Blossom of Life Opening Ceremony

Chapter: Milestones / Blossom of Life

Inauguration of the Blossom of Life in the Friedensmal

Opening of the monument Mai 17, 2012 (Ascension day)

The meaning of the Friedensmal

- a new pilgrims place along the European long-distance path: the walk in the own inner, so that we recognize the sacred in our midst and within society.

- it is a place for prayer (in the crown of the tree of life). Everyone is very welcome, but we kindly request guests to remove their shoes before walking into the Friedensmal. It will mean forgetting the habits and prejudices for a while.

- a place for justice: we established the monument locally, with the sentence „Peace begins in small efforts” - many people in my town of Bensheim have a sticker on their cars with this sentence and the picture of the original planned design of the monument (at that time still with a "dark ring with stones", which settled around the crown of the Tree of the Life). The sticker below shows the Friedensmal that has evolved from the original plan.

- it is a place for life and joy: we dance around the „Tree of Life” instead of idolatry (which is more significant and difficult than it sounds).

- a sign of friendship, healing and peace between people, that we together may have a healing and a bright future.

The new version - Jerusalem Friedensmal

The Friedensmal (diameter: 26 meters) is oriented with the roots of the Tree of Life towards Jerusalem. This is more than a city in Israel. It is a place in the spiritual world. It means, to work together, justice AND compassion, instead of fighting with each other. This will create a freedom, the world has not seen yet.

The image above shows the new design of the
Friedensmal of the year 2013. The words in the top of the sticker mean: „Peace begins within”. This is a project which comes from within and from peace work at the grass root level; it's a project of civic commitment. It is not about a political program, it's about a different consciousness. Below you can see the old sticker from the year 2010. The words on the sticker are "Peace begins with small efforts". The focus on inner peace was not there yet.

Sticker 2010 - Friedensmal
This picture shows the original planning of the Friedensmal. Here you can see how much the design you can see in the first picture has changed from this original plan (second picture). The originally planned Friedensmal, which had a much stronger connection to the tradition of the memorials of admonishment (reminding on a dark past) evolved through the processes of life itself - through good and bad. The message changed from "Peace begins with small efforts" to "Peace begins within".

The design is now more free and more brighte with much less "stones" than was intended in the original plan. It has more relation to life. I wanted to integrate a newly built fence in front of the
Friedensmal. This project is not just about building an artwork that is thought-provoking. What we are doing here with the construction of this artwork as an association could even be described as action art; that's how life did it. More than a ready-made plan, it is a struggle with the environment to stay authentic and maintain the vision of the project. We work with society because it affects us and so it is actually a communication in which the Friedensmal is created.

The project went through a deep process. The result was that the freedom arose to shed light on the planned "Dark Ring" around the Tree of Life. There is now a space to dance to the music of the soul; Music like the tunes of Shlomo Carlebach. You can meditate with groups, pray, sing and talk in peace.

Songs of Shlomo Carlebach

We dance around the Tree of Life

We had a real special festival - wonderful spirit of a rare beauty - which our guest and the people of the village also recognized. Bohemian gipsys made the music. They also played songs of Shlomo Carlebach so we could dance to the music around the „Tree of Life”. Where we danced will be a travertine "dance floor" - a space of encounters - 2 years later.

Opening of the Friedensmal

Entry into the Friedensmal
People taking of their shoes before going in to the monument.

The construction work at the Friedensmal will be done before autumn 2012. We opened it before, because (again): it is about the process! This is the most important aspect of the whole project. We want to let the people feel that they can participate. Now we have reached the part of the way where the monument site gets more and more beautiful every day. In early autumn we will have a second opening (after the spiritual event on May 17th). It will be the opening for "the world".

Around 70 people came from the village Hochstädten, where we have build the monument and another 300, in the course of the day, from the European long-distance path E8. People use the Site for Peace in the manner we have intended: They sat down on the benches and just felt the atmosphere, or they even removed their shoes, going in the inner part of the monument in the Tree of Life.

Walk into the Tree of Life
The Tree of Life with the inscription: "Recognize the sacred in your midst". Next, we will place the remaining 11 large Odenwald Quartz stones around the crown of the tree. Soon the work on the Friedensmal will be completed.

The star is laid

Initially, there was quite a lot of misunderstanding about this project. People are often very much used to a negative view of the commemorative culture in Germany. People did not understand that this monument as it is not denying the recent German past, still has a positive approach, as it is about life and our responsibility toward life NOW. Its about positive values and not about giving the present generations of people living in Germany another lecture on guilt of the past. Now more and more people are also gaining an understanding of the true meaning of the star on the twelve white petals, the Blossom of Life, in the Tree of Life: it means our open heart, where „heaven” and „earth” might meet to make the world a better place; with more dignity, love and gratitude. But this is also important: it was possible to establish the monument as a sign of peace and friendship and as a symbol of renewal also to the Jewish people. With that, the step from being passive to being active could be made: the own positive action is the only way of spiritual change for the world.

Foundation of peace
The center of the Friedensmal before the opening, with a bottle of „world-famous” Hochstädter schnapps - instead of the star. But as you know, the star is a much better choice, if one understands its meaning.

Last triangle of the star is put into place
Broken marble in the center - like a broken soul - but a piece of the star will cover and heal it - the star on the white blossom is a symbol of the open loving heart.

Yerushalayim Shel Zahav

Do you recognize the two different kind of triangles in the star? One kind has the dark spot in the upper side and the other has the dark spot at the peak. So it is also a Magen David. Around this symbol the kids where dancing for hours. In a ritual we were laying the star - the 6 triangles - in the middle of the monument - with the help of the kids: The played around with my laptop and by chance at just the right moment the music „Jerushalajim Shel Zahav” (Jerusalem of gold) was to hear, as people watched silently as we laid the star. By mistake those kids had started my iTunes playlist. I just accepted the situation as it was - it was beautiful! The celebration continued for nearly 6 hours. In the end I was singing songs without text but with plenty of soul (Niggunim) together with the people of the village; until one of them fell from a bench.

The star is ready constructed

This is the view unto the Rhine plain. Still there is the new brown soil visible, because with the construction we had raised the plateau for the
Friedensmal. Soon it will be green again. In the future we can see more light again, if the Tree of Life is going to break open the dark circle (with stones). Light means life, so the rest of the ring which is not dark, is a place for life. Here will be a space for dancing around the Tree of Life. People need an alternative to all the struggle in life: Here will have a nice "dance floor" made from travertine, that is a space for the encounter with the other within oneself. It's the same (life)space and "floor". - The encounters at this place will be special; with holiness.

View into the valley

We will put 11 big rocks of Odenwald-quartz (1,33 x 1 m, from our local area) in the monument: The Tree of Life is breaking up the dark ring with those rocks. The dark ring means the areas without the light of the law of life (the natural law does not care if one wants to accept it or not; it just is). We would like to send 13 stelae to Peace Sites in the world with the following inscription: "Where dust turns to light" (from a poem of the German Jewish poet Nelly Sachs). That is why this really is an international peace project. It's an inspiration and a message of friendship to the world.

Children playing, easy and light-hearted

Children inaugurate the Blossom of Shalom

View of the valley

View into the valley of Hochstädten from the Garten of Freedom

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