Earthdance – Telling a New Story

This is the end of an 8 part series…

Photo by Arielle Original Art

Photo by Arielle Original Art

All in all, the festival was a great experience. The highest points came from avenues I never expected as I let go of attachment to outcome and merely opened up to what life had to offer. At festival, you never know what life is gonna offer up. The Labyrinth didn’t get quite as much attention as I would have liked it to, but it brought smiles to many, tears to some, and has offered me a new direction in which to venture.

I have managed to become quite adept at releasing my need for particulars, but opening up to what the universe has to offer in its own gentle timing. When I do that, I realize that life provides in many bountiful ways, and I wonder, during those times that I am holding on to attachment, when I am following old patterns that no longer truly serve me, but are merely stories that that I tell about myself, I wonder how many new stories I miss by not being my Self. I think that I would like to tell a new story.

Earthdance – Finding Our Flow

This is part 7 of an 8 part series…

LAbyrinthGratifly3On a late afternoon excursion, Misha and I happened upon a vendor near the main stage who made her own clothes and performed as a dancer throughout the festival. When she stated that she was running on very little sleep and had to dance again later in the evening, I invited her for coffee at The Labyrinth if she needed a pep-me-up. She was the only person in the festival that I invited for coffee, and I was truly glad when she showed up.

We talked a bit about her art and she started talking to us about this phenomenon called “flow.” Freddie informed her of the name of our camp, and I followed up with a description of the community flex space also known as The Flow Factory. Wouldn’t you know it, she just happens to have owned the domainwww.FlowFactory.com since 2008 and is currently just redirecting it to another blog site.
I was sure to get her contact information before she left. It’s good to be in the flow.

Earthdance – The Journey Toward a Better Festival is The Journey Toward a Better World

This is part 6 of an 8 part series…

We had two people show up for out 3:00 playshop on “How to Dismantle Monsanto,” which was two more than any of our other playshops. As we sat around discussing the move beyond the commodity world view of which Monsanto is merely the most blatant proponent, the biggest of the dragon’s many heads, we were joined by two others, and I was able to inform the first two attendees about ConnectPolk and all of the incredible things they are doing to help create the world we deserve. I didn’t have anyone come to the “Getting Back to Eden” playshop, but that particular playshop is currently a solitary one and I enjoyed the time to write the world.

Saturday morning, I went to a 10:30 workshop on human evolution and how we can be participants in it. I was glad to be able to offer some insights into my own journey of seeking value beyond the commodity mentality. Throughout this festival, there has been much discussion on seeking for a better way of living than the reliance on a system that continues to fall short in providing for the needs of humanity. After my experience with Gratifly, I felt as if the festival circuit was a natural path toward reaching the future of our civilization and engaging them in their ability to co-create their lives, through their connection with nature, their connection with God, and their connection with one another. I still hold out hope for the possibility, however this particular festival seemed to be a bit too preoccupied with the hedonism which often accompanies the release of unqualified restraints and the search for a new way of seeing things. Of course, I realize that my own hedonism may have played a factor, yet I feel that it is also the structure of the festival and how involvement is initiated.

labyrinthgratifly4One of the things that makes me question the sincerity of the intention of the festival, regarding the prayer for peace, is that for the second year in a row, they hastily organized it at the last minute and started the telecast international prayer for peace late. It’s a beautiful prayer, and I’m glad to have it printed on my back, but it would have been nice to have all said it together. But the ceremony continued with a circular parade of a few dozen fire spinners and fire breathers before engulfing a star shaped effigy in flames. It was an impressive array, but I wish there was more care given to the supposed reason we were gathered.

Like Misha, I have been doing a lot of watching and taking mental notes as I look forward to the development of the Yule Awaken festival and the opportunities it offers to create a festival more reminiscent of the real world we imagine, encouraging a more open system of engagement and interdependence. I’m interested to find out what it’s actually going to look like.

One of the exciting things about doing this Labyrinth installation is that I never know exactly how it’s going to turn out until I’m finished with it. I have these pallets delivered, work with what I’m given to create whatever art I can, and then wonder at how it all comes together. That’s really the experience of anything I put my creative energies toward so I imagine this festival will be no different. It just depends on the other energies that come to take part in the art.

Earthdance – Tripping Into Laughter

This is part 5 of a 9 part series…

The Labyrinth looked amazing at night, even before the LSD took hold. We brought five canned lights and used the four that worked. The result was this glowing box of color that attracted explorers, inviting them to take the journey inward.

labyrinthgratifly8Perhaps I’ve never had a high enough dosage, but psychedelics have never taken me to other realms as I hear many people describe. It does, however, make me feel very good about being in this one. In the handful of times that I have experimented with psychedelics, I have never experienced hallucinations… as far as I know. I mean, after all, aren’t all of the boundaries we place on our experience of reality merely hallucinations anyway? Some people have told me that some people have nothing to learn from the trip, so perhaps I’m just already seeing through my third eye just fine. Yet even though the trip may have no place to take me, it’s still a pleasure to go along for the ride.

IMG_2697As it was, the pinnacle of this ascent to nowhere was a laughter therapy session at The Flow Factory. As Misha attempted to describe what he had discovered as the secret ingredient to finding the answer to life, the universe, and everything through his evening of perspective shifting to Freddie, who had not consumed any notorious substances yet who was dressed in a metallic sheened costume complete with cape and fool’s crown, Freddie’s complete mystification was completely riotous to me. And with Raagi there to egg us on into emotional release, what started as innocent giggling turned into uproarious laughing fits that had my face covered in tears and my body feeling completely exercised as I rolled on the ground in hysterics. Yes, LSD is very silly, but then so is this magnificent life I’ve managed to stumble upon, so I have no complaints about my experiment in attempting to shift my consciousness to something a little more reasonable.

