Thursday, August 24, 2023

Summerland Recap 2023: At the Sacred Center

I had the privilege to attend the Summerland Festival in Yellow Springs, Ohio again this year, and it did not disappoint! After the "gastrointestinal devastation" of last year, we were ready for another chance to invest in community and reconnect with long-distance friends. 

Thursday night's festivities were momentarily interrupted by rain, but the fire in the pavilion and the good friends were enough to keep us warm. Opening ritual went well, and it felt wonderful to be in in-person ritual space with so many like-minded folks. We shared a meal and attended an adult-only workshop retelling the Egyptian creation myth, Set & Heru, which we thoroughly enjoyed. 

Friday began with Rev. William's presentation on the Virtue Buffet. Once again, his teachings hold value and practical tools for living a good life. I've seen this one three times now, and I learn something new every time. I also attended a workshop/sacred space time for embroidery as a form of meditation. As a non-sewer, I delighted in Rev. Jan Avende offering me some markers and coloring pages. Next, Rev. Michael J Dangler led a respectful discussion on performing magic and other workings with what is available and how to obtain reputable tools and ingredients of the trade.

Friday evening was Bardic Night! So much fun! Getting to sing with my people and listen to all the wonderful new works they've created since last we were together brings such joy to my heart. We have to many talented folks in our community! We finished the evening with drumming around the fire and late-night conversation.

After a very cold night's sleep, I presented my workshop on the Axial Awakening. This was the first attempt to present the information in one hour, and I definitely ran long. Overall, the content was well-received, and I am going to work on putting together a formal class. This one seems to have credit hours, lol.  Next came a presentation on Appalachian Folk Traditions and how those magical practices travel through the generations, which ones are common, and how blended traditions add and enhance them over time. Definitely an intro to a much bigger subject--just like mine! After lunch, a group of us got together in one of the unoccupied cabins to record some ritual music. Oh, my heart, what a treat! I am really looking forward to listening. Some of the pieces haven't been formally recorded before now.

The Main Ritual was lovely. Rev. Jan Avende led us in a service full of elements from the practices of each of the various traditions and variations represented by the folk present. We honored all that the Summerland festival, that that place, offers us, and lifted our voices to manifest those beautiful gifts with offerings and love. 

Saturday evening, we had the pleasure to dance to the musical trappings of Discarded Mischief. They were down their bass player and still put on a terrific show. They even covered one of my songs, and I got to sing with them (because I am that level of extra). It was honestly a beautiful gift, and I am grateful for their efforts in learning one of my songs. It wasn't done how I would have performed it, which made it even more special to hear. Songs are living, breathing things, and once we let them go, we have to let them evolve and grow into something more. I feel like this was one of those moments for the song, Awen Rains Down. We ended the night with smores around the fire and more conversation. 

It was sad to leave on Sunday, but the memories are rich with fellowship and community, and they will sustain us all until we meet again.