I want to tell you about the most magical night of my life. It is so rare to experience it, and it was so wonderful, that I want to share it with you.
Looking up through the tipi smokehole, I didn’t actually see the moon; we had to go out of the tipi to see it. But the moon’s energy was definately suffusing everything we did. Our chants and music making was magical and honored the divine.
Recently, I went camping with a group of pagans for Litha, which is the midsummer sabbat. I have attended many rituals and most of them have been lovely. I have bonded with a good group of friends and meditated with them. However, none of those wonderful, lovely times compare with this particular time. This one tops them all in the way the group jived and grooved with each other, and how we worshiped the divine together.
I think the astounding magical time we had bubbled and frothed and expanded from several ingredients. First of all, not only was it Litha, it was also the full moon, and supposedly a moon that appeared closer to Earth than at other times during the year. Second of all, everyone there have good heads on their shoulders, are relatively sane and smart, and are overall good people.
This was in the mountains of Colorado, and it was a particularly beautiful summer day, with meadow flowers blooming, everything green, and yellow swallowtail butterflies flittering about. I arrived mid-day and greeted the people there. The adults were hanging out and chatting, and the kids were running around and playing. I set up my tent, and though I had very little to carry in from my car, the priest (I think of him as a good ol’ boy nice grandpa type) got the kids to help me carry my stuff in. So nice. He also helped me put it up even though I had thought I could do it on my own. (It was also nice that he didn’t come in to help until I really needed it!)
Anyway, I had brought my hula hoops, and after hanging out a bit chatting with people, I took them out and shared a hoop with a new friend. We hula hooped a while, with much heckling from Gramps. Though the heckling didn’t seem to bother my new friend, much.
A little while later, I was invited to help plan for the ritual. We all agreed pretty readily on things and it went pretty quickly; our priestess (who is a lovely lady) had already planned out most of it, and still asked for our input on various aspects. One lady there volunteered to organize the kids in gathering items for the altar to symbolize the elements, as well as pencils and tags. I volunteered to welcome Mother Gaia. Another guy volunteered to welcome the Oak King and Holly King. And others volunteered to ‘call in’ the elements. There were more roles and planning and details to be ironed out, and in about half an hour, we were done.
After the planning session, the priestess and I got chili going. She had all the ingredients ready; I helped her open cans and dump in the beans and her other ingredients, and we took turns stirring and keeping the cooker going. I’d hula hoop, stir, sit and chat, stir, hula hoop, and so on, until it was done. I felt quite witchy (double double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble) stirring the pot, and quite fairy-like while hooping. As we cooked the food, more and more people came and in the end, we had about 20 people and about 5 kids.
We ate the yummy chili, with cheese and sour cream and pitas or chips, and hung out and chatted. (Much chatting to be had at this event, not unusual for a pagan event!)
Then we gathered in a small little meadow for our ritual. I won’t go into the ritual too much, ‘cuz my point here isn’t to educate you all about rituals, but I want to come to the point of what was magical and wondrous about it. A little perk for me was that a guy I consider sexy and cute stood next to me. He’s taken though, so I won’t pursue it, but it was still a perk. The group energy was soft and loving, everyone appreciating each other and finding each other special and precious. Everyone was relaxed and and most were smiling at least Mona Lisa smiles, some more, and some less. Everything went pretty smoothly and everything we said, we meant. We held hands and some hugged. It was overall just lovely. Someone also called Pan into the circle, and as it happens, we forgot to say goodbye to Pan at the end. I believe that’s another lovely element to the magical times that ensued afterwards.
After a little break, we started gathering in a tipi that someone had brought and set up. The man and woman who owned the tipi were just lovely people, the types you meet and are instantly showered by their peaceful love, and you just know they love just about everyone they meet. I had brought my drum (which is a djembe, an African drum), my water, and a thick hoodie to the tipi. Another guy I had just met who has a lovely peaceful energy and I were first in the tipi. We drummed and chatted as more people came in. He had brought a didgeridoo. More and more people filtered in until we had about 15 people in there, and it had a fire pit in the middle and a hole in top of the tipi for the smoke. We were a little bit crowded, but it was cozy. We sang and chanted and drummed and at first it was like other drum circles I’ve been in – getting some good rhythms going. Then it evolved into something unexplainable.
The group energy became one and we tranced and worshipped the divine as one. It was like we were transported as a group to another plane of reality, among the stars. I have never experienced anything like that while chanting or drumming before. Well, not quite like that. I have felt like I have ‘touched’ the divine while dancing. But nothing like this. It was beautiful. We hummed and made noises and sang and did whatever we felt called to do to contribute to the music, and it was just out of this world.
The priest and priestess were a little distance away, deep in discussion as they sometimes get, discussing business of the group, when they heard the sound of our magic-making. They were drawn to the tipi, so they tabled their discussion for another time, and joined us. The priestess especially joined in and started some other chants she knew. Then she said “We’ve got to go out and sing to the moon!” So everyone filtered out and stared and loved at and sang to the moon. I was drawn to the side in a conversation with someone as this was happening. Some of the group went off… and came back naked. I just had to laugh. They had become “skyclad” for the moon and were full of moon energy. It was lovely. But it was cold out! I have no idea whether I would have stripped down if I had been with them- maybe a little but not quite so much- I don’t like being cold!
They went back into the tipi and I excused myself from the conversation and joined them. We all drummed and sang some more, and I joined in their nakedness by stripping off my top. The energy of everyone was very respectful and loving, no ‘meat market’ feel at all; it was just beautiful. People singing to each other “We honor you, we empower you to be what you are… I am a strong woman, I am a story woman, I am a healer, my soul will never die; We honor you we empower you to be what you are; I am a strong man, I am a loving man, I am a warrior, my soul will never die…We are an old people, we are a new people, we are the same people stronger than before…” and then we settled down and the priestess started singing a song about Inanna that I remembered learning when I lived in Iowa. We started singing it together… when someone fell face first in the fire because he was … drunk and sleepy. He was O.K. though, people around him caught him in time and escorted him to his tent. That kinda killed the vibe (!) which was alright; so we all filtered out. Some went to bed, and some of us gathered on the way to our tents to sing some more with each other.
This time we sang more ‘mundane’ pop culture songs: the owner of the tipi who was also Rainbow gathering person told us about Rainbow gatherings, (which started out of singing Rocky Mountain High by John Denver, which apparently was about the first Rainbow gathering), and we sang all sorts of other songs together. It felt like we were all brothers and sisters and one with the trees, stars and moon.
Finally, I went to my tent and sleeping bag. After that came a fitful sleep of trying to stay warm (lesson learned, bring warm things even in the summertime when camping), and a morning of coffee, some healthy dried fruit and packing up the tent, eventually to drive back home. As usual, the magic vibe stayed with me strongly at first, and now remains as a beautiful memory. I am so blessed to have experienced this in a group of lovely people. I hope this story shares some of the beauty with you and blesses you, too.