Earthdance – Freddie Goes MAD

This is part 4 of an 8 part series…

Freddie had a bit of an adventure today and rose to the occasion of being a hero for the people and making a difference. At last year’s Earthdance, in the middle of the festival was a faucet with showers, where people could refill their jugs from the well and hydrate themselves as necessary. This year, someone had circumvented the water source to run it through a filter and sell it to festival goers… interpretation – you don’t pay, you don’t drink.

IMG_2695Freddie, who had spent the last of his monthly budget to get to the festival to install his hexi-yurt, was outraged that someone would even conceive of claiming a natural resource as their own and charge others for drinking it. “I’m trying to build a new world here!” he shouted repeatedly. “This isn’t right! This isn’t the new world!”

After voicing his indignation to the woman at the well and giving her an ass-wiped dollar bill for which to stuff up her own aqua-rustling rectum, he further retaliated by removing all of his clothes until significant attention was brought to the manner and rectified. Although Freddie has been recently hired as a nude male model, and probably welcomed the chance to work out his final jitters, festival organizers, as liberal as they may seem, were not too keen on having his jumblies out and about like that, and managed to acquire a splitter so that free water was available for all with the option of paying more for that which was filtered. After putting his clothes back on, Freddie also went back to apologize and make peace with all he had offended and got a gallon of free filtered water out of the deal. I was very proud of him.

Earthdance – Looking Around the Corner

This is part 3 of an 8 part series…

We finished building the Labyrinth shortly after 6pm. Our new neighbor Mannie was incredibly helpful, and it was a joy to experience that kind of community. Van and Darcy added the final signage of welcomes, directions, and warnings, and The Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path was born again.

hmf2013 labyrinth19We had to take a longer break than we wanted after constructing the first twenty pieces, but after the battery for the screw gun I have been borrowing from my dad for the last several months (which, ironically, he bought so that he would have an extra battery), we got back to work on the assemblage. We’ve already had a few sojourners who have had really affirmative responses. We even had someone paint on it before we’d had it fully assembled.

Though no one really showed up for the playshops at the designated time, as I said, the entire weekend is one long playshop. I get to sit under my tent for the next day or so, handing out paint, writing, and watching a new world emerge around me. Watching Earthdance for the second time from a totally new perspective, while comparing it also to Gratifly, is giving me a lot of ideas on how to structure the Yule Awaken festival by creating a mobile model of The Flow Factory and a working model of ABC2 Economics.

Earthdance – Preparing for Transformation

This is part 2 of an 8 part series…

The first night, Freddie, Misha, and I went out and toured the grounds, checking out the other stages and hugging everyone we met. The vibe is a little different than it was at Gratifly. Although both festivals extol electronic music and the use of various chemicals to elicit tastes of higher consciousness, there is not yet the feeling of openness and unconditional love that we felt in the South Carolina mountains. Nevertheless, the three of us are going to do all that we can to cultivate that feeling and are devoted to hug as many people as we can to help it grow.

LabyrinthGratifly2Knowing that we were going to have a full day of finishing the installation of the Labyrinth and hosting two playshops, we went to bed fairly early to get a good night’s sleep before bursting into complete celebration mode. Although we are technically situated in the “quiet camp,” we are on the loud end of the quiet camp, which puts us right at the spot to hear the music from both stages simultaneously, creating an unsynchopated rhythm that’s not quite easy to sleep to. Fortunately, I am a master at sleeping, and after I emptied my bladder around 4:30 in the morning to find that both stages were still active, I still managed to drift off and get some dreaming done before I felt the sun coming through the tent.

The sun had just peeked up over the horizon as I stood outside and it warmed my face. Closing my eyes, I could still feel the sun energizing me through my eyelids. Breathing my way through each of my chakras, I grounded myself into the cool grass and aligned myself with All That Is in order to have a fortuitous day of creativity and community building. For although this particular community will only be together for a few days, I believe that the bonds which are created here will be spread to wherever we may go afterwards and help form the basis for the world that will emerge from it.

Like Gratifly and the many Burning Man spin-off festivals, Earthdance is billing itself as a transformational festival. This means that the intention is not merely to come here to dance and get high, but to work on improving our personal connection to Source so that we may each transform into the people we feel ourselves called to be in order to make the changes necessarily in the world around us. For me, The Unbroken Path and the messages we have to deliver through our playshops are vital to that transformation.

While the intent of the festival is for transformation, which requires discipline and focus, it is still a festival so the moments of focus are more happened upon throughout the revelry than tied to a set schedule. Though we arranged schedules to offer our playshops, due to the lateness of our arrival and the absence of programs to inform people about the playshops in order to preserve paper and save trees, we have come to simply view the entire weekend as The Journey of the Unbroken Path Playshop, interspersed with celebrations of creativity, conversation, citizenry, and collaboration as we realize our return to joyful living through our emotions, our thoughts, our activities, and our connection to Spirit. Basically, our camp is a mobile version of the Flow Factory as Misha works on the syllabus and I enter words into my iPhone on my laptop desk as we await the screws to assemble the Labyrinth.