This is a clarion call sounding, to those who have ears to hear it. It heralds each embarkment on a great adventure, older than the standing stones, newer than the morning. The intrepid travellers have brought their separate paths of spirit and science full circle, and they have come together again. Each has benefitted by the specialized pursuit, reaching greater heights of effect than such one-sided studies could attain in understanding. Now is the time for synthesis, and the inter-twining paths, where each discovery is an illumination, casting light on all that has been learned. Here on the frontier a truth restated is as new as a truth created, and truths are as thick as the stars of the sky, and the trees of the wood.
Let Starwood echo that clarion call.
The Starwood Festival 1982
Above us ride the Heavens, Realm of the Divine:
Below us stands the Earth, realm of the Divine:
And where they meet, a special, Magickal place...
A year ago the children of Heaven and Earth met for a joyous celebration, a Festival of Wonder. We attended classes, shared ideas, played music, and danced the Circle 'round. We tasted and exchanged dreams of golden pasts and shining futures, and played in the warm summer sun of a wonderful Now. As the Wheel has turned full-circle, let us gather once again where Heaven and Earth are one.
The Starwood Festival 1982
To paraphrase Mr. Spock, the beauty of the universe lies in it's infinite diversity, and the way those differences combine to convey meaning.
And so we are made of the eternal dichotomies of diversity and unity, separation and unification, interdependent components of all human experience. The study of our complex universe requires dissection, focus, and examination, while the appreciation of our universe requires synthesis, integration, and comprehension of the whole, as the colors and weave and texture of the individual threads combine to create a tapestry conveying meaning beyond the minutiae of the threads' interactions, when viewed from a more encompassing perspective.
One only truly learns about a phenomenon through experience, and each new perspective allows us a whole new experience of the perceived subject, as an aerial view of a geographical area affords an understanding of the relation between features of the landscape unavailable and sometimes incomprehensible to an earthbound traveller. Even the experience of "aerial view", to picture in your mind a place as a being capable of flight might see it, is a consciousness-expanding ability open to anyone today, but once reserved only to those who, through the magicks of the mind, could create the experience for themselves without the need for vehicles for the body. Once the perspective is experienced, it becomes a part of one's personal universe.
And so, as science and magick and spiritual pursuits all share the message that all we perceive is a dance of energy, and all energy is one, we, the seekers, expand the diversity of our perspectives, deepening and widening our appreciation of all that is in its manifestations, thereby expanding our universe itself in every way we can know it. By delving deep within ourselves, evolving ourselves through our experiences, our world grows within us like the trees of the woods, ever changing, ever branching, standing tall beside each other, branches intertwining, leafy questing fingers reaching for the distant stars.
Welcome to Starwood
The Starwood Festival 1983
A special time and place has come upon us, a yearly gathering when the barriers thin, where the dividing lines between worlds are less certain. People throughout history have been frightened at such times, of the glimpses they caught of open doors and that which lies beyond them. The Wise Folk, it is said, revelled at such times for that same reason, for the passage between worlds has always been their greatest adventure.
As we walk through the world, we tend to think of ourselves, the part of us which is our selves, as "being" about five feet from the ground. This is because we know of the world through our senses, and our bodies hold our primary sensory organs in our heads at about this height. It is where our attention is that we think of ourselves as being; but this is an illusion. So, too, is the solid nature of the Earth beneath our feet, and the objects which surround us, an illusion, for though we feel shape and substance, science finds only a dance of energy fields whirling in place. And since we perceive time only from moment to moment, past into future, we think of time as a one-directional thing and ourselves to occupy only a single instant of it, with only memories left of the instants which have passed; but this, too, is an illusion.
That which we truly are stands at once in many worlds and many times; it is our attention, our perception of what is that makes us see only one world, one moment. During moments of heightened awareness, or using devices designed to pick up sounds and radiations which our ears and eyes are not equipped to detect and interpret into audible and visual signals, or through our ability to fantasize, extrapolate, visualize, and create, we suddenly become aware of the immensity of that which exists beyond our personal real, and habitually assumed, limitations. As we expand our awareness beyond the limits of our attention, and through magick, science, and imagination beyond the limits of our sensory "hardware" and bio-cybernetic "software", we surmount the barriers of time and space as we know them.
Come walk the circle among the worlds with us, and share a special time and place where nature embraces the infinite.
Welcome to the Starwood Festival.
The 1984 Starwood Festival
Incredible as it may seem, another year's turning has come 'round, bringing us through the seasons of harvest and quiet reflection, through the time of new growth and emergent dreams, to the summer, the days of high manifestation. And we have danced this circle path, weaving our own music into time's tapestry, bending the circle-dance upward by the rising and advancing of the spirit into a spiral reaching towards the Heavens.
