With special thanks to Kittredge Cherry, for sharing with me her meditations on the chakras and their connections to the colors of the rainbow flag. Her ideas are largely incorporated in these fully revised guidelines for 2009 Bridge of Light rituals.
Bridge of Light is an interfaith and omni-denominational cultural and spiritual tradition originating in 2004 and connected in its inspiration and organization to the Gay Spirit Culture Summit held that year, a gathering of 100+ spiritual leaders and change agents in the gay community. Since then, the annual winter ritual (now in its fifth year) has helped to draw attention to the positive contributions made by members of the LGBT community in the areas of spiritual growth, inner transformation, and religious leadership.
The core of the tradition is a simple ritual of lighting candles, one for each color of the rainbow flag, on New Year’s Eve (or from Dec. 26 to New Year’s, one candle for each day). Each color corresponds to a universal spiritual principle as well as the specific ways that this principle has found expression in the course of LGBT history and in our contemporary situation.
These are the principles of the Bridge of Light in their current (2009) form:
The First Principle
Meaning: The Root of Spirit (Community)
Order: Dec. 26 or first candle of New Year’s Eve
Suggested Practice: Meditations on the first chakra.
The Second Principle
Meaning: The Fire of Spirit (Eros)
Order: Dec. 27 or second candle of New Year’s Eve
Suggested Practice: Meditations on the second chakra
The Third Principle
Meaning: The Core of Spirit (Self-Esteem)
Order: Dec. 28 or third candle of New Year’s Eve
Suggested Practice: Meditations on the third chakra.
The Fourth Principle
Meaning: The Heart of Spirit (Love)
Order: Dec. 29 or fourth candle of New Year’s Eve
Suggested Practice: Meditations on the fourth chakra.
The Fifth Principle
Meaning: The Voice of Spirit (Self-Expression and Justice)
Order: Dec. 30 or fifth candle of New Year’s Eve
Suggested Practice: Meditations on the fifth chakra.
The Sixth Principle
Meaning: The Eye of Spirit (Wisdom)
Order: Dec. 31 or sixth and final candle of New Year’s Eve
Suggested Practice: Meditations on the sixth chakra.
The Seventh Principle
Color: [THE ENTIRE RAINBOW OF COLORS KEPT LIT] (UPDATED)
Meaning: The Crown of Spirit (Spirituality)
Order: Jan. 1 (New Year’s Day)
Suggested Practice: Meditations on the seventh chakra.
These seven principles are slightly evolved in their meaning, order, and associations since the first draft of my November 24, 2004 op-ed, “Proposing a New Queer Winter Holiday,” was published on the Gay Spirituality blog and in LGBT newspapers throughout the country in 2004 and later published in Soulfully Gay. In their current form, six of the chakra correspondences and meanings were largely suggested by Kittredge Cherry. More information on the 2009 revisions to the ritual's guidelines can be found on my blog, especially my interpretation of how the principles fit into an evolutionary spiritual interpretation of LGBT history.
Spiritual mentor, author, poet, and scholar. Joe is best known for his 2007 book Soulfully Gay. one of the first memoirs in the tradition of World Spirituality based on Integral principles. Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for World Spirituality, where he works with Director Marc Gafni in providing leadership to the think tank. He also blogs at Gay Spirituality. Arctophile and ailurophile. A little bit country and a little bit "part and whole." Follow Joe Perez Facebook and Joe Perez Twitter.