Thoughts from Heartland Pagan Festival

So I’ve spent the last week at Heartland Pagan Festival near Kansas City. Five days in the heat and sun with nekkid people dancing around campfires. There were many activities, workshops, rituals, and classes to be taken, and many interesting people to meet and talk with. And there was much reflection and insight to be had, some of which I am still processing. But for now, in no particular order of relevance, are some random thoughts from this weekend:

  1. These people fucking rock. If you do not know of Tuatha Dae, please check them out. If you have the opportunity to see them, take it. That is all. http://www.tuathadea.net/
  2. I have a habit of telling people things that make it easier to deal with them instead of repeating myself over and over again. For example, I tell people I’m allergic to shrimp so I don’t have to put up with telling them I don’t like shrimp and then being assaulted with protestations that I really would like it the way they cook it, or in a particular style or dish they like. I do not need to do this. I am perfectly justified in telling them I don’t like shrimp and then simply shutting them down if they try to convert me to eating sea roaches. Likewise, I am well within my rights to tell people I am phobic of bees instead of pretending to be allergic. It is more honest and less stressful.
  3. Humans are not meant to be nekkid in nature. I have seen way too much sunburn to believe otherwise. Except at night. Then just stay a good distance from the fire.
  4. It is a mistake to perform a large group ritual using am elemental system that does not include wind or air as an element while in a state named for the powerful south wind, especially during the spring.
  5. I have learned the difference between hedonistic drunkenness and drunken debauchery. Hedonistic drunkenness is to reach an ecstatic state and bring wisdom back from that state. Debauchery is excess for the sake of excess. This is step two on my coming to terms with Bacchus.
  6. Politics is nothing more than how people deal with each other. People who are political junkies or activists are overly concerned with how people do or should relate to one another. At its core, politics is like capitalism: a vast network of people making thousands of small personal interactions every day. I cannot think of why any person, group, or ideology should be able to mandate how those interactions happen, except to ensure that they are consensual and honest. And that is true no matter how much better you think the world will be if your way is the one mandated. On a related note, I am most likely officially registering as a Libertarian again within the next few weeks, psychotic Paulbots be damned.
  7. Group rituals should be about fostering cohesion and community among the group. The more diverse the group, the harder that can be. There is always some manner of common ground, but the mistake we often make is trying to look for it among religious or political ideology. Sometimes the very fact that people are coming together for a particular event is enough of a basis to build a ritual, and through that a community. I’m pretty sure that’s how it works with Burning Man.
  8. I really need to work on my weather magic and not half-ass it. That said, weathering nickel-sized hail in a tent isn’t really that bad, so long as said tent is well-secured and your air mattress is keeping you out of the half-inch of water that has collected in it. Also, I really want a pop-up camping trailer.
  9. If you are willing to help people push their car out of the mud, other will be willing to help push your car out of the mud.
  10. Janet Farrar is a down-to-earth person who has the sense and humility to not want to live on a pedestal. That said, even at her age she is a tremendous and powerful force in ritual.
  11. Thymic function is related to the heart chakra. This implies to me that the heart chakra also relates to the ability to identify what is harmful to the self, be it external or internal in origin. The dictate of “trust your heart” or “follow your heart” is one of critical discernment on an emotional level. The idea that following your heart equates to non-discriminatory openness, trust, and love for everyone does not seem to be borne out by this.
  12. Dancing in combat boots is not a good idea. This is the fourth time this lesson has been taught to me.
  13. When you’ve been slogging through mud and swimming in a mucky pond, sitting on a strange public toilet seat is no big deal.
  14. It’s good to have people who look out for you. Likewise, it is good to have people to look out for. Family and friends are the most wonderful things in the world, even if they are assholes.
  15. Disconnecting from the internet for a time is glorious. Even if it means you have to weather the storm without seeing the radar.
  16. Ultimately, it is more fun to drink water when dancing around a fire than alcohol.
  17. Water is for the Physical, Alcohol is for the Body, and Weed is for the Mind.
  18. If your body expels a large amount of alcohol, it is probably a sign you’ve had a little too much to drink.
  19. Singing loudly and obnoxiously in the woods is fun. Especially with six other people who all know the words.
  20. Music is way more important to me than I have previously thought or admitted, even after my coming out as an artist. I ignore this at the peril of my soul.
  21. My worrying about a job or career is irrelevant. My three biggest passions are writing, music, and magic. I have been neglecting all of them. Nurturing all three of these things is of vital importance to my well-being, and will ultimately replace and exceed any current source of income I may have or be skilled at. Even cooking. At my core, I am a storyteller, and writing, music, and ritual are how I tell stories.
  22. Pagan Prosperity Gospel is still alive and well, is still popular, still sounds like the kind of nonsense Oprah spews to her upper-middle class audience whilst interviewing the author of the Secret, and is still annoying bullshit.
  23. Getting into the right vibe and energy sometimes involves letting go of something you’re been working hard at. When wasps keep chasing you away during your invoking pentagram ritual, it’s probably a sign that it’s okay to skip it for a few days. Sometimes its a sign you’ve been on the wrong track.
  24. Never go to a pagan festival with a plan for what you want to do. You will fail. That said, drawing the 8 of cups in a reading about how your festival will be is not a bad thing. In fact, it was a very good thing.
  25. Connecting to land spirits is far easier than I imagined it to be.
  26. I know have a frame of reference for how I visualize things. This allows me to describe it to other people and will hopefully be a way for me to develop it.
  27. Pagan festivals are awesome, even if they are relatively uneventful. And like good drink they are best shared with unusual people.
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One response to “Thoughts from Heartland Pagan Festival

  1. Pingback: Time for Reflection | Blacklight Metaphysics

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