From Andrew (8/3)
My first Starwood was two years ago, and it was... not exactly a bust, but certainly more than a little strange. I'd come down into the fields for twenty minutes, and then go hide in my tent for two or three hours. I wound up not coming last year. This year, I resolved, things would be different.
I went down to the Roundhouse Monday night, intending to sit and watch
for a while, and then go do something else. Then I remembered that at
my first Starwood, I'd carried water for a while, and I'd met more people
as a result of doing that than anything else. So when the guy in the Roundhouse
got tired of carrying a waterjug, I stepped in, and started doing it myself.
I wound up meeting about a hundred and fifty people over the course of the week; people wanted to know who I was and I wanted to know who they were, and so it worked out great. I met some of the vendors and merchants, and 'ordinary' attendees, kids and adults and teenagers. Some people were desperate for water, and I felt like I was saving lives; some people were doing their own thing and happy to do it. Thanks to Phil, Michael, Joe, Lyle and Ingrid for helping me give out water at the Bonfire. Thanks to Marcus for red suspenders; doing an O with you around the fire was the highlight of my week!
From Kelle (8/9)
When I arrived at Starwood, I found that there were a lot of chaotic
energies running around the site. I had not ever thought to ward my area
at a festival, but my only experience with festivals has been the Earth
Spirit events which are far more closely guarded by the Earth
This is neither good nor bad, it just is.
So, I felt that the site was not warded in a way that I would want to be warded in my down-time, so I set up wards on my campsite, inside each of my tents. I was careful not to exceed my tents themselves (each one had its own ward) so that no one would accidently walk through them and feel uncomfortable (something that happened to me in my initial set-up search for a site, so I'm not the only one casting my own wards). I used physical items (candles for the screen tent and copper balls for the tent) to represent the wards, so that when I packed up, the wards went with me. In this way, I protected myself from the energies that I didn't want to be part of.
Thus, my life was not interrrupted by spirits, or statues, or anything
else I didn't consciously choose to become a part of. I have made the
mistake in years past of being on land with magickal people and not warding
my space. In those instances I had very disturbed sleep and
Just my two cents. - Kelle
From Kevin 8/13
This year I had the pleasure of attending my first Starwood Festival as well as having the honor of being able to perform as a musician on the main stage with the Dirty Mothers on Thursday. Unfortunately, the time slot that our band was given was not very conducive to video projection, as we played at noon for a crowd of about 10 or 11 people in 100-degree heat. I am not complaining about the experience at all, it's just that I was kind of expecting a better turn out at a festival that is attended by thousands of people. Even though the performance was not what I had anticipated, the festival more than made up for the disappointing turnout for our show.
I must say that I have never seen anything like this place anywhere, nor will I probably ever. The culture shock that ensued when I first stepped foot on to the grounds of Brushwood was enough to completely disorient me. I was immediately stripped of all the pretentiousness of modern industrial society and thrust in to a strange world of nudity and excess, which I learned to thoroughly enjoy. That is not to say however that the first night was not difficult. In fact I was quite sure that I would go completely insane with the incessant drumming and chanting, but I soon learned that if one becomes intoxicated enough, one can sleep through just about anything.
It only took a short while before I became accustomed to such things as public shower facilities (which I aptly named the "prison showers") and shitting in a plastic outhouse. These things became quite normal over the course of the week and I even learned to strengthen my resolve enough to survive and even to thrive in this environment, which was so alien to me at the time.
However, I must say that the overall experience of Starwood made these minor inconveniences insignificant. I was stunned at the magnitude of beauty that I encountered at almost every turn. It was impossible to walk the grounds of Brushwood without encountering something on a nightly basis that made me want to break down and weep for the overwhelming joy of it all.
I remember specifically, the first time I entered the roundhouse to participate in the activities there. The solid rhythm of the drummers and the languid movements of the dancers as they encircled the fire enthralled me. I remember clearly that it was about 9pm when I entered the roundhouse, and after paying my respects at the altar I picked up my drum and got in to the groove of the rhythm. As I began drumming with the others I noticed that the beat became everything. It sort of sucked me in like a maelstrom and held me in a place that was without fatigue, pain, or any physical limitation. I became one with my instrument and with everyone present as well as with some other indefinable force that seemed to be draped over everything. I was truly lost in this trance for many hours. The next thing I became aware of was the light in the sky growing brighter. It was then that I realized I had been drumming all night and when I looked around there was hardly anyone left in the roundhouse, yet the intensity of the energy there never diminished. This was truly one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced and I can't really explain how it felt adequately in words.
I was also fortunate enough to happen upon a sight that filled me with joy at the possibilities that exist in this place. This incident occurred while stumbling around one evening, bottle of mead in hand, looking for more libations. I happened across a fire circle (don't remember where I was exactly) around which were belly dancers. The most calming and soothing music I have ever heard was emanating from this circle and the dancers were simply breathtaking. I'm not sure how long I stayed to watch, but they had finished and were leaving when I finally decided to do the same.
I also must say that this trip would not have been nearly as fun if not for the generous hospitality and warm friendship of the COPA. These are some of the most beautiful and insightful humans I have ever had the joy of befriending, and I would just like to thank Ken, Al, Aspen, Mark, and everyone in the COPA for making this an extremely entertaining and hilarious time. These guys definitely know how to use humor to make it through the hardships of life, and when things got rough for me these guys always made me smile or laugh, or just plain forget about whatever it was that was bothering me. That, and these guys knew how to have FUN. I never thought I would ever find myself clad in nothing but tinfoil dancing around a 3 story bonfire, following a man in a gorilla suit and a disco ball chanting COPA, COPA, COPA . I love these guys.
I was definitely able to bring back some valuable lessons from this experience, which I would like to share.
1. Life is too short to take everything seriously all the time. Lightheartedness is just as important as anything else, and we all have to remember to have a good laugh every once in a while.
2. It is possible for a community to live in peace and harmony without restrictive rules and overbearing enforcement or policing. If left to their own devices, people do not go in to some sort of destructive frenzy, but behave more like family and treat each other with love and respect. This realization gives me great hope for humanity and the future direction that people should move to make this type of community oriented living (unburdened by bullshit bureaucracy and laws) possible in our every day lives.
As a final note, I would like to thank ACE, and everyone else who made this possible. I will definitely be back next year and many years to come.
Blessings to all,
From Heather 8/18
- Heather Kyle
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