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Event Reviews
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179 Pages of event coverage to date


Year 2004:

Sacred Harvest Festival 2004

Hands of Change Pagan Picnic

Fires of Lughnasadh - Fall City, Washington

Fires of Lughnasadh Celebration

Starwood 2004 (2)

Chesapeake Pagan Community's 1st Annual Int. Gathering

Starwood 2004 (1)

Sirius Rising 2004

My Journey to Gaia's Womb

Wild Women.com/festivals/beltanebashuk.html'>Beltane Bash (London, UK)

Between the Worlds Men's Gathering 2003

Drum & Splash

Festival at Summerland 2003

Firedance 2003

Fires of Lughnasadh 2003

Gaea Goddess Gathering '03

Gaia's Garden Grove Land Dedication & Tree Planting Ceremony

Gaian Mind at Four Quarters

III Annual Witches Meeting

Mid-Atlantic Pagan Alliance's Beltane 2003

MoonFire: Samhain Witches Sabbat

OHF Spring Ball

Pagan Pride Jacksonville Florida

Pagan Pride Modesto California

Pagan Pride: Indianapolis

Pagan Pride: Kingston, MA

Pagan Pride: Pinellas Florida

Pagan Pride: San Francisco

Pagan Pride: Sao Paulo-Brazil

Pagan Pride: Savannah, Georgia

Pagan Pride: Three Weeks of Pride

Pagan Pride: United Kingdom 2003

Pagan Pride: Western Massachusetts

Pagans Honor 911 in New York State

Public Mabon Ritual and Pagan Pride Celebration,

Sirius Rising 2003

Spring Gathering of the Tribes 2003

Starwood 2003

Summer Solstice Celebration in VA

Texas Religious Freedom Circle

The 6th Annual Hands of Change Pagan Picnic

The 8th International Halloween Festival

Witches Heal Event



Year 2002:

2002 Goddess Conference

An Early Samhain at MoonFire

An Irish Witch visits America

AutumnMeet 2002

Between the Worlds Men's Gathering

Castle Pook - Ireland '2002

CMA Beltaine 2002 Festival

CMA Samhain 2002 Festival

Fall Gathering of the Tribes 2002

Festival at Summerland

Fire Tribe Gathering - Oahu, Hawaii

Firedance 2001

Free Spirit Gathering 2002

Gaian Mind at Four Quarters

Greenville Spartanburg Pagan Pride Day

Harvest Rhythms at All World Acres

Mabon - Boyd Hill ESA

Mid-Atlantic Beltane Festival

Mid-Atlantic Pagan Alliance's Beltane 2002

Our Haven - Beltane 2002

Pagan Pride - Safety Harbor, Florida

Pagan Pride - Salt Lake City, Utah

Pagan Pride - Western Mass. 2002

Pagan Pride Day in Washington D.C.

Pagan Pride Day Indianapolis 2002

Pagan Pride Day UK 2002

Rowanfest 2002

Sirius Rising 2002

Starwood 2002

Stones Rising 2002

Summerstar 2002

The Fires of Lughnasadh

The Original Caduceus Festival 2002

The Real Witches Ball of 2002

The UK Halloween Festival 2002

UK - Beltane Bash 2002



Year 2001:

Bridfest 2001

CMA Beltaine 2001 Festival

Gathering of the Tribes 2001

Heartland Festival 2001

Kansas City Pagan Pride Day 2001

Mid-Atlantic Pagan Alliance's Beltane 2001

Pagan Pride - Live from Ground Zero

Pagan Pride Day - Safety Harbor, Florida 2001

Pantheacon Pagan Convention 2001

PhoenixPhyre Gathering 2001

Rowanfest 2001

Sirius Rising 2001

SouthEastern Spirit Gathering 2001

Starwood 2001

The Festival of Tara 2001

The Original Caduceus Festival 2001

The UK Halloween Festival 2001

UK - Beltane Bash 2001

Yule 2001 - All World (Plant City, Florida)



Year 2000:

AutumnMeet 2000

Beltane Bash - London, England

Blessed Be and Meet Me In DC 2000

Firedance 2000

Fires At Solstice 2000

Free Spirit Gathering 2000

Heartland Festival 2000

Herne Weekend w/ Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki

Kansas City Pagan Pride Day 2000

Magic Mountain Music

PhoenixPhyre Gathering 2000

RowanFest 2000

Sirius Rising 2000

Starwood 2000

Summerset 2000

The Caduceus Festival

The Real Witches Ball

The UK Halloween Festival 2000



Year 1999:

Ancient Ways Gathering 99

AutumnMeet 1999

Blessed Be and Meet Me In DC 1999

Cauduceus Gathering 1999

Free Spirit Gathering 1999

Gaea Goddess Gathering 1999

Heartland '99

Mike Nichols - TEN Years Gone

Phoenixphyre '99

Sirius Rising 99

Spring Mysteries Festival

Starwood 99

Summerset Gathering 1999

The Festival of Tara 1999

The Pagan Federation Conference 1999

The UK Halloween Festival 1999

Womongaththering '98



Year 1998:

