What a magnificent event!
I went out Thursday to set up my tent. I ran into my friend I was camping with right away! He was still at the entrance.. he was just heading up to set up, but still, timing was great! :) He knew I was there and was able to sorta point me in the direction of camp.
I signed in, signed up for my community service, cleaning up the fire at 10 am Saturday morning.. I wanted early just in case the day got warm.. I didn’t make it to my community service last year because it was tooooo hot! (I went home during the day because it was so hot and came back in the evenings last year.. I wasn’t even able to attend all the events that I wanted to go to.. ) Everyone is required to do 2 hours of community service during the event! I think this is great. That way no one person is stuck with doing the yucky jobs all weekend (trash, showers, bathrooms … fortunately, the port-a-johns are emptied and cleaned twice a day by the company who provides them). The benefit of cleaning the showers is that the people who clean them get to use them right after they have been cleaned!! :)
Picked up my brochure with event information, dates, times, locations, etc. and headed up the hill to find my camping partners. Since I didn’t know where, the guy watching the parking let me park in a close spot and wander till I found my friend. I headed over to the merchant area and found my friends almost immediately. (yeah.. things fell into place for me all weekend long.. it was weird and perfect and.. well, thank you Goddess for making this weekend so perfect!! It was better than those Walgreen commercials!)
So, I went back to get the car… and started unloading my tent (I only brought my tent and camping utensils this trip..) I was able to set up my tent all by myself except for the lifting of the middle where my friends’ son helped me. I was so proud of myself!! (It’s not a small tent).
So, got everything set up and pretty much headed back. I hated to, but I had to work Friday. :( No time off yet.. *sigh*
So, Friday was hell. The time went SOOOO slow.. LOL
Finally 5 o’clock came (I filled up my cooler with ice from work.. free!!)
I loaded things up and headed out.
I got there, unpacked my car (damn, why do I always bring so much shit?) and headed over to the concert.
Skinny White Chick was playing. She is AWESOME and so much fun!!
Then DreamTrybe came on… another most excellent group!
Finally they got the fire started, after the concert. I stayed for a while, but I’d been up till 2:30 am Thursday trying to get everything found and packed, so I went to bed around 1 am.
(It rained a bit, but not much.)
The next morning, I ran into some old friends. It was great to see them. :)
Sky was doing the Sharing Circle at noon, but I wanted to go see the Ghost Hunter dude at 1:30, but Sky said she wouldn’t mind if I left early so that I could go. So I went to her circle. It was AWESOME! The number of people were perfect, we were all able to sit under a little pavilion put up by the Bell Tower (where her ritual was held). I met some great people, I really liked Valerie. She was so comfortable with herself and was just so happy to be at the Fest, she was glowing. She attended with her boyfriend. :) A great couple! Another woman was there who belonged to a coven and she had never experienced anything like Sky’s ritual before. She enjoyed it and during the sharing, asked a lot of questions (which is the whole point of the ritual). But everyone who attended were great, don’t get me wrong! Those were just the one’s who stood out to me. It was a great group of people from all over with ideas and questions and thoughts. It was fascinating. Believe me, when Sky’s boyfriend told me it was time to head out to the Ghost Hunter class, I was pretty bummed…
However, the psychic Ghost Hunter class had some great info! AND during the class, which is held in the pavilion permanent structure, the heaviest downpour of the fest started. I here I was, safe and sound, under a pavilion. The only thing I got was chilly… and the rain was so loud, everyone had to move closer to the speaker to hear him!! :) By the time the class was over, the rain had stopped. (Another example of how perfect the weekend went..)
So, after the class, it cleared up and I wandered around the merchant area. First, I got me a nice shirt with the logo for this year. Gorgeous.
It’s the cutest little shirt.. :)
I found Sona playing. My friends were there enjoying it, so I sat with them until they finished.
Then, I went back and found the lady who was doing palm readings (and tarot, but since I do my own, I didn’t want to do that..) For the first time in my life, I had my palm read. Wow! She started off by pointing out that I was adopted and she hit so many other marks right on the head. Amazing. I am apparently going to live a long time.
