Ceremony has been part of the human experience for as long as plant medicine has- forever.
Through ceremony we are able to enter into conscious, intentional space where we allow change to happen for the good of all. Tea ceremonies in specific for me are a time when I take my thumb off the screw of life and let the inherent wisdom within make adjustments and upgrades that aren’t as easy when I try to control every little thing.
This past Tuesday I had the honor of hosting Lauren Stern of KINNABARI Teahouse in Salt Lake City as she presented a beautiful, moving tea ceremony for our August Tea Tuesday event. For those who were able to come, the evening welcomed them with a warm and loving silence where we could unwind, reflect, and receive.
We started our evening by walking into the big room where Lauren had set up her Chaxi (fabric tea stage) and placed 40 pure white ceramic bowls on top. Each bowl had been given a generous pinch of Taiwanese Sun Moon Lake Red Tea from a locale Lauren visited in February. The subtle fragrance of the tea filled the room, and people could feel the peace Lauren had created in the space as she set up.
The entire tea ceremony was observed in total silence.
For many in the circle, sitting next to complete strangers for an hour without speaking was a little uncomfortable- but as soon as the tea was served, everything changed.
We all sat quietly watching Lauren mindfully fill each cup with hot water. The clear water instantly began to take on the ruddy color of the tea leaves. As the first round of tea was served, the aroma filled the room and our senses were engaged and pacified.
Lauren motioned for us to enjoy the first sip. The water was perfectly warm and ready to drink.
Some of us drank deeply- quenching a deep thirst. Some sipped slowly and methodically.
By the time the first cup was being finished, we all felt a sense of community and being in the right place.
Once we finished our first cup of tea, hot spring water was poured over the leaves for a second steeping. At this cup the change in the room as palpable and I think we all entered into a deep place of peace in our own ways. I noticed that some people smiled, some seemed to turn in on the deepest parts of themselves for introspection, some gazed lovingly at the people assembled around the room, some had tears in their eyes, and some looked as though they were melting into the floor below them.
At the third cup, we had been transported into a space woven by Lauren and by the wisdom of the tea. The energy of the room was no longer what it was when we walked in- and I felt as though we had stepped out of ordinary time and ordinary consciousness. It felt as though we were in a bubble made to create and protect the sacred space we shared.
Lauren ended the tea ceremony with a talk on the source of the tea we shared, her experiences in learning about tea, and the power of coming together as community and sharing love, support, and kindness to one another.
For me, this evening was deeply transformative. I learned many new things about the power of plant medicine, and I connected to the power of service and community in a new way. I was fortunate enough to be able to pour water for our attendees and the experience was one I won’t forget.
A big thank you to Lauren, all the volunteers who helped make the event what it was, and to every person who showed up to create and hold such beautiful space for one another.
Until next time!