This was a special year. This year our daughter, Corkyy, joined us for the festival. It was very exciting. Loading the car was a tight fit, but hubby managed it somehow!
As usual we arrived later in the day than I hoped (and we really need to do better, although next year my son will be graduating from middle school, so it’ll be even later. We’ll be lucky to find a campsite at all, plus the fact that he’s gonna come with us…) and all the areas inside the treeline were filled up, so we camped outside the area that we camped last year. (Note to self, do not set up tents in SAND… it may haunt you later…) Set up went fairly quickly. Thorik set up Corkyy’s tent and I set up our tent. (I’ve gotten pretty good at it after taking it to GGG a few times). After set up, we headed up to the Pavilion to take over my normal spot. *grin* Yeah, I had a few comments about that this year.
Soon, it was time for the opening ritual. ” In ancient Chinese lore, when the full moon rose and the dragon constellation was at its highest point in the sky, the moon’s bright beams would shine with a special magical light. This was the Dragon Moon. People would come out during that singular night and bathe themselves in the moonlight. It is said that the old become younger; the infirm find new health; the weary grow energized; and despair turns to joy. The legend says that stories told under the Dragon Moon will never be forgotten. We invite you to share your needs, desires, hopes, and intents for this year, as we open the festival and commit to seeking and creating those experiences for ourselves and each other.” We each were given a ribbon and we were asked to put our intentions into it, either for the weekend or for our lives.. or both! After the ritual, everyone was invited to come tie the ribbons onto the dragon. Then, at the closing ritual, the ribbons would be burned and their intentions invoked.
There was still some daylight left before the bonfire, and the “plan” was to meet at Aislynn’s camp to meet and greet Facebook people who haven’t met in real life yet. Unfortunately, when I stopped by, there was no one there and I felt uncomfortable sitting there alone. I decided to get my drum and drum this night. The weather was chilly but it was dry and there was a chance of rain for most of the rest of the weekend, so I grabbed my drum, sat in my new chair and joined the drumming for the eve. Hubby kept my mug full of mead and it was an absolutely delightful night. I received a surprise hug from HarperBear. Hmmm.. I hadn’t recognized him with his clothes on! He had been drumming right behind me. *blush*
Friday morning I wanted to go to Magical Gardening, Galadrial’s class, so I got up a lot earlier than I wanted to make sure I didn’t sleep through it. It was a wonderful class and I learned a lot. We talked a lot about mulching and and wild animals in the garden. I was particularly fascinated by how she has chosen her gardens to be protected by altars. She keeps an altar to Hekate next to her compost heap. Pomona is invoked when planting and caring for fruit trees and berries. She invokes Demeter and Persephone/Kore in various parts of her garden at appropriate times. I adore this idea and really need to implement it myself. I wonder what goddess I should honor in my moon garden… and how do I choose just one?
[Update: Galadrial suggests one alter and changing it with the seasons! I love it!]
Gestalt Dream Work was next in Flora’s Garden. This workshop uses the Gestalt dream therapy model of dream interpretation. It is used for the purposes of self-exploration and soul-searching. After learning these techniques, you can take them and try them with friends and family as well. The concept is fairly simple, determine how everything “feels” in the dream. I wish to note that Ra, our presenter, was quite clear that this dream work does not detract from prophetic dreams nor does it take away from the astral projection experience. This is simply a means to get to the roots of one’s dream and perhaps face and understand things that might be bothering us in the mundane world that we brought with us into our dreams. We had a sample dream to practice interpreting that was quite intense and it came down to an extremely strong sense of responsibility and stress with dealing with certain situations in her life.
The Brian Henke concert was the highlight of the evening, followed by some dancing by the fire. I wore one of my new belly dancing jingly outfits. The maroon one. I loved it!! I received a lot of compliments. (Thanks Kenrick! I told you I would get a lot of use out of “her” belly dancing outfits!)
Saturday morning I had community service. They put me on TRAFFIC AND trusted me with a WalkyTalky!! OMG!!! I got to do Dining Hall. It was such fun! It was here that I actually was able to chat briefly with the talented Brian Henke. What a fascinating gentleman. I sure wish I would have had more time to speak with him. Talented AND intelligent. The Trash Pirates came through while I was on duty. I got to call them up the hill.
Later that day, Tuatha Dea taught a drumming class that was amazing. “Interactive Rhythm Event structured around the use of rhythm as a develop-mental tool and catalysis for building community through the power of the drum. Its purpose is to enhance individual creativity and foster community through the interlacing of rhythm and non-verbal communication. This is an interactive activity aimed at developing cooperative and communicative skills. It will include introduction to the djembe and it’s capability and the concepts of the basic drum circle and drumming etiquette. Ideally the goal will be to create a drum symphony from the individual rhythms provided by participants and provide a catalysis for independent thought within a unified group. Now forget the big words and come prepared to have fun. No experience required. If you have an instrument you wish to bring, do so, if not, we provide drums.” I didn’t actually participate in this workshop, but I was under the Pavilion while it was taught and I really wish I had joined it. It was intense and powerful. The sound reverberated and the energies were magnificent.
