Trillium: A Festival Review
Ah Trillium. A great festival. Here's everything that happened:
"In 1968, my father was at the end of his financial rope. In order to finish college, he volunteered for the Marine Corps. In 1969 and 1970 he served a tour of duty in Vietnam. After that, he came back to Quantico and ran the rifle range here."Of course, their impressions were spot on for them, but I still like my impressions best.
We got up, and we walked back to the camp.
I looked at the next workshops, and I decided that I was more inclined to do crafty stuff than whatever else was going on. I sat down in the dining hall and during the next workshop we did basket weaving to make maracas, which was, at some points, an exercise in humility and frustration. But I managed it, and I eventually figured out how to weave quickly, even though my end product sucked.
Following that workshop, we had lunch. Following lunch, I went for a long nap. This necessitated me missing the dance workshop (which I hear included 5 women undulating around a pole), and I'm a bit miffed about that.
After I woke up from my nap, I figured it was time for a walk. Misty and I went down to the river, and on our way, stopped at the field and shot arrows for a bit. She hit a bullseye, almost dead center. Me, I was just shown up by a girl who might be 100 lbs. wet with rocks in her pockets.
Meghan showed up at the range as well, and I showed her how to shoot. She got it down pretty quickly, and (as I didn't want to shoot anymore, I started to wander off after Misty, who had just left.
I caught up, and we continued down to the river, and I sat with my feet in the water for a while as Misty splashed around in the water and the sun. Eventually, I looked up the path, and I saw Meghan's shirt through the green trees, so we walked back up to bring her down. She was lost in her music, playing the flute, though, and we sneaked up behind and listened while she played. When she finished, we talked her into coming back down with us, and she played a bit more. I snapped some photos of the girls (to be posted later), both a beautiful compliment to the day.
We splashed around a bit more, and I realized I was slightly late for Sati's workshop, but not much. So I walked back to the dining hall to get the location, and then tried to follow the directions to the place that it was supposed to be held. Stupid me got lost.
Leave it to me to do the "manly" thing and think I know where I'm going.
But I did find the workshop before the end of it. I was only about 35 minutes late, all told. But I still felt bad.
Following the workshop, we got ready for the ritual. I got dressed for the rite in my white robe, and Misty asked me if she could borrow my black one. She put it on, and she literally swam in it. Being half my size (quite literally), she just didn't fill it out. I laughed at this for a while, and then just told her that she'd be a lot better off in her sun dress.
We went to the pre-ritual briefing (me dressed in my Sunday best, of course), and went through chants. At one point we came to a chant called "Fur and Feather" which I had never heard once, but which is apparently used throughout some Pagan groups in Maryland, because everyone else seemed to know it. I figured I'd just pretend, and it would work out just fine. During the short intermission between pre-ritual and ritual, though, I saw several clusters of Pagans trying to remember the words to it, so I didn't feel so alone in not knowing it at that point.
The ritual was good, though not exactly as I like them. It was more laid back than I'm used to, and it was very nice to get such a perspective on how CLG does ritual. I learned a few interesting new things.
We came to the praise offerings, and I had purchased a golden delicious apple for You-Know-Who as a sacrifice. Just before the rite, I had also purchased a silver ring ($32) for Esus. It was somewhat of a last minute offering, I realize, but everything about this trip was very last minute.
I watched a few praise offerings, because I wanted to be sure about dropping silver into the well. Usually, I know and understand the protocol for such things, but this rite was the ADF Unity Rite, and the cauldron was the Unity Cauldron. I wasn't sure silver should go in there before the Unity portion of the rite. Well, no one else used it, so I was really beginning to wonder. Finally, I saw that we only had a few more people to go, and I figured I should go immediately, so I stood up, pulled the apple out of my pocket, and walked to the edge of the circle.
I'd carefully watched where Alison had placed the Outdwellers' offerings (vodka and dark chocolate), and I stood on a bench and turned my back to that spot. I bit the apple, ripped out a chunk, and threw it over my shoulder.
I'm told that Skip was heard to utter the words, "Ahh, Eris," when I made this offering.
I stepped to the center, intending to make an oath to Esus. I dropped to one knee, and began to think about what I needed to say, and what I needed to do. I was silent for a long time, or so it felt, completely unsure what to do. Questions ran through my head: "Can I put the ring in the well? If not, would the fire be appropriate? Shit, what was I going to say again? Gods damn it! I'm lost. Someone give me a hand?"
I was kneeling still, when suddenly I heard my answer:
I looked across the circle. On the other side, a baby, probably less than a year old (though I'm no good with ages like that) was in his mother's arms, making numerous bathroom noises and laughing.
I listened for a moment, and someone said, "Hey, that kid's channeling Eris!" I laughed at this, because I knew that was the case; I'd known as soon as I heard that first noise.
I watched the child for some time longer, and knew what to do with this ring. It wasn't time to give that oath yet, and Eris was simply taking the matter out of my hands.
I stood up, walked over to the child, and put the ring in his hand. He giggled, I smiled, and we both knew what happened. I went back to sit down.
After the rite, we had dinner. CLG graciously let me sit with them, but I think it was the pants. This theory is supported by Sati's mention of the pants in her recap of the weekend, Alison's falling to her knees in worship (a brand new experience for me), and Caryn's expression of the admiration her kids would have for them. I relaxed with them for a while, and thanked them for their wonderful hospitality (I don't get to eat dinner with hotties enough, especially at Pagan gatherings).
At some point during the meal or after it, Misty took off with one of the CLG kids who is apparently 17. She didn't realize that he was hitting on her, I don't think, until he finally made an actual move, at which point I understand she laughed at him a bit.
