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Adirondack Pagan Pride Day

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Between the Worlds: A Grand Magickal Congress

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My Journey to Gaia's Womb

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Okanagan Valley Pagan Pride Review

Pagan Pride: Suncoast

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

Sirius Rising 2004

Author: Don Waterhawk [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: August 1st. 2004
Times Viewed: 12,573
Sponsored by: Brushwood Folklore Center
Location: Sherman, Western NY
Event Date(s): July 12-18, 2004
Attendance: 900+

Well... as we drove out of our driveway, we took one last look at our banana trees and tropical garden, and before we made the turn onto the main road, we already began to get homesick pangs. Looking at each other in the van, and remarking that its okay, for we were going to meet family and friends that we only get to see once a year. We set our traveling shields and trusted that Grandfather would help us see that the trip was safe and quick. Well, we were half right, the trip was safe, but not quick. Because of the storms it took us three days of driving before arriving at the Brushwood Folklore Center in Sherman, New York. Owned and operated by Frank and Darlene Barney. So we arrived at Brushwood with looming clouds and were anxious to set up before the impending rain.

Now for those that have not been to Brushwood before, one must be ready to be greeted by a wonderful woman named Airaday, or aptly named, the "Chicken Lady"... why named that?... one does not ask when ones sight is working. Here is a tip... When you arrive, slowly... very slowly... get out of the car... make no sudden moves... and above all... do everything the nice "Chicken Lady" tells you. It will guarantee your stay will be wonderful... and your life will go on... :) Once we were checked in and over by the Chicken Lady, we were greeted by Darlene and Teresa (Daughter Barney), and a whole group of other people, we were then given the proper paperwork, and the gate was opened for us to drive down to the field. It was easy to tell that there had been much rain in the days that had preceded our arrival. Which made us want to hurry to set up... as no one likes to set up camp in a rain storm. So, being that this was well over the 200th time of setting up camp in 15 years of going to Pagan festivals, Daniella and I with the help of friends, set up in a few hours and began the wonderful ritual of greeting and hugging dozens of people... and in the back of my mind as I looked up to the clouds, I thought that maybe tomorrow I will dig a trench around the encampment to divert the rain, should it come. Little did I realize what a mistake that would be come the next 7 days. Sheesh... thanks for the warning that I didn't heed "Grandfather"... duh me!

So the next day, Monday, Daniella and I went down to the Stone Circle to Facilitate the daily morning community meetings. It was good to see people already there, waiting. Seems like quite a few people, and getting bigger each festival, enjoy this first light of the day info circle. The talking stick was passed around, and each shining face shone with the joy of being part of the community. After the meeting, as Daniella and I walked back to our camp... it started to rain... oh man did it rain... and rain... and rain... and rain... And the workshops went on anyway, with people looking for that allusive dry spot to sit on.

Tuesday the rain stopped, the sun came out periodically, and I figured that I would dig the trench, but not just yet, as I had many people to see and still had to set up a large tent, as some friends from South West Florida were flying up for their first experience at Brushwood. It is always amazing to me, the city that gets put up at Brushwood for these two weeks of festival time, and the feeling it gives of "Community". Something that "Sirius" has strived to achieve, but didn't have to work too hard at it, the people here made it easy. Well, I decided not to dig the trench today, and instead began to drum... that became a big mistake... a really big mistake.

Wednesday morning it started to rain... again... Now, you may think that Daniella and I, being from Southwest Florida, are used to the rain, being that in the summer, down here is rains a lot... .'Cuse me... ?! It does rain down here, usually for about 20 minutes, then it stops, then the sun comes back up, the humidity rises... and all is well. Oh did I forget to mention... we don't have "MUD" down here... we have sand. Sand is easy to come off, mud, at least New York mud, is apparently mixed with epoxy glue... and the "Mud Goddess' and Gods" deem just how thick it will be, how deep it will be, and how much of ones camping gear will be covered by it. Us puny humans have no say so about it... none... nada... whatsoever. We are simply at the mercy of the Muck Mud trolls and under dwellers. But the workshops went on, and on Wednesday night there was a kick ass concert with Matthew Ableson and Daveed Korup. A mixture of Dulcimer and percussion... wow. Made ones heart beat fast and ones feet to dance. And it was done while listening to the outside rain continue to come down.

