A powerful weekend.
I learned a lot. So very much. From the Yoga class to just personal experiences. Emphatic wakeup calls to simple pleasures.
I never wrote about last years, not really. It was too new, too personal. The beginnings of a big change. From then to now, I’ve changed. The world has changed. It’s been scary, delightful, wondrous, terrifying and just simply huge.
This year, I need to. There is much to contemplate and I want to be able to clearly look back and remember and compare.
I left Thursday after my son got out of school. The weather had been damp, so the roads weren’t dusty, but the camp was wet. Thanks to a new friend, I was able to go this year. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. The Goddess works in wondrous ways so I knew I was meant to be at the Gaea Goddess Gathering. Of course, transfers are rare and generally frowned upon, but I got to the Phoenix building and the lady who is in charge of the Gaea Gathering Facebook page was sitting at registration. She remembered the discussion and was able to easily lead me through the re-registration so that I could use my friends’ pre-registration. She was absolutely delightful: not condescending or judgmental. Have I mentioned lately how much I love pagans and how wonderful they are?
I finished up registration, got my cards and booklet and ID bracelet, signed up for my Community Service and sent a text to my friends. (Who had told me earlier that the camp was set up in the same place as last year. I loved where it was last year: along the path towards Pixie Styx.) I found my group and found a spot for my tent and began setting it up. I couldn’t find anyone, but I recognized the area.
Soon, Crow showed up and she and a lil one helped me set up my tent (see this year’s Heartland Blog for details on our new tent). It went up quickly! I was thrilled! Crow was like, “see!! I’m even breathing hard!”
*grin* (yes, my dears, she was kidding .. LOL)
Everything was set up, unloaded and prepared before the opening ritual, which I barely got my clothes changed for but made it. (When I went to park the car, I ran into a lady named Seven and we chatted for a while until I realized the time and rushed off to get my clothes changed to something comfy. I wore my brown and white skirt and the black silky shirt with a pattern.) The opening ritual welcomed us to GGG and introduced us to the them, the 8 muses.
On the website, this GGG theme,
Inspiration! – …Imagine That!
Temple of The Muses – GGG’s Gathering Spot for your pleasure. Check out the Goddess Café located in the Merchants’ Circle. Stop and chit-chat with our Café Goddesses.
The nine Muses are the daughters of the Zeus and of Mnemosyne, the Goddess of memory. The Muses preside over the arts and sciences, inspire all artists, especially poets, philosophers, and musicians. We want to celebrate them all and let each woman reach out to the familiar one, and maybe get to know a new one of interest.
- Calliope – was the muse of epic poetry
- Clio – was the muse of history
- Euterpe – was the muse of lyric poetry
- Melpomene – was the muse of tragedy
- Terpsichore – was the muse of choral songs and the dance
- Erato – was the muse of love poetry
- Polyhymnia – was the muse of sacred poetry
- Urania – was the muse of astronomy
- Thalia – was the muse of comedy
During the ritual, all 8 were introduced. Around the ritual fire pit, on the sand, Aislinn Firehawk drew some gorgeous sand images. She is going to post picture later and I shall link to them! They were so AWESOME and magical!
Sat at camp with the ladies and chatted for a while until I need to make a potty run. On my way back, I had the urge to dance around the fire, especially over all the gorgeous and magical drawings, so I took off my shoes and danced around the fire a few times. It was powerful. The night was cool and clear and magic was in the air. I spoke briefly with Kim Oursler, who had lead the Opening Ritual, telling her how inspiring she was and how great the opening ritual was. She thanked me and invited me to her workshop the following morning. I danced around a few more times. It was so wonderful to be back at camp! Sadly, when I finally made my way back to camp, everyone had turned in for the night. LOL Everyone (including me) was tired.
Friday morning, I slept in. The first class I wanted to attend was the yoga class and I was so excited. The night was chilly, but I just snuggled down in my sleeping bag and was just fine. I love early fall!! :)
So, around 10 am, I crawled out of my tent in my sweats and t-shirt, grabbed my “kindergardners” pad, blanket, chair and headed to Flora’s Garden for “Yoga as Therapy”: My first ever official Yoga class. The class was taught by Theresa Goodman and she is absolutely amazing. If you know me, you know I’m outspoken, so I was constantly interrupting her to ask her questions and she didn’t get upset with me!! (And thank goodness, neither did the other participants). Then, after the class, she hung around and helped me for an additional hour and a half!! WOW! At 1pm, she headed off to get lunch and so did I! She was so helpful and patient. I learned so much! I learned that I need to be able to move my toes. I learned that my arches need to be pressed down and I certainly was not having my legs apart enough for the triangles, etc. :) But she did agree, that my arms / shoulders are long so I can make it a happy medium. *grin*
Once we realized the time, we parted ways to get food. I also wanted to give Kim’s class a try, and it started at 1:30pm. It was starting to get warm outside (what happened to my 70 – 79 degree weather?!?!?) and I was glad that the class was at the pavilion. It was called “Inspiring the Divine Feminine Within” and I was exited. Unfortunately, the class was moved to the stage where there is more heat and less breeze, so I ended up sitting this one out. :( I heard some of it, but.. I guess for some reason, I just was not meant to participate. I read my book in the breeze and just enjoyed the afternoon.
