Co-Op Initiation

  • I am invited by Robin to become a member of "The Co-Op". This dream organization is based on the actual Kresge Co-Op at UC Santa Cruz, a small natural and organic food store located at Kresge College, and organized around the co-op idea. I was hanging out there for some time yesterday afternoon, conversing, eating and dancing to the sound of Terrapin Station with my new friends Alex and Robin, and an old friend, Rolf. In this dream, "the co-op" is not just a food store, it is a commune--its members all living together in cooperative harmony, holding collective ownership of all possessions. After a long period of growing familiarty with the people, Robin invites me to become a member. The UCSC campus appears in its dream-version, a very small group of buildings among the redwood trees, perched near the cliff edge of the great blue Pacific ocean. In order to become a member of this highly selective organization, I must go through an initiatory rite, the details of which I know nothing.

    It is night, and Robin leads me by the hand to a small hand-made, all-wood hut within sight and hearing of the ocean waves. It's where the Porter College study center would be in waking life. The architecture of the one-room structure is highly significant, a radially symmetric pentagon. Inside, everything is smooth, well-cut wood; benches at various levels are built into the walls around the perimeter. It is very similar to a sauna I've been to in downtown Santa Cruz. Near the ceiling, the wooden crossbeams form a perfect star and thus a pentagram is inscribed within the pentagon of the building. There are three other women there in the small, well-lit room. I admit to them my nervousness and they all smile serenely to reassure me. Still having no clue as to the nature of the initiation, we begin to remove our clothing. A highly charged Dionysian vibration descends on the room, disorienting me. Am I about to engage in a pagan sex-rite? Temporarily overwhelmed I excuse myself and walk outside into the cool night air, trying to regain my calm. Walking around behind the building I see through the slits of the shutter at the now-nude women inside. Without any voyeuristic motivation, I simply want to know beforehand what exactly I am about to take part in. No one will reveal the secret. I am unwilling to join an orgy but fully willing to immerse in a genuine, compassionate atmosphere of naked emotional intimacy. Suddenly another member of the Co-Op catches me looking into the building, trying to learn the secret before it is revealed, and banishes me from the scene. I have broken the rules.

    Dream repeats as Robin leads me by the hand, under the stars, to the small well-lit hut. This time I have no fear of the unknown and gladly remove my clothing as preface to the initiation. Somehow, in adopting this accepting attitude, I am gifted with the sought-after secret!--even before it is revealed. In the opened space we are to give an offering of Love to the Divine, resident in each one of us. My offering is in the form of a song: a guitar appears and to the gently swaying women I sing Fire On The Mountain, the words giving off light as they leave my lips and rise through the center of the star suspended above.