Photo Courtsey Oden Wise
Saturday was the day our performance was scheduled. I went up to the stage area and rehearsed for several hours before the show acquainted myself with the area. Making sure there were no hidden potholes or mud slicks as I am a dancer and tend to cover a lot of ground.
Later that even we had the interesting task of face painting and doing stage make up in the dark. I am personally still on a learning curve when it come to touring the festival circuit. Many things are taken for granted are simply not available unless you bring them yourself.
Boots laced and face painted we headed up to the main stage area. It had been a while since I had been on stage and my nerves felt it. I took a minute to visit with my Goddess and put my performance in her hands. To protect my safety as I was burning with fire and to protect my ankle as it had been trying to turn all weekend.
Charge with the energy of my goddess I took the stage like a lion on the hunt and my music didn’t start. So I started to dance to the tune in my own head until the sound difficulties were figured out and picked up wherever my choreography had left off.
In my second number I lit part of my skit which is always a probably when dancing with fire in loose flowy clothing. I caught the flame out of the corner of my eye and spun in a circle twice and the movement put the flame out. All part of the show folks. All part of the show This is why it is important to wear fire safe clothing.
After we were done performing Leo Starwind took the stage and sang. It had been several years since I had the fortune to share a stage with him. I sat out by the huge ritual fire and jammed along with him singing along. When he retired from his set the drummers all broke out their drums and I on my stage high wanted to dance my merry little heart out around the fire. I decided to go back to out camp to switch into my tennies as my fire boots have a slight heel to them and and my ankle was already being cranky from the uneven ground. I switch out to my old trusty knock off converses that I have had for years and start heading back to the stage and the main ritual fire where everyone was gathered. Behind the stage they had put in cobble stones so the area would not be a mud pit and one came loose on me as I was only feet away from my destination. My ankle had been trying to give on my all weekend and it finally had enough. I went down. This time it wasn’t so bad nothing like when I hurt it in the parade. I think it simply just had enough. I hobbled over to the ritual fire and didn’t say anything but I was pouty that I could not now dance. I finally let it be known that I hurt my ankle when I was asked to be the Valkyrie in the Symbol and I had to refuse because I couldn’t really walk.
I made it back to camp assisted by all my lovely family new and old. In the morning since I could not help break down camp and pack. I decided to cook for everyone using up all the food that would not make the trip back.
On the first morning we get up bright and early to start to set up our camp. We move our tent into the what will become known as the Trickster's camp and begin the process of unpacking. By early afternoon we have Merch set up and our sleeping arrangements made up comfortably. I was feeling off as my sugars were high, I hadn’t slept well and my eating schedule had gotten thrown off with the traveling and the late set up. Fyrbyrd and Loki come sweeping in about 3pm after the majority of the work is done. JERKS By this time we had gotten close with Sexy Jesus and his crew of people. While we knew the Sexy Jesus from previous festivals.
When you live in a communal living space brought on by hard camping, no running water, no electricity of any kind. You bond with people quickly, part out of necessity do to the harshness of conditions and part out of closeness. By the end of the event we were trading, giving and sharing all we had. It was this openness that made what could be a miserable time of being cold and hungry in the woods into a loving, warm, amazing experience. There was 10 of us all chipping in where we could all helping each other out whether it was sharing food, gathering wood to keep the cook fire going, taking turns cooking to feed everyone.
This is the kind of human companionship that makes festival FESTIVAL. This is the kind of event that when one starts to lose hope in humanity that can renew your faith in people and it is this kind of experience that truly makes you appreciate all the little luxuries like running water and electricity. Oh and the conversations that were had because not single person had cell service!
My two favorite things about the whole experience. The constant tribal drumbeats that stir your blood. The sound just makes you a little wilder and brings that animal part of you a little closer to the surface. The second is all the musician with instruments singing and playing around the campfire just rocking out. Going to concerts is wonderful and amazing but when you get to see that same musician playing for the sheer joy of it and everyone around joining in on the song. Well few things can measure up to that, very few.
Image courtsey of Oden Wise
Fyrbyrd and I at our vend booth with tent city behind us.
