The Planetary Game
(A version of this article has appeared in previous publications)
It was towards the end of the first day of play in one of the early Planetary Games when all 80 participants were plunged into a world crisis and a dark night of the soul as a result of misuse of will by the Economics group. The players representing the five playing groups – Ecology and the Environment, Economics, Governance and Social Structures, Family and Partnership, and Health and Wholeness – sat on the life-sized path in the centre of the Universal Hall in black hooded cloaks, wearing dark glasses, cut off from their souls.
This was all too close a reflection of the possibilities inherent in the planetary situation – a world crisis precipitated through actions in the economic sphere. So how could we deal with it here in the Planetary Game? Could we transform this experience in some way to help transform what is happening in our world? What did each of us need to do?
The Governance group rose to the occasion, using its free will to create a structure, which took all those who chose to participate through the dark night and out the other side. The hall lights were turned off, and Angels holding candles stood in front of the playing families in the darkness.
“Imagine you wake up one morning and all your worst fears about an economic world crisis are realised. How would this look and feel for you, for those you love, for your city, your country? What is happening to people all over the globe?
“Place your hand where the dark night of the soul feeling is most intense. Hold the pain with love.
“Now be aware of your angel and the source of light and loving power within you. Begin to imagine a symbol of light and power held in your other hand. Continue to hold the pain. In one hand hold the pain, and in the other your symbol of light and power. Hold and love both, and then slowly allow your hands to join.
“Playing groups and Angels: radiate love, life and power to your players. And players: when you feel you have enough love, life and power, remove the cloaks and go to your playing families. In your families, ask for guidance. What is the significance of this dark night of the soul? Holding both the pain and the light, find a soul group of four people to share with, sharing practical suggestions as well as feelings.”
Slowly the light returned. Hushed and muted voices became more lively. Tears gave way to laughter; love flowed through eyes and arms. Back in the large group, insights and learnings were shared. Somehow this crisis and the journey through it had allowed people to come together and to connect at a deeper level, recognising more clearly what is important in life.
Then it was time for Governance to take a card from the Universal Feedback deck on their action:
“You used the heightened opportunity to see into the divine plan clearly, and acted fearlessly and appropriately.”
Yes indeed. And the Game went on to the next move.
This was one of the highlights in a Game that was filled with transformative and magical moments. There was the time, for instance, when the Angel of Forgiveness came to the Family and Partnership group, providing everyone in the hall with the opportunity to shift some fairly substantial stuck points in relation to real life family members. As people connected with the quality of forgiveness and forgave themselves, their parents, children, partners, everyone was moved. Boxes of tissues were in constant circulation, and many people stood up afterwards to share:
“I forgive and make peace with my mother.”
“I need forgiveness from the daughters I left.”
“I forgive my wife for leaving me, and thank her for forcing me to be independent.”
“I forgive Michael for not being what I wanted him to be.”
“I forgive myself for emotional coldness…for being angry…for judging my husband…for making it difficult for my children to relate to their father… for being critical of myself.”
The next move for Family and Partnership immediately after this was a Major Initiation in the Emotional Realm. Everyone was now perfectly ready for this. All participants came down on to the playing floor in a star formation for a guided meditation:
“As we bring in the energy of initiation through the Family and Partnership group, particularly in the Emotional Realm, feel the shift in you in relation to family and partnership; feel your heart as your home and feel that warmth, safety, comfort as you come home to yourself. Feel the energy moving out through the spokes of our wheel; let it run through the groups that are here and touch their families and partnerships; let it move out through the community, over the land, over the sea, through the air, touching our planet, allowing her to come home, home to partnership with all that exists upon it.”
That event almost 30 years ago was only the second time the Game had been played in this particular large format, which involves between 60 and 120 people. Since then, it has been offered again several times at the Findhorn Foundation, sometimes as an internal self-reflective and learning process for the Community here, and other times as a more public event, providing a lens through which we can focus on collective and global issues. It has also been run elsewhere; two Planetary Games have been held in Brazil and one in Thailand, with proposals for more in the pipeline.
