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| Article Specs|
Article ID: 8752
Age Group: Adult
Posted: October 10th. 2004
Witch & Famous Cruises: - Inaugural Festival at Sea
by Patricia Telesco
A Neo-Pagan festival at sea - sound amazing? surreal? wonderful? mysterious and magickal? Well, that's what the "Witch and Famous Cruises" promise and there's no question they truly deliver all those things and much, much more.
The voyage began in Miami with a group of people who, for the most part, were strangers. Our first day was at sea - but it gave us a valuable chance to harmonize on a personal and spiritual level -- from druid to kitchen witch, the diversity was amazing and wonderful. I must confess having a really bad case of nerves. This was a totally different venue and I didn't quite know how to act or respond, but thankfully both the hosts and guests of "Witch and Famous Cruises" understood that awkwardness. If anything, they became the teachers, guides, and gurus with me as a student. There was something wonderful to learn from each -- from how to handle physical challenges with grace and openness to how to love and laugh the world into wholeness.
Before I go further, let me say that without a doubt Mike Smith (Pagan Travel Network) is among the most patient, generous, and caring festival facilitators I've met ... along with his lovely wife (Lona) and sister-in-law (Elaine) who handled various schedule changes, questions, and unique circumstances with the grace, expertise, professionalism and calmness of Zen masters! They additionally went above and beyond the call-of-duty in terms of personalized service, accessibility and numerous special surprises for their guests (nope I'm not tellin' - you have to find out for yourself!). Don't think for one minute they just stood by the sidelines watching everyone -- they were part of every meal, every activity, every smile and every bit of positive energy!
Our first stop was Nassau (that wasn't where we were scheduled but everyone made the best of it). Half of us shopped till we dropped (go figure!) and the other half swam with the graceful manta rays. What an amazing chance to connect with Nature in a whole new way, with creatures we may never encounter again! The movement of the Rays reminded us of the way magick flows, and our own ability to bend and change with the proverbial waves of life.
Then there was a day at sea where we could help heal and honor each other in various ways. We exchanged readings, shared insights into our Path and Power, and discussed the Neo-Pagan movement's progresses and challenges. What was most impressive to me was to see how our initial uncertainty fall by the wayside to trust in such a short time. We were merging as a "family" of spirit, and I must say that our full moon ritual, standing hand-in-hand out at sea was simply awe-inspiring. The fresh salt winds seem to kiss us with energy, the Lady Luna looked so lovely and her energy left us tingling for the rest of the trip!
Next stop was Jamaica, and nearly everyone went to see the waterfalls. Here, a lush tropical environment wraps around cascading waters to create an image that I can't begin to describe in words. Its good to know that the Earth still has places like this tucked away. These are the places for which we should be working protective magick. Shopping in Jamaica was a little overwhelming, however. The merchants get very pushy and nearly fight for your attentions. This is a sign of the local economy, where one American dollar = $60 Jamaican, and a gentle reminder to all of us to be thankful for the blessings we have every day.
We then headed back to the ship, for another day at sea. The realization that our time together was almost over began to sink in. Rather than go to onboard shows or activities we found ourselves congregating with each other and a few crew members who adopted us. At this juncture we were giving readings to various waitresses, and supporting them in their efforts to move up into new and exciting positions (one from Brazil, one from Astonia). It was lovely to see how open and honest they were - and how much they embraced spirituality without any type of pomp and circumstance.
To go out in style we participated in the "hat" night at the dining lounge by wearing neon pink cups as hats and won 20 points for the effort (thanks to Raven's idea!). Mind you the points didn't matter - it was the fun and fellowship the activity produced that really left a lingering sense that what happened throughout our voyage would remain as truly special memories for a long time to come. Sometimes humor is good soul food.
Here are some quotes from the group:
For those who have never been on a cruise, I would add that the food is every bit as amazing as you've heard, the staff fairly well trained and responsive, the stage shows well worth seeing, and the overall experience is beyond compare. You can swim, dance beneath the stars, worship the moon, see incredible natural sights, let your energies mingle with marine animals, and most importantly, get to know a whole group of like-minded people who are likely to become spiritual friends and family for many, many years.
- "The trip was wonderful! I thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, while at the same time I was able to discuss my belief system without feeling exposed or judged. I believe this commonality was instrumental in forging strong, new friendships. It has truly changed my life for the better". -- DK Bingham
- "Carlos and I would like to say Thank you for the wonderful job Mike personally did to make our cruise the best experience we have had as far as vacations go. The cruise line did everything they promised in their brochures, but what really made this trip even more awesome were all the personal touch's that he provided to us from the moment we set foot into our stateroom. I will not spoil the secrets for future voyager's but do want to say that all those personal touch's made us giggle and smile mischievously at each other before we could even put down whatever we were carrying. And throughout the trip he continuously ceased to amaze us with personal surprise's. We had a great time mingling with the quests of like minded people. The word to describe our feelings is "OUTSTANDING " to a wonderful host and his lovely Wife LONA." -- Carlos and Raven
- "We had a wonderful time meeting and making some new friends. Our shore excursions were awesome too. The group even had time to gather under the full moon for some energy work". -- Robert and Jere Mack-Clauser
- "We would like to thank everyone personally for joining us on our Inaugural Festival at Sea. We met some very wonderful pagans that we have forged permanent relationships with. The Carnival staff was great. Several of the crew wore our "Witch & Famous Cruises" buttons throughout the cruise. We owe much to Patricia Telesco for her knowledge and generosity in joining us for this new endeavor. We look forward to more wonderful cruises and for Patricia Telesco to join us again on another "Witch & Famous Cruise" in the near future". -- Mike & Lona Smith
This was my first cruise, and I am already excitedly working with Mike on the idea of a Kitchen Witch's Culinary Cruisee for sometime in 2005-2006 (ok, I'm hooked!). So, if you're pondering going, cruise on over to the "Witch and Famous Cruises" website [www.pagantravel.net] now and take a peek at the wonderful tours they have planned for 2005! Bon Voyage!
On the Web: www.loresinger.com
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Location: Amherst, New York
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