Posted: May 20th. 1999
Times Viewed: 19,963
Event Date(s): 3/25/99
The day dawned, bright and beautiful. I awoke just a tad less brightly-I am definitely NOT a morning person-but after a cup (or three) of coffee, I gathered up the lawn chairs, the cooler and a few other festival necessities (BTW, sunscreen is a must-have. Use it for the people who are sharing space with you, if you won't do it for yourself. Folks want to hear the workshop presenters and the drumming, not the whining of easy-bake pagans.)
After a brief last minute checklist rundown with Dixie-who as you probably know by now is "in charge" while we are at the festival-Fritz and I packed up and hit the road. Ah... the anticipation...
And we weren't disappointed. Wade and Diane-our most gracious hosts- were there at the check-in station to greet us as warmly as they had done last year. Hugs all around. After a rapid bullet flurry of "what has happened since last we met", we located the WaterHawk compound. Another round of hugs. (We pagans hug quite a LOT at these festivals!)
We are always amazed at the wonderful transformation that occurs at festival spaces. Trees become fairy castles strung with "twinkly lights" Sage and incense wafts in the air giving scent to the banners and whirling flags that mark the individual campsites. The tiny tinkling of ankle bells, the laughter of children and the subtle voice of a drum (Just wait until the REAL drum circle begins!) blend into a song of joy, freedom and community.
Phyllis Curott and Bruce Fields met up with us during the WaterHawk Drum Council. New drums were set into in a circle and introduced to the four elements and Spirit. We listened as the "elder drums" welcomed the "young drums" into the community. Even for someone like myself-who considers herself to be seriously "drumming-impaired"-it was a moving experience.
We spent the remainder of the first day catching up on news, greeting old friends and meeting new ones, and relaxing until it was time for the opening circle. The ritual fire was lit and then....
The REAL drumming begins.
The dancers weave about the fire which reflects off the fairy dusted hair and faces alight with smiles. As the tempo increases, swirling skirts and flashing eyes draw us into the circle and then we are moving to the rhythm of drum, to the heartbeat of community, to the ancient call of Life...
A bit of soft rain early in the morning did nothing to dampen our spirits as we munched on fresh bakery donuts and checked out the workshops scheduled for Friday. So many interesting topics and speakers!
"The Adept Path-Wicca 202 - Taking The Next Step" by Patricia Telesco certainly sounded intriguing. We couldn't attend ourselves-there are many workshops scheduled at the same time-but Phyllis sat in and was very impressed at Pat's no-nonsense and practical advice. Phyllis herself led an in-depth discussion on the three aspects of Hecate in her own presentation of "The Goddess At Our Cultural Crossroads - The Return Of The Divine Feminine And The Transformation Of Soul And Society." Bruce did a workshop entitled "The 12 Step-Program as a Shamanic Journey" -his first ever!- which also was warmly received.
And the WaterHawks brought back their classic workshop on how to hold council within a community to help promote dialogue and resolve conflicts.
My own workshop on self-actualization also was scheduled for the afternoon and I was pleasantly surprised at the turnout. As I am planning to work on the next phase on the Self Actualization series, I appreciated the feedback and comments of the nice folks who were kind enough to participate. (For those who may be interested, I plan to suggest ritual techniques for each need level to help people resolve problems from the various levels that may be affecting their lives. Your suggestions would also be most welcome.)
Later in the day as we talked casually about the fire with Pat, Phyllis, Elspeth, Bruce, Dee and Don, we all noted how even though the themes of the workshops seemed to be so different on the surface, we discovered that we were all really talking about a few common issues-responsibility, intention, honesty, healing and good old common sense. It truly was a lesson on diversity. We each individually had taken a different road in our presentations, yet we all had ultimately ended up in the same place.
A handfasting is scheduled for Saturday (Congratulations to the happy couple!) and the festival menfolk whisked Fritz and the other guys away for the pagan equivalent of a bachelor party. That left all us womenfolk sitting comfortably around a magickal fire. And that left us free to discuss the mysteries of the Divine feminine. And that created a circle of power so strong that any man who accidentally wandered into the campground seemed to exit quite quickly--in fact most sauntered in...took one look around the circle of fiery feminine eyes...and literally bolted!
As we left for home, the drums were echoing throughout the fields, the fires and fairie lights softly lit up the pathways and sweet pagan voices were heard chanting the old songs of power and history and remembrance.
The stars seemed a little closer, a little brighter as we made our way Home...
Trying to ignore the long kitty faces on Dixie and Ruby-who were obviously wondering why we were leaving them yet AGAIN-we shook off the guilt Saturday morning and headed back to the festival grounds.
It is always interesting to watch the transition that takes place over the passage of time. On the first day, everyone was trotting about meeting up with friends-who they perhaps only see one or twice a year at the festival-and looking into the vendors' stalls for that one magickal item that they simply "must have."
Day two usually finds folks clustered in small groups sharing experiences, lore, advice and news. Dashing to and fro from workshop to pool party to fireside, the smiles come a little easier, the hugs are a little tighter and everyone seems to be more comfortable with the village dynamic that just seems to happen and organize itself into a free-flowing pattern.
By day three, the walking gait has definitely slowed to a leisurely meander, the facial expressions can only be described as serene and the tide of conversation is being gently drawn towards the deeper waters.
We participated in two workshops on the development and growth of the pagan web. The first one-led by Fritz-focused on the ways that internet communication has changed the way by which pagans interact. The second-a panel discussion attended by pagan webweavers and on-line pagan activists-touched on the subjects of "the next step"-or where do we go from here? And we hope that we will be able to continue this discussion with several people that we connected with as some very interesting threads developed. Alas time grew short and the performances for the evening were about to begin, so we moved into the pool area where...
Fritz, the Pagan Shutterbug, began dragging folks into the camera's eye... If we didn't have cheek dimples when we arrived, we certainly have them now as a result of all that smiling! (And laugh lines DO look good on anybody, don't they?)
A warm fire greeted us in the RowanCamp circle and we settled into comfy chairs and chatted the evening away. Trish Telesco, Phyllis Curott and I on one side considering the implications and dynamics of various public presentations relating to pagan beliefs and Fritz, Bruce Fields, Scott Bray and Wade on the other trading web technology tips and innovations.
With a tinge of sadness, but all the while holding tightly to the promise of future meetings, we bid loving farewell to our friends old and new. Slowly we followed the pathway weaving through the campground and as we took in the sights and sounds of the pagan village-the vibrantly resonating Bardic Circle, the echoes of voices calling out, "Merry Part!" and the flickering firepits framed by softly glowing faces-we knew that here we had found something that they would treasure long after the last embers had died down...
The Witches' Voice
March 29th., 1999 c.e.
Photo Credits All Photos in this coverage were captured on video by Fritz Jung & Friends
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