Free Love: Tel Aviv's Vibrant LGBTQ Community
15. Feb. 2021 | Shankra Culture

Freedom begins when you feel at home, wherever you go, wherever you are, whenever you can be yourself

At Shankra Festival, every human being is welcome to be themselves, embrace diversity, and love each other without prejudices or fear of being judged. We value everyone’s uniqueness and deeply believe that through performative art, psytrance music, transnational culture and a united community, we can create an harmony that resonates through time, reflecting each other’s beauty not only in our celebration, but also in the outside world, creating empathy and taking care towards each other.

Today, we want to present a community that stands out for its audacity, that despite possible diversions, shows to the globe that love is stronger and ever-giving: when we get together to celebrate life, we stand out against fear.

Tel Aviv aka the City that never sleeps

Called the “City that never sleeps”, Tel Aviv is popularly known for its splendid beaches, rich culture, and its vibrant LGBTQ+ Community. The city is, in fact, an open-minded, progressive and welcoming place and is internationally recognized as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, welcoming human beings despite their sexual orientation or gender identification. The city warmly embraces everyone, secular or religious people and a younger or older generation, creating a sparkling pluralism of thoughts, beliefs and values. Here, human beings celebrate inclusively, recognizing a diverse community that works hard to support its LBGTQ members in the everyday life.

The lively energy of Tel Avis’s LGBTQ+ Community is part of an extraordinary one-of-a-kind journey, and it a result that integrates diverse identities, freedom and tolerance. The LGBTQ+ community is an integral part of Tel Aviv’s culture, and the city’s nightlife is one of the liveliest in the world.

Open Call For Submissions
12. Feb. 2021 | Shankra Culture

The expression of our ideas, feelings, and visions has the power to feed our soul, define our identity, and create a connection with people around us.

At Shankra Festival, we would like to give the possibility to express inner talents and exciting insights, not only during our festivals: we are collecting ideas right now!

An entire new section entitled “Community” will be dedicated to our expressive authors.

If writing is your passion and you wish to share your knowledge with our community, send us your feature topic articles at info@shankrafestival.org with the subject: Article Collaboration!

The Symbols of Love - A Visual Journey
8. Feb. 2021 | Shankra Culture

As humans, the moment we started to represent visually the world around us, we transformed images we see in representations, which in some cases became symbols.

A representation illustrates reality, while a symbol has the power of transmitting an idea through a simple, sometimes abstract, image. Even if we don’t speak the same language, symbols can help us to communicate directly, when shared between cultures.

Some symbols are universal and archetypal, shaped by what Carl G. Jung defined the collective unconscious, a level of consciousness that all people have in common, carried over from our earliest ancestors, while others are unique to certain cultures, bearing an history that can be discovered only exploring the local traditions.

What are the different symbols of love in cultures around the world? Love is one of the universal emotions that people experience, being love for a partner, love for family, love for Nature or love for something that makes us feel good. Let’s explore some visual representations of this complex and beautiful feeling.

The Multiple Identities of Seasons
3. Feb. 2021 | Shankra Culture

From the extreme heat of desert sand, to the candid whiteness of polar snow, Nature expresses herself in very different ways around our planet. Right now, the mountains that guard our Swiss Shankra Valley are resting under the soft touch of snow, while in Sri Lanka, the other home of Shankra Festival, temperatures reach above 30°C.

We, as human beings, have developed vocabularies that are specific to different areas of the world, producing sometimes unique interpretations of natural phenomena.

Seasonality describes changes in the environment as our planet passes through its solar year. In temperate regions, we can experience spring, summer, fall and winter, but environmental changes occur seasonally everywhere on the planet.

Why do we take for granted that generally there are four seasons? Ecologically speaking, a season is a period of the year in which only certain types of floral and animal events happen. In different parts of the world, wildlife and flora change in different ways, following the specific climate of the area: this means that many interpretations of season were introduced by cultures around the world.

Going back in history, the most important division was introduced by ancient Egyptians, who defined three seasons - flood, growth, and low water - following the rhythms of former annual flooding of the Nile. This three-seasons system is still in use in some tropical areas, for example in Thailand.

Connecting to Our Inner Nature: Trance
21. Jan. 2021 | Shankra Culture

The word trance awakes deep meanings in the human spirit, connecting ancestral drives with a strong direct physical experience. The term trance can be traced back to the Latin verb transīre, meaning “to cross", "pass over", referring to the feeling of embarking a journey to unexplored paths of our conscious state, when in a state of trance.

This extra-ordinary state originates from regions of the mind that are rarely explored consciously, even if frequently stimulated by different means in our everyday reality.

Aldous Huxley refers to these regions as “antipodes”, reachable through the temporary deactivation of certain cognitive functions: free from utilitarian distractions, the mind is able to pay attention to certain states that overcome the biological utility and sublime spirituality.

Trance is often caused by cognitive loops, where a cognitive object (a thought, an image, a sound, an intentional action) repeats long enough to focus the totality of our attention on it, with the purpose of relaxation, healing, intuition and inspiration. From the dawn of human culture, there is an extensive history of trance documented by anthropologists and ethnologists, showing that trance can be perceived as endemic, meaning it is an innate characteristic of the human condition.

Tribal music and dances, Greek and Roman oracles, stories of the saints in the Middle Ages, chants and mantras from every religion in the world, myths, parables, fairy tales, oral lore and storytelling from different cultures are themselves potentially inducers of trance. Often musical, physical and literary devices such as repetition are employed: the usage of repetitive rhythms to induce trance states is an ancient phenomenon.

In the contemporary reality, we experience minor states of trance each day of our life: focusing on individual tasks at work or school, watching a movie or listening to music. The whole concept of entertainment could be described as the synchronization of different rhythmic cycles; movies, TV series, shows, theatrical plays affect our breathing and heart rate, along with our brainwave activity, enhancing states of relaxation or inducing strong emotions.

Take a moment to recognize the powerful effects of trance in our daily life. Through them, we are connected directly to our collective and infinite nature.

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