It was possibly the hottest Freedom Festival we've had. Whew! On the bright side, though, we didn't have to contend with storms, mud, wet tents etc. And the insect population was down as a consequence of the dry weather. The only dampness was the sweat from the heat.
On the drive up to SweetWood on the fourth I was feeling discouraged because the number of registered participants was very small for the second year in a row. And some of the people who usually are there wouldn't be this year because of the extreme heat, health concerns, or other commitments. Among those were some of my dearest long-time friends from Minneapolis -- Martin and Magenta, and Rosa and Ben.
Kyril also wasn't able to make it this year and I was bummed about all of that. But I discovered that, while small registration numbers are not good financially, they can make Freedom Festival a very intimate and relaxed experience. Because of the heat and the small numbers, there was a very flexible attitude toward the schedule of workshops. A few planned activities were skipped with no regrets because, quite frankly, it was much better sitting around in the shade of the shelter just talking. I didn't have the energy to run myself ragged.
For me, one of the highlights of Freedom Festival this year was the ritual on Friday night centered on envisioning, and raising energy to manifest, paradise on earth. We each spoke our vision and added herbs to the water in the cauldron as we spoke. Then, each chanting a word or phrase, we directed energy to the water. Lovely ritual. I took some pictures afterward of the cauldron and altar and have posted them.
There were other highlights as well. After the main ritual on Saturday night, watching the fire spinners practice their art was awe-inspiring. It more than made up for not having fireworks. But the best part of the festival was, as usual, the person-to-person connections. Every year I look forward to reconnecting with those who I only see once a year. I also love meeting new people. Despite the small attendance, this year was no exception.
Thanks to all who were there, for helping to re-charge my batteries. Every year I look forward to seeing friends I only see there once a year -- also meeting new people I've never met before. A particular treat -- Julie B. was there.