Omphalos Lantern and Temple Oracle
Classical Ritual Space



Preparations for The Grand Mystery of The Omphalos Oracle:
A Week of Ambulatory Meditations and Nightly Diasporate Readings in the Omphalos
Culminating in the Great Rite of the Oracle

Annie and Robin with two of the six panels for the Omphalos central fire sculpture, just completed, 8/14/03

Beyond Belief, the Opera Diaspora Sects continue their cultural declinations into revery and sublime connection this Burn by exploring the Ultimate Truths of the Universe through the Oracle of the Omphalos!

Each day, at random times, there will be a procession of various truth-seekers, experiencing and projecting the grand mystery of the truth and presence of the Oracle of Omphalos across and beyond the playa. Wandering, mystical hedonists, sharing the arts and trance possibilities of the Ultimate Truths, etc. Among these will be a gamelan orchestra (12 instruments with their musicians) with mobile fire torches or colanders carried on the shoulders of processors. Performers in all traditions represented in our camp are also welcome to process including of course fire performers.

Each evening after sundown, the lamp of the Omphalos is prepared and lit.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights the playa public is invited to participate in the culmination of the Omaphalyte Processions/Readings, the Great Rite of the Oracle of Omphalos.

The number of participants in most Omphalos rituals may have to be limited, with preference given to active workshop particiants.

Pobin welding at Annie's Berkeley studio. Behind him, the base of the giant fire cauldron

Annie Hallat's maquette for the Omphalos.

Fifty-foot diamater octagonal space (maquette out of scale; it will be roomier inside). 6-8 foot high white walls supported with steel poles. Lit from within by fire on a platform with a huge face of openwork steel animated by the flickering fire. Shadows cast of ritual dancers and singers on walls.

Ritual Dance and Song

Central to the vision of the ritual culture of the Omphalos will be the concept of reuniting sacred sound with sacred movement, in the model of the ancient devotional practice embodied in the Greek chorus (choreia.) Unlike a modern secular vocal "chorus," the choreia of ancient Greece performed devotional song and accompanying round dances that were central to Greek ritual theater and ceremony.

The word choriea and related term koklos--wheel--are both etymologically related to the Sanskrit chakra, meaning "wheel", "spinning wheel", or "ring." Embedded in these words and related terms in modern languages across Europe are ideas of group singing, of circular movement, of turning, circling and cycling. From these roots sprang the carole round dance of the Western Middle Ages, the carol or devotional song, and the kolo and hora round dances of Eastern Europe.

Practicing playa rituals: circling the panels, 8/14/03. Lulu, Robert, Michelle, Sadie, Annie, Arjuna, Marguerite, and Picasso the Dalmatian.

8/14 rituals meeting. Acolytes Dragonfly, Emily and Raina prepare participants to enter the sacred space...
Sausalito Healing Arts, courtesy Oshana

Analisa, Annie and Sygyt costumed as Oracle priest and priestesses. Note Alison's adapted version of the Peplum, last seen in the rituals of Atlantis

Ritual performance and processions to take place in and around the Omphalos will not seek to recreate a historical Greek chorus. Rather, elements of world sacred traditions will be blended into a new choreia that seeks spiritual truth not through words or dogma, but rather through the ecstatic, experiential physical entrancement of voice and body. Elements of medieval chant and devotional song, harmonic overtone singing, Balinese kechak, Tai Chi, and Balkan and Mediterranean circle dance will be woven together with newly composed material into a new and unique ecstatic ritual culture. The Omphalos will be filled with the sound of the human voice, and flickering shadows of snaking lines of dancers will be cast onto the translucent temple walls.


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