AutumnMeet 1999 (2)|
Posted: November 7th. 1999
Times Viewed: 8,975
Location: Land O' Lakes, Florida
Event Date(s): November 5th, 1999
A knock on our front door and Ginger Doss of Velvet Hammer breezed into the apartment. Fritz and Ginger had made plans the day before to pick up some sound equipment at Sam Ash Music for tonight's concert. As they headed off to the store with their 'wish list', Peg and I gathered up cloaks and velvet dresses and-yes-warm boots. The nights have been a bit chilly of late-and even our northern- temperature- zone -acclimated Peg agrees here-and so we go prepared.
As it turned out, the warmth of the main ritual led by Don and Daniella WaterHawk would have been enough to sustain us well into the night. Drawing upon ancient rituals, Don and Dee's modernized adaptation of a Native American Bear Dance Ceremony was a powerful and energy-raising introduction into the psyche of another culture that many of us had never encountered before. As the men's outer circle passed clockwise around the women's inner ring dancing in the opposite direction, each of us was brought face to face with brothers and sisters from all over the country and various traditions. The Young Elders moved between the rings with consecrated gourds and sacred tobacco bringing the gifts of innocence and the promise of new beginnings.
As each person whispered into the gourds those things which we did not want to carry with us into the coming year (and sealed them in with a pinch of tobacco), we seemed to become lighter, more optimistic and spiritually energized. When the filled gourds went into the ritual flames, the sparks of the burning seemed to carry us into a new dimension as they soared up into the starry sky.
Refreshed, we sat around the circle and listened to a story told by Maya about the virtues of a loving heart and how one small person-or in this particular tale, one small monkey-performing acts of unselfish love can change an entire world. As we drifted back to camp, the future seemed brighter not only for us personally, but also for the future of pagan religions and beliefs. The Young Elders of tomorrow are indeed walking amongst us today.
As the nine o'clock hour approached, we were drawn toward the stage area for the performance of our favorite band. As usual, our expectations were more than realized as Velvet Hammer belted out some of our favorites and introduced a new tune called "She-Wolf." Fans hope that this poignant call for the protection and preservation of the wolf in the United States is recorded soon. We know that the magic in this song indeed joins with the haunting howls of our four-legged sisters as they strive to preserve their place in the world of humans who often needlessly fear Her and so seek Her destruction for selfish reasons of their own. Our cries filled the air and from somewhere, some of us were sure that we heard distant howls answer our own...
What can only be described as a dance 'frenzy' fell upon the crowd and we all joined hands for the tightest spiral dance that we have ever been in. I think Peg summed it up best when she remarked that it was more of a "spiral blob' really. The small stage managed to hold us all no more and so we spiraled and danced out into the night, laughing and kicking up our feet...
Back at the WaterHawk compound, Ginger, Lynda, Tawny and NightHawk spun us some of their "tales from the road' before grabbing up the many drums that seem to sprout like mushrooms at these pagan events and heading off to join the fire circle. As Fritz, Peg and I headed home, we heard the beat of those same drums join in the many voices already around the fire and we knew that we would sleep well that night. And indeed we did.
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Autumn Meet, lovingly sponsored by Phoenix Enterprises, resonates with a real feeling of community-almost like a small and friendly village-that is both comforting and exhilarating at the same time. We had a wonderful time and can't wait to go back in March for Phoenix Phyre!
Maybe we'll see YOU there...
COOLNESS: Also check out Bill Kilborn's wonderful Photo Essay of Autumnmeet
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Article ID: 2559
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 6,351
Times Read: 8,975
Location: Tampa, Florida
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