We’ve only a single day left for the Pagan Spirit Festival. Last night was Pan’s Ball, an alcohol-fueled party that lasts into the wee hours of the morning. There are outrageous costumes, big bonfires, lethal punch, and lots of people. I babysat for the World’s Most Amazing Baby, name of Odin (love it!), and got there after most people were well lubricated by whatever concoction the party bar tenders put together. Everyone was happy, and I haven’t heard of any bad behavior. Not surprising, since it’s PSG and bad behavior is pretty much unknown. It’s the only place I know where you can lose a wallet containing a couple hundred dollars and get it back with nothing missing. Awesome!
While it’s been wonderful seeing Tina and the extended family, the campground seems to be missing anything related to mystical feeling of past festivals and the workshops have been kind of lackluster. There have, however, been a couple that were very worthwhile. “Women and The God,” while I didn’t think it really related to deity, did end up with a wonderful inter-generational discussion of feminist philosophy and self-identification. The discussion began with the often problematic relationship between women and the masculine god. Many neo-pagan communities are goddess-centric, and the god is often a lesser powerful deity who is, at times, excluded almost entirely. After awhile, feminism became the central topic, specifically concerning how feminism has changed from one generation to another. As in most philosophic discussions, no conclusions were presented, but everyone walked away thinking more deeply about the subject. Kathryn Hinds let the workshop, and was amazing and knowledgeable. I purchased a copy of her new book, Magic of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses (Carl McColman and Kathryn Hinds,New Page Books) and she graciously autographed it for me. I also got the Kindle edition, though, since I really love my Kindle!
Another wonderful workshop was the one on progressive relaxation and guided imagery facilitated by Dan and Dawn Baldwin. I was a bit skeptical, but I found as the facilitators took us through the relaxation and imagery, I felt completely relaxed and floaty. I remember wondering if that was what it felt like to be hypnotized. Definitely something I’m going to look into more. I also came away with some ideas and techniques for quieting the constant din that is my mind, and some ideas on where to go to find ways to take in a little less of the emotional noise I seem to pick up everywhere I go. The new agey term for that is shielding, and I think that’s pretty accurate.
I brought my bodhran with me in hope of finding some instruction, and I’ve been fortunate to have Arthur Hinds (Kathryn’s husband) give me a lesson in how to play. Arthur is with the band Emerald Rose, and is also a solo performer with mad bohdran skills! He gave me a much needed tutorial on how to hold the beater (lightly but securely), how to hit the drum (from the shoulder and elbow, not the wrist) and a couple basic rhythms. I go back today to get another lesson. He says I’m an average student, but that’s good with me. I’m totally happy learning to play and I needed a real person to help me start. Some things can be self taught, but others require human interaction. That’s me, technology goddess, saying that tech isn’t always better! To hear Arthur and Emerald Rose, check out their CDs.
Today is the last full day, and tomorrow we pack up and go back to mundania. It’s been a good week, all in all, and a worthwhile break from real life. I don’t know if I’ll be ready to go back to the rest of the world when we get back, but I have Monday off. I thought I might need that buffer.