There was to be a drumming class at 3pm, but once again, I was bummed. It was supposed to be held all the way out at the bardic circle or the tent that was WAAAY on the other side. I wasn’t going to make that trek, especially not in the heat and not carrying my drum. I was bummed. Then, the goddess took pity on me: the people leading the drumming class didn’t want to go all the way out there either, so they made a deal with the other Pavilion class (Goddess Dance for the Mobility Challenged) and once again took the stage… but THIS time, I and 2 others were able to remain below the stage and still participate. It was amazing and powerful, as drumming always is. We built wonderful energies as we learned. Cathy and J were magnificent teachers. It was so much fun!! They had so much patience. It’s hard to explain but I felt, even in the crowd, that I was getting one-on-one lessons. They would look directly at me and make sure I was keeping up and I almost always could catch up. *grin* I felt so special. It’s hard to explain, but it was great!!
Crow’s daughter arrived during the day and she immediately took over the fire. That night for dinner was Taco Salad. It was yummy. Afterwards, I felt the need to drum. I invited the gang, but they were relaxing around the campfire. I grabbed my drum and headed off to the ritual fire and dancing.
I sat behind the main drummers, as there was no place on the benches, but that way I was able to sit in my chair instead of on the wood. Comfort is very important as I get lost in the drumming beat.
Not sure how long I was there, but once again , when I returned to camp, everyone was asleep. I slept listening to the remaining drummers serenade me and everyone at camp.
It was a warmly humid night and I must admit I turned my fan on to cool my tent. I dreaded the heat that was sure to come with Saturday. Soon after I got up, I went to the pavilion with my book, my water / Gatorade and some snacky stuff, figuring I’ll participate in the activities going on there.
The first activity of the day was Annie Cherry’s “Bump, Grind & Tease — Burlesque Style” … I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was amazing. First Annie Cherry started out with a demonstration of her talents, doing a complete strip tease. Wow!! She’s gorgeous and she totally has the moves. It was enchanting!!
Next was Talking with the Goddess with Diane Edmiston. (Angelic Vibrations)
This wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it did say it was like the John Edwards tv show where he talks to dead people. What I didn’t like was this lady also talked to Mary Magdeline, Angel’s, as well as the Goddesses. She only had messages for a few people, and they were all pretty similar. Believe in yourself. Trust yourself. Follow your dreams. Stop doubting. Really great messages, but nothing there that shouted to me that there really was any messages. One couple just kinda looked at Diane blankly, like what ARE you talking about. Another, though, hit right on the mark. I could feel the vibrations of that one in my bones. Whether she spoke to Mary Magdeline or any of the goddesses or angels, good energies came from that experience and I hope at least some of the people with “messages” actually took to heart the words that were spoken. Will I go again? yeah. If she comes back to Gaea or any other nearby event that I’m participating, I will grace her audience with my presence. Maybe someday, someone will have a message for me. I think, though, that I’m on the path and the others needed the words of wisdom far more than I did. *grin* And just knowing that Kali had “showed up” was enough to give me goosebumps!!
The introduction, the main words of wisdom that supposedly she heard prior to coming out and had written up was a waste. It was the usual pep talk to make everyone feel good and it felt forced and very likely she uses the same introduction for each presentation she gives. You can tell this because it had extreme Christian overtones and the Angles and Virgin Mary / Magdaline were a huge part. It had words that would work in any situation at any time and place and there was nothing in it that made it specific to the Gaea Gathering. Perhaps leaving that tidbit out mighta been a better idea. (I’m harsh, I know, but it’s what I felt).
Next was SHIFT. I was wary about this, not only because of the heat but because it seemed like an advertisement for upcoming workshop that these ladies were creating. Since I am a sensitive person and I was curious, I went (plus, it was held at Flora’s Garden and I figured I would enjoy it more than the Tribal Bellydancing which really isn’t for me, I’d much rather drum!)
