Tomorrow afternoon, Saturday 21 March 2015, a giant wooden “Temple” will be set on fire in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
Built from timber, the structure has been built in honour of those who died during the Troubles. People have been encouraged to use the Temple, clad in intricate panels some of which have been designed and cut by young people from the city, as a space for contemplation and remembrance. They have also placed mementos, messages, and photographs in the space.
This may may not seem important, after all the Good Friday Agreement was signed almost 20 years ago, and the worst events of the Troubles happened over 40 years ago. But people are emotional beings. And actions speak louder than words. So the way to deal with collective emotions is through deliberate meaningful actions: ‘ritual’.
Chapter 7 of inner leadership talks about the need for people to let go of the past before they can truly move forward to pursue a new vision. It talks about the need to acknowledge and take with you the good things the past has brought. And also to let go of that which is being left behind.
The best way to achieve this is through stories and ritual: perhaps burying, perhaps planting, perhaps burning something of significance.
The Troubles of Northern Ireland were a deep-rooted inter-community conflict that lasted around thirty years, from the late 1960s until the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. People in Derry/Londonderry are being led through a process of leaving those Troubles behind. To separate from what had gone before, and move on. And at dusk on Saturday March 21, the spring equinox, the point at which the days become longer than the nights, that process will reach its culmination and the Temple will be set on fire.
You can see more photos here.