It does seem to me that the experience of good energy was high and it suggested a good omen for the future of the festival. Many good folk made this year’s festival so good and so this may have a lot to do with why it was so good.
Going back to the planning stages…each year good folk have offered to do more activities and take on more roles. This year we had people who wanted to take on the role of priestess and priest in the main ritual. In the past I was involved as a priest in the ritual, nurturing the ritual cycle along. But there arose an opportunity where some good folk offered to take on the roles of priest and priestess. Then another good person steps up when one could not do the role... a very positive out come. As the main ritual came together the thought occurred to me to write myself out of the ritual. It has been a long time since I have not been directly involve in a main ritual. So the main ritual took on a life of it’s own and brought the good folk together in a dynamically new and wonderful way that everyone at the ritual experienced in a positive way.
To begin with there was the opening circle and water sharing. This was an inspired production. A member of SweetWood Temenos, Mary, took on doing this ritual, which had a feel of calling people to a spiritual revival. Coming into the circle singing, dancing, drumming and clapping was an uplifting experience. The invitation to honor the senses of taste, smell, touch (Ostrich feathers were awesome), hearing, sight, immanent divinity and the community was a great way to begin the Freedom Festival. The water sharing recognized a community of good folk who hold the sensual with reverence, an essential goodness in being spiritual.
There was the symposium. What an uplifting experience. The subject for the symposium was Charity. The inspiration for Charity as the topic for the symposium came to my spouse and I while we were making love one evening this past spring. I was not sure how this topic would work. I did some research on Charity and waited to see. The drinking together (half wine/half spring water – Greek style) and the discussing of the topic went well. 2 hours passed quickly and with good cheer. It was the continued celebration after ward that charged up the goodness of the discussion. The drumming, singing/chanting and dancing was awesome. It was age, middle age and youth together raising joyous energy in the name of freedom that was pure magic. I was blown away and smiling a lot…so was everyone else.
This year we had a large variety of workshops and more good folk offering to do workshops. The feed back that I heard is everyone felt good about what was presented and there was a good mix between talking and doing. So more of these types of workshops will be planned for next year’s Freedom Festival. Volunteers are welcomed.
The SweetWood Thing (or town hall meeting) and potluck went well…lots of Good food. We held and election of two new BOD members. This was an expansion of our BOD, which was a result of both SweetWood Temenos ending its subsidiary relationship with CAW, becoming an independent non-profit organization and the decision by the SweetWood BOD to become a church (religious organization – 501.3c) that necessitated an upgraded version of our bylaws. In order to vote one had to be a member in good standing. Interestingly enough several good folk people stood forward and renewed their membership or joined. This was a joyous election and a very good town hall meeting.
Then there was the main ritual. A new priestess and priest were leading the ritual and they brought forth the Moon goddess and Sun God. The whole community held communion, sharing water with them. The flute playing and the Sun revealing himself and the Moon Goddess giving her charge and accepting offering while sitting on the SweetWood Altar were all done at dusk and magic filled the air. The torches were light, the fire in the circle center was started, oak wood for the fire was brought, the drumming started, dancing soon followed and the good folk brought and shared drink and food. The Ladies and Gentlemen, some clothed in color, some half naked and some all naked danced, chanted and made merry all in the sight of the Moon Goddess and her Divine community. They all whirled of into the night and shared with SweetWood their good energy.
Monday morning woke slowly but some gathered in the ritual circle for some morning thoughts. The good folk who gathered liked the contemplative feel of the centering and companionship in the circle. We all agreed that this contemplation and sharing of thoughts and feelings should be scheduled next year.
We had a closing water sharing Monday morning with many smiles, there was happiness with some brief sadness as the festival packed up to leave with many heartfelt farewells. I felt magic leave with the good folk but as I walked through the campground and down into the circle I could still feel the energy of the festival. The festival still echoes in the woods now 3 weeks later. In a quiet moment on a new moon recently I gave thanks for this years festival and all the good folk who attended. May our paths continue to merry meet again and our clan of friends continues to grow with both youth and age.