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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in festivals

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_Sweat-Lodge-Paola-Suarez-Goddess-Spiral.jpg

Ten years ago I had the courage to attend my first Womongathering. Womongathering was a four day women’s spirituality festival in the woods of Pennsylvania. I had been reading about it since 2001 when I found the Womongathering newsletter at a local pagan store. It was a dark time in my life. I had nightmares almost every day, suffered from panic attacks and saw my therapist at least once a week. Some times I saw her more often, especially if I had a mental breakdown that week.  Mental breakdowns consisted of me crying hysterically, afraid to leave my room, and could be brought on by almost anything. I desperately needed to go somewhere safe. I needed to find the strength to continue. I remember my now ex-husband dropping me off at the gate. I was terrified making my way into the festival without him. I was so afraid to be alone back then. All the women at the festival were so friendly, but I was too scared to notice.

 

I spent my first night at Womongathering curled up in my blankets, clinging to my teddy and crying. Here I was, twenty-five years old with my teddy bear as a lifeline. No one could have guessed that the bulky book bag I took with me everywhere wasn’t full of books-- it held my teddy bear. I was doing a lot of inner child work and dealing with the memories coming up because of it. So with my therapist’s approval I was at Womongathering looking for something to switch on inside me. I hoped that an event full of women honoring Goddess energy would give me the change I was looking for.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ashling Kelly
    Ashling Kelly says #
    My first Womongathering was in '97 (and wrote about it for Sagewoman in '99), and while it sounds like a cliche, it changed my lif
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    What issue of Sagewoman was your article in Ashling? I have an issue with an article about Womongathering from 1999 but it's writt
  • Khrys Exposito
    Khrys Exposito says #
    I love the artwork! As an attendee of the Womongathering festival that Paolo spoke of attending, the drawing drew such wonderful f
  • Paola Suarez
    Paola Suarez says #
    Thank you for sharing Khrys! It's so amazing to have the community of womyn that we have at our beloved festival. I also feel so b
  • Molly
    Molly says #
    Lovely! I'm heading to the Gaea Goddess Gathering in Kansas in just two weeks! Maybe someday we will meet each other at a Goddess

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Party of One: Ganesha

Sometimes I like to go to visit Gods and Goddesses from neighboring friendly pantheons. After attending my first Kirtan chant three years ago, I was introduced to the Hindu God Ganesh, the elephant-headed remover of obstacles. I was instantly drawn to him and "Gan Gan Ganapati" quickly became by personal favorite chant. It resonated on a deeper level of my subconscious. After some research, I discovered that Ganesh has his very own ten day festival every year in India, Ganesh Chaturthi. According to About.com Guide, Sharell Cook, it culminates with a huge celebration on the last day called, Anata Chaturdasi day. Cook notes that the festivities are dependant "on the cycle of the moon." The dates fall a little differently annually, but for 2013 "Ganesh Fest" runs September 9 - September 19. The website, http://goindia.about.com/od/festivalsevents/p/ganeshfestival.htm had some inspiring suggestions for setting up an altar and honoring Ganesh in your own home.

According to Subhamoy Das, also from the goindia site, Ganesh likes offerings of "coconuts, flowers, and camphor." You could also decorate your altar with figures of Ganesh and the color red.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

So I've only recently returned home from fest and visiting my sister.  This is the first good opportunity I've had to sit down and write.  Forgive my lateness.

