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Article ID: 3310
Age Group: Adult
Posted: February 22nd. 2001
SouthEastern Spirit Gathering 2001
Getting Back To Nature...
Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,
Getting back to nature was just what Fritz and I did yesterday. We were honored to be invited to speak at the Southeastern Spirit Gathering in Paisley, Florida. Our gracious hosts, The Rowan Grove, told us that this campground was way 'out in the boonies' and they weren't kidding! Nestled in the rolling hills (Yes, we DO have some hills in Florida!) outside of Ocala, the site was encircled with old live oaks. Beneath the twisted limbs draped with curtains of hanging Spanish moss, we caught glimpses of brightly-colored tents nestled in the little natural groves. Pathways lined with tiki torches gave the entire campsite a look of a warmth and welcome that had little to do with the 80-degree temperature and much to do with the hospitality of the people.
We love the Pagan festivals because that is where we meet the Pagan people. Being in such surroundings reminds us that each email address that comes through TWV is more than just a set of letters arranged in a certain way that we can recognize as a name. There are people behind the name. Real people with hopes and desires, with problems and possibilities, with failings and with strengths. Each one unique. Each one precious. Each one a reason why we do what we do here at TWV. Getting back to nature for us is not simply about hugging trees (Although we do that, too!) or leaving the 'mundane' world behind for a few days. It is about getting back to the people, to our people, to the People of the Earth.
Getting back to nature...what an interesting phrase that is. We often think of people and nature as being two different things or even things that are in opposition to each other. As our current administration prepares Congressional hearings to open up the Alaskan wildlife refuges to oil and gas drilling, we find ourselves torn between the human need for energy to support our modern lifestyles and the equally human need to preserve certain things and places of beauty. Even though humans long ago became 'domesticated', there is still some element of our being that responds to 'wildness'. The energy crackling overhead in the thunderstorm, the crash of the waves hurling themselves against a rocky shore, the still portrait of an antlered stag framed against the falling snow...these things still speak to us in words that we can only half remember, but treasure nonetheless as something primordial and sacred.
Nature, raw and untamed, is a part of us just as surely as we are a part of Nature. How much of that Nature we will be willing to see broken and tamed and domesticated may say a lot about how we view our own human condition. Is our inherent streak of wildness a bane or a blessing? By bending Nature to our will and our own desires, are we also taming our magick our spirit and ourselves? The beauty that humans find in those very things that we do not-perhaps cannot-control are reminders that we, too- as a part of Nature-have our 'wild side'. There is an undeniable and powerful beauty in that as well.
So thank you to all of the hard-working members and friends of Rowan Grove for your welcome and for your support. As a 'first' festival, the event was a definite success. As a group of like-minded people, you have reminded us that this is what a real community can indeed be: very diverse human beings working together while retaining the spark of untamable and sacred wildness.
Photo credit: The image to your upper right was taken yesterday (2/10) at the SouthEast Spirit Gathering in Paisley, Florida and captures a taste of the magick of Druidess. The shot above and to your left is a sample of some of the Witches, Wiccans and Pagans that were in attendance... (Web: The Rowan Grove)
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