The totem for All Souls Procession’s 20th anniversary is The Moth. Inspiration for this year’s All Souls grand finale ritual performance was derived in part by finale Artistic Director Nadia Hagen from the following:
Out there, somewhere, in the air we fly through, exists an old Persian legend about a bug who spent his entire life in the world’s most beautifully designed rug. All the bug ever saw in his lifetime were his problems. They stood up all around him. He couldn’t see over the top of them, and he had to fight his way through these tufts of wool in the rug to find the crumbs that people had spilled on the rug. And the tragedy of the story of the bug in the rug was this: that he lived and he died in the world’s most beautifully designed rug, but he never once knew that he spent his life inside something which had such an intricate and exquisite pattern.
Man with all the various means of destruction he has found, will, in the end, only destroy himself. He is like a certain type of moth who is attracted to the glow of a flame, thinking it is food , these moths circle around and around the flame until they fly right into it and die. In the same way, man plummets into evil actions, thinking they will benefit him. He sees evil as good, but the end result is destruction
–R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
Dost thou shun the great behest,
This, Become by Dying!
Thou art but a sorry guest
On this dull earth staying.
–Goethe, “Selige Sehnsucht” (The Moth’s Poem)
This planet is teeming with more than 1,000 trillion highly social creatures, representing 20,000 species.
Most of the highly social forms are insects.
Each colony is integrated tightly enough to be called a Superorganism.
–E. O. Wilson