I looked around some more. I saw my friend and Skinny White Chick wearing these cutest shirts, and I wanted one.. they weren’t too expensive.. They only had one left. It was brown. I had nothing to wear with it, so I found this awesome brown skirt that has white trim along the bottom.. and on that trim is some vines. Gorgeous. I might even be able to wear it to work!!
By the time I did all this, it was close to time for the Main Ritual. I decided to wear my new outfit so I went back to my tent to change.
The Main Ritual was kinda weird. It had, in my mind, more of a Christian flair to it. We were “preached” to briefly and the leader even made the “sign of the cross” and then it was explained how our fears and negativity were holding us back, so these people in cloaks with covered faces sat around the outside the circle and we were instructed to share our fears, negativities, anything that was holding us back with them. While we determined what it was that was holding us back, the drummers played and we danced around the circle, widdershins. The drum beats went on and on. Many people stepped out of the circle just to sit down. Finally the leader had the drums stop playing and the people left gathered around the outside of the circle. Many people got up then and re-joined the circle. I was curious, so I did. I honestly don’t know how many people went to see the “confessors”.
Then the leader began “blessing” us. Using water, he basically made the sign of the cross on our foreheads. This cleansed us of our negativity and such. A second woman made her way around the circle and basically coated our hair with the water.
Then the people who did the ritual slowly walked away. There was no closing or anything. It was just over.
Well, I went back to my tent to change and was going to grab my drum. ah ah ah … it wasn’t to be.. while I was changing it started to sprinkle. LOL No way I was going to get my drum wet, so I changed back into something comfortable and opened my book to read. It was dark by this time, so I used my lantern to read.. the bugs loved that. Some HUGE Junebugs kept trying to get into my tent. They would make decent sized bumps when they ran into my tent walls. Kinda freaky.. *giggle* They didn’t get in though. Rain slacked off and I heard them finally start the fire, but by then I was tired, so, I wandered off to the restrooms and then went to sleep. It was very relaxing.
It rained off and on all night.. also very relaxing. The next morning was still a bit drizzly. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to go to Women’s Mysteries. I wanted to go so bad last year, but it was too damn hot! (I was home in my air conditioning by that time last
The rain started slacking off and I grabbed my rain coat, my chair and headed out. Skinny White Chick was playing and she promised her Pirate song and I didn’t want to miss that. She was playing at noon and my Women’s Mysteries was at 1:30.
I was able to hear her sing her pirate song. (Clips of it can be found on her web site. Click her name and it will take you there!)
Then it was time to head over to Venus Mound. It happened to be all the way on the other side of the lake, so I had a bit of a walk ahead of me! I stopped by the facilities and there I met a girl who was also going. She didn’t know where it was at, so I said she could follow me. I knew the general idea, I’d been there before, but it had been a long time, so she bid farewell to her man and I promised him that she’d be back later. Then I smiled a big smile and said “maybe”. LOL He sure had a funny look on his face.. *grin*
We walked along and chatted.
We wandered a bit too close to the lake, but I finally found the spot. The ladies in charge were already there setting up. I promptly took off my shoes and went up to the Venus Mound itself to meditate with the goddess and to give her my offering. Fortunately we had arrived early enough that I was able to spend some quality time there.
Then I wandered back over to where the ritual was to be held and set up my chair.
The next 3 hours were the most wonderful, eye-opening experience I had had in a very long time. Interestingly, I discovered that the moon is on 19 year cycles, called the Metonic Cycle. Basically it means that it takes 19 years for the moon to be in the exact position it is in right now on this particular date. Since I worship the moon, it stands to reason that my own life would cycle the same as the moon. Other cycles are affected by the moon
Since I am now recently turned 38, it means that I am beginning a whole new life cycle. It’s like a chance to start over, to re-define who I am and to become better, stronger, faster (speaking of, I can’t believe there is gonna be a tv series about the Bionic Woman).
