There are lots of places to gather on New Year’s Eve with your festie family, but if you’re looking for something extraordinary this year, head to Cosmic Convergence….on the banks of Lake Atitlan in gorgeous Guatemala.
Before you freak out, check it out: Guatemala is closer than Hawaii (you can drive there), easy to travel in and more safe than a lot of third world countries, and packed with English speaking travelers from around the world, as well as some of the most beautiful, gentle-hearted indigenous villagers you’ll find. Atitlan has been a hippie’s winter getaway for half a century, and for good reason. It’s warm and tropical and more colorful than any other destination in the northern hemisphere. The local people are weavers, famous for their rainbow colored tapestries and richly embroidered clothing, you’ll definitely a bundle home with you. It’s close to the USA and a very welcoming place for travelers.
David Casey, co-founder of Cosmic Convergence, is a long time west coast festie and active driver of the transformational festival movement. His vision for New Year’s is to create a gathering that brings people back in touch with the earth and the sacred, in a delightful tropical setting, to honor the changing season and celebrate the harvest. He works closely with local indigenous communities to incorporate rich ceremony alongside pounding beats that keep you dancing all night long – on the beach, beneath the watchful eye of an active volcano.
Your New Year’s Eve couldn’t get more stellar than all that.
David says, “My first transformational festival, Symbiosis Gathering, was a very powerful experience. Held on the Fall Equinox, I felt a deep and inexplicable connection to our ancestral roots. It occurred to me that we were doing something that has been practiced for generations before us. As modern humans, we have become disconnected from these patterns, they are no longer a part of our way of being….
A few years ago, living in Guatemala, I brought some friends together to celebrate life, as well as appreciate and honor the local Mayan culture in the area. The contemporary Mayan population of Guatemala is one of the few remaining native populations on earth who have weathered the storms of colonization, genocide, and corporate globalization, and managed to keep their culture somewhat intact. I found myself immersed in a place where the ancestral traditions were not something of the past, but rather a part of everyday life.
Electronic & Live Music from Around the World – Visionary Art Gallery – Permaculture & Green Technology – Tribal & Primitive Skills – Yoga & Sacred Movement – Ceremony – Conscious Cinema – Community Forum – Tea House – Mayan Traditional Medicine & Crafting
BEATS INCLUDE: Absfraktal, AkaSha Vibes, Calibrate, Daviel, Digo, Dirtyphreak, Dissolv, DJ Mikey, Edamame, Fortes, Hedflux, Humo Maya, Iceburg, IEMANJO, Impulse Response, Itsadragon, Javier Portilla, Jossie Telch, KaLs, Kalya Scintilla, Living Light, Magusa, Mekaba…and dozens more.
Located on the shores of Lake Atitlan, the Cosmic Convergence is set atop a crater lake, surrounded by volcanoes, one of them active. It is breathtakingly beautiful and raw.
Cosmic Convergence is designed to be a portal of entry to step into an emerging planetary tribal culture, and a platform for the expression of new and ancient ways of being. It is where the past, present, and future converge in a single point in space and time. Through gathering together and sharing, we seek to create connections between cultures, individuals, and projects, forming a resilient network for those wishing to learn, explore and transition into regenerative lifestyles and ways of being.
United through common culture, shared musical taste, and age-old ritual trance dance applied to a modern context, the experience is designed to dissolve borders and give the participants an experience of belonging to one culture.
The festival is an international event. We have three stages of live and electronic music. The primary genre of music is psychedelic trance, which has its roots in ancient tribal rituals consisting of a repetitive drum beating at the pace of the human heartbeat. Through the experience, dancers dissolve their ego and separateness, and synchronize on a common sonic frequency. This form of modern ritual celebration has spread to almost every country on earth, and unites people beyond language and culture through shared experience.
Within the gathering, we connect traditional Mayan “primitive skills” workshops and cultural activities such as making musical instruments from clay, traditional kite-making, Mayan cooking classes, and traditional Mayan fire ceremonies. Workshops on medicinal plants, weaving and dyeing techniques, create intentional spaces for cultural exchange to occur. Permaculturalists and natural builders offer workshops in how to build the fundamental elements of the past and future village that can sustain our tribe.
Cosmic Convergence is also designed to have a positive social impact in the community that hosts us. We design every aspect of it to create more wealth for the local community, and connect with local social projects to provide them with donated materials and volunteer labor.
The festival raises funds for our social outreach work in Guatemala, and the coordinators of the projects come to present their work at Cosmic Convergence. This attracts more support and collaboration for the projects we already have going, and it also can spark ideas for new innovative projects that organically form from our converging.
Events like Cosmic Convergence are a platform for new and old ways of living to be put on exhibition. The Tribal Convergence Network has a very important exercise called “Tribe Talks”, where all attendees are encouraged to present their projects in front of an audience with the hopes of attracting collaborators or sponsors with similar ideas. The festival experience is a container where we can create the world around us as we believe it can be, sharing with people what is possible, provoking them to re-imagine their own life and their own relationship to self and community in new ways.
