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| Article Specs|
Article ID: 4830
Age Group: Adult
Posted: October 26th. 2002
CMA Samhain 2002 Festival (1)
by Don Waterhawk
Daniella and I readied for the trip to CMA, the day before and had already packed the van. Anticipating the long drive ahead of us, but with the good type of anxiety, and in knowing that #1, this was the last festival of the year for us (we only had done 5 festivals this year... a record low... :)... and we are tired of driving... ), and #2, that it was back to CMA, that when we had first visited CMA Beltane, a year and a half ago, we had reviewed it stating it was the best Pagan festival that we had ever been to. So while we drove, we both thought/talked about the memories of the last time we were there at CMA. Will it be the same?, Will it be as good? Will it be better? I'm sure that it is the same thought we all share when going to any event a second time. I think that we can all remember our "First" time at a gathering.
So that's where our thoughts rested on parts of the long trip.(Did I mention that it took us 9 hours to get out of our state, and no!, we did not get lost!) In fact, we arrived a day early... (beats the shit outta me, Daniella and I are still puzzled over this time warp). Called Joy (our sponsor), to let her know that we were going to stay in a motel close to the land, she told us to hold on, got back to us after talking to CMA, and invited us to stay on the land instead of a motel. And us not wanting to infringe or step outside of policy, but appreciating what we now understand that is the famous "Texas hospitality" energy. So we accepted (gleefully) and drove onto the road of the Land of CMA...
You know that the land is totally Pagan, when the first greeting is not done by the people, but by the land itself. That inner voice of the "Mother", saying softly, "Welcome and thank you!", not to us personally, but to us as human beings gathering as a tribe, as she can feel what these people are doing for this tiny piece of earth (101.5 acres), and knowing that all things grow and spread. Driving in, there were occasional nods and hello, but the focus was not on us , but the flurry of activity that ensues when you are reading the household for 850+ people. "Mommy, mommy help!!... " is often what the inner child of festival workers are crying within. I truly honor all of you people for the work you do. It did bother me a bit, throughout the festival, that I saw only a small core of people doing the majority of the work. I could tell by the speed that these people walked/drove that there was much work to be done... and I swear I once saw Tiny "fly" by with a wrench in his hand, (maybe I'm selling the wrong type of ritual tools to these Texan's). It bothered me, because of the quality of energy that is found here for people to receive, and to work a magical/medicine circle, its best when you balance with giving, as well as receiving. In our time it is a relearning process. So I wanted to start off by saying "Thank you" to all those that worked this festival. And with the gratitude of trusting that as time goes on, that more people will join the "working" tribe.
Finding Gary (land manager), asking where to set up, and him looking blankly at the distance, hands still busy doing what he was doing (no!, he was working). Looked at me with a dazed tired look, pointed to a big circle around him, and told us to pick a spot. We found a level, high spot with good drainage (we'll get back to this point about drainage later), and set up our home and merchanting space. And that night the temp dropped to 42 degrees, make that a bone chilling, the ice age cometh... 42 degrees... , far different from the 94/75 temp we are used to. But we were tired, and slept a good long time. Woke up to a delightfully warming clear day. The vans/trucks/carts started rolling in with merchants, as they are allowed to come in 1 day early to be able to set up. Thanks CMA, you don't know how nice that feels for a merchant to be able to do that at a major festival. The Merchants area is really quite nicely set up, instead of being apart from the village (as they were the last time we were there), they are now along the edge of the winding road "within" the village. It certainly made the merchants more in tune with the "ALL", and shared their particular magick throughout the village. Prosperity magick is not just about money! Electric is slowly coming about for the merchants that would like it. And at times during the nights as I would walk down to the stage area I would look up and see "The Magick Cauldron" shop, lit up with lights, and I found myself automatically looking for any shopping carts to be brought in from the parking lot (not a dig, just a chuckle). It was a joy to see the road "lit" up with color, smells, sounds and laughter. It was a joy to be part of this Clan of Merchants. It is all part of the Merchant Magick, and its here at CMA.
I was a bit disappointed that there were few "original artists" there. (now this is not conducive to just CMA, its happening "ALL" over). Look in any culture/philosophy, and you will see that the arts are the "adhesive" that holds the people together. And I trust that as this wonderful community grows, so do the arts and the support thereof. I did not get to the Merchants meeting, another commitment, but I did not hear any complaints. Oh maybe one or two regarding something about level ground and ants... Tough being a Pagan merchant huh!
I was so happy to see the Shower building was still there (when you do a lot of festivals, you will know about the "Shower Gods", and will call them often into your circle), and it was near finished, looking like a huge bathroom from some 4 star hotel. And the hotwater never ran out (until the pipe burst Sunday afternoon, fixed an hour later).
This CMA I learned more about the Children's and "young Elders" programs, and "WOW!!! People!!" Write this stuff down and let other people know what you are doing and how you are working with these young people. Advanced model stuff here Folks. Beats anything else that I have seen in the country. The Safety workers and Security are top notch. Trained, geared, experienced and believe in what they are doing. As a father, its important for me to know that I can feel that my children can feel safe in a community. They can here. This year CMA had a kitchen set up where food was sold and meal plans could be purchased. Not bad for setting it up over night! Food was good, will become better with experience. I Thank all the people who worked hard in the kitchen especially Ceridwen!
A lot of good workshops, and excellent workshop areas, with large tents and chairs and tables for the presenters. Fire pits all around the village for those that want them, camping space is truly great, with just enough shade to keep the sun from being to hard. And yes it did rain at this Festival, early Saturday morning. And it rained for awhile. It was, I'm told, the first time that it had rained like this since the Land opened. Daniella and I are used to having it rain at festivals, in fact, if it didn't... we get worried. During Saturday night, the "Great Hall", became the Great Swamp, even to the point as Daniella and I walked through, we occasionally glanced around for alligators... conditioning ya know! But the land engineers were on it immediately and ditches were dug to redirect the water. Which by Sunday afternoon, the road was hard packed and there were no gators to be seen. Gotta love the drainage God! Oh and some people whined a bit, that's okay though. A few even wanted to leave, that's okay too. But it seemed all better, when on Saturday, a large group of people came down the road, splashing in the mud, smiles on their faces, with a big boom box on one person's shoulder, singing at the top of their lungs, from Monty's Pythons... "Life of Brian", "Always look on the bright side of life"... ya gotta love wet, muddy Pagans.
Thursday night started with the Ceremony of Honoring the Ancestors concluding with a procession leading down the road into the village towards the Fire Circle. Setting the mood for the festival, along with the Main Ritual that included the lighting of the Revel Fire. And by the way CMA community... not once did I think of it as a "Rebel" fire this time. I know now, its the "Revel" fire... :) Duh! And to all the people who created "Sacred Space" for ritual and personal time. Thank you. There were many spaces worked.
And to Joy and Murlyn and the Learning clan that came to make a new Sacred Space for the land, they say that it takes a 1000 years of learning to do what you are going to do, yet I see within each of your spirits that you are nearing your 1001th birthday. To All Our Relations.!
Click for Part II of this review.
Photo Credits: All images captured digitally by Don Waterhawk of Waterhawk Creations
For the Latest on CMA: Visit the C.M.A. Website on the world-wide web.
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