We headed out Thursday afternoon after driving all over the city picking up various things that we need for our adventure. We packed Freya (our old blue van) to the gills and set off on our adventure. Upon finally getting on the road for our destination we ran into rush hour and construction traffic on I-44. It was bumper to bumper for over an hour. We sat there singing songs and chit chatting like it was nothing. I curled up under my half open parasol to keep the beating sun off of me as I was starting to burn just sitting in the front seat.
We got into the last 10 miles of our destination as the sun was setting and had to navigate back country roads in the dark all while being followed by a cop. The turn on to Rocky Top Rd was on the right we saw it just in time to pass it. Rocky pulled over and was about to make a you turn when the cops pulls over behind us. We all suck in a breath and hold it. If you can’t tell we haven’t had good luck with cops in the past they tend to not like us hippie gypsy folk. The cop never turned on his Cherries and Berries so we slowly pulled out and looked for a more appropriate place to turn around. We get ourselves sorted and the cop merrily passes us by and we all sigh in relief.
Yet our escapades were not over, we just turned on to the road of DEWM. Back country road all in gravel and it is pitch black then add a 45 degree incline and potholes that would swallow a large dog. Dear freya was loaded down and her poor underbelly was scraping as w e inched down the road just praying we we in the right place and that no genuine damage was happening to the vehicle.
Eventually the road evens out and we come across a mailbox with a red ribbon tied upon it. Red ribbon are definite symbol of Beltaine and thats why we were there *smiles*. “Check the address,” Rocky says and sure enough. This was it. ALMOST there, by this time it was almost 9:30pm at night. We pull in and most of the vendor campsite are taken we still need to set up camp for the night so we can sleep and rest and we were all hungry.
So we picked a spot and started setting up. We have no flashlights I brought fairy lights candles in a jar but this is not bright enough to set up a tent in the dark with. On goes Freya and we use the headlights. Our neighboring campers all come over to help and check on us Newbie campers (were not virgins campers but damn close). I’m used to camping with my troupe or other groups of people and they usually take care of the logistics so this was all pretty new to me and I was grossly under prepared. It took a team effort of all of our neighbors but we got in and settled. Come morning we would end up joining camp with another group of people and creating a tent city, a loving family and a great experience.
Shaman fire fleshing for the first time.
My Gypsy traveling days have began again for the Summer. Festival season was launched by Burner Boot Camp a Fundraising event for Dragon's Gaze Fire Troupe. This event raises money for things like Fire Performer Insurance, New performing equipment and Portable Sound Equipment. You know things that fire gypsies need to be fire gypsies.
It was a damp weekend and we ended up sleeping in the basement of the main house at Serenity Pass instead of camping out. Air mattress to air mattress we had a slumber party as we sat around drinking homemade hooch after a long day of poi and staff spinning in the drizzling rain.
It was a nice relaxing way to start the Festival Season. Spending the day practicing, honing and learning new techniques to my craft. I have gotten to a point where I am comfortable enough with poi that I have decided to pick up and play with staff. I am no where near a perfect poi spinner but when I get stuck or grumpy with a poi move I switch to staff. Coming back to the poi later has helped me and my learning has significantly progressed in both skill levels.
This weekend was all about beginnings and the workshops were for entry level lessons for those wanting to get a taste for the flame. I even managed to get my dispersal down for fire breathing now I need to work on my aim . I did shoot some video this weekend so I will be putting together a teaser clip of the workshops so you can see for yourself what it was like.
Afterwards we all climbed in the packed vehicles and scattered to the four directions back to the daily grind but we will always have the fire and mischief with us.
