Monday, September 24, 2007

A Gathering of Spirits Harvest Festival

Yesterday I drove to Fair Oaks (Sacramento area) for the annual A Gathering of Spirits Harvest Festival honoring Pagan Pride Day. I picked up Dorothea, the PSR student who's doing field work by working with CHS, at the El Cerrito Plaza BART station and headed northeast early in the morning so we could have our tables set up by the time the gates opened. Weather was iffy.

When we pulled the car up to unload, we were greeted by Krom, one of the few Sacramento Pagans I know, who used to be active in the late CCVLC-CoG. It's always nice to encounter someone you already know when you go someplace unfamiliar, which is not to say that everyone wasn't friendly and gracious. They were. Tracy showed us our tables (two, one for CHS and one for me as an author). Brighde had already left her chair and knitting there. In spite of wind and occasional rain, we set up a nice display, pulled back from the edge to avoid drips and splashes, that included not only flyers for CHS, but also for Reclaiming Cauldron of the Valley and Serpentine Music. We arranged several chairs next to, instead of behind, the tables for people to chat about CHS out of the rain.

Our booth, with the CHS banner and the tripart display Brighde made and our fancy new flyers, looked great. I neglected to take photos, even though I remembered to bring my camera. Oh, well, it does me no good sitting in my market basket all day.

Festival organizer WinterSky, wearing a gorgeous golden gown, lead the opening procession, followed by four people holding Elemental masks on sticks, drummers and chanters.

Not a lot of people came to my talk, but then again not a lot of people came to anybody's talk. I think that most of the people there were busy with booths and rituals and other jobs and that the general public hadn't arrived yet because of the weather. This was the first day of a two-day festival, and it rained in the late morning. I think that kept attendance down, even though we enjoyed a glorious sunny afternoon.

We chatted with lots of folks, which was fine with me since one of my favorite things to do is talk with other Pagans -- about what they do, how they do it, what their experiences have been, what training they've had and/or synthesized, how they experience deity, how they are accepted by their neighbors, how public they can comfortably be, and that sort of thing.

The Association of United Pagans, sponsors of the Stanislaus Pagan Pride Day (Modesto) on October 6, had a booth. It was fun to be able to chat with them without the distractions of their having to be running a festival.

I went to most of a talk Michael Gorman gave. Michael's part of Grove of the Oak, a Sacramento OBOD (Druid) group, whom I had on the panel I produced at PSR in '06. Later we attempted to chat, but he was in great demand and being dragged around, and I won't compete for someone's attention. Another time, one would hope.

On a coffee quest shortly after we arrived, I met a lovely woman named Heather. Later I spent a lot of time chatting at her booth. Turns out we have a lot in common; she brought her children up in Marin County. An artist who works in many media, one of Heather's websites is here. I hope to see her again, most likely at the Dickens Faire.

Miria now sells healing stones exclusively, lots and lots of beautiful stones. I learned more about them hanging at her booth. She's a Reclaiming person I like and don't see often because we don't live near each other.

I only had two brief opportunities to check out the vendors and other offerings. Dorothea, Brighde and I took turns, plus Brighde wanted to spend some time with her friends in the Sierra Madrone Grove ADF booth.

I had fun getting to know Dorothea better on the long car rides, and look forward to our drive to Modesto in October.

We left around the time the ADF ritual was beginning. I was exhausted and we had a long drive back to the Bay Area. On the way home we stopped by the Trismegiston covenstead, Book Haven, in Berkeley, where Corby had gone to join in their Equinox ritual, for some post-ritual conversation and comestibles.

1 comment:

Interfaith Today said...

This sounds like a nice quiet DoP ceremony. Thank you for representing the NeoPagan folk. This is the first year in ages I haven't done any interfaith around DoP and I find I missed it. - Rowan