Note: Please check back for updates--this page last updated 26 March, 2013
IMPORTANT: There will be a meeting for prospective ritualists to be held Thursday, April 4, from 6pm - 7pm, at Magnolia's Corner at 4075 NE Sandy Blvd. in Portland! I'll be discussing the ritual in more detail, and we'll discuss who's taking what part, how the ritual will be set up, etc. If you would like to participate but can't make it to the meeting, please contact me.
Other Worlds of Wonder, a Portland-based pagan nonprofit organization, asked me last year to be their ritualist for Sunfest 2013. Every year they have a series of rituals throughout the summer solstice weekend (this year will be June 20-23), all along a particular theme each year, but always focused on the Sun.
This year's theme is "Journey to the Sun". I'll be drawing on my neoshamanic path to present a trio of rituals--Opening, Main, and Closing--throughout the weekend, as well as tending to a sacred fire for attendees to use for their own ritual purposes (in addition to the usual grown-up's party fire, and the teenager's fire). Sunfest has changed locations this year; it will be held at Ffynnon, a privately-owned, pagan-owned wilderness site near Vernonia, OR. In addition to OWOW's page, which will have most of the logistical information like registration, directions, what to briong, etc., this page serves as information for those attending Sunfest 2013, particularly those who will be assisting me in the main ritual on Saturday.
Schedule for the Weekend
Thursday, time TBA: Opening ritual
Thursday night at sunset to Friday at sunrise: all-night drum and dance vigil at the sacred fire pit
Saturday afternoon, time TBA: Main ritual, followed by the traditional Sunfest potluck feast
Sunday early afternoon, time TBA: Closing ritual
In addition to the above, you may contact me about scheduling time to use the sacred fire. (Scroll down to read more about the particulars of this new feature at Sunfest!)
The main ritual this year will be a neoshamanic walking pathworking; this is similar to the "Alice in Wonderland" ritual format used a few years ago. In short, ritual attendees will be walking along a path as a group and stopping at a progression of stations along the way to participate in different parts of the pathworking. (Think of it like a waking guided meditation.)
Without giving away the mystery, I am going to need several people (preferably at least a dozen, but the more the merrier!) to invoke the various beings attendees will be meeting along the way, and therefore be a more active part of creating this sacred rite. All I ask is that you come up with a costume (and you can be quite creative!), memorize a few lines and the basic ritual format (which is relatively simple) and spend the time between now and Sunfest getting to know the being you'll be invoking on your own time. I also would ideally like a couple of ritual guardians to help keep everyone safe through the ritual as we proceed down the path (during the day!) Finally, so as to not spoil the ritual for Sunfest attendees, I ask that participants keep the details of the ritual a secret.
Here's a tentative schedule for preparation:
February: Gather interest and see who wants to participate
Early March: A meeting (maybe two, in case of schedule conflicts) to meet with everyone who is committing to participate to go over the ritual itself and do an initial Q&A session. If you can’t make the meeting(s), or if you found out about this after the meeting(s) happened, you can still participate! However, I really prefer that people do make it just for overall information and so forth.
March - mid-May: I'm pretty hands-off, and there's not a lot of rehearsal needed, so there won't be frequent meetings. This will mostly be your prep time for connecting with your chosen being and making your costume, etc., but you can certainly contact me if you have questions, or if you missed the info meetings and want to be added in. Play with your lines, too, and really feel yourself being that being! If you want me to check in and see how you're doing in person, we can definitely make arrangements, and I will be checking in with people via email/text as well just to see how you're doing.
Late May - mid-June: I would like to have one good rehearsal in this; we can probably do it in an afternoon.
Finally, I understand that life happens and schedules change, but I really need people to be willing to commit to this. While it is possible for me to add and substract people from the ritual without it being untenable, I would prefer if you sign on only if you are pretty sure you can commit to at least being there for the main ritual on Saturday. If you end up being unable to commit after all, please let me know as soon as you can so I can make arrangements otherwise.
As far as logistics for Sunfest, again it will be held out Highway 26 in the coast range near Vernonia. There is supposed to be a very limited shuttle service available from the Portland area, provided by a member of OWOW, though details are forthcoming on that. Please make your first plan to drive and/or get a ride (I will be vending as well that weekend and so I will NOT have the room for passengers). This is OWOW's Facebook page and they should be putting up an event page for Sunfest 2013 soon. You can also ask on the Portland-Vancouver Pagans Facebook page, or the Portland Pagans Yahoo group if you’re coming from Portland. There’s also the Heart of Willamette Pagans facebook and Meetup. Or check within your local community for potential carpools.
Sunfest IS a camping event! Bring your tent (there’s VERY limited room for vehicles and there are no cabins AFAIK), and be prepared for porta-johns and temporary showering facilities. It’s a wonderful mix of open areas and woods with trails in the Oregon coast range west of Portland. The weather should be sunny, but be prepared for possible rain (to include a weather-resistant costume if you’re a ritualist). The nearest grocery store, hospital and other amenities are in Vernonia, which is about 8 miles away. There will be people with first aid training on site. Also, the site is rough terrain, and the trails are not wheelchair-friendly, but if you do want to come and have a health issue or disability you may contact OWOW about possible workarounds and accommodations.