We provide opportunities for individuals to get involved in social and community work in the area, thanks to the relationships we’ve built with local Mayan communities over the past decade. We also connect our attendees to a series of retreats, workshops, and transformational journeys in the region before and after the event.
For the past two years, the event has successfully delivered financial, human, and material resources to local projects, including a school, a nutrition center, and an indigenous womens’ textile cooperative. It is a blueprint for other event producers to model internationally.”
[I attended a meeting at the local indigenous school of Chacaya, where members of various groups surrounding the festival joined together to discuss potential project opportunities in that location. Members of Project Nuevo Mundo – the travelling gypsy caravan of permaculture gurus who are largely responsible for the production and organization of Cosmic Convergence – along with representatives of Justa, The Yoga Farm, IMAP, and Pueblo a Pueblo (all local non-profits who work tirelessly to increase the living standards and eco-awareness of indigenous communities surrounding Lake Atitlan), gathered to facilitate a number of projects that will benefit the school in Chacaya: the expansion of the schools already-robust Organic Gardens Program, student field trips to the permaculture gardens of the Yoga Farm, as well as the construction of an adobe structure which will expose schoolchildren to the wonders of cob/adobe building, while simultaneously doubling as an outdoor classroom for the overly-cramped elementary/middle school. If ever there was a spirit that embodied the idea of transformation on the social level, it is here, right now. – Lost In Sound]
Our event budget is designed so that the maximum amount of money flows into the local community:
- Hire local labor rather than use foreign volunteers
- Prioritize and work with local artists by making sure a lot of the artist booking budget gets spent on local acts
- Use local building materials and local suppliers and companies rather than importing fancy materials, expensive international designers, etc.
- Ask the NGO’s in the area what skills they’re looking for to complete projects they’re working on, and mine our volunteer and staff for these skill sets and present our people with the opportunity to do good work after the festival
- Ask local NGO’s and community organizations what materials they need for projects, and “upcycle” festival building material and tools by donating them to the organizations who can utilize them, rather than leaving them in a toolshed or materials storage space to sit for a year.
- Design installations and pieces of the festival in a modular way, to be deconstructed and permanently re-installed fully intact at local schools, community centers, etc.
- Work closely with the mayor and take in feedback from the local community by consulting with community leaders, about how we could make the festival better for the local community
Attendees also benefit from the rich interactions and learning environment that accompany the festival experience, which includes all of the music, yoga, art, workshops and fun elements that you find at other transformational fests.
The event has grown immensely since its founding in 2012, leaving a lasting social impact in the form of direct financial, human and material resources to local projects. Some of our largest successes include the delivery of support to a community nutrition center, a school, and a womens’ cooperative.
- CONSORCIO cooperative is our main community partner. It’s made up of 11 local women’s associations consisting of 5000 indigenous women. Last year, they ran our kitchen (which they will do again this year), and offered many workshops to transmit traditional Mayan cultural knowledge. They also helped to coordinate the community afterparty on January 3, and also introduced us to the mayor, fire department chief and police chief of the town of Santiago, who gave very strong support to the festival last year in terms of resources, volunteer labor, and personnel support on-site. As part of our partnership, visionary artist Genser from Mexico painted a beautiful mural on CONSORCIO’s wall. (https://www.facebook.com/ARTGNS)
- We also work with the Maya Traditions Foundation, an organization that preserves the knowledge and application of traditional Mayan medicine. They have a medicinal plant garden in Panajachel. We purchase medicinal teas and tinctures prepared by Maya Traditions, and use them during the festival to keep our staff and participants healthy and happy. They also offer workshops in traditional dyeing, weaving, and knowledge of local medical plants.
- Post fest, we integrate opportunities for festival goers to get more involved in rich, educational experiences that positively impact our local Guatemalan community.
- This year we will be doing the Open Channel Retreat (http://www.openchannelretreat.com/) right after the festival, which features some of the artists and musicians during the festival. They will be facilitating the opening of creative channels within the participants of the retreat, so they can access their own potential as creative beings.
After the gathering, Cosmic Convergence will be hosting a month-long transformational journey series of permaculture design workshops, yoga and tantra retreats, ceremonies, eco-tours to temples and cloud forests. We will also be making volunteer opportunities available to those who feel called to contribute more directly in local community projects!
My friends and readers: do something extra special this New Year’s. Gather your clan and make the journey to an enchanted land not so far away….experience something more, something deep, something beautiful and something life changing….a rich adventure in culture and creativity with amazing people from more than 60 countries, while celebrating the New Year in style. Touch the earth, dance your socks off, swim in a gorgeous lake, make new friends, watch the stars sparkle above a stunning volcano and know that you are truly alive, truly living.
Dive In! The water’s fine!
“Permaculture Immersion in the Maya Heartland”
Please join the Nuevo Mundo Foundation team for a 5 day hands-on permaculture course in the heart of the Mayan cloud forest! We are bringing in Chris Nesbitt, the owner of Mayan Mountain Research Farm, a world renowned tropical permaculturalist with over 25 years of experience. The course will include an introduction to permaculture, feature talks on cacao farming, ecotourism, and indigenous Mayan culture.