I had a hangover Monday. I call it a hangover, because after festivals are over <especially the ones you help throw> you feel hung-over. No, you do not have a headache…you are just exhausted and partially dehydrated. Your brain feels like mush, your eyes are dry and you have no idea what you are saying for at least twenty four hours following one…but you are up and moving about since the world requires this of you.
Tuesday, I had festival withdrawal. After three days and two nights of being spiritually and emotionally fed I was buzzing. Things that were said, shared, and taught were swimming around in my mind; and they still are. I was fed from Dagda’s cauldron, I had the privilege of walking with Brigid and sharing her sacred flame with a community I adore. I got to stand in circle and dispense the sacraments of the Gods with my local hero Rev. Terry Riley! I got to meet Tish Owens in person who is the reason why I wanted to throw a festival in the first place! I overheard Rev. Edwina Rickman’s workshop and meditation; Rev. Allison Hancock blew us all away with her beautiful dark Goddess workshop…and right when I thought the weekend could get no better it did.
Main ritual….Rev. Amanda Riley and my husband Rev. Brian Miller did the “traditional Yule log ritual” all of us thanked the Gods for one thing from the year before, and asked for some guidance in the coming year on an issue. Every church there (all three) shared their traditions and there were no “rights” or “wrongs”, no criticisms, no drama. I stood witness as Alfred Willowhawk and his wife Willow announced the addition of a fourth ATC church in the Midsouth and realized we, the Pagans are organizing and gathering together sharing our teachings and traditions like wildfire! Everyone was high, everyone was happy, everyone sang, everyone had smiles on their faces and laughter in their hearts…and when you looked there were ten children in circle. Our babies are worshipping along side of us!
I got to do a workshop with Rev. Amanda Riley on practical magick! Have I ever told you that when I first entered this community I observed and partook in two workshops that she taught and at that time looked at her with awe in my eyes? (pssst I still do) Several years later and there I stood next to her listening, still learning, but having the great honor of sharing a workshop with her! Teaching about herbs, washes, oils, and their properties thrilled my heart and I could have went on for hours…but the people would have fallen to sleep by then :)
Children’s workshop with Rev. Allison Hancock she told an old folk tale and all the children gathered together under a blanket giggling and squirming, making animal noises, because sharing and community was the theme and it is fun to be a child. Then the Befana tale was shared and Befana came out cackling and laughing hugging children and they were all amazed and bewildered! Who was this Befana? Of course the adults new it was Rev. Cindy Mcmullin but the children were convinced it could not be anyone they knew, especially Cindy, because they knew that she was in the kitchen! Thus Befana must be real!
Rev. Anita Christopher facilitated all the children’s activities to their delight! Cookies were made, snow globes constructed, stories were shared with our tribe (children in our laps), fairy ornaments put together and placed on the tree, the children had rituals…but most of all they bonded just as we the adults did together tromping in the woods, spending time at the lake. YULE in our Pagan tribe is about the Children; but at the very last we adults acted like children fussing and laughing about gifts while playing Dirty Santa. Oh did I mention I got a Ganesha portrait out of the Dirty Santa game? Now he lives in my hall above a niche where I can feed him with incense and candles.
The time in between all of these rituals, workshops, and craft times was a different kind of spiritual broth. The time you spend listening, and learning and gathering as your head spins and your ears pop and you know that you may never comprehend everything that was jammed into you in those thirty six hours but you cannot walk away without being filled to the brim.
Magick is addictive, constructive, liberating, and heady but the purpose to me of festivals is for a spirit-filled fix until the next time you hang and sing with that many people. Thus while I am still digesting like a cow chewing its cud everything shared and told me this weekend, I feel a longing, in my heart, and in my soul. It feels like when I was first in love as a young maiden yearning for a lover (I am sure we all remember those days) that is only temporarily away, but you know and are certain they are still in love with you and like you are yearning and longing for your merging together once more. This is how it feels to me, when I part from such a large community gathering.
So until Daughters of the Moon I will yearn, long for, reach out, light candles for, talk to on the phone and face book my Pagan family. In the meantime, know that I am here and that even if we are not together; we shall never be apart… in my heart.