Words by Basil Scordilis, pics by Corette Barham
It has been just over 5 months since I took a long awaited holiday up to the Maloti mountain ranges on the border of Lesotho. The trip was to Cosmogenesis, a twelve-day spiritual retreat and music event. The idea for Cosmogenesis was born through the concepts of the Mayan 2012 mythos. This being not a calendar to the end of the world, but rather a cycle of renewal, rebirth and an awakening of consciousness on a spiritual level.
Four months before the date of 12/12/12, a team of over 60 people set up camp in the Eastern Free state on the border of Lesotho. The Maloti mountain ranges, scattered with crystals and inspiring caves, would be their home for the next twenty weeks. The land itself is host to a number of alien vegetation species, most prominently blue gums. The Cosmogenesis team took to these forests with muscle and tools, chopping paths and gullies into the land to create a network of walkways and thoroughfares as well as shower stalls and long drop toilets.
Traveling in a rented single cab bakkie with six other people made the ride less than comfortable. With all our camping stuff for nine days crammed in the back, plus four bodies, canned sardines had nothing on us. As we headed into the Eastern Cape at the height of summer one of my fellow adventurers said we were now more like canned baked beans. Sadly I had to agree.
After almost 12 hours of driving, each of us taking 2-hour shifts, we arrived in Ficksburg, the little dorpie about 15 minutes away from where Cosmogenesis was taking place. The town had nothing special to offer, as I was told, surprisingly so, by one of the smaller stationary shop owners. We filled up on snacks and sugary juices and headed into the outskirts, the farmlands.
Upon arriving I found there to be a lot less people than expected. This was, after all, an event that provided free energy healing, yoga, shamanic sweat lodges, Qi Gong and many other workshops. Not only this, but talks were held on practicable sustainability and energy saving forms of communication. So why were there so few people there? Truth be told, this lack of turnout hindered my relaxation process from the beginning. I was expecting upwards of a thousand people to be involved and what I found was less than three hundred. This meant it was going to be an intimate experience, which I wasn’t prepared for. It was becoming an unexpected adventure - and I’d only just arrived.
The next nine days were a blur of exploration, with not enough time during the day to do or see everything and not enough time at night to really meet people. There was a constant fire going right next to the dance floor (called the Lightship Temple) and each night the fire was brought back to full flame with a freshly built effigy being burnt to light up the starry nightscape.
Being a hula hooper I utilised the fresh flames to bring out fire shows along with my mad hula hoop family. The dance floor was next to a massive polo field and each morning we were woken up by a stampede of horses running out of the grounds for their daily wander.
There were numerous hikes to be had, from slow trundles along the expansive plains up to a giant hole in the wall to more tricky walks up to the crystal caves. The one cave in particular had been kitted out like luxury campsites, with separate rooms, straw mattresses and shower and ablution facilities. All made by the Cosmogenesis team with bare hands and rocks. Just below this cave, lies a beautiful splash waterfall. By splash I mean it was just right to stand under and not get bruised by the force of the water. It was like a refreshing torrent of massage.
I hooped, I played, I took moments of being centre stage. I laughed, I danced, I had moments of deep contemplation. I walked, I swam, I found moments of peace in the simple words “I am.” I dreamed awake, I made mistakes, I created moments of frustration. I realised, I sympathised, I let go of moments in the past. If there is anything I can say about Cosmogenesis 2012, it is that it is implausible (not impossible, because nothing is impossible) to be able to sum up in a structure of words or a definition of drawing. This is my attempt at placing meaning on an event that any traveller, believer or adventurer would appreciate.
It was undecided whether Cosmogenesis was going to take place again. However I have heard whispers and seen promising posts that say it may well just come to be. If you care for learning something about yourself, or even simply getting away from it all, then Cosmogenesis 2013 is the place to do it. Go for a weekend, go for the full twelve days. It doesn’t really matter how long. Just go.