The Cosmic Walk ritual: A celebration of the universe story

The Cosmic Walk is a ritual created by Dominican Sr. Miriam MacGillis of Genesis Farm in New Jersey. It has been modified and facilitated by many people around the world. The Cosmic Walk is a way of bringing our knowledge of the 14-billion-year Universe process from our heads to our hearts.

It is a simple ritual that can be performed in a large room or outdoors. A spiral representing the entire almost 14 billion years of the cosmic and evolutionary journey is laid out on the floor or ground. At Genesis Farm this spiral is painted on the floor of the library, but one can also lay out a rope in the spiral form. The spiral should be at least 100 feet long, 140 feet is better, with each instance of emergence in time marked at a proportionate distance along the length of the spiral. Each such station is marked by an unlit votive candle and, optionally, by a card describing the emergence.

The first station, located at the very center of the spiral, represents the Flaring Forth of the Universe itself. This primary emergence is represented by a lit candle by itself or sometimes within a large, faceted glass bowl. One person, the walker, lights a candle from the primary candle and walks the spiral, starting with the Flaring Forth and lighting each candle in turn. The walk is synchronized with the reading of the text below by a second person, the reader. The ritual is accompanied by music, traditionally "The Fairy Ring" by Mike Rowland.

This ritual works for any size of group, the limitation being the audience's ability to see the candles well. For fewer than about 15 people, it is feasible to have each person walk the spiral, in turn, reading the cards to itself in silence. Since the Cosmic Walk was born, many variations in text, process, and music have emerged.

Several different versions of the ritual are available online.