Anna-Liza here again. I really can’t do justice to my subject, but I can’t ignore it entirely, either. It doesn’t help that I completely forgot to bring the camera for Solfest. Someone else has promised me pictures of Darlin’ K firespinning in front of the stage, but he hasn’t emailed them yet. I’ll post some if he ever does—he said they were good ones. And I’ll tidy up the Wool Market loose ends later. Really! Anyway, my solstice celebration was a bit more active than Lyda’s, but every bit as pleasant.
Most of last week, I left work as close to on-the-dot-five as I could manage, made a pit stop at a fast food place, and then hustled over to the Double Rainbow Ranch for a series of four workshops with Aumrak. I’m still absorbing and processing what happened for me there, but I will say it was gentler and sweeter than I was prepared for, and yet I know I did some very deep work. In terms of forms, we did everything from formal ceremony to guided meditation to two straight hours of dancing as parts of our work, and every bit of it built on what came before. Darlin’ K was super-supportive of this whole thing, uncomplainingly taking sole charge of the kidlets for three nights in a row, listening to me talk about my process, even listening to me sing to him! Now there’s a man in a million.
I was very pleased with the workshops and very happy to get to work with Aumrak. She is very gentle in her approach, but that gentleness in no way dimishes her power. It’s an example and a lesson for me, and I hope I “got” it. My fellow “workshop-mates” and I helped her prepare the fire and mandala for the Solstice ritual at Solfest. That was also very satisfying and fun into the bargain.
The music at Solfest was every bit as good as I’d hoped. Darlin’ K did some firespinning with Lunar Fire and got a really positive response. The man really has no idea how beautiful he is when he does that. I feel like I have to beat him over the head with the positvie feedback he gets from the audience afterward! He also organized and ran the free spinjam that happened after Lunar Fire’s set, while Muse of Turiya performed. I gave up and went back to the tent to sleep after about 12:30 or 1 a.m., but Darlin’ K stayed up and drummed with the drum circle until 3-ish.
The music started at 4 p.m. Saturday, went until 2 a.m. when the drum circle started, then started again 10:30 Sunday morning until 3:45, when we had the closing circle. And there was a big ol’ potluck brunch on Sunday in the middle of everything, too. Oh, and let us not forget Sunday morning yoga, which was about 2 hours long and very gently nearly killed me — although that was my own fault, really. I didn’t have to try to do all of the poses, or hold them for quite so long. I didn’t do any knitting, although I had some with me (of course), but I did do lots of spinning. Practicing with my hand spindle just seemed to fit the setting and the music.
The site was beautiful–a little valley in the foothills, lots of trees, a really pretty creek running through it, lots of space, actual bathrooms with running water and showers! And peacocks. Oh! and wild turkeys–real ones! (I suppose someone might have had some of the alcohol variety, too.) They gobble and look just like the cartoons. I’d heard them before, but I’d never gotten a good look at one–they’re usually just a little movement in the trees, that you’re not really sure you saw. It was all very comfortable and friendly. I overheard one woman say it was like a mini Rainbow Gathering, but without the sketchy part. I admit I spent most of my time wearing batik and tie-dye.
Oh, and I got a henna tattoo. During the opening circle at Solfest, a big yellow and black butterfly came and hovered right in front of me, just at the level of my heart. I took it as a sign of transformation, and so that’s what my henna tattoo was–a butterfly and a heart. I had Darlin’ K take a picture before the henna paste came off, because I wasn’t sure it would darken enough to be visible in a photo after. Here’s a close-up of my henna’d chest (do try to contain your excitement):
If ever I get over my needle phobia long enough to get real ink, it will most likely be something like that.