Vermont Joy Parade perform in Ithaca. I was surprised by their happy, raucous show, since I know some of the performers, and I’ve heard them talk about their music as cultural transformation. I expected something more serious, a la 60’s Dylan and Jefferson Airplane’s “up against the wall!” But my personal experience at the show taught me that the creation of joy can be a revolutionary act in a reality that worships production and efficiency.
I’d come from work and I was feeling low. Exhausted. Discouraged. I only went to support my friends. And then, slowly at first, but with increasing excitement, the musicians of Vermont Joy Parade drew me in and wove their magic of joy. It was a Wednesday night. Most people at the bar had come to drink away the dominator day, but soon all heads turned to the stage. Then the band sang a song especially for me and Jack, and I was elated, and started to dance, and then I realized that others were dancing, and then Benny balanced a chair on his head, and then the band members were throwing jokes at one another, and then there were fifty people dancing and laughing and cheering.
The discouragement of the day slipped away. I felt my strength return, the power inside of me light up again. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, who were under spiritual siege from their own dominator world, saying, “Encourage one another and build each other up!” We have to stay strong if the spiritual revolution is to take place and joy is where our strength is found.
The Charge of the Goddess tells us to “Sing, dance, make music and make love, all in my name.” The body chemistry of joy is good for us. Joy gives us hope, bonds us, reminds us of why it is good to be human in a body on the earth, and this is the crux of the animist cultural transformation.