True Religion

On Saturday, Heath Ledger's friends and family bid the actor a final farewell in his native Australia. Following the private funeral and wake, mourners -- including Heath's ex-girlfriend Michelle Williams -- jumped into the waters at Cottesloe Beach and watched the sun set as one final send-off. - AP

In the late 70s, my church began to celebrate the more elemental aspects of Christianity- services at midnight for Christmas, sunrise service for Easter, lakefront sunset services for our Fellowship retreats. I can still smell the morning fog on Easter- it always seemed to rain on Easter back then. Being a kid I spent most of my leisure time (that is the time when I wasn't sick or in school) outside, and the onset of Spring was magic. I could feel the woods come back to life and it was intoxicating watching the last remnants of the winter snows melt and glisten in the April sunshine. Sitting next to an open stained glass window in children's chapel, smelling the world come back to life was the true religion, and overshadowed the Easter story itself.

While a sunset swim for a departed loved one may seem insensitive to some, to me its the most profoundly religious act I can imagine. Ledger's essence has returned to the source, and his art lives on forever. Meanwhile those whose lives he touched have to continue on their own journey. How better to initiate the rest of their lives than immersing themselves in the elements of life themselves? How better to celebrate to utter improbability of our lives?

It's so beautiful, it hurts.


  1. Considering your thoughts on the religious aspect to this sunset swim...

    Did you know that in this precise location - at sunrise on 22nd June 1988 (Winter solstice and beginning of Gemini) - a Fiat 127 was found in the surf there (directly opposite the Indiana Restaurant, where the mourners swam at sunset)? It belonged to a young woman called Julie Cutler, who had left work at the Parmelia Hilton at 12.30 am on the 20th June, and has not been seen since.

    The day between, the 21st June, was Prince William's 6th birthday. Fiat basically means 'Let it be done'. 'A cutler' is someone who fashions cutting instruments.

    The 9th February, in keeping with an underlying Egyptian (Masonic) theme is their festival of 'the Unseen in the Underworld' and the feast day of the solar god, Apollo brother of Diana. Its 9- 2 - 08 numerics coincide in similar fashion to 2(0)- 6 - 88. Not just this either...there are 7171 days between the two ceremonies in the surf - oddly mesmeric and familiar numbers...reverse them and get the year (date was 24th June SJs Day - when the sun marches again) for the official launch of the Grand Lodge at the Goose And Gridiron Ale House (gaga = 7171 numerologically)and gaga = a fool.

    Thanks for your work. I have only just come across it.