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PhoenixPhyre Gathering 2000 (1)

Author: Peg Aloi [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: April 3rd. 2000
Times Viewed: 19,121

(Day 1)
WitchVox Daily Coverage: Wed - Thu - Fri - Sat

The days before the PhoenixPhyre festival seemed to crawl by. We just couldn't wait to see all of our friends and pagan family once again. Three more days-two more days-one more day and-then finally-finally!- we were wildly hugging our Peg at the airport. We turned not a few heads with our exuberant whoops, but, hey, it's Spring, the 'TWV Three' are together again and we were ready to hit the road that leads to PhonixPhyre. Whoo-hoo!

Peg: Well here I am in Florida for the second time in my life, returning to this lovely site in Land 'o Lakes for another great gathering. I had such an amazing time at Autumn Meet last fall, I knew this gathering, where I would see many of the same people again, would be equally magical.

And I was right. Even the weather cooperated this time!!! (I got a bit of ribbing in November for "bringing the cold down from the North" as we had nights in the '40s, unusual for Florida!) Each day was sunny, breezy, and the temperature never went above the low '80s, with nights in the mid-'50s. Perfect weather for hanging out with friends, attending workshops, taking part in rituals and enjoying some amazing performances. Oh, and doing some swimming, hot tubbing and sun bathing too! (Hey, I am an underprivileged Yankee, after all)

After I arrived on Wednesday, and Fritz and Wren and I did the obligatory hugging like crazy, we drove straight to the gathering site, since the airport was already halfway there. Things were just getting going there, with about two-thirds of the gathering's attendees already there and setting up camp--more would arrive by the weekend. After signing in and getting our wristbands (which separated us from those who were visiting the campsite, also a nudist resort, on a daily basis but not as part of the festival), we went to greet Wade, Diane and the other organizers at their campsite.

Wren: It's been very dry here in Florida this Spring. All along the way to the campsite, we passed through little 'dirt devil' swirls and clouds of dust kicked up by passing trucks and random breezes. Walking down the pathway to the festival grounds, our gaze fell upon the little central lake already ringed with white tarps, multi-colored tents, waving pagan banners and tiny twinkle lights. It was like stumbling out of the desert and into an oasis.

Peg: These folks simply amaze me with how organized they are and how smoothly they bring everything together. I used to help organize gatherings and believe me it is a lot of work. How the PhoenixPhyre folks do this with so few staff is beyond me.

Wren: These are dedicated folks, all right. Thank you to Wade, Dianne, Kate, Rowan, Walker, Althea, Thom, Talyn, D.J., Danya, Suzanne, Lena, Kit, Greywolf and Briga for making the festival a wonderful experience.

Peg: We then walked through the camp to our main "hang out" area, the merchant/camp site of Don and Daniella Waterhawk. These are two of my favorite people in the community and it is always a joy to see them. I offered them a quart of real maple syrup from my recent trip to Vermont, and reacquainted myself with Kokopelli, their beautiful blue and gold bird friend. Koko seems to be acting a little nicer towards me each time we meet! But I think she knows that deep down I am not really a "bird person."

Wren: Well, this time we actually got to surprise some folks who are not all that easy to spring anything on. (Those darned psychic abilities and all!) We didn't tell anyone that we were going to stop in on Wednesday and so we got an extra rounds of hugs and laughs for the sheer 'sneakiness' factor of our appearance. (Koko acted as if she knew all along, of course.)

Peg: Other friends were nearby, who were camping near the Waterhawks and with whom we would share meals and fellowship that week: Renee, Tony, Stacey, Tom, Greywolf, Briga and, last but not least, the awesome members of Velvet Hammer (now known as Dream Trybe)!! That would Lynda, Tawnney, Ginger, Nighthawk, Starwind, Tabor and Sam. They brought along some other folks, Amber and Julie, fire magicians, and Dana Davis, a great singer/songwriter in her own right, and since the last time I saw Dana was only briefly "up north" I almost did not recognize her "in her element." I gave a CD to Dream Trybe in exchange for one they gave me for review last fall, and also traded with Dana for a copy of her recent CD, "Embryosis." The thought of hearing music from these fine folks was very exciting, and before the week was out many magical, musical moments would occur...

That evening, we attended the opening night dinner meeting by the pool, where Wade introduced the presenters (including me! Yikes, that's right, I was gonna sing the following night) and urged everyone to get psyched for the opening night's magical event, Mardi Gras!!! Though it sounded like a fun time, Fritz, Wren and I begged off early to head back to Clearwater, to rest up for a long week ahead.

Wren: Oh, did we forget to mention that Wade told us that he was shanghaiing you to be one of the featured musical acts, Peg? Heh, heh!

Peg: Can you say "sleep deprivation"? (But in a good way) Basically, we arose early each morning, got dressed and drove off, making a stop along the way each day at the local grocery store for snacks. Wren and Fritz's daily delivery of fresh donuts is now a tradition at these gatherings! And we also brought chips, veggies, fruit, drinks and water for everyone to share, as well as anything the campsite requested to round out their dinner-making supplies. One thing I can say for these folks, they know how to eat well when camping! No ramen noodles or instant oatmeal for them. The great meals we had were full of laughter and love, true community fellowship.

After a full day of workshops, meetings, ritual or music, we would reluctantly head home, an hour drive ahead of us (Fritz being the driving god, as usual), and it seemed our heads barely hit the pillow before we had to get up again...but, hey, what does sleep matter when you are seeing your family and having a great time?

Wren: Surely we did more than eat and hug everybody in sight that first day? Well, no actually that IS about all that we did. We arrived too late in the day to attend any workshops which was a shame because Don and Dee WaterHawk put on their Ritual dance circle again this year (I'm still doing the movements at home that Don taught us at AutmnMeet), and there were some other interesting ones that we missed like 'Prediction Ideas' by Bronwyn Frost, 'Energy Work' with Maya Heath and "Tell Me What Bothers You About Today's Teens' moderated by D.J. Seawind. (Not to worry, teens, there was a follow-up workshop on 'What Bothers You About Grownups'!) Dee and Tony Bautista presented a workshop on prophecies and sacred geometry and Elspeth did one on a subject which probably interests everyone-money. Maybe if we practice our doppelganger techniques, we can attend all of them in the Fall.

WitchVox PhoenixPhyre Coverage ---> Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Saturday

Photo Credits: Photos in this coverage were captured on video by Fritz Jung, and via digital cameras by Bill Kilborn and Darragh

Related Web Sites:

Article Specs

Article ID: 2737

VoxAcct: 3

Section: festivals

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 7,234

Times Read: 19,121


Peg Aloi

Location: Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

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