The area was breezy and not bad, there were a few clouds rolling in, but I didn’t think twice…. The ladies started the discussion and nearly immediately wanted us to do a survey… WHAT? I already know I’m sensitive. I didn’t come to find out if I WAS sensative, and I’m betting that most of the others who came felt the same way. I suggested that aspect and respectfully admitted I wanted to know how to protect myself, not whether or not I WAS sensitive. There were a few murmers of agreement. I realized that they were pushing for their class, but they were good people and really wanted to help us. When I mentioned my son was sensitive (“Mom, why do I feel sad?”) they gave me some ideas about how to help him through. (Salt for grounding, I want to find some cheap salt rocks to have him keep in his pocket. This might help his ADHD tendencies as well.. )
Meanwhile, the rolling clouds became a bit more, the air cooled delightfully: we were all fairly certain it was going to pass us by.. however, when the sprinkles came, we moved to their merchanting tent to finish our discussion. They admitted that they were going to teach all these wonderful things at their classes, how to protect themselves, how to recognize the sensitivity. It’s great, but I think it’s for beginners. I would want a more advanced class, if I was going to do a class at all. What they are doing is starting at the beginning, getting people that they work with from various aspects of their normal jobs and help them through situations that these people didn’t know were causing them stress and discomfort. The class is for recognizing and then protecting.
I did learn the difference between walls and shields and that it’s great to have a shield that can go up and go down as needed, but that walls do, as I had believed, keep everything in and out, there is no permeability and this is just as dangerous as letting everything in and allowing it to affect and control you. Yes, when I talk to people, I will tell them they need shields, not walls. Walls separate, shields protect. It was an insight that I should have had, but never truly connected. *grin* I got what I needed from the class. Help for my son and help for others and myself as visualizations.
And a new thought. I always wondered why I hated shopping… and at the same time, I didn’t really care.. I didn’t feel anything was missing from my life since I didn’t like shopping. LOL I’m more of a tomboy, always have been. During the discussion they talked about the feelings of being overwhelmed in public areas. Malls, Wal-Mart, busy places. Yeah! That’s me. When I gotta go shopping, I want to get in and get out. I don’t want to peruse, I don’t want to mingle or window shop, I want OUT!! And the longer I’m in, the worse it gets. I just want to get OUT, dammit. And the sensation of wanting out and being closed in gets worse and worse.
It all makes sense now. This class was a blessing!! I’m so glad I gave it a chance!
Well, storms hit. The class was almost finished and I decided to make a run for the pavilion. I got there and there were my camping buds! *grin* They had already came to escape the rain. We all sat and chatted for a while and a lady came out of the medical trailer (I think?) and told us there were big storm cells heading our way. We decided as a group that it was wrong to push away the storms, but what we could do was make a bubble and protect the camp and people at the camp, so we did.
It was an amazing experience. It had been a long time since I had done group magic with people I trusted and cared for. It was powerful and it worked! The lady came out of the trailer and said thanks, the storm cells were going to miss us!! :)
The rain let up for a bit and it was planned to go back to camp, but soon the rains returned so our lil camp went back to the pavilion where Crow made us some yummy soup!! I brought out my honey butter and I felt comfortable partaking.. and really really enjoying the chocolate dessert.
Annie Cherry was supposed to be the first show, but her son had Strep throat so she wasn’t able to stay, so Big Bad Gina decided they would extend their set. They were going to start around 8ish and run till about 10ish, and then we’d have our big fire! If I didn’t mention it at from the Heartland concert, BBG is AMAZING!!! They are so talented, so fun and just an excellent group of ladies who have fun as they share their gifts of music.
We danced and sang and laughed until the lightning came closer and BBG thought it might be a good time to pack up, just to be safe. (Who really wants to compete with Mother Nature? Not I!! Not they! *grin* Makes sense!!)
The drummers set up under the pavilion and the Women of the Flame managed to get a good fire going!! They really had fire at their fingertips and there was a lot of magic in the air! I decided with the storms coming that I was going to enjoy the drumming back at my tent and drift off into slumber. (The storms did come, so I drifted with thunder and drumming with occasional flashes of lightning. It was perfect. There was one large clap of thunder seconds after a bright flash of lightning. It was close, but no one was hurt. The goddess and our bubble protected us and the energies were with us and around us, but they were enjoying with us and protecting us. What a perfect end to a splendid weekend).
The next morning was wet. LOL I slept in (as did most of the camp) finally drug myself out of my sleeping bag and slowly started to break down camp. I didn’t want to leave! Finally got it torn down (needed help from Mary, as I just couldn’t get a grasp on the poles to get the release buttons to work), did a once over of the site to make sure it was clean and decided I needed a SHOWER before I was climbing in my car.. so grabbed some clean clothes and headed to the showers. They were cleaning!!! Oh NO!!! But they took one look at me and said to go ahead. I musta looked horrible!! They are such wonderful ladies, who clean the showers and do all the behind the scenes work and barely get a thank you. I made certain they knew how appreciative I was of them and that it was a wonderful thing they did and that without them, we would all be lost.
Thank you to everyone who puts together these wonderful events. I hope you know how much you are appreciated.
*hugs* and Blessings