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Witchvox Chapter: Pagan Event Reviews
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Inner Mysteries Intensive with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone|
by Rev. Beatriz Prat
The first time I met Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone was at Witchfest 2000 in New Orleans, LA. They had always been one of my favorite Pagan authors and I had the opportunity to meet them in one of my favorite cities in the US—the Crescent City. There were only a few of my coven members in the Religious Order of the Circle of Isis Rising in Miami, Fl. that were able to make the trip to see them. The weekend was great but with most big festivals or conventions you don’t really get a lot of one on one time with the authors. Don’t get me wrong -- the workshops were great! I particularly enjoyed the one they did on Paganism in Ireland along with a slideshow. But with so many people and so much to do you miss out on a more personal experience. But I was just happy to be there and be able to share it with my coven mates. Shortly after I returned I e-mailed Gavin asking him to please let me know if and when they would come to Florida to lecture. He responded quickly and told me he would keep me in mind.
Many, many moons later, I got an e-mail from Gavin telling me that they were planning a trip to Ft.Myers (not too far from Miami) to teach an Inner Mysteries Intensive weekend for Labor Day weekend 2005. I thanked him for remembering me and keeping me posted. He told me he would let me know as soon as I could register since their Intensive weekends are usually for small groups of 20-30 people only. Shortly after that, I got home from work one Friday to see that I had an e-mail with just the news I was waiting for. He gave me all the necessary information to register and reminded me to sign up quickly because space with limited. I then undertook the task of calling every member in our two covens (15) on a Friday night to give them the information. I was so excited! Needless to say Wendyl Jay at Rivendell (where the event was taking place) got a string of calls from the Miami area to register for the event. This was a great opportunity to share a weekend with Janet and Gavin as well as with all of our coven mates (especially those that were not able to go to Witchfest) .
So Labor Day weekend arrived and off we went caravanning up to Ft. Myers from Miami a total of 13 of us! The road trip up was fun and after some confusion finding Wendyl’s covenstead we arrived! We were greeted at the entrance by Wendyl and Janet, and we were directed to an area out back to set up our tents. Bill from Rivendell came by to give us a tour of the grounds. Rivendell is located on an acre of land adjacent to the water with a main house, cottage, fire pit by the water, pool, spa, and a palm tree Maypole (Beltane in Florida) . Wendyl, Bill, and various members of Rivendell made us all feel very welcome. Once we set up our tents with Gavin’s help, we were off to the main house for the opening ritual. We began by going around the room and introducing ourselves. It was quite funny that the majority of the attendants were from our group or associated with us. And Janet and Gavin in turn introduced themselves as well as discussed the itinerary for the weekend.
On Saturday we gathered again in the main house to start a very busy day of workshops. First on the agenda was a quick intro for those who arrived late the night before. Janet and Gavin began by discussing the past and future of Wicca, and how it is an evolving and changing religious movement. They discussed some of the basics, the tools of ritual, the consecration of water and salt, casting a circle, and calling the quarters. Then we joined hands as we cast a circle together. The energy in the room was magickal and I knew that we were forming some special bonds this weekend.
Next was a discussion on how the Chakras play a role in ritual. Gavin went through the different chakras, there properties, and connection to the elements. Gavin lead us in this visualization “bathtub technique” to open and close the chakras. He then went on to add how the Chakras are relevant to life and how the energy is used. They spoke about how energy is raised in a circle and the Priestess’ role in releasing the energy, as well as the formation of a group mind and how you connect to members of your group. That is how you know when something is wrong with someone from your circle.
Then Janet and Gavin went on to discuss “knowledge based ritual” and doing your rituals from the heart—not always from a book. We then proceeded to raise energy to create a thought form. Janet directed us and instructed us on when to stop. Once the form was created we took turns feeling the “form”. And then went around the room discussing what we felt. I wasn’t surprised to hear that many of us had the same feelings of what the form was—a classic example of the group mind at work. In the end, Janet told us this form was the spirit of a Dolphin that was created with the intention of sending it to New Orleans to bring joy to people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It felt good to be able to send some happiness to a place that was in so much pain at the moment.
After lunch, Janet and Gavin began to discuss what Deity is and how it is manifested. They spoke about the triple Goddess and Dual God aspects. Gavin used the Tree of Life to explain Monotheism, Polytheism, and Animism. Janet spoke about forming a connection to Deity and becoming a Priest or Priestess of a particular Deity. Gavin emphasized how Deity is the best teacher—beyond books. And how serious it is when you dedicate yourself to one particular deity.
Later in the day, Janet discussed Drawing Down the Moon and its origins. Gavin and Janet went on to demonstrate a typical Drawing Down the Moon ritual. She went on to discuss the Priestess’ role as a trance medium. They outlined various techniques to use for trance prophesy. After Gavin called the quarters they went ahead and taught us their “Underworld Descent Technique” using three volunteers from the group. The technique was effective and the experience of the volunteers was very moving with special messages given to the group.
After a long day of workshops, we concluded the evening with a wonderful feast cooked by Wendyl. The evening brought us a storm with rain and thunder but it didn’t stop us from having fun. We sat around the back of the cottage and listened to Janet tell us stories. This was one of the most memorable moments for me. I appreciated the fact that Gavin and Janet took the time after a long day of workshops and ritual to sit around and talk to us. I was very grateful to be sharing these moments with old and new friends in such a magickal place. After the rain stopped, there was some drumming by the fire pit.
On Sunday morning after breakfast we went back to the main house to start another full day of workshops. Gavin started by discussing Spiritual Cosmology, Jungian psychology, and the shadow self. They led us on a journey, the Descent into the Underworld. The experience was powerful and personal. And once again many of us had similar experiences again confirming the theory of the group mind. We ended the day with Janet leading us in a journey to Dion Fortune’s Moon Temple ritual. I will not go into detail about this journey, but all I will say is that we all experienced an initiation beyond words. If any of you ever get an opportunity to attend this workshop do not hesitate, I promise that you will not regret it. Janet and Gavin concluded with a review of the weekend and what we learned and experienced from each other. They signed all of our books as well as took pictures with us. We are making plans to invite Janet and Gavin down to Miami in the future--- Gavin promised to keep in touch. I also thanked Wendyl and Bill for allowing us to stay at Rivendell and for being such wonderful hosts. I walked away from this weekend feeling empowered by what I had learned and experienced. I am honored to have shared it with old and new friends.
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Rev. Beatriz Prat
Location: Miami, Florida
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| Review Specs|
Article ID: 10328
Posted: December 4th. 2005
Days Up: 3,019
Times Viewed: 7829