When thousands of Voices Unit Under the Flag of Equality

The Last Night of the Proms has become a musical uniting of millions of people. Prommers, comment the music with their selection of party favors and traditional moves; the Albert Hall resonates as 6000 voices unit in traditional favorites; parks around the nation join in with their own concerts which link into the what is taking place in the Hall; and millions of households around the worlds join in with the preceding via radio, television and internet. For a few moments borders and differences dissolve as the musical gathering demonstrates the pureness of equality.

This stands in stark comparison with a nation currently weighed down by the Brexit developments. The tension is tangible both between nationals within their country as well as internationally in conversations that cross their borders. Social media resonates with borderline hateful posts about those of differing opinion and/or of the other nationality refusing to “accept” the terms or similar the one is striving for.

Amidst this tension, I already found it interesting to see of EU flags and hats in the Albert Hall during the Last Night proceedings. When then Jamie Barton, expertly singing Rule Britannia, bent down to retrieve a flag most will have expected it to be the Union Jack. However, the closing lines of the song accompanied the flag of equality, as it flew high above the singing crowd.

Polictical or Spiritual Gesture?

We found ourselves discussing this gesture over breakfast the following day. A family member was struggling with the political taste of this gesture. I can see how it could be taken politically, but somehow there was much more to it for me. Yet it took me a while to grasp what I was sensing.

In an interview earlier in the broadcast of the Last Night Barton briefly mentioned she is queer. So it is not surprising that many report this is an LGBT statement. This might well have been the initial impulse behind the gesture. Yet I am starting to recognize a deeper underlining message.

equality flag
Equality Flag

The flag has many names: rainbow flag, equality flag, LGBT flag, peace flag. With variations this symbol was also proposed or used as national and religious emblems for suppressed peoples and philosophies. Armenia proposed a version of it as its new flag after the genocides it endured in the 1st World War. It represents aspects of God through the rainbow tallit (prayer shawl) developed by a Jewish movement. And this flag was also adopted by Buddhists symbolizing the unity of its many forms. And these are but a few examples.

So whilst at first glance, Barton’s gesture feels political, I have come to see a far bigger symbolism beneath this political surface. Moments before the commentators have been talking about the energy in the hall and the togetherness of the people. And then the hall is singing “never shall be slaves”, as the rainbow waves above their heads. The flag, the symbol of unity in its many forms, is bathes in this energy of unity, freedom, and hope.

Yes, sporadic boos rang out in the Hall, but the euphoria and unity created in the room gave them little room or energy to unfold. In a way, the flag was symbolizing what the people were doing: coming together, regardless of differences in nationality, orientation, wealth, race or any other perceived divide.

Healing through symbols

Many healing traditions use a photo or object as an energetic link or point of focus. Some healers gaze at this representation, hold it or even just think of it as they work. Thus it becomes a portal or even an abstract symbol linking healer and healee energetically to enable the flow of energy to occur.

People have flocked together under symbols to be and work in unity. Together many groups help each other or others. We have seen Christians stand guard whilst Muslims worship. A Jewish soldier dressing as Saint Nick for a Luxemburg village during the WWII occupation has inspired many. Children from Jewish, Muslim and Christian backgrounds play together in Jerusalem. And these examples are not even the tip of the iceberg of what humanity has proved possible, despite perceived differences and boundaries.

The millions joining the Last Night of the Proms, might not have envisioned the evening to be healing. And yet many years have proven that the Last Night Of the Proms creates a unity. During the singing of Auld Lang Syne, strangers join hands. The joint chorus of Jerusalem nearly lifts the roof off the Hall. The prommers going through the motions of bobbing to the Sea Shanties creates an atmosphere of intense energy and upliftment. I would not be surprised that those in any kind of mental or physical pain, feel uplifted during and possibly hours and days after such a gathering.

So whilst this is not a healing gathering, there is a kind of healing offered in this musical unity. And into this pulsing energy, the flag of equality is dipped. And amidst this atmosphere, Barton not only leads thousands of voices but also waves this symbol through this energy with gusto. Is this then but a piece of cloth being imbued with this energy? Or is the intensity of the voices that unit around it pronouncing they “shall not be slaves” impregnating the many means this symbol holds?