It was a small gathering, around 60 people or so, but the intimate size felt just right. We gathered together on sacred ground to celebrate the rites of Lammas, and the Mysteries of Bread and Beer. Most folks were local, but some came from as far away as Vancouver BC and Portland, Oregon. We sang, we drummed, we danced, we laughed. We shared our meals, gazed at the bonfire and the stars, had henna tattoos painted on our bodies, and listened to the sound of harp and bagpipes floating up from the Faery Willow Grove.
When it got too hot in the late afternoon, we jumped into the river and waded or floated downstream. Some of us hiked the trail to Yoni Falls. The local African drummers and some of the Summerstar guys came together to make the drums sing into the early hours of the morning. We howled at the rising of the moon and shouted in sweet surprise at the biggest shooting star most of us had ever seen.
I spent sweet time with my extended mermaid family, old friends like Waverly, and new friends like Raven and Kathie. I taught four Tarot workshops instead of two, and did readings in exchange for backrubs and “luuuuuuuv offerings.” It reminded me of how much I love to teach. I plan to do more of it after my deck is finished. Nora presented her workshop on death midwifery, home funerals and green burials; and although the subject matter was uncomfortable for some, hearts cracked open as stories were shared. Raven from Reclaiming facilitated the opening and closing rituals, Nora and Giving presented the women’s ritual (we heard the men’s ritual involved lots of tequila), and our festival organizers did a crack-up job with the main Lammas ritual honoring John Barleycorn. Oh, and did I mention that the kids had a total blast? And that I may have made a few more Green Smoothie converts?
As the festival ended, we stood in circle between woods, mountain, meadows and river. My eyes filled with tears, remembering my dad and the people and places that I love, as we sang the classic Reclaiming chant:
When we are gone, they will remain:
Wind and rock, fire and rain.
They will remain when we return,
The wind will blow and the fire will burn . . .