Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Summerlands, 2009

Wow. Just, wow.

I know there were many folks who had drama and some rather negative moments at this festival, but I was fortunately unscathed in any of those situations and just generally absent when they happened by some chance of fate.

As such, I had what is probably the most glowing Summerlands experience possible. I met many new faces, reconnected with familiar faces, and spent the majority of my time in laughter and love.

I picked up AG on Wednesday night and ended up not getting out of Columbus until much later than anticipated on Thursday due to several pit stops and last minute shenanigans. Fortunately, this meant we arrived with enough time to set up camp before the Warriors Sumbel but missed the rain entirely. This was my first Warriors sumbel, and I must say that it was a good experience. Walking in en masse with the Cranekin made me feel a strong connection and sense of brotherhood (or, sisterhood, as it were). Many of the words spoken over the horn were touching and quite moving. I didn't hang at the drum circle long due to the crazy-early for a festival dawn ritual, that somebody decided we had to get up for on Friday morning. Oh, right, that was me. but while there, I did get a private dancing while I drummed. *heehee*

And I am glad that we did the dawn rite! It went very well. We had twenty-one participants, including me, and it was quite an energizing experience. We took the offerings and the water in the well down the hill to the Well and had a community bonding time down there. I felt very connected and generally happy as a result of the work we did that morning.

Bardic Night was not quite the way I had expected it to go. It was very hot and crowded in the hall, and the folk were particularly chatty, meaning that most of the acts were difficult to hear. When it was my turn to perform, I first made sure SMG was there for "Awen Rains Down" since she missed it at Wellspring. Then, like a silly person, I asked for requests, and about 15 Cranes yelled "Lunchlady!!!!" Well, when on stage, one must give her fans what they want, yes? So, I ended up doing a very smashing rendition of Lunchlady land in between two otherwise very serious songs (ended, of course, with "Teutates"). It was fabulously fun. I hear there is video. *blush*

I had a beautiful encounter with a wonderful man. A. and I talked for quite a while and shared much personal information. It was a bonding experience I shall not forget. There was a definite spark, but at this juncture, I am not sure what possibilities exist here. I guess time will tell, eh? If nothing else, this is likely the beginning of a really good friendship!

Drumming was not so existent since by the time I got up there, everyone was hammered. I lead a few rhythms, yay! But then, I was sober...+ a few sips of Bearman's Jameson. Had some serious discussion with some folks *hugs and love to JO* before taking the Bearman back to his tent at almost 5 am. This is why I camp next to you, love. So I have someone with whom to walk home. :)

Saturday, I had to go into town to take my DNA sequencing exam. Totally got an A. Woot! Made it back just in time for the Unity rite. Thankfully, it did not pour on us. When MJD called the Ancestors, I felt a breeze rush from behind us into the circle that sent chills down my spine. Having had the Ancestors box in my home has made me more in tune to their presence, and it gives me the drive to DIC something so I can have it back. Yay for Crane traditions that help us grow! Omens were interesting for me.

We performed a healing ritual for our Bearman that is one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had. I will post about that in another post.

I had much conversation with SMG. *hugs* I always enjoy talking to you, and it never fails that I completely lose track of time when we are together! I miss you already, too (even though I have emailed you twice since we've been home, haha).

Emerald found me at the beginning of Roger Drawdy's concert and kidnapped me for bling. She wrapped me in a belly-dancing belt with lots of jinglies. :) That was fun. I didn't win any awards for stealth, though. I did, however, feel compelled to dance. What fun! I don't usually dance because, well, let's face it, I am not quite the best dancer. I have rhythm, yes, but coordination is not a strength. lol

After that came the drumming at the fire. We drummed and drummed and chanted and drummed some more. They even let me teach them the chant for creating sacred space I wrote to avoid the mention of silver while Ian and AJ drummed. I spent a good bit of time talking to AJ and now I want more percussion equipment and a didj. I know. I'll add them to the list. Went to take a nap at, like, 6:30 am before breaking camp (eventually).

