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Sacred Space Conference

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Tara Summer Solstice 2005

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Inner Mysteries Intensive with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone

People of Beauty, People of Peace: CPC Summer Gathering 2005

Pagan Bazaar

Spirit's Haven in the Woods

WES Raises Funds for Katrina Victims

Adirondack Pagan Pride Day

Annual Spiritual Awareness Celebration

Midsummer's Haven in the Woods

WytcheHaven Weekend 2

Okanagan Pagan Pride Day 2005

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Between the Worlds: A Grand Magickal Congress

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Starwood 2004 (1)

Sirius Rising 2004

My Journey to Gaia's Womb

Witch & Famous Cruises: - Inaugural Festival at Sea

Starwood 2004 (2)

The 2004 DC Pagan Pride Week

Salt Lake Pagan Pride 2004

Okanagan Valley Pagan Pride Review

Pagan Pride: Suncoast

Year: 2003 ...

Starwood 2003 (1)

Pagan Pride: San Francisco

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Starwood 2003 (1)

Author: Don Waterhawk [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: August 10th. 2003
Times Viewed: 15,133
Sponsored by: Starwood/ACE
Location: Brushwood Folklore Center, Western NY
Event Date(s): July 22-27, 2003
Attendance: 1700

Being that we just finished with the Sirius Rising Festival, we didn't have to pack and go, as Starwood... is Brushwood Bound! Monday (the day between the worlds, so to speak) rained cats and dogs and other pets. I give a lot of credit to the ACE people and Starwood volunteers, and Brushwood staff, as they had to set up Starwood in the rain. Don't know how many pavilions they put up that day, but there were many popping up all over the field.. So let's start by giving some kudos' and gratitude to all the people who made Starwood happen... thank you all. Its a pleasure to see people working for the people... damn refreshing! Don't know how long it rained, but as I fell asleep, I started to hear a faint sound... squish... .squish... .suish! Little did I know that that sound was going to become more and more familiar to me as the days wore on.

Tuesday, the official day for the beginning of Starwood 2003...and it rained. You could see car after car pull in, with faces peering out as if to say, "I don't believe this sh*t" as they fought with themselves as to whether they would venture out of their clean dry cars, consider turning around and going back home, or remembering the last Starwood, and thinking about the good times that, no matter what, they would experience. The difference between a "Country Pagan and a City Pagan: A country pagan will stop their car, get out and inspect the path onto the grass, before driving their car to their camping site. A city Pagan will drive onto the grass, and camp wherever they get stuck!!! "Rare sense" , is not often used during inclement weather by some campers. Poor Brushwood staff, this was just the first day of rainy frustrations and comedic antics of pagan folk. The rain stopped Tuesday evening for the Opening Circle, and once again the worlds largest Spiral Dance began and ended without any major injuries. Folks, I really don't know how they do it. And for those that have never ventured inside the moving Spiral of people, ya gotta try it just once! So darkness fell to the starting of the Drums that evening, the FireTribe Created and consummated the First Fire of Starwood... and I once again heard, that faint sound in the distance... .squish... .squish... squish....!

Wednesday came off with a Starwood rush of Workshops, and the pounding of rain. Starwood does, without a doubt have the best variety of workshops that you can find anywhere, at any festival, and the presenters, known and unknown, are nothing less than incredible. 5 days of learning about...well....everything, and then some. Lets take this day!...there were 47 workshops, 4 concerts, and 3 rituals, mucho shopping, drumming, tattooing, swimming and hot tubbing, and probably some "pears in a Partridge tree" too!!!!!. And this was going on while its pouring down rain....gotta love us ya know! People adapted, they worked with each other, things like this gets one to... to know many others! The FireTribe had earlier built, a tarp above the drummers area which enabled the drumming and dancing to go on all night... .and it did....and very late that night as I fell asleep with Daniella in my arms... I could once again, hear that faint, but now very familiar sound... squish... squish... squish!