One of the big rituals at the Pagan festival I attend is the Drawing Down.  It is where multiple priests and priestesses allow a divinity to take temporary possession of their bodies so that they can speak with devotees.  Who you speak with is typically luck of the draw.  Rarely are masculine divinities drawn down in my experience, as female divinities are just more popular it seems. Even more rare, in my experience, is having a walker seek out a particular person at a divinity's behest.  I experienced both this time.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Melia, this is spot on with how I have experienced Odhin as "The Old Man". Not all the time. But yes, he can be quite chatty when
  • Melia/Merit Brokaw
    Melia/Merit Brokaw says #
    Nice! It is great to have one's impressions match someone else's. It gives me a bit more oomph to continue to write about my own
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Actually, yes. In one of the two Wiccan traditions I have received initiation in, it is considered acceptable, even ideal, for Pr
  • Melia/Merit Brokaw
    Melia/Merit Brokaw says #
    Ah Ares. I have a soft spot for him. His "good" points are often overlooked. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sun Wheel Pagan Arts Festival 2013

On the July 1st long weekend, I celebrated Canada Day by driving 10 hours to Drayton Valley, Alberta, to pitch a tent in a mosquito-infested field.  I left late, of course; I never seem to get out on time.  I didn't want to be late because even though the Sun Wheel Pagan Arts Festival didn't officially begin until the following day, on the Friday evening there was a firewalk scheduled and I had never done such a thing.  I came with my husband Erin and my young boyfriend Chad McLeary, also scheduled to perform on the stage.  I was quite honoured to be part of such a prestigious line-up; the roster included Vanessa Cardui, current bardic champion of the Kingdom of AnTir, an up-and-coming artist who also does medieval music like me; my friends from the Edmonton Pagan Choir and Chalice and Blade; the legendary Sharon Knight; and the indomitable Heather Dale.

But I shouldn't have worried.  Pagan Standard Time being what it is, things were running about the two hours late that I had left the house by, so I had just enough time to set up camp before hurrying off to the ritual.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing your experiences! It's nice to see some of our neighbo(u)rs to the north here. I'll definitely check out the Ca
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Pleased that you enjoyed it, Jamie! And it looks like things are coming together, I am happy to say. I will write about it as t

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Raven's Call at Sunwheel 2012

In the wake of my article on Canadian Pagan music, I had an opportunity to interview Thom of emerging Canadian Celtic folk rock band Raven’s Call, who was happy to share with me the details of what was going on with his band!  For the full interview, check out my podcast as of June 10, 2013, at http://paganpathfinders.webs.com.

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Walking Between the Worlds--Pagan Conference and Pagan Festival

This has been a busy time for your Village Witch...mostly because she keeps leaving the village and hitting the road.

I've only just returned from the Pagan Unity Festival in Burns, TN and am pondering the differences between festivals and conferences, since I was fortunate enough to be included in the Cherry Hill Conference several weeks ago.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Getting to California is such a pain from the East Coast--and not to mention expensive. But if I can ever manage that, I'd love to
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    I love the conferences, too. In some ways some of the newer hotel-based Pagan gatherings combine some of the aspects of festival
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    I love them both (well, mostly) but they are very different critters. Since my field is Appalachian folk magic, I have had some n
  • Freeman Presson
    Freeman Presson says #
    I used to go to festivals regularly, and may again; but I have frequent dreams of being at conferences, THAT is what would be "in

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Fête, Revel, Role

 

Most of my friends and associates think of me as a serious person that is always up to their elbows in projects. I have a very full schedule with teaching workshops, writing, mentoring people within and outside of our tradition, organizing small, medium, and large educational events, and running a metaphysical shop. My days usually start at 5:00 or 5:30 AM and pretty much every hour is accounted for until around 9 PM when my off time begins. On May 4, 2013, my shop Bell, Book, & Candle sponsored an event called “The May Moon Revel”. It involved a live band, belly dancing, readers, book signings, food, drink, amazing costumes, and random merriment. It was a great deal of work and from my perspective well worth the hours required to plan it, and to pull it off.  By the way, it just barely, sometimes, breaks even so money is not its motivation. After the event, one of my friends (who did not attend) asked me why I used my time on a frivolous event when I have so many important things already on my docket? Before going further, I'd like to say that I believe that my friends and members of my community do have a right to question my choices. I would actually say that is one of the hallmarks of actually being in functional friendships or communities. So my answer was not “none of your business”, it was “let me tell you why”.

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