As we reach for the stars, seemingly so close at hand, no higher than the branches of the trees beside us, we learn that the truth of things is not always what it seems to be. And so we learn to look beyond our eyes, to direct our energies to that which is truly within our reach.
Then, as our quest approaches its goal, we find our own selves. We find that we have created our own limitations, and that the path of our journey leads deep within. And there we learn that just as the height of the stars exceeds our first understanding, so the extent of our reach transcends our imagined limits.
Finally we see that the stars are, indeed, no further from reach than the branches of the trees beside us.
The 1985 Starwood Festival
There are four elements of which all things are composed: Earth, Air, Fire and Water; and the fifth element, Spirit, encompasses and transcends them all.
No phenomenon can maintain stability without a balance of all four elements. No work can last for five years, or five seconds, without stability. So it follows that Starwood has had its share and more of each of the elements: Earth, in Summer's green abundance and the land's geographical winders, Air ringing with the sounds of Man and Beast and the soaring flight of hawks, Fire in the bonfire's flames etched against the night and in the Sun's golden rays, and Water placid in the lake's cool depths or arcing and sparkling in the waterfall's spectacular plunge. And since Starwood is, indeed, a work, each of these elements have had their joyous participants; walking the land, filling the air with song, dancing the fires of night and basking in the day's sunshine, swimming in the lake and slaking the inner thirsts in meditation in the waterfall cavern.
This is the fifth annual Starwood festival, and as there is a fifth element, nothing can explain the continued success of the event but an ample share of it as well, a very special Spirit which animates Starwood with it's own Magic. And the work of that Magic is not alone in the walking and singing, the dancing and swimming. It is Love, the very special love shared by the Starwood family, a tribe that sustains itself like the ancient woods throughout the long year, blossoming each Summer in an explosion of starry eyes and shared smiles.
Come, Share the Magic. Come to Starwood.
The Starwood Festival 1987
Certain images occur over and over in the mythologies of various spiritual paths across the ages, across the world. Jung, Graves, Crowley, Adler, Gardner, Wilson, and many others have noted such archetypical re-occurrences as the Dead-and-Risen God, the Hero, the Tree of Life, the Flood, the War at the End of Days, the Mischief God, and many more.
One image that has always fascinated me is the Elemental Creature. It is usually depicted as a Dragon or Winged Serpent, although among the Native Americans the Thunderbird shares this office. In decorative art on both sides of the Atlantic, it's power often manifests in a spiral motif, and the being's body is sometimes distorted beyond recognition in complex knotwork and spiralling border illumination on sacred artifacts.
The Ancients viewed the energy of the Earth winding from one place of power to another, tracing "lay-lines across the face of the continents. Processions following this "Dragon-track" were observed all across Europe and Asia, and there is evidence that the same principles were followed in the selection of sites for sacred monuments, temples, and other religious and magical places even in the New World.
As new cultures moved in and supplanted, to varying extents, the indigenous beliefs of the folk in Europe and Asia, their members built their altars and temples along these same traditional paths, even choosing for the Gods they consecrated these places to the ones in their pantheons whose characteristics most closely matched the old Gods. Sometimes edifices were built over or around older structures.
In modern times these images of spiral energy and the Dragon-path are still honored in different ways: in the lyrics of Neo-Pagan song and poetry, in Dragon-processions in China, Japan, and other places from the Orient to Chinatown, in decorative art around the world, and in the rich imagery of fantasy literature.
The Dragon winds it's way to Starwood. In the many colors painted by the rich variety of man's beliefs and views of it, a symbol of Change balanced by the Eternal it has become. Everlasting its place in our lore, Chameleonic its virtues and attributes, Divine its light we follow as, through us, the winding force of Earth and the wings of Heaven's flight link in spiral symmetries.
Join us all: Magick, Music, Fire and Folk.
It is Festival! It is Starwood!
The 1989 Starwood Festival
Starwood is known for its diversity. For five special days of the year Magic embraces Science, Mind dances with Body, East meets West, and realities spiral together through Earth and Sky. How can one express the Work being done, which only in the doing can be comprehended?
The dictionary defines synergy as "The action of two or more systems or organisms to achieve an effect of which each is individually incapable." It is an attractive concept; a term we use often. It symbolizes our fascination with the spaces between the paths, and the discoveries possible within them, just as two separate parts of a jigsaw puzzle when brought together suddenly define the missing pieces, and seemingly meaningless parts of the puzzle promptly reveal their places in the whole. This is certainly part of our intent.
But there is another more specialized definition of synergy: "The doctrine that spiritual revival or rebirth requires a combination of human will and divine grace". This is a major part of the Great Work, and it requires a co-operative balance between the worldly and the heavenly.
