43rd Annual Gathering of the Tribes
Article ID: 14084
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Bronwen Forbes [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: August 1st. 2010
Times Viewed: 5,169
Sponsored by: Dynion Mwyn on the Prairie
Location: Steamboat Rock, IA
Event Date(s): July 15-19, 2010
The moment I arrived at a small private camping area near Steamboat Rock, Iowa early afternoon on July 15, my trusty sidekick, Bridey the Amazing Grunting Beagle woke from the nap she started in Kansas City, stretched, and put her paws on the front passenger car window as if to say “We’re home, mom!”
And home we were indeed. I love small festivals and the deep sense of family that is created over the course of the event; large gatherings feel like a Pagan town – small ones (under 75 people) are more like a family reunion, even though you haven’t met the family yet! This is the first time that Dynion Mwyn has hosted its annual Gathering of the Tribes in Iowa, and the site had everything necessary for a successful festival weekend – fire pit, grassy ritual area, primitive camping facilities (including the world’s coldest shower, which felt wonderful when the heat index soared to over 110 degrees) , shade, and easy access to “civilization” (nearby towns) for any last-minute supply runs.
The workshops presenters offered a wide variety of topics including (this is not a complete list!) shamanism, life as a small town Pagan, a Q and A with Lord Rhuddlwm Gawr, morning yoga stretches, and a lively discussion on what Pagan leaders need to know. The opening ritual effectively introduced all us “family members” to each other and the main ritual was quite lovely.
At the closing ritual, the participants were invited to collect and take home a handful of ashes from the now-cool main ritual bonfire to add to any other ritual fires we may attend in the future – thereby spreading the love, goodwill and connections we felt from attending this event.
With the Iowa River not too far away, some brave folks even hiked a mile (or more) to sit and commune with the water.
We did have a few exciting moments with the weather; right after opening ritual on Friday night we received word that the entire area was under a tornado warning. Pink lightning kept the sky lit up as attendees scrambled to secure tent lines and get everything water-soluble under cover. We found out later that there were at least two storm watcher trucks with accompanying police presence not a mile from where we were. The storm was close, but we hardly got rained on!
The entertainment was also top notch. One of the workshops was a rehearsal for a John Barleycorn Mummer’s play, which was then performed for the entire camp that evening. [You can watch the whole thing on YouTube at http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=mSKoqzoBpwo]
We were also treated to an excellent concert on Saturday night before the main ritual with Chicka-Wow-Wow opening for Uncle Chuck. Awesome music all around!
If you’re looking for a small gathering of serious practitioners in a rustic setting, consider attending the 2011 Gathering of the Tribes.
My thanks go out to the organizers Paul and Linda and my fellow presenters Lord Rhuddlwm Gawr, Dr. Christa Landon (and Rider!) , Lady Arialora and Deblyn Russell for making Bridey and I feel so welcome. We’re already making plans to attend next year!
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
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