I received quite a bit of much needed ego-boosting, of which I am still trying to make myself feel worthy. There is much that I am leaving out due to personal confidences and otherwise "Me-only" stuff, but suffice it to say I had many, many small and large conversations with JG, MJD, JA, TN, NE and MB, etc. And I spent a collection of combined hours interjecting the day with flirting, jokes and general optimism wherever I could muster it up. Wonderful, wonderful weekend. The best part? I came home to a happy Jeremy who was excited to see me and all ears for everything that I had to say. And for those of you who have had the privilege (privilege?) of talking with me in person who know how long-winded I can be, that is saying something.

I feel full. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Oak Leaves saves the day!

I apologized for yet again using my livejournal as a place to vent all the negativity in my life. I am grateful to have such an outlet and to know that at least one of you will read this, always an ear for a Druid with a heartache. I am striving, always striving for optimism. It's just such an uphill battle sometimes.

I have been having a really down several days. This always happens to me when I carry the weight of others during difficult times. Nothing is wrong in my life (except me ignoring the advances of my significant other, which I plan to make up for before I go camping), but I immediately send wards to those in need, regardless of the backlash to my personal life. It's draining. It puts my guard down and make me succumb to negative thoughts and influences.

And it adds up when the shite hits the fan for too many people at once. I have been so preoccupied with others' hurts and distresses that I didn't make the cake for my best friend (who does not have breast cancer!)'s birthday. She shrugged it off, apparently, but silly me felt compelled to ask her if I have changed last night over beer. (I hate beer. No I don't. How dare I say that!it's ) She answered by saying yes, I had. I never would have dreamed of missing a birthday cake (something for which I am known), but I didn't make one for her. You know, not a big deal; it's just a cake, she says, but I can see it is more.

I don't hurt people very often, and when I do, it almost consumes me. I have hurt three people this year. Empathy, though art not kind!

What prompted me asking her if I had changed? Well, the remarks of people close to me who have noted just that: this summer has changed me dramatically. J told me himself that many of the Cranes may feel they are meeting me again for the first time at Summerlands. Really, I asked him? Absolutely, he says. You are different. Not bad different, but stronger and more...well, different than you were.

I chose to take that as a compliment.

So, negativity has flowed through me, and it has almost consumed me. Depression was setting in, and then I got my Oak Leaves.

There is a several page spread about the Wellspring Bardic Chair competition, including pictures and even sheet music from my song. As I flipped through the pages, describing all that we accomplished at Wellspring this year and all the new beginnings that we initiated, I felt my chest swell with joy and happiness for the part, though small, that I am playing in all of this. I cried as I read, not because of the words on the page, but because of the words behind the pages, of the emotions expressed by those who wrote them, of the ideals they stand for and the part I play in them--and they play in my life.

Thanks, Oak Leaves, from a girl who has recently been through the ringer, for being a beacon of hope when the world makes you feel alone and unimportant. When everything seems against you, and you feel laid to waste, it is then that Awen Rains Down...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Preparing for Samhain

Yup. That's right.

As many of you know, I am usually pretty far ahead when it comes to liturgy. I have been asked (more like told) to prepare the Invocation to Hela, the DotO for the 3CG Samhain rite. Hela, for those of you who do not know, is the Norse Goddess of the Underworld. I must also say that although she has a tendency to be aloof with me, she is absolutely fabulous. I have some things I need to learn and sort out before she and I can work together at length, including trance techniques, but I have plans to do a Wild Hunt this winter with Anna. Hope I survive, haha. No, seriously. I must say that as intimidated as I was when it happened, I feel better about the looming journey since Sleipnir came to see me.

Anyway, today I got a flood of images and adjectives and ideas all at once and just started writing them down. It looks like this is going to work out well, even if it is a bit different (read scarier) than what I had originally planned. Change is usually good in these cases, yes? And scary is ok. It IS Samhain, after all.