After dinner, we invited Skip over to our table, and made Sati explain the nifty divination system she uses. Sati, if you read this, I still think you need to write a book on it.
After dinner, Meghan, Daffyd and a few others were cleaning, and I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to be doing that, too. I stepped in, and went to work with them. I swear some of those surfaces hadn't been cleaned in years. Daffyd told me that I might have a promising career in food service.
After cleanup, we adjourned to the pavilion, and I went to get my chairs. I was walking down, and I usually love the dark and the woods, but this time, my pants were making lots of noises. Because I couldn't hear the forest around me, I had this strange mixture of emotions: sort of an elixir of fear and amusement. I was slightly afraid because I was approaching a crossroads at night (never a smart move), and very amused that I felt any trepidation at all.
I got the chairs and started back up the road, and was peering into the woods. I couldn't see very well, but all of a sudden, on my left, I saw a zombie rising out of the ground. I stopped in my tracks and started thinking about what to do.
Fortunately, I didn't scream, because it would have been very embarrassing to have people come running because of a tree stump that only looked scary from one angle.
Anyway, I got back to the pavilion laughing at myself. I gave one of the chairs to Meghan, and I pulled up and sat behind and sort of between Sati and Alison. Then, lo, the hotties parted, and I was allowed to sit between them.
So I had hotties next to me, drinking, watching pirates sing (and Pyrates Royale were a lot of fun, I might add), and eating frosting. I couldn't think of anywhere I'd rather be.
Misty came back at this point, Tegan in tow, and she came over and sat behind me for a bit. I got up to go to the bathroom, and she followed me. I ended up bruising myself on a stump pretty badly in the dark, but we eventually made it back to the cabin. On the way, she told me she was planning to kiss me that night, and I told her she wouldn't do that. She insisted that she would again, and I told her no again. She continued to argue this point in the cabin, probably waking someone up (I expect Caryn was sleeping in there), so I wonder a bit what that person thought of this (I'm slightly amused that I might get those rumours started after all). When Misty realized that someone else had probably heard her, I figured she gave up on the whole thing.
When I got back to the pavilion with her, and we kind of went our separate ways for a while. Some guy in a white shirt started hitting hard on Misty at this point (he was probably almost twice her age, and was a groupie with the band), and Tegan started hitting hard, too.
Sati offered me a back rub, and I took her up on that. I sat on the floor watching the pirates, relaxing to a really nice backrub (one of the nicest I've gotten in a while), and it was just a good feeling. When I was done with that, I went to check on Misty, who was getting hit on hard.
I pulled Misty away from the crazies for a bit, and we went for a walk. I was pretty concerned for her, because I didn't trust the guy in the white shirt, and he was displaying all the signs of working *real* hard to get her drunk.
I walked back with her to the bathrooms, and asked how she was doing. She asked me not to stop being friends with her, and I said I wouldn't.
I got back to the pavilion, and Alison was lying half-sideways in her chair. I sat down next to her, smiled, and started watching the band again. At some point, she looked up at me and said, "You can pet me if you want to." Who was I to argue? So I started petting her head.
By far, the highest complement I received that night was, "You must have very happy cats."
After a while of this, Sati came over and declared she was next. I told her that I still had a free hand, so she sat down in front of me and I started petting her head, too. I suspect that my quality of petting was lower due to having to struggle to co-ordinate between two heads instead of one. It wasn't easy.
I saw the guy in the white shirt hitting on Misty again (not that he was ever able to leave her alone), so I reluctantly left the ladies for a few minutes. At this point, Misty told me not to come try to save her again, so I said okay. I was getting weird, mixed signals all night. I wasn't sure whether she wanted me to help, or not to.
Eventually, I got up to dance with Selene, and bought some mead off her. I got tangled in my chains on my pants as well. At some point in the night (I'm not sure when chronologically), I was confused with someone who is actually *into* bondage, and I did nothing to dispel this illusion.
Last thing that night, Sati asked me if I wanted a reading using the nifty divination system she used at the rite. I said yes, and she read for me. I liked the reading, and thought it was pretty good. She did a couple more readings for others, and then we decided it was time for bed. I went over to tell Misty, hoping that she'd come too, but I wasn't sure she would, after the night of going back and forth between being thankful for removing the guys and being angry that I did. I was very relieved when she did come back to the cabin with us.
Sunday morning we got up, and I showered, checking carefully for ticks. They were everywhere that weekend, and several people found them, but I don't know of any who actually embedded themselves. We got all ready to leave and packed up.
I got my book back from Mary, and scolded her a bit for not wearing her Catholic Schoolgirl outfit. All I have to say? It better be at Wellspring! I sat with Explore for a while, and he and I discussed his Protogrove, where it was, some issues that he has had, and some solutions that he has found. I ended up very impressed with his work, and am quite relieved to have a Protogrove to mentor that doesn't actually need my help, because they have someone who knows what he's doing.
Eventually, we had to go. We gave hugs all around (and it was said that I give good hugs, which is a bonus), and then piled into the car and left.
At our first stop, Meghan realized that she had probably left her camera in the pavilion on Sat. night. (Sati or Alison, did you guys find a digital camera?). We decided not to drive back to VA to get it, since we were in northern Maryland at that point and it was already 1 PM.
Instead, I took a wrong turn and got us lost. But we fixed that problem right quick.
On our way home, we even got to see a huge car fire on the side of the road.
All in all, it was an awesome trip.
I think I'll be distilling it and submitting it to Oak Leaves. Athanasios told me he was looking for festival reviews. So he'll get one from me. A very, very distilled version.
Pictures from this festival include these: