a point, as a tunnel forms (near death experience imagery). Lucy appears, at first blurry, in the light. She is both distressed and excited to see Zoe.
Mostly dialogue. Music will be ethereal electronic.
Confusion, mixed feelings of both a joyful reunion and distress.
Lucy begins to morph into all their grandmothers.
Faces of women larger than life morphing into one another, speeding up.The understanding that we’re going back in time will need to be communicated visually.
If/when technology/funding allows we might surreptitiously take some images of the audience and include their features in the faces.
Electronic music and women’s voices whispering “Zoe.”
Anticipation and a sort of falling back through time.
The story settles in on an African Medicine Woman - powerful and wise - who speaks directly to Zoe/the audience. “My daughter, you are suffering from the dis-ease of unremembering. You must remember who you are.” The Medicine Woman tells of humanity’s development of the ability to use sound to communicate our wisdom and our love. Stories were the way we made sense of our world. Stories have the power to create and the power to destroy. Stories believed become self-fulfilling prophecies. We once lived in a story in which we were in alignment with nature, we sensed our belongingness to the cycles of our environment. We lived in a tapestry of love, supported by one another, knowing that we were stronger together and isolation was death. We believed and so we were co-creators with the divine.
Firelight surrounds the Medicine Woman. Shadows are cast by the surrounding drummers and singers..
Animations will illustrate the story as she tells it. Beautiful scenes of nature and humans in harmony.
Around the edge of the circle (in real life) musicians play drums and chant as they might have 100,000 years ago.
Primordial small mouth noises turn into full human language.
Chanting will pick up on the words she is speaking/singing.
The dialogue will be spoken in a melodic, bordering on singing voice.
Curiosity and wonder
A story was told long ago that has enchanted - to put under a spell by a chant - much of humanity to this day. It is the story of humanity's sinfulness, basic unworthiness, and separation of nature. This story is destroying the spirits of the people and causing humanity to hurt their mother earth and one another. Our belief in the story is making it true. We live in fear and so create a terrifying world that confirms our beliefs.
Animations continue to illustrate the story. Shift to darker imagery showing the destruction of forests, the slaughtering of animals, etc.
Chanting continues and shifts to alarm, cries and other sounds of distress. Drumming becomes aggressive.
Darkness, heaviness, alarm
The true(r) story is that we were born of this living Earth as apples are born of an apple tree, as this Earth was born of stars. We belong here and you were born of life's love of being alive - of feeling, tasting, loving, dancing, singing. You knew this once, as all children are born knowing this. Life lived from love creates a world filled with love.
Fractal-like unfolding - life being born of life in ever continuing cycles of birth and death.
Animation will show life arising from the vibrations of the Om.
Imagery of Lucy and Zoe as a child dancing, being in nature. See the wonder in child Zoe’s eyes. Child Zoe speak to present Zoe - “I love you”
“Om” (hOme) is chanted circularly along with electronic music with a strong tribal/drumming undercurrent.
Inspiration - LOVE THIS!!!:
Joy, awe, inspiration
From here the story will segue into the physics of existence (not too technical though) - that we are points of awareness sensing vibrations in the unified field and turning these vibrations into the beauty of color, light, sound, taste, feel. Each of us experiencing a unique-in-all-space-and-time piece of the unfurling splendor of the Universe. We are 80 trillion cells doing magical things to create a body that not a single cell is aware exists. .
Life emerges from love: from affinity and cooperation. Complexity and novelty arise when the tiniest pieces of existence form patterns that persist and replicate, and those form ever more complex patterns, and on and on. This has been happening in an unbroken chain on Earth for over 3 billion years. You are the latest link in this unbroken chain - the wisdom and magic of this process is in you, it IS you.
Illustrations of om-generated vibrating strings turning to quarks turning to electrons to atoms to molecules … to YOU!
Electronic tribal music continues. The narrative (minimal in this segment) continues to be melodic, poetic, song-like.
More joy and wonderment
Zoe finds herself back at the tunnel where Lucy tells her that she has a choice to make. She can come with her (i.e., die) and leave her incarnation behind, or she can return with the wisdom of knowing who and what she really is. If she returns it will be her mission to awaken others to their true selves, to break the spell of the enchantment of the story of their unworthiness. To shout from the rooftops that this story is destroying us and that there is a better, truer, story.
This is a critical time in the human story - we will either take the leap into our atonement, our at-one-ment, to become a new kind of human being, unified and aligned with the love that is the primary creative force of the Universe, or we will fall into extinction.
Illustration of the narrative.
Imagery of humanity in union - a creature in free fall taking flight just before impact.
Words are primary here as Lucy tells Zoe of her heroine’s journey choice.
Grandmother warns her that the way is treacherous, that some of her grandmothers were burned alive because they had broken the spell and tried to save others from the enchantment.
Impressionistic images of women in flames. Crucifixes and mobs. Jesus imagery?
Cries of pain and sorrow among the angry shouts of the persecutors.
Concern, sadness, mixed with anger
Zoe is conflicted. Her suffering is still fresh and the joy of being among the grandmothers is sublime. She is unsure she is up to the task and is afraid. The world is so fucked up, the task seems insurmountable.
Zoe asks Lucy why it even matters. Why do you care? Lucy explains that being human - when lived from love - is among the most sensually rich experiences in the whole of creation. This next leap holds transcendent possibilities that we are eager to experience though you and all those who live it - we are one.
Lucy explains to Zoe that this world she is experiencing now is always just below the surface of what we call “reality” and now that she has been here she will sense it, and feel the love of this place. When her adventure is complete, she will return to this place and her joy here - the joy of ALL - will be deepened by her experience. She has nothing to lose but the experience of adventure - one of the most exciting adventures ever lived by a human!
Scenes of Zoe being treated in the “real world” show her vital signs waning.
Shows the magic of humans in joyful communion.
Shows reality with the energetic waves underlying everything [like The Matrix but more organic and colorful].
Sounds of emergency medical treatment, alarms, people calling her name.
Zoe chooses to take up the challenge. Lucy gives her a totem - a pendant (maybe a kazoo - form
The scenes of her childhood) symbolic of her journey.
Lucy gives Zoe advice for her journey: the story of unbelonging is a strong one and it spreads like a virus and though you have been cured here, you can be reinfected. The totem is only a partial protection, Zoe must find the others - and there are many others - who have awoken and have taken on the task of awakening others. You must find them and join with them. You will resonate with one another and keep the story of love strong within you. Know that not all can be saved - there are those who would be destroyed by awakening, so strongly is their spirit intertwined with the story of unbelonging. Like drowning swimmers, these ones can deplete your life force.
Nothing will be a stronger tool of healing than your state of being - words are a weak medicine if not coupled with experience. “Everything you do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.” (From the Hopi Elder Prophecy.) When you feel yourself begin to struggle you must reset your intention.
An embrace of complete love between Zoe and Lucy.