So I’m just back from nearly a week in Toronto, seeing my People and my extended leather family/phamily, and it’s been a wonderful thing. I mean, yes, I’ve got “Con Crud” with the sore throat, slight fever, and runny every-damn-thing that go with it, but it was still a wonderful thing.
Every year there’s a current of Woo that runs through Harvest. A lot of us aren’t Woo People – either because we’re atheist-skeptic types who want nothing to do with that stuff, or because we’re “Woo Adjacent” but understand it in psychological/physical terms rather than magical/mystical/spiritual/religious/energetic terms, or because their particular Faith does Woo differently from the pagan weird-ball types that crave this kind of ritual – but a tremendous number of us are Woo People, are witches and tantricas, TCM & Reiki practitioners, warlocks and Wiccans and Heathens, who make up this subsection of my People who need to put our roots down in this space/Space together.
And we did ritual this year: On purpose, and as a group.
Now, before I get into it, I want to just acknowledge that some of the venue rules (no open flames, essentially) were broken, and I’m not okay with that. I understand the importance of having Actual Fire in this kind of ritual, both because it’s a ritual about desire and because there’s nothing like candle light in this digital/electronic world to open the doors in people’s minds that say “we’re outside of the every-day now”. But in ritual space it really is the thought that counts, and I know that. A flickering LED “tea light” in a red glass cup, blessed and dressed appropriately will accomplish the same ends (I’ve had way too many moments of “Oh, yeah, you don’t need to blow this one out” to not know that they make really excellent stand-ins for wax candles) without putting us at risk of losing our ritual/play/learning space or our opportunity to keep doing rituals like this in this space.
So there was that.
The ritual itself was pretty amazing.
Given what I’ve been studying over the past year or two, I was able to recognize a lot of the threads that went into it (or relate what went into it to stuff I’ve been studying… I won’t know which is which until I’ve had a chance to swap book lists with a couple of awesome femme witchy types, but still). I saw elements of Reclaiming, of Barbara Carellas style Tantra, of (Blue Star?) Feri, of Wild Wood ecstatic techniques, as well as touches of martial arts sparring that had been retooled into something more erotic and dance-like, and breathing techniques that I recognize from my own (rather rusty) singing practice. There was a lot of body work and some trust/touch stuff happening as well.
I cried through a lot of it, which is not surprising.
The over-arching work of the ritual was to create a sigil that called up/in your deepest desire. I won’t tell you what mine is (clearly), but I feel like I’ve taken another step towards putting myself all the way back together again, which is a good thing. What surprised me was how easy it was to come up with a sigil for this particular working. Usually I draw a total blank when it comes to stuff like that, so I’m taking the ease of that creativity as a good sign.
Beyond that, my partner for one of the body exercises told me she had a good time “meeting my horned beast” and her words shot through me because I know where my horned beast lives. Walk onto my shadow-bus and he’s in the front row, sometimes with a bull’s head, sometimes with a boar’s. It was kind of like having a puzzle piece slot into place, like… “Oh! That’s who you are, that’s where you fit. That’s what this face in the basement of my brain relates to in how I live and what I do.”
I mean, I have no clue what to do with that information, exactly, but… at least I have that information. Y’know?
The other thing that happened, that was big enough to be picked up on by other people (I think, going by the comments one of my friends made after the fact) was that, during the energetic washing portion of the ritual, I called in water to wash me over, and she came. Like, two BIG waves that bowled me over and rocked me in that rocking-in-the-spirit kind of way.
So it was big. And I got to sing. And I have a piece of the thread we used – symbolic of blood ties – to connect us all together, which I’ve since spun into the yarn that will go into making of the stripes on my fetish shawl (my spinning kit was in the room, pretty-much by accident, for the whole thing which, like… I feel like that was a necessary thing as well as a happy accident, y’know?) so things are… coming along and doing what they need to do to be what they need to be. Which sounds kind of weird, when I write it down, but there it is.
My wife was waiting for me when I came out, and I asked her “are you getting anything off of me right now?” and she told me I was glowing like a lighthouse and “Oh, god, the photons”. Which kind of matched how I was feeling, so it’s nice to know it wasn’t just me… y’know?
So that was the (deliberate) holy ground at Unholy Harvest. I hope we get the chance to do it again. ❤
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
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