Song of Songs Seder Celebrating Queer Sexuality
My AWESOME project is a seder celebrating queer sexuality. It is in its 6th incarnation and is ever changing to be the most engaging, joyful, embodied, educative, delightful, empowering ritual filled with ecstatic dance, song, and radical liturgy it can be. It will be held on May 19th 2019. Last year 60 people participated in the seder.
It’s a uniquely Bay Area event that utilizes the bold and sensuous language of Song of Songs, an erotic love poem in the bible, to celebrate the unique gifts that queers and our culture bring to society with the intention of sharing these gifts with the larger world; not to create a queer only space. A variety of voices, experiences, sexual practices and viewpoints are shared throughout the ritual with the intention being that no ONE of these represents queer culture AND all are embraced.
The haggadah, which is like a script that everyone at the ritual reads from throughout the event, is central to the experience of the ritual. Images, readings, and prayers included in the haggadah are sex-positive. They also work towards decentering whiteness, and dismantling transphobia, ableism, sexism, heterosexism, coupleism, and assumed monogamy. Throughout the text these readings and images are paired with direct quotes from the Song of Songs. Ritual foods and drink that are symbolic are consumed. Their meanings are explained in the text.
The seder ends with conjuring a magic spell based on Allen Ginsburg’s 1955 poem “Excerpts from Footnote to Howl.“ That poem is inspired by a traditional Jewish prayer that repeats “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Ginsberg, the out Gay Jewish Beat poet, that he was, celebrated cocks and assholes as holy in this poem. Chanting of the poem is used to raise energy and take the Jewicy JeWitchy experience of knowing, deeply in our bodies, the sacredness and power of sexuality, as exemplified by queers, and sending that magical energy out to all who need it to transform the world.
Funded by San Francisco, CA (January 2019)