Thursday brought 52 workshops, 3 concerts and 2 rituals... and a wall of water that just wouldn't relent. It was starting to wear on a few people. Once vibrant healthy looking people started to take on a, sort of , "prune" look, with a slight tinge of green/white mildew shading. People now were only looking down, trying their best to find some way of getting from point "A" to point "B", and getting the least muddy, or at times, concerned with one's own life....yes...the mud got deep, and it wasn't about to let up. Some merchants had stopped opening up, and were busy building trenches around their shops to keep from being flooded out. I watched a friend camping across from us, Conrad (drum merchant), of "Spirit in the Wood", placed a tarp as a rug in his pavilion, only to have it turn in the worlds largest water bed, but he kept his drums dry. Brushwood staff were getting tired of pulling people's vehicles out (which continued,especially the last day). Like everywhere, more and more SUV's have become popular, and I swear that some of these "drivers" decided to do some 4 wheeling. Which in a short amount of time, turned the roads and fields into giant trenches filled with water and mud. Some people just don't get it! But gotta hand it to Brushwood, ACE, Firetribe and volunteers, they made it as best as they could for the people. And they did a fine job. So.., sometime late that night, just as I had gone to sleep with that sound, I awoke to it. The hair raised up on the back of my neck, ..this time the sound ended differently....squish... .squish... sqooooush...suuucccckkkishsqueesh! Then a faint cry of terror "It got my shoe!" I knew what she was screaming about. "IT" had come alive...and "IT" was beginning to feed... on anything that got caught in its web of oozing, slimy, chunky decaying organic matter, seeped through and through, called... MUD. And not just surface stuff, but deep within the soul stuff. 5000 years from now, archeologists are going to be digging and wonder why there were so many single shoes petrified within the land called Brushwood. And so we continued...squish....squish....Squishwood..

Friday, 51 workshops, 3 concerts, Mega laser and fireworks show, pufferdome concert ,2 rituals and rain....yes more rain. Tired of hearing of it? We were tired of being in it, no matter how Spiritual the cleansing effect was. The temperature wasn't to bad considering, it was not too cold. People now had given up trying to stay dry, and you could always find a hundred or so people up by the famous "Phils Grill" (here is a professional chef and his wife Paula, fixing meals from Gyro's to Lobster and Steak, out in the middle of nowhere, and they are delicious ( the food is, we didn't taste the cooks). Thank you both/all for providing what you do for the people. Blue Lady's Cafe, Java Junction, and my wonderful friend at the "Smoothie" hut. You all helped make non-soggy meals a reality. There were fewer merchants this year, and next year all merchants must have a Tax ID #, and liability insurance to be able to vend at Brushwood. Smart move for Landowners and Promoters in the festival scene.

Drummers jammed big time at the round house, the Digedome was trancing each night, Daveed Korup had set up his Gong garden, along with his other "hundreds" of sound making instruments that people could play each day. Now, about Daveed, this master drummer of Drumfest, it seems, was to get his very first tattoo this Starwood, and had asked a few people to come and drum for him during this Rite of passage. So there I was, in a 10X10 tent, with Daveed, Abraham (the Inker), his lady,Christy, Billy Woods(Daniella was holding up an umbrella for him so he could drum), Sirona, Thunder, 4 or more other people were there (wish I would have thought to get their names), as this was an important moment happening here. And so we drummed, and Daveed chanted for 2 1/2 hours non-stop, and magicine was made, and imprinted on the middle of Daveeds back. For those that have not been party to Ritual tattooing, it is something to be felt and be a part of. Thank you all for that particular Starwood memory. The Drums and the magick of Starwood continued and the night ended with... squish....squish... sloush...squilisch! And an occasional voice saying "Don't worry, we can dig it out tomorrow."

Click for Part II of this review and credits.

Photo Credits: These Beautiful photos were captured digitally by Don Waterhawk of Waterhawk Creations
Some Related Web Links...

Article Specs

Article ID: 6655

VoxAcct: 13651

Section: festivals

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 5,912

Times Read: 15,133


Don Waterhawk

Location: Fort Myers, Florida


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