Flashback Friday – Episode 34: Friendship Candles
In the spring of 2004, John Stasio and Sunfire participated in a gathering of gay spiritual leaders called the Gay Spirit Culture Summit. There they both met a chap from England named Vyvyan Chatterjie - commonly called "Vyv". Here's a picture of Vyv - the one he had submitted for the roster of those attending.
Shortly after the Summit, Vyv sent a notice to those who had attended asking if anyone was interested in assisting at a program sponsored by the Edward Carpenter Community, a British group that, like Easton Mountain, holds retreats for gay men. Sunfire responded to his call and agreed to participate in a six-day program in September of 2005 in Scotland.
The program was very much like those at Easton Mountain with circles where everyone was invited to share briefly what was going on for them, small groups where participants shared more in depth, and workshops where different areas of interest to Gay men were presented and discussed. Sunfire led two sessions of breathwork. He had studied conscious breathing with the Body Electric School, and in this session he also incorporated ideas he got from working with John.
As we often do at Easton Mountain, there was a candle burning in the center of the circle, whenever the whole group gathered. At the end of the program, Sunfire asked Vyv if he could bring that candle back to Easton Mountain as a symbol of friendship between the two groups. Here is a photo of John lighting the friendship candle during the 2005-2006 New Year's retreat.
This photo appeared in the Edward Carpenter Community's newsletter.
Sunfire bought a second candle that was used at a retreat at Easton and then sent to Vyv for use in another Edward Carpenter Community program, thus completing the circle: A candle first burned at an Edward Carpenter program was lit at an Easton Mountain event, and then a candle used at Easton Mountain was lit during an Edward Carpenter program.