It takes a huge amount of organisation, so here at Findhorn it is offered only approximately every four years. And elsewhere it needs teams of people – mostly Transformation Game facilitators – to organise and support it both before and during the event.
Each Game is different; different people, different groupings, different issues. But there is something essential that is the same: the opportunity to see where we are in relation to the issues we’re focusing on; the results we want to create in our collective planetary field; and in us personally, as fractals of that field. Then we allow the Game to act as a diagnostic tool so that we can make real-time shifts in energy, perception, attitudes and behaviour.
Like the time in one of the Community Games when almost everyone was involved in a group setback of Embarrassment, each group with two pieces of pain. The playing groups – Money and Economics, Relationship and Partnership, Environment, Service, and Arts and Celebration – had already previously identified and struggled to transform situations where they were setback by Self Deception (another group card they all had to work with). A theme was recycling. Something was hiding, retreating, not coming forward, not being seen, not being real. The Service player drew a Major Initiation card but the energy couldn’t ‘land’; it couldn’t get through the embarrassment. She tossed the intuitive flash coin to have some silent time and to go inside but it was wrong; another piece of pain put the Service group into Depression. The players for Arts and for Relationship had intuitive flashes to share about their embarrassment. No to both. More pain. Things were spiralling downwards.
Then the player for the Arts and Celebration group stood up. Without saying anything, she stepped out of the inner tube that represented the setback, took off all her clothes, and pointed to a spot on her bum. “I am ready to stand for all of myself,” she said. Then the Relationship player had an accurate intuitive flash to express his passion, rather than his embarrassment. “I love my life here!” he said. “I love my wife! I love myself!” “Is there anything else you need to do?” asked one of the guides. “Yes,” he said, and took off all his clothes to wild applause. The Environment player followed suit, by also de-suiting; increased applause. With three naked players, embarrassment was certainly not being given much room here!
“Don’t even think about it!” the Money player told the room as the attention moved to her. No more actual or symbolic de-robing was necessary; the energy of full presence was now here. The Service player moved through the Major initiation, standing for the whole of herself, for the whole of the community, just as it is. “I accept who I am and what my limitations and preferences are – there is nothing to hide or to be ashamed of. I am willing to be visible, to be a fully responsible human being. I stand for the seed and essence of this place.” Everyone stood with her. A moving moment.
And the next square brought the Angel of Gratitude. Thank you.
Not all moves are as dramatic as the ones highlighted here. The Game is like life, moments of intensity, quiet, action, boredom, breakthrough, depth, light-heartedness, confusion, connection. It provides an opportunity to engage mindfully with all of these, to make room for all the currents and voices that live in ourselves and our world, and through the quality of our engagement with them, to practice creating coherency rather than chaos in our individual and collective lives. It is an opportunity to bring ourselves present and to respond to the unique individual energy of our own self and contribution – as well as to the people and situations around us – and to the larger spirit that moves through us all with grace and meaning and purpose.
Ultimately, it is an opportunity to do a piece of alchemical work for our personal and planetary healing and evolution. This can sound a lofty ideal, ridiculous maybe, even pretentious. “Why on earth am I here?” is a question people are likely to ask themselves – in the Game as in life – in the moments when nothing much seems to be happening, or there is confusion or frustration or boredom and they seem unable to make any difference, or even to want to. “Let me out of here!”
But where is there to go? Why on earth are we here? Why indeed? A worthy question.
More than 40 years ago a spark of an idea caught fire in the imagination of Joy Drake, originator of the Game. From that spark, the Transformation Game in all its many variations was born.
At Easter this year, 2020, we will once again be gathering for a Planetary Game at the Findhorn Foundation, to make a real-time energetic contribution to creating more coherence and hope, both in our world and in our personal lives. We hope you will join us in holding and blessing this event, some of you in person, others from further afield.
Who knows what might unfold?