July 22, 2008

Festival the First

I spent last Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday camping in the mountains at the first of two pagan festivals I’m attending this summer. This was a small festival, but it is my favorite one.

Everyone was divided into an elemental group and we were then given the task of creating part of the main ritual, based on our element. I was in the water group– for our part of the ritual we had everyone help conjure a water spirit from the lake to impart its wisdom upon us. For our water spirit, we used a 2 ft. blow-up monkey that we rigged to stand up in the water on the edge of the lake and dressed in a shell necklace and “toga” and had holding a wand, made earlier that day in a wand making workshop.

During our part of the ritual, we had everyone sing, “Born of water, cleansing, powerful, healing, changing, we are” and make “waves” by fluttering blue cloths in the air, to raise water energy. Then one of us “heard” the spirit of the lake and led the group around the rocks to the edge of the lake where they could all see the Mythical Sea Monkey of the Lake standing there. His message was to learn to ride the waves in our lives and go with the flow. I think the Sea Monkey was a hit; he got some laughs at any rate.

The moon was full during festival and on Thursday and Friday nights everyone who was gathered at the community camp fire for drum circle howled at the moon as she rose. (The Lady of the Lake asked us not to howl after 10 PM, so no howling on Saturday night, as the moon wasn’t visible before then.) Nonetheless, drum circle on Saturday night was an absolutely incredible experience, by far the best drum circle I’ve ever attended. I can’t even begin to explain what happened, but I do know there was some incredible witchery going on that night.

I kept coming across beautiful chunks of quartz all over the campground. Firehand helped me gather some lovely pieces and I made an altar at our camp site. The quartz, pine cones and wood I used were all found around the lake area. (That’s a battery operated tea-lite in the candle holder, in case you are wondering. Smokey the Bear says, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires!”)

This was a wonderful festival– I went for a hike, went swimming, made a wand, enjoyed some solitude, enjoyed some community, experienced a great drum circle, got rained on, got sunburned, howled at the moon, sang and chanted, heard hoot owls, ate with my fingers, shared marshmallows around the fire at midnight… an overall damn good time.

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