Thursday... rain continued... and Sirius Rising became "Siriusly Soggy"... and I don't mean a little bit. Now, I understand the need for the earth to receive rain. And I understand the need for "Gaia" to use this rain to replenish what we humans use, and to cleanse what we mis-use... but damn... 7 1/2" of wall-o-water in one day... Daniella and I left our Kayaks at home. There are rumors that the people up in the Fairy Woods were building an Ark... and I couldn't find the damn pagan travel agency to buy tickets... Ours and everyone else's camp was under water. Pallets were brought in so one could stand above ground instead of visiting the wet underground dwellers. People started having contests to see how deep they could sink into the muck. But that was short lived when pictures of missing campers started showing up on the cups of coffee from the Java Junction(chuckle). Not only was it wet, but also cold for us Floridians. But setting the whining aside, (yeah right!), we, like everyone else decided... above all of this, it was the community that made life fun here. The workshops went on but no dry spots were found, and even though one might grumble a bit, through the rain gear you could still see the smiles and feel the happiness of the people. The Children's Costume Cotillion went on with each child winning. (I got to pass out the prizes), and a hearty thanks to Flame Ravenheart for her efforts to make the children's stay a memorable one. After all, these young people are our future, and its up to us to make the future brighter through them. Then came the Cosmic Cotillion and Auction, that was hosted by our own Witchvox staff member, Peg Aloi... and some Italian guy named Bruce Gussieppe or something like that (gotta be nice here, don't know if there is a Pagan Mob or not). About $700 was raised to build a radio station for Brushwood. Then E.S.O. put on a roaring concert and raised the energy to overpower the state of rain.

Friday... gee... I can't remember if it rained or not... or maybe one should say... gee... I can't remember if the rain stopped or not. By this day, mud was everywhere. Water was everywhere... and you know what? Smiles were everywhere... and that helped me a lot. After all, Sirius Rising/Siriusly Soggy, is all about community. And that's why we come here. So the workshops did go on, and people learned to live in rain gear, garbage bags and rain boots. Hell, I even saw an Alien wearing rain boots... that's a scary sight I tell you. The concerts that evening were the "Good for Nothing String Band" and "Morebo". And people danced and had a blast, even with their raingear on.

Saturday came with a big wet one. By this time people were beginning to wonder if the Bonfire would be able to catch fire and burn tonight. But the rain stopped, the Sun came out, and the Kids Parade came off without a hitch nor a wet drop of water. The concerts were held once again with "The Mickeys", then the "12/8 Path Band", who then lead the people towards the Bonfire area. The Ritual was facilitated by Cate and Frank Dalton. The fire was lit, the drummers drummed, and dancers danced and we were blessed with a night without rain. Thank you Firetrybe for building such a beautiful fire structure and for facilitating the creation of great energy for the people. You all are the initiators of light... !

Sunday came on quietly, people already began packing to leave. At noon, Cate and Frank Dalton facilitated the ritual of the passing of the Brushwood staff. A new tradition, that when one facilitates the Saturday ritual, a new piece is put on the staff. The staff was presented to Darlene and Frank Barney, who then presented it to their daughter, Teresa and her husband Dave, as they have now become the new Guardians of the Brushwood festival scene. Thank you all for what you do in service for the people.

So Sirius Rising/Siriusly Soggy was, even though a bit WET, a great festival. Full of good workshops, good presenters, great concerts (fantastic new sound system), fine drumming, and just an all around good festival, that Daniella and I will continue to come too. There are so many great people to thank... Madonna and Josh for their healing abilities for the people, Bruce and Susan for their undying help for people, Jason and the Firetrybe for their efforts at all of the fire circles, Daveed Korup for his sounds, his teachings of the drum, and the Gong Garden and Drumnaysium set up, Grandmother Elsbeth for her story telling and her wisdom given to the community, Java Junction for opening the portal to the "Coffee world", Obie and Lisa for always working (not once did I see them sit for more than 20 minutes), Jesse the "Tractor Goddess", and Frankie for doing whatever needed doing.

And for all the people that attended Sirius Rising... for helping it become a great festival.

In the Realm of the Sacred Circle

Don and Daniella WaterHawk

Related Links/Information...

Web: Brushwood Folklore Center -
Web: Daveed Korup -
Web: -
Photo Credits: Don WaterHawk -

Article Specs

Article ID: 8627

VoxAcct: 13651

Section: festivals

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 5,582

Times Read: 12,573


Don Waterhawk

Location: Fort Myers, Florida


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