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Between the Worlds: An Interfaith Esoteric Conference

Starwood 32--Review by Oberon Zell

Celebrating 20 Years: St. Louis Pagan Picnic Reaches a Milestone

Spring Mysteries Festival XXVII

Michigan Midwest Bazaar and Witches Ball

Mabon with Blackberry Circle

Salem, Oregon Celebrates Its First Pagan Pride Day (2012)

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Starwood Festival 2011 (A Review by Oberon Zell)

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Celebration of the Divine Feminine and Religious Freedom

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Through the Looking Glass Midwest - Michigan's 2011 Witches Ball:

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Sacred Space Conference

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Tara Summer Solstice 2005

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Starwood 2004 (2)

The 2004 DC Pagan Pride Week

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Okanagan Valley Pagan Pride Review

Pagan Pride: Suncoast

Year: 2003 ...

Starwood 2003 (1)

Pagan Pride: San Francisco

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Starwood 1999

Author: Don Waterhawk [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: August 15th. 1999
Times Viewed: 13,704
Sponsored by: Starwood/ACE
Location: Brushwood Folklore Center, Western NY
Event Date(s): July 20th-25th 1999

We woke up Monday morning, called into my circle, the Goddess "Caffeina", wondered if I really did see the dawn come in earlier... looked across the field to see that the A.C.E. clan had set up (they are fast) and were still in the never ending process of setting up for... Starwood 1999. Two more cups of the Java elixir and my eyes focused on the beginning of a new scene" a new energy... new tribes, new clans, new tents.

Went down to early registration trying to beat the rush... unfortunately ran straight into the registration rush hour. A long line that reminded me of Disney World. Cursed myself for not bringing a chair, something to drink and maybe a magazine or two. But, talked to allot of people, met new people, and basically had a good time in line for an hour and a half. Got my official yellow tag that made me legal (Kokopelli ate it the second day) and off Daniella and I went. People were in the process of leaving after Sirius Rising, and people coming in for Starwood and setting up.

Setting up... the Creator must have been in need for a good laugh, or maybe to test us humans for endurance and patience when coming up with the Starwood setup. Imagine the scenario, a young couple or group, drives for 14 hours, arrives just before nightfall with a new tent, or borrowed one, and attempts to setup. Hungry, tired, can't find that one damn pole for the middle of the tent, someone left the plug out of the cooler, and the ice melted on top of all the drums and the incense bag. And to see the couple the next day with arms around each other reminds me to say " Thank you Creator... for the element of Love... ! So the setup for Starwood continued for five days... car after car coming in with tired faces searching for a place to camp and faces to recognize. Brushwood tried a new thing, where, all the merchants had assigned spaces so that the land grab for merchants space did not get out of hand. It seems to make things allot smoother and worked well with little resistant.

Starwood workshops... once again, where else can you see top speakers, going to workshop after workshop from 9:30am to 6:00pm for all one price. I trust that one day ACE will publish on they're web site, the Tour Guide of the last Starwood, just to give others that have not come to Starwood before, a chance to see the wide variety of workshops offered. Thank you ACE, for taking the time to get all these presenters together for five days of learning.

Thanks to Ian and Susan for the opening circle... you two initiate the Magik and Medicine into the Starwood Circle, you remind us of our purpose as we have fun for the next five days. Wah Do..! And these two also have a daughter..a Goddess named Casey who works in shadow and does not seemed to get recognized by the community enough. Well, thank you Casey for what you had done with the Teens and Young Elders in setting up a place and programs for the people we often don't think about enough... our younger ones. Remember... they teach us what we have forgotten. They are our future... Wah Do Goddess Casey for a job well done.

Drumming... what Starwood has become famous for... was intense, to say the least. With each day more and more drummers showing up at the circle. Soon it was hard to get into the roundhouse, often just sitting up in our camp listening to it. I think the hardest thing for me at Starwood, is finally getting to bed around 2:00am, snuggling with Daniella under the warm blankets only to hear Third Shift of the Drummers kick in. Fighting with myself whether to get up and join this Sound of Magik swarming throughout the field in the mists, or stay snuggled with Daniella... more often than not... well... you guess! Many thanks to Walking Bear (Jason) and the Firekeepers (no, not a band) for building safe and wonderful fires each night, and for keeping the Spirit of the Fire Circle going for all the community... Wah Do!

