Phaedra here, home and almost awake after almost a week at Starwood Festival XXVI in Sherman, NY. It’s one of our favorite gigs, and we were really bummed to miss it last year. But we made it (translation: our car made it) and had a great time. Had I a brain (always debatable) I might have posted our workshops here before we left, but heck, you can always get that info from the links on our Appearances page, in case you have forgotten.
At any rate, we had a busy time. We got in very late Tuesday/very early Wednesday, and by 11 am the next/that morning, I was presenting my Participating in Ritual workshop. It’s one of my favorites, and it seemed like my attendees had a good time, too.
Almost immediately afterward, Isaac and I officiated at a handfasting/legal wedding for a charming couple, “S.” and “M.” (No, I don’t know if the initials are a cute coincidence or not.) The beautiful bride wore body paint and the handsome groom wore a Utilikilt. My kinda wedding :-)
We did have a chance to sit in on Alan Salmi’s NLP and the Body workshop. Alan gives good workshop, and I’m not saying that just because I’ve known him since whenever. In fact, we were initiated by the same magical working group in the way-back-when. Everyone from that circle knows their stuff, and I’m always proud to say so. After that, I very sensibly took a nap while Isaac helped out with an ADF ritual in the Nemeton, the Druid’s permanent shrine at Brushwood.
And I was very glad I napped, because lovely Gypsy of ADF strong-armed us later that night at the bar (yes, Starwood has its own bar under the stars) and convinced us (actually, she invoked us — first time I’ve ever been invoked!) to attend the ADF Lughnassadh rite at midnight. It was beautiful, and if I can remember more about it (those altered states of consciousness are hard on the recall) I’ll write about that.
Thursday we spent a good amount of time at our sales table at the ACE booth. I always enjoy merchanting at a festival; you can sit in one place and eventually everyone stops by to visit. Of course, I spent a little time visiting merchants myself ;-), and as usual, had to regret passing up many beautiful things. Talk about magical discipline — shopping on a strict budget doesn’t feel so different.
And speaking of magic, that afternoon we did a presentation on Isaac’s vision for the next edition of Real Magic, the first complete update in almost forty years. The outline was really well received, we got some good suggestions from the crowd, and now we just need to wait for the publisher’s final OK.
Friday was another table day, catching up with old and new friends. In the late afternoon, Isaac presented his Ritual for Empowerment, but I snuck off to Don Michael Kraig’s workshop on the New Paradigm of Sex Magick. Don is a great presenter, and puzzles over the same thing I do — why do people say they want XXX but when it comes right down to it, all they want you to present is PG-13?
Saturday, I let Isaac be the early bird with his workshop on Danu, Brigit and Morrigan, while I slept in and tidied the camp area. After much schmoozing with the likes of Oberon Zell, Jeff Rosencomet, and Don Kraig, we managed some lunch and then our workshop on Real Energy. I tried out some new exercises, and it went quite well. (Ask me about the “phoenix” stone.)
After a short break, we attended a panel discussion on Pagan Training and Teaching, with representatives of ADF, CAW, the Grey School of Wizardry, Feri/Reclaiming, Cherry Hill Seminary, and good old fashioned Gardnerian coven training. Mind you, all this was represented by just four panelists. Fortunately, the presenters were knowledgeable and articulate. Unfortunately, just presenting the basics used up most of the time slot, so we were unable to hear much “compare and contrast” about the systems.
Saturday night at Starwood is, of course, bonfire night. We rested after dinner, then waited for the (literal) fireworks. I managed one lap around the very-hot fire (legend says it’s visible with the naked eye from the international space station) before going off for some quality time with Oberon. Heretics — collect the set!
We did lots more, but honestly, which night what happened (and who was there) all blurs together. We were at the healing ritual for Frank Barney, caught some random music performances, watched the weird movies projected on the strange giant screen in the middle of the campsite, petted a balloon, enjoyed wonderful food and drink and more. Thank you Charlie & Barbara and Cate & Frank especially for your willingness to feed us and thanks to everyone who handed us a bottle of mead, a shot of Irish or a beer at the bar. We loved it all.
Fresh air, exercise, and copious amounts of alcohol. My kinda vacation!