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Article ID: 2739
Age Group: Adult
Posted: April 3rd. 2000
PhoenixPhyre Gathering 2000 (3)
by Peg Aloi
WitchVox Daily Coverage: Wed - Thu - Fri - Sat
Friday dawned early! But we did not have to get there as early as other days (like Saturday, when Fritz and Wren had a workshop on Paganism in Cyberspace), so took our time with the shopping that morning.
Wren: Good excuse, Peg. Fact is that we were all for sleeping in a bit after staying up so late so as not to miss a note of the impromptu bardic tent circle.
Peg: I wandered back to the Waterhawks' campsite, where as usual there was some talking, some drumming, and some snacking going on. That day began what became our daily afternoon food ritual: serving cut celery and tortilla chips with dip, with Renee and I each having a Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde to go with it. People would come and go and snack with us, or shop for beautiful Waterhawk ritual objects, or drum a bit. The afternoon sun shone warm and strong each day, but we were comfortable under the shady awning, with the breeze off the pond behind us.
I am having trouble now even remembering what I did during the day on Friday...but I imagine some sort of workshop occurred...as well as a noon concert with the great Darragh Nagle...and finally, the Main Ritual.
Wren: Well nice to know that my "Humor-The Other Magickal Tool" workshop made such an impression! But the main ritual certainly is something that we will remember for a long time.
Peg: Like the fall ritual, this was based on traditional native teachings, made accessible by the creative powers of communication of Don and Daniella.. As with the fall ritual, four young elders were chosen to assist with grounding the ritual's magical working...then, they received the wishes of the participants in the form of whispered wishes into gourds which were then burned--appropriate for the time of dormancy and inward thoughts of winter...this time, they received them as shell/seeds which were then planted for ripening and fruition.
Another interesting parallel: in the fall ritual, the men danced around the outer circle, with the women facing them, their backs to the fire. In this way, the women's faces could not be seen, even as we could see the men; so greeting and acknowledging our brothers was difficult; but the magic came when this allowed the mystery of women's ways to be exulted and recognized by the men. In spring, the roles were reversed: the women were to face the inner circle, and supposedly we would not see the men's faces...ah, but something happened! There was more light this time! More people than usual were camped near the ritual fire circle, as well as some small electrical lights that had been installed. Partway through, when it seemed the lights were too bright, I asked Rowan if we could turn them off. Still, the light of the moon and nearby twinkly lights allowed us to see the men's faces, to meet their eyes.
Wren: What fun! Elspeth was carried in on a throne carrier to officiate as the Crone Mother. Dee and Don asked permission of the Crone for the dance to begin. Of course, The Crone graciously blessed the ceremony and so we began...
The guys sure looked like they were into it and they seemed to be very pleased to be interacting with their bright eyed pagan sisters.
Peg: And this was as it should be, since the ritual called for the awakening of the sun, the forces of the young male god, and the fertility and quickening of spring. So not only did we greet the men's eyes as we danced, we were embraced by them!! We were flirted with!! Yes, we were taken by the hand and danced about!!! Why, this was not the dark, mysterious, earthbound ritual of late Autumn, but the frenzied, passionate celebration of burgeoning spring! We finished the dance and passed our seeds, imbued with our wishes for the coming year, to the young elders, who buried them in the four quarters. We were then invited to dance upon our dreams...
After the ritual ended and the wonderful dancing and drumming ceased temporarily, everyone got ready for that evening's musical performance.
Wren: Flushed from the drumming, dancing and all of the warm hugging, we sat for a spell at the campsite. Isaac wandered in for a 'bit of a nip' and passersby hailed us as they bustled to and fro from their sites to change clothes and get ready to party down at the concert. They were not going to be disappointed.
Peg: First was Dana Davis, who is a very high caliber performer with incredible songwriting talent. She even dedicated a song to me, which was very touching: an a cappella love song based on the music of Thomas Campion, a medieval composer/poet. When she finished, to the loud cheers of all gathered, there was a short break and Dream Trybe began playing. This band is so good there really are not words to describe it. And while last fall, only a few "die hards" were there dancing from the very beginning, this time, the dance floor filled up on the first song! And it continued...they also added some fire magic to a couple of songs, clearing the dance floor to make room. At one point a fire baton was dropped near a small girl and there was some momentary panic. But she was not hurt, and once everyone was reassured the performance went on, with impressive fire magic from Julie and Amber.
Once again, a spiral dance (well, more of a line dance this time!) happened during a song which invokes the 'Four Directions'...once again, everyone shouted "There is No Hell!" along with the words of "We Do Not Die." (Wren's favorite song, by the way.) Once again the place grew hushed with awe when Ginger sang her totem song, "She Wolf." Once again, pagans danced and cheered excitedly during the hymn to religious ecstasy, "Come Down." Dana and I found ourselves dancing up on a platform to the side of the stage, like go-go dancers...
Wren: All they needed was those white pony boots to complete the picture. If you aren't old enough to remember white pony boots, then you'll have a clue as to why I wasn't up there with them!
Peg: Everyone I saw was flushed and sweating and allowing the music to transform them to another place and time...no surprise there.
It was quite late when the concert ended, and after Fritz helped the rest of the sound crew (whom he assisted with his usual technical wizardry) wrap up, it was back to Clearwater, sadly leaving our friends to celebrate the rest of the night and, no doubt, sleep in the following morning for some much-deserved rest...
Wren: But not before we experienced firsthand the unselfish love that the pagan community can generate for a cause that they believe in. The semi-annual auction this time out was dedicated to raising funds for-The Witches; Voice! You could have bowled us over with a crow feather. TWV barely breaks even every month and this month we are paying the operating costs from our personal funds. This very generous gift will enable us to send a donation to help rebuild the pavilion at Camp Gaia. Thank you to all who donated items and bid on them. Any donations from this fund that TWV sends out with be sent on behalf of 'The Generous Pagan Community Assembled at PhoenixPhyre 2000.' Thank you, thank you, thank you!
WitchVox PhoenixPhyre Coverage ---> Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Saturday
Photo Credits: Photos in this coverage were captured on video by Fritz Jung, and via digital cameras by Bill Kilborn and Darragh
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