The Rose and Comet symbol depicts the meeting of these two realms; the Rose is the Life of Earth ascending, the Comet descends from the Heavens to meet it. Yet, just as in the underlying Yin-Yang, each contains something of it's opposite.
Deep within the growing rose whirls a universe of particles, sub-atomic solar-systems dancing in time to the ones we know, microcosm reflecting macrocosm. Deep within the comet's tail scientists have found water crystals bearing the beginnings of organic molecules; comets, they theorize, may seed planets with life a-borning, the inanimate giving birth to the animate, macrocosm begetting microcosm.
Perhaps this second definition is not the more specialized. Perhaps the real Work of Starwood is the Dance, different elements moving in harmony, balancing each other, sharing: water shimmering across stone, bonfire flames entwining with smoke, voices and spirits raised together, and stars adorning the branches of the woods.
Come to Starwood and Discover.
The 1990 Starwood Festival
It's incredible to look back at a decade of Chameleonic activities: ten Starwoods, seven WinterStars, and dozens of other events. Things change.
Ram Das, the well-known spiritual teacher, came to town a few weeks ago. He said, "If you liked the '60s, you'll love the '90s." Tim Leary, who visited last fall, told us, "The '90s are going to make the '60s look like the '50s." With the Berlin Wall consigned to well-deserved oblivion and the 20th Anniversary of Earth Day sparking renewed awareness in our irreplaceable environment, optimism is abroad in the land.
When this whole thing began, optimism wasn't fashionable. Networking was as much for protection as for co-operation; huddling together for fear of reprisals against the courageous non-conformists. Starwood was the exception, rather than the rule - a special festival where we celebrated our differences and revelled in the opportunity to share our diverse paths. We were ahead of our time.
Yet the more things change, the more they stay the same. We stand at the brink of the Century's last decade, looking for direction. The seeds planted in the '70s have sprouted and grown, tiny saplings now a forest, a community of trees, roots firmly established, branches reaching for the stars. The future is a fertile place, more inviting to progress and growth than ever before. There are dangers, true, but also great hope.
Let us all bring our music... our laughter... our wisdom and joy... to the greatest Starwood ever. Let us launch ourselves, ever forward, ever together, towards Discovery.
It's Festival Time!
The 1991 Starwood Festival
Stars adorn our works and writings "in the movement" (these many movements) much as they do the night, and there's something a little wonderful and a little Magical about that. Stars are very beautiful; tiny sparks of glory against a black and empty sky, yet at the same time huge, fiery, magnificent. They have a certain beckoning quality that urges us to attain new heights, travel great lengths, onward, chasing a star.
The stars we can become beckon across Time like their sisters do across Space. That glimpse of our potential we sometimes catch calls for the rising and advancing of our spirits.
But there are special times when wonder sings in the woods, when We and Nature and This Moment Now shine hot and green and bright as any star. Then Life beckons the future to Her side, and All Join in the Dance!
Come to Starwood.
"Ten Thousand Gypsies swirling together...
An offering to the Sun in the name of the Weather!"
The 1992 Starwood Festival
The Direction of our reaching
The Quest for Light vitalizes us,
But let us not forget our roots,
And let us welcome those great ones
For we are grown to be their peers,
Celebrate with Starwood!
The Starwood Festival 1993
Life climbs upwards like a rambling rose, born of a celestial spark in the heart of a seed, nurtured by a maternal biosphere, driven by an unknown imperative, to greet the light of sun and star and open sky...
Heaven whirls in a balanced rhythm, the Earth in perfect step, constellations meeting occult appointments, comets making the rounds, spiralling across an imaginary center, a symphony in an electromagnetic key...
Earth and Sky, Matter and Energy, Life and Space dance in Time, wrapping themselves in each other... and we, their children, Stardust, Golden, dance the inner secret rhythms and the cosmic glory... a festival beyond compare!
Come to Starwood
The 1994 Starwood Festival
Quantum theory seems to imply that each time a choice is made between one alternative and another, the road less travelled or the common path, both choices are taken in a sense and two diverging realities are constantly created, and each continuum truly exists in the Multiverse our reality is part of. Mystics might picture this process as an ever-branching tree, growing in magnificent complexity, each branching-place marked by the starry spark of a Magical act; and if our actions cause new universes to exist, then We are the Creators of those Universes!
We meet again in celebration. Branching realities intertwine, creative energies dance and spark between. Divinity glitters like diamonds in three-billion-year-old carbon...
We are Starwood...
We are Golden...
The 1995 Starwood Festival
It takes all kinds to make a Whole;
The Starwood Festival 1997
Listen! To sap running through stems,
That the World is Alive and We are Within Her, Evolving even Now,
When you Hear the Beat, you're Near the Very Heart!
Come to Starwood!