Anyway, the ritual was basically about making an intention and sending it out to the universe, to the goddess. There was quite a bit more to it than that, but, I’m going to keep it to myself. It’s too personal to be shared.
Well, after the glorious, warming, fulfilling ritual, I meditated a bit more and headed back to my tent. By this time, they had begun to build the fire pit for the final bonfire. It was HUGE! The logs were huge and the whole thing had to be double my size. Wow! I couldn’t get too close because they had already taped up the area around the circle to keep people away until the fire-tenders deemed it safe.
The day had cleared off and it was truly gorgeous. I found my friends getting their palms read so I hung out with them for a while, then I decided to get some pictures with my phone before the battery died.. so I wandered off again. I got pictures of the fire area with the huge logs (it didn’t come out too great) and then I felt the need to get pictures of Venus’ Mound and an offering I attached to a tree. So I wandered slowly back around the lake (speeding up as I realized that it was starting to get dark, and my phone doesn’t have a flash). I got my pictures and on my way back around the lake, I saw the moon rising over the lake.. oooh, the goddess was beautiful that night! So I attempted so pix of her over the lake but once again they didn’t turn out quite well. (Hey, it’s only a cell phone! I didn’t take my camera because I didn’t want to spend all my time taking pictures.. I will visit Gaea again and take pictures then. (Pinky swear!)
While I was out wandering the live music started. I meandered back to camp, changed clothes, grabbed my drum, my chair, my cloak and my rain jacket and found me a nice comfy spot as close to the fire as I could get. I was ready!!
Finally the time for the fires came! The fire-tenders spread out around the circle to protect the crowd and to keep them away from the fire that was about to be lit…. with some exciting words and thanks for a great Festival, the fires were lit!
And there were FIREWORKS inside!! Oh!! It was gorgeous!! And the fireworks went on for a while and stopped.. people started moving closer and then the fire found MORE fireworks!! WOW!! It was great! People were cheering and yelling and whistling! The drummers started playing and I attempted to keep up. I did fairly well as long as I wasn’t distracted. (Mead does that, ya know! And sexy people dancing in front of me also tends to throw me off beat.. *grin*)
Finally I gave up. I did my best, but when the drummer from DreamTrybe is playing, well, lets just say a newbie like me didn’t stand a chance. Besides, I wanted to DANCE too!! LOL
So back to the tent I went (hell, it was after midnight already!) and changed into my dancing dress and safely tucked away my drum and went back out to the fire, where I danced for another couple of hours before I started getting tired and decided to head back and get some sleep. By this time, the lead drummer was gone (or drunk) because the beat of the drums were a bit off… and usually I can sleep to drums, but.. ouch… LOL … and guess what? About a half hour after I got back to my tent, around 3 am.. it started raining again!! Needless to say, I went to sleep right after that.. Love the sound of rain.. and of course the drummers pretty much stopped after that.. *grin*
Woke up around 8 with nature calling me so I trudged out and saw the sky on my way back. It was looking a bit dark, so I decided I had had enough of rain and by gosh I’m gonna start packing up and getting the hell out.. and so I did.. I brought my car over, loaded up, tore down the tent (sprinkling a bit), said my goodbyes and headed home. I had much to contemplate and I was just a wee bit tired still. (Hey, all the other mornings, I generally got up, took care of business, and went back to sleep till around 10 or so!! :)
Headed home, got lost as usual. (why can I find the place so easy, but I can never find my way back? Well, not so easy, the first time I went out there, at non-festival time, I was lost for over 2 hours trying to find it.. I don’t use their site directions anymore. I use yahoo or google or something. LOL) Anyway, got lost and sidetracked both times I left.. even with the directions in front of me (to the side actually). I guess it’s the goddess way of saying, don’t go!!! stay!!! *grin* or my subconscious. Either way, I didn’t want to leave.. I was just tired of the mud…
And that sums up my exciting weekend. Damn. I wish I woulda wrote one last year. Always meant to and never did.. but I will always be able to look back at this one and remember.