I am going to start doing the daily life diaries again but I am making no promises for how long I will keep it up. Simply because I will never keep then if I do. However, I have several writing projects with due dates coming up and by writing out my daily life it helps grease the words for my Muse and helps me stay better organized as well. This year is for focusing on my craft and resale business and my writing. I do sorely miss performing but I feel drawn in other directions at the moment. My modeling is taking off more so now than ever and the vending business House Of Cyanide Curios is doing well. It is pleasurable interesting work. It feeds my addiction of shopping and making things while helping to keep a roof over my head. While I miss the stage I believe it is dancing in general that I yearn for. If possible I will try to find a class I can take that may scratch my itch as it were. Part of my problem is I have massive lIfe A.D.D. at the moment. I don’t want to commit to anything. I want to come in enjoy a class and if next week a gig or an opportunity opens up I want to be able to take it and not be committed to a rehearsal. I am also itching for the open road. I want to travel so bad I don’t care if I have to sleep on floors and live out of gas stations. That actually sounds like heaven to me right now *smiles* I want to be free and light. I am slowly selling thru my material possessions as I no longer want to be bogged down by them. The Gypsy Life is calling and I will answer it’s call. I am releasing so much stuff material and immaterial. My soul just wants to soar and it can only do that if it has nothing weighing it down. I am leaving myself open to the universe I want to be the feather floating on its winds.
We all got up early that morning to help cleanup the hall and take down all the decorations. Or I should say everybody else did while I roamed around aimless desperately trying to wake up enough to function. Morning Person I am not.
The after the clean up and breakfast we all went and explored Dragon Cave.
Photo Patrick Brehm
I just noticed that super creepy thing standing just to the right of my freind Amber.
Oustide of the cave. Photo Patrick Brehm
Inside looking out Photo Rocky
Another by Rocky
We were going to have a drum circle and play in the cave all night, but we got ratted out to the parks department shortly after this was taken and we had to leave.
Photo Patrick Brehm
Lunch at Denny's all 20somthing of us at once. We all looked like crap from hiking and no one cared
After regrouping for getting kicked out of the cave we took over a Pavalion by the hotels and partied into the wee hours of the morning.
Photo Patrick Brehm
Loki breathed some fire
Photo Patrick Brehm
FyreByrd danced with Fire
Photo Patrick Brehm
The rest of the night is a blur of Homemade meade and oaths and boosts.
So Traveling whenever a Lokian is involved is always a little bit more of an adventure then one could ask for. After having a communication snafu with our pet sitter, we ended up taking Studley with us. Which led to all sorts of complications, but I will get to that later. Thursday the Boys and Girls split up so Studley, Rocky and Loki whisked off to Meramec State Park, while FyreByrd stole me to her moms house. We spent the afternoon decorating and setting up the Reception Hall, while that evening all the bridesmaids stayed at her moms house. Instead of doing the typical thing and playing with hair and makeup the night before we all custom painted parasol’s. Which is very much a Fyrebyrd thing to do, She and two other bridesmaid’s all graduated with Art degrees from Webster.
This is my Parasol
After the painting was done we celebrated with Pink Wine and Pink Pie at 2am. The pie her Mom made especially for me as I am a diabetic. *smiles*
Photo courtsey of Kaylese
The Morning of the wedding we woke bright and early. The Bride had dashed off to get her hair done and the rain had started to pour. We realized that the paper parasols we had painted the night before would not hold up in the rain. So off to the store dashed her mom and one of the bridesmaids to pick up an aerosol paint protector so that the parasols would not dissolve in the rain. Upon getting to the wedding site we obviously could not have the ceremony where it was originally planned so the reception hall had to be taken down after all the work we had did the night before. Rocky and Loki were joking that if they had to ever move a table again they were going to lose it. So while the boys were reading the ceremony site I quickly did the bride’s make up and my own. (never hurts to have a makeup artist in your bridal party *Smiles*.) So after years of planning and months of preparation the Time had come. During the reception, I snuck away with D and another Bridesmaid to clean the trashed hotel room that the guys had been staying in. *Boys are Gross*
Loki and Ann in the Infamous Hotel room. Photo courtsey Ann
The Dj never made it out because of the tornadoes hitting St. Louis. Soo.. the Reverends brought out their boom box and we danced the night away anyway. FyreByrd later remarked to me that weddings are a lot like shows. You make a plan of what you want, everything goes to hell, You Improvise, Adapt and Overcome. We're pretty used to chaos at this point especially having a Lokian and a Setite around. We seem to thrive on it. And that reminds me of a Joke. “A Lokian and a Setite walk into a Bar.... Hey, where did everyone go?”
Loki and Fyrebyrd got married this weekend. It was a four day affair and those in the bridal party it was more of a week long extravaganza. The above shot is from the offical wedding photoagrapher. Williams and Meyer Photography
The rest of the shots in this post are courtsey of Patrick J. Brehm another professional photographer who was with us throughout the weekend as a wedding guest.