Soon, it was getting close to time for the Vision Quest. My friend, Valerie, stopped by and asked if I wanted to tag along with her to get changed. I said sure, I needed to get my boots anyway. As usual, dozens of people had to stop and talk to her. She is SOOO popular and well loved. I’m honored that she considers me a friend.
The Vision Quest fit me perfectly as usual. I decided upon a quest idea, “Why am I attracted to the dark side of my self”? and discovered soon after beginning the quest that the theme actually was balancing the light and the dark within one’s self. Before the quest started, HarperBear set the mood with his phenomenal harp music, in a beautifully lit grove near the entrance. The first aspect was the Bean Sidhe at the Faerie Gate. She was wonderfully intense on getting me started. Next, down in the hollow was the terrifying Baba Yaga with her cauldron of bone soup. Baba Yaga was delightfully terrifying. She was magnificent. I felt thrilled and mortified at the same time. Her cackle I could feel through my own bones and the hairs on my neck truly stood on end in response to her. She was wickedly cool!
Then over the hill and down in the next hollow was the Celtic warrior queen Boudica. Lurking next under the cedar trees was the Big Bad Wolf. Then up to (what is sometimes called “Pan’s Rock”) was Robin Hood. Lucifer greeted you next at the crossroads to Fourth Field. (Poor Lucifer needed to burn the mosquitoes that was attacking him.) And then, at the entrance to the hermitage, laired the Pied Piper, warning people to make amends for broken promises. (Interesting, at least at the time, the only broken promises I have really made are to myself and they are the most important. The Pied Piper really “scared” me! The illustrious Germanic Hero Sigfried was next. Then Lilith was at the end of Fourth Field. Journeying through the short jaunt of Third Field into Second, I came across the ever-creepy Bogeyman. The Bogeyman was quite fun to “play” with and with an evil gleam in my eye, I played along. I think we both enjoyed this particular interaction. In the middle of Second field was the warrior Beowulf, inviting you to toast the Gods. To the GODS! Ultimately, the trickster Coyote at the end foreshadowed a big change coming into my life spiritually. It was premonitioned that it would happen within the next 3 months, but honestly, as always, I think the changes come from Heartland and in particular, from the Vision Quests.
The following night, I had a hint of what was to come as well.
Sunday morning, we slept in a little. It was a fairly cool morning, so I was able to spend some time in the Merchants (those who were awake anyway). I found a witches ball. So gorgeous (It’s now hanging in my dining room window, hopefully not being a temptation for the cats…)
Far too quickly, the time came to head over for Women’s Mysteries. The weather was warm, but not hot. I was gonna be just fine! I’m so glad I made it. First and foremost, Turtle was there! After introductions and we discussed what we learned from last year’s assignment, the ladies cast the circle and took us on an amazing trip via meditation.
We met our guides (mine was Coyote) and they took us on a journey where we found a symbol that represented something in our lives. My symbol was like the tree of life with the mirrored aspect below, except where the mirror began was a cloud and through the cloud was lightning. It was beautiful. After our guides returned us home, we were able to draw our symbols so we could remember them. Then we shared Cakes and Ale.
I went up to Venus Mound, as I always do, and shared and exchanged energies. I lay down and hugged Mother Earth upon the Mound. Then I went to my tree and gave her loves and hugs too. She’s getting so old, but I think (and hope) she’ll be around for a while longer!
Finally, we headed back to the main pavilion.
“Would you like fries with your McWicca?” ~ Gavin Bone
After I returned from Women’s Mysteries, I arrived just as the Panel Discussion was starting. The topic was, “Where do you envision Paganism, Wicca, etc. going from here?” Will it follow the trend of no religion occurring among today’s youth? What do we need to do for it to grow or at least remain as the bulk of our population seems to be aging?” Barbara Criswell moderated the discussion. This was an amazing panel discussion. I really enjoyed listening to the differing thoughts and opinions of where paganism is at and where it is going. The panel has been described as extremely apocalyptic by some. It seems that the older generation of pagans do not see a future that is similar to the present or the past. I don’t think they want change to happen, yet the young folks always push for change. This scares some, I think, which is sad. I believe that good things are going to happen thanks to our younger generations.
“The new generation needs to be taught how to be more discerning about information,” Gavin Bone said.
Wicca is changing. A lot. It might even be going away. What is left of the original Wicca is not what Wicca used to be. Basically, Wicca is not going to be around much longer. Everyone wants to do it their own way.
“We have been given permission to explore our own spirituality in a way that we never have been before and to accept our own paranormal senses … as something we can explore in a way that haven’t been before, ” Barbara Criswell said.