The entertainment was truly amazing, the listing is quite extensive... from Green Crown, Rhythm Quest, Reverly, Rogues Cross and more and more and more. Check out the A.C.E. website for more details. One of the performance high lights was during Green Crowns performance at the pavilion. Glenda the Good Witch( played by Penny Goody), showed up for one of their pieces. When my eyes set upon this beautiful sight... I had this strong urge to go out and buy a dozen Ruby Red Slippers just so I could go up to Penny and say, "There's no place like home". Thanks Penny.! The lineup for the entertainment was basically top notch... 'cept for one thing. Big Brother and the Holding Company..? I'm sorry... what happened here? First, the members of the band arriving on Brushwood property got off on the wrong foot by being arrogant and giving the Brushwood Staff a hard time. Rock band ego and arrogance... they haven't gotten out of the '60's. They are good. As good as any band at the local neighborhood bar after drinking most of the night. Try as they might... they couldn't resurrect Janis. Ace... listen to your clientele. 90% or more of the population at Starwood walks a Pagan path. We want to support Pagan Rock Bands, not bands that weren't all that good when they started in the sixties. You could have saved an awful lot of money and skipped the arrogance of an old rock bank.

Merchanting at Starwood. Where has it gone. This year at Starwood there was more merchants than you could shake a stick at. Now being a Merchant myself, I have to watch myself from being to biased. But from the comments made from other merchants and from attendees of Starwood themselves, I can say that this years Starwood got out of hand. It was like a giant Flea Market. I would be willing to bet that around 30% or more of the Starwood population were merchants. Way too much ACE. When I hear my customers saying its out of hand, then it must be. Used to be a lot of original merchants at Starwood, now throughout the years, they're fewer and fewer coming back. Replaced by Pagan Wal Marts and Quick Shops. The Arts of a culture stabilizes the culture.

Starwood offers a lot of amazing things for people to see. But one stands out for me... I don't know... maybe its the Heyoka in me. But having the trash picked up at my site by... well, okay, I'll say it... the Village People, singing YMCA and Macho man. I don't know what happened, maybe the trash toxins got to them. But, by the Goddess, they made me smile. The sight of skyclad or half dressed men in the Village People regalia doing the YMCA dance on the back of the garbage wagon, made me,... well you know... enjoy garbage collecting time. I wonder if ACE paid them. They should... !

And then Saturday came. And about mid afternoon it began to get quiet a bit, as people started getting ready for the night of the Big Fire. Jason and the Firekeepers had been working for five days straight getting this huge pillar of wood just right for the fire. It stood about 25-30 feet high, wood being placed carefully to insure the safety of the dancers. These firekeepers should get a big hug for the work that they put out. And the little known Torch Bearers, who light the Fire. This Clan of the Torches work a lot of Medicine into what they do to ready for this night. They are often not seen or known. To those of us who go to Starwood, seek them out. Thank them for what they do. Anyway, the ceremony began, the torch bearers went down to the field with 500 people to greet the other thousand on the field, did the dance and lit the fire... One has to be there, you cannot describe the Saturday Night Fire to anyone. You can't tell them what a hundred foot flame looks light, or how the near full moon peaked behind the clouds to shine with the fire. You must see it for yourself. You have to experience this wonder by being there, standing with over a thousand people looking towards the flames, glowing with awe as the fire got brighter, warmer (really hot), and the dancing began as people became drawn into the circle of excitement. It is truly a scene to behold.

And my thanks to the staff of Brushwood, ... how do you people do it. Hats off to you. You make it look so smooth. And to ACE and the Chameleons. I give thanks and honor you all, for putting Starwood on. I can see the amount of work that it entails, and I do not envy you in the time you give to this feat. I admit I do not give enough thanks to you all for putting Starwood together, I will however endeavor to thank you more. It was a mellow Starwood, it was a good Starwood, and in 11 years I have never been to a bad Starwood.

Four Winds and Never Thirst,

Don Two Eagles WaterHawk

Photo Credits: All photos were captured digitally by Don Waterhawk of Waterhawk Creations The photo at the Top is of Billy Woods, Deb and Josh (from the band Seeds of Time), in the middle is a humble shot of the incredible Saturday night bonfire, and lastly a shot of the trashmen.

Article Specs

Article ID: 2456

VoxAcct: 13651

Section: festivals

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 7,366

Times Read: 13,704


Don Waterhawk

Location: Fort Myers, Florida


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