Photo Pat B.
The day after the wedding was clean up day and party day for those that remained and "worked" the wedding I.E. handled everything so the Bride and groom could relax. However it couln't be just any old party no it hand to be done with splash and with Pagan Style like ina Cave.....
Photo Pat B
There are a bunch more photos but they have yet to be uploaded.
The next day was a float trip. Rocky and I begged off because fun in the sun is just not our speed and well we needed some down time.
The last day we visited Riverside Wildlife Center and got to play with all kinds of wild creatures. Like ....
Photo Pat B
Like a Tiger named Jasmine and a baby alligator
Photo Pat B
There are a Ton more photos as there were several professional and sudo professional photags taking pics the whole time. It is just going to take a while for them all to surface. So this is just really a teasor until I can do the big post. Photos courtsey of Williams & Meyer and Patrick Brehm
Home from Epic Pagan weddingness. I'm exhausted and have a huge update for you. I will do that soon. I am going to relax and pass out.
I just got in a couple of hours ago from Serenity Pass. It was a lovely experience shared with some of the most lovely people. The story I am about to share with you may seem like a bad one filled with pit falls, actual falls, and chaos. The beauty of this story and why it is a good one is despite all the obstacles, set backs not only did we endure but we did so happily. None of it ruined the pleasant happy mood, none of it ruined the experience. Despite everything it was a wonderful trip. We banned together, took care of each other because we are a tribe. We are Pack!
Around 12pm, Loki came by my house to pick me up. I was running late since I had gotten in late from Subversion the night before. I was still getting dressed while Loki was loading up the car with my stuff I went thru a couple of double checks to make sure I had everything Kissed Rocky and we were off. The first snafu was communication we had six cars and close to twenty people. After about an hour and half of running around and a thousand phone calls. We are all finally gathered in one place. When one of our cars won’t start, dead battery and it won’t take a charge. So Loki and Fyebyrd take off to the nearest auto parts store and purchase a new car battery. While Lucian performs car surgery in the parking lot. Mean while I am in a cold induced daze in the back seat cough and hacking. The men drop in the battery and we are off. I think just by being around these people I will be a better person. The first group calls us just as we are taking off .... They are already there and needed the address for Serenity Pass, more frantic phone calls and smart phone usage we get the first group situated and we roll in a few hours later. An hour late and we still need to set up camp... Without any to do we roll in the men hop out and set up camp while the ladies unpack the cars and start getting into costume for the parade. Tents are up, beds will have to wait till later... After more cat wrangling and everyone scattering like roaches with the light on. We reach parade grand central and my favorite part of performing the hurry up and wait. The float in front of us was like a sixties hippie float with a full band playing popular cover songs. Every one was jittterying and the temps were dropping fast. We were nervous about lighting up early and running out of fuel we still had a second show to do after the parade. Finally the line in front of us is moving and it was the last chance to use the bathroom so Scarlett Storm and I walking towards the fast-food restaurant we hope will have clean potties discussing how we will not use the Outhouses along the road in Our Gypsy Garb = Layers of skits and pants. Apparently walking and talking are high-functioning mechanics for me because I hit a curb and go DOWN ( Like a high-school Prom Queen). So 10 mins before we start walking a 1 1/2 miles in a 2 hour parade I can no longer stand on my right foot. YEP So instead of spinning fire in my Spiffy Gypsy outfit in front of thousands of people. I am fighting back tears and doing the 1-2-3 breath for pain control. I am asked if I would be up to driving the truck since I can obviously not walk anymore. I jump at the chance to be able to do something to take my mind off the pain and still be able to contribute to the group. I don’t remember much of the parade except seeing Harper’s Cheshire grin in the rear-view mirror. The battery failure was an on going issue. The battery powered air pump would not hold enough juice to air up the mattress so we all made blanket pallets on the ground and huddle up with each other. Upon leaving another car needed to be jumped. Despite everything we all banned together and helped each other out. We all kept our spirits up and had a wonderful trip. I sit here laying in bed with my foot propped up and I tell you IT WAS A GREAT WEEKEND!