“I see it very very very differently,” Ed ‘The Pagan’ Hubbard said. “I see that the pagan community has never been healthier, never been stronger.”
Personal note: I think Wicca and paganism is used interchangeably among people. Mike Nichols is a true Wiccan and he sees it changing. The others were interpreting his comments as that paganism was going away, which, of course, it’s not.
“We’re producing, in Europe, a generation of children,” said Janet Farrar, “who are being pushed by the Educational Authorities to be super achievers because you WILL get a good job, you WILL get a good wage, etc., and they are having no time to develop spirituality. And it’s this constant drive, .. on and on, and there are young kids who are having nervous breakdowns. It’s too much on them. They just don’t have time to explore spirituality.”
Gavin doesn’t think the numbers of young people has changed, what he says he has seen is that the younger generation doesn’t have the same limits. They don’t have to rid themselves of the judeo-christian beliefs. Instead, they are coming in fresh with great ideas and nothing to hold them back and because of this, they are taking their beliefs and abilities further than they have ever been taken before. They don’t know what they “can” or “can’t” do so they try it and because they believe in it, even more magic is happening, especially on the psychic levels.
The important aspect right now is to give young people EXPERIENCES.
I liked it when it was mentioned that priest and priestess are not titles, it’s a job description. We need to stop getting stuck on labels, Gavin said, and I agree. Labels just don’t work and just don’t fit any more.
It is notable to point out that “the demographics of Heartland itself. It’s an aging crowd, with not many kids or teens there. And of those who *were* there, hardly any attended the workshops. They were just there to party. (There were only *three* at the panel discussion.) ” ~ Mike Nichols
All in all, it was a fascinating discussion panel. It’s interesting to see what the elder generation thinks. I would have loved to have seen a younger person on the panel to get their thoughts as well, but this is a topic I’m sure we’ll hear more bout.
Finally, the concert we’d all been waiting for, hailing from Gatlinburg, TN, Tuatha Dea is pure primal energy with an Eclectic twist that includes Celtic melodies, African drums, Tribal rhythm, and a smooth Americana edge producing an awesome unique sound that proves time and time again to make anyone listening move to the groove. The band’s eclectic sound blends the tribal vibe of primitive drums with conventional and non-conventional instruments such as guitar, bass, didgeridoo, modern and Native American flutes as well as a myriad of vocal styles to create a truly unique sound. Born of a family drum circle, the group delivers an authentic tribal and clannish feel that not only draws the audience into the music but into the mo-ment and family as well. Their rhythmic groove naturally inspires audi-ence participation which has become a staple of their performances. Feel the music. Embrace the rhythm. Experience the family of Tuatha Dea.”
OMG OMG OMG. and Wow.
I think they really were fae. Definitely the main family members. I was transported into a different realm and I LOVED it there! I got a t-shirt and one of the albums. Soon, I will have all of the albums and will be waiting on baited breathe for their next one as The Tribe. I hear SJ Tucker will be on the next one! *pagangasm*
Closing Ritual was defined “As we come together one last time as a single festival community, we celebrate the stories that we have created both in our lives and at the festival, and we take a moment to honor the way that we have been transformed by our experiences, and the gifts that we have each personally offered to the land and community, the things that will never be forgotten. Join us for this experience, to receive the blessings of the dragon, and to take something physical away from this year’s festival with you to remember your experiences and bring them back into your everyday life.”
The following morning, I awoke at 7:30ish. It was cloudy and cool.. but I could see a storm rolling in… I tried sending energies to make it go around, but to no avail. Soon the sprinkles became rain and that rain became torrential. Eventually the tent started to leak. (thank goodness for an air mattress). We finally decided to get up and start tearing down the camp. Corkeyy was flooded too, so sent her to the pavilion to get dry. Thorik and I had a lot of fun tearing down in the rain. He’s wonderful attitude is one of the many reasons I love him so much! We made it fun!
It took much longer to tear down in the rain. Then we had to go up to the pavilion to pick up Corkyy. First, though, we watched people struggling to get out of the field. People were getting stuck. An RV even went off the road and need a toe truck to get it back up.
Our Sylvye made it up the hill no problem. Thorik had already helped one of the stuck cars, and the ladies saw me drive smoothly up the hill and onto the road and said “I want a car like THAT!!” My response was… “I Love my KIA!” *grin*
Reaching the pavilion, I found that people had set up a breakfast area and people were allowed to stay one more night for free to help protect the land. Many had to leave, though, because of jobs, etc.
I also discovered that, interestingly enough, sometime during the night, an “unknown” person crawled onto the roof of the Pavilion and stuck a black ducky.
Morris KC-naturist caught the ducky on tape before the storms came and by the light of the moon. He has given me permission to share his image! Thanks Morris!! It’s lovely!!