Ffynnon IS privately-owned land, and I ask that you treat it as such. The four people who maintain this site are opening it up to the community; this is their home. Pack your trash out, be kind to the animals, plants, and other denizens, and please don’t bring any substances or other contraband that could potentially get these good people in trouble if the neighbors decide to call the police for any reason. Also, Sunfest IS a family-friendly event and we have a lot of children of various ages running around, so please behave in ways that keep them safe (and if you have kids you’re welcome to bring them with you!)
Sunfest will be $65 per person at the gate, and that’s for the entire four-day weekend (there are ALSO going to be day passes available if you can only show up for Saturday for the main ritual). Registration should be opened up a little later in February, and there will be discounts for early registration! There is NO MEAL PLAN, so bring your own food, and make sure to bring something for the potluck feast on Saturday after the main ritual!
There ARE volunteer and workshare opportunities both before and during Sunfest that you can sign up for if you would like to reduce your admission costs. The main ritual participation is NOT a part of that, as it is something I am heading up as someone independent of OWOW; as I am giving of my time and effort for the spiritual benefit of the community, so I ask that other participants consider their contributions to the main ritual also be a gift thereof.
Contact OWOW if you have any other questions or if you want to participate in volunteering/workshare; the above is all I know for now.
Sunfest started out with a single fire circle in the evenings for drumming, dancing, and kicking back to have some fun. A few years ago they added a fire for the teenagers as the kids were growing up and wanted a space of their own. This year I am introducing a third fire to Sunfest, one that is specifically for ritual purposes. Ffynnon already has a dedicated ritual space where this fire will be built; it will also be the end point for the main ritual. It’s tucked back in the woods for privacy, so if you have any personal rites of passage or other ceremonies that you’d like to use this setting for, I’m happy to help accommodate you--not everyone has access to a lovely outdoor place with a fire pit whenever they like, so this is an opportunity to plan something special if you like.
Apart from the main ritual, I will be acting as an attendant for the sacred fire as it is needed. Thursday night will be the all-night drum and dance vigil, and depending on how I’m feeling I may have the fire open part of the evening Friday and/or Saturday, but again please contact me if you would like to schedule a particular time throughout the weekend to make use of the sacred fire for your own ritual purposes.
As the keeper of the sacred fire over the weekend, there are a few boundaries in place:
--Please DO NOT start a fire in the ritual area without making prior arrangements with me! This isn’t just for spiritual reasons, but also for physical safety! I want to be sure you have everything you need to create a safe as well as sacred fire, and can safely put it to sleep when you’re done. I’ll need to get an idea of how long you’ll be so I can A) make sure you have your privacy but also B) make sure you’re okay! And I’d also like to know what you’ll be doing in case you need any special accommodations or if we need to make sure that it’s okay to do your planned ritual on Ffynnon’s land.
--For the safety and comfort of all people using the site, as well as the shared energy of the ritual circle, I ask that you NOT bring any non-prescription drugs, to include alcohol or nicotine, into the ritual area, especially if there are others there. If you want to drink and smoke, that’s what the grown-up’s party fire is for. This space is set aside specifically for focised ritual work.
--If someone is already using the ritual space, please respect them and don’t interrupt. I’ll be keeping the schedule for the space over the weekend so you can check with me to find out when it’ll be available.
--There will be some times when the sacred fire will NOT be available, mostly due to me needing to recuperate from other things (like Friday morning after the drum and dance vigil). I may be able to have a backup caretaker in my stead in those cases, but details are still being ironed out.
Please keep in mind that these are the parameters I am personally setting as the keeper of the fire for Sunfest. These are not necessarily the boundaries that the good folk at Ffynnon, or those of OWOW, would place if the sacred fire is continued at future Sunfests.
Starting at sunset on Thursday evening and going until sunrise Friday morning, I will be holding an all-night drum and dance vigil at the sacred fire site. This is NOT the party fire; instead, this is a sacred space for personal transformation and for holding vigil throughout the night until the sun shows up again in the morning.
You are invited to join me for part or all of this vigil, whether to drum or dance or sing or meditate. I ask that you respect the parameters above, and that you respect other people participating in the vigil. If you need to sleep, please go back to your campsite rather than sleeping at the sacred fire.
A few safety notes: this is going to be long--sunset on Thursday is at 8:50, and sunrise the next morning at 5:30, so that’s close to nine hours. If you have any heart conditions or other health issues that could potentially be exacerbated by that extended an amount of activity, please consider putting your health first. You will be participating at your own risk and you will be asked to sign a separate waiver of liability for this vigil in particular. Finally, use your common sense: bring plenty of water to drink and some food to eat (I’ll have some of both on hand for vigil participants ONLY as well), and if you need to take a break, take a break! I will be checking in with participants to make sure you’re doing alright; I do have first aid training as a certified Wilderness First Responder, and if I feel that you are putting yourself (or someone else) in danger I WILL ask you to stop what you’re doing.
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