Autumnmeet '98

Castle Pook - Ireland '98

Gaea Goddess Gathering '98

Heartland '98

Sirius Rising And Starwood '98

Stones Rising '98

Summer's Spiral Fest '98



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 Author: Sparky T. Rabbit    Posted: Aug. 29, 2004   This Page Viewed: 206  

Dark Moon Mysteries: Seeking the Shadow Self
Sacred Harvest Festival 2004

Reviewed by: Sparky T. Rabbit
Email: heathenbear@hotmail.com

"There is no change which doesn't begin in the darkness."
- SHF 2004 Village Guide

From August 10th to 15th, 2004, the Harmony Tribe held their 7th Annual Sacred Harvest Festival, near the town of Geneva in southern Minnesota. The festival site is a large, beautiful oak grove, surrounded on three sides by the peaceful waters of Geneva Lake.

The theme of this year's festival was "Dark Moon Mysteries: Seeking the Shadow Self." The rituals, along with many workshops and talks given at SHF, explored this deeply personal and often challenging subject.
You wait impatiently at the Gate with the other Witches until the Shaman lets you in. He sends you down a winding path through the woods, dimly lit with candles. You catch the faint scent of sage on the air. Nearby, someone is drumming.

You pass through dark curtains and enter the Land of Shadow, where you witness Inanna, the Queen of Heaven, as She is stripped of Her adornments by the Portal Guardians of the Great Below, and becomes a living skeleton before your eyes.
- from the Descent Ritual, SHF 2004
M. Macha NightMare and Ivo Dominguez, Jr. were the major presenters at SHF 2004.

Macha is the author of The Pagan Book of Living and Dying as well as the forthcoming Pagan Pride: Honoring the Craft of Earth and Goddess. Macha is also a teacher at Cherry Hill Seminary, an online seminary for Professional Pagan Ministry Education.

Ivo is a founder of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, as well as an organizer of Between the Worlds, a Grand Magickal Congress which takes place this November. His community, based in Delaware, is two years into an ambitious project: building the New Alexandrian Library, named in honor of the ancient Egyptian library, the destruction of which meant the irreplaceable loss of innumerable Pagan texts.
In the Shadow land, you stand with the others on the dark edges of a large circle. In the center stands a huge cauldron, hanging on a tripod over a roaring fire.

Suddenly, amidst a cacophony of thunder and drums, three Witches fly in, astride their broomsticks, cackling. They are dressed in black robes and pointed black hats, and they have come to confront you about your own personal darkness. "When I approach and peer into your heart/I see that shadows fall on every part."

As the Witches fill their cauldron with ingredients of shadow and light, they speak in rhythmic poetry that sounds somehow familiar: "Double, double, toil and trouble/Fire burn and cauldron bubble!" You feel compelled to chant along with them, and you half expect an infamous Scottish usurper to appear. And then the Witches cackle. They cackle a lot. It is a sound you find both funny and chilling at the same time.

Later you will dip your dark crescent moon bead into the bowl of shadows the Witches offer you.

- from the Witchual Ritual, SHF 2004

SHF is a very child-friendly event, with younger family members ranging from toddlers to teens, and scheduled events for all of them: workshops and playshops such as creating various Crafty crafts, cooking a meal for Mom and Dad, a talent show, and even a kids' sweatlodge, guided by Frank Chartrand, the dedicated Lakota man who also led the daily sweats for adults.

A laid-back energy permeates the land, tempting you to skip all workshops and rituals, and instead enjoy the abundance of conversation, laughter, and intimacy (and heart-warming food!) with friends both old and new. The oak trees are awe-inspiring in their deceptively simple beauty, both by day, as the sunlight drifts through the grove, and by night, as you look up through the shadows of leafy branches to behold the night sky swimming with stars. Of course merchants also attend Sacred Harvest, and you can find everything from incense and recordings to clothing and swords to meet all of your Pagan shopping needs. And for those who simply are too busy or too tired to cook, the Wolf's Den provides both carnivorous and vegetarian meals and snacks from breakfast through suppertime, and on into the evenings, far beyond its posted hours.

Sacred Harvest also offers an evening of official entertainment, which this year included Funk-N-Faerie Dust, an a cappella singing duo whose voices blend in lovely harmonies accompanied by a poly-rhythmic drum, and Mystic Melange, who create a unique and haunting sound with a combination of sitar, tablas, djembe, udu, bass, keyboards, and beautiful vocals, both spoken and sung.

The "official" entertainment is complemented on a nightly basis as many gather at the heart of the tribal village to dance and drum and sing around a central fire, which is kindled during the first evening's ritual and kept burning throughout the festival. Experiencing the drummers, dancers, and singers blending their skills in an unspoken and graceful synergy is truly magical, and words fail to capture the deep beauty and wonder of this spirit-filled blessing.

More nightly tribal entertainment came from the wondrous feats of fire-spinning by the Faery Pranksters and their friends. As fire juggling first made its way into North American Pagan communities in the late '90's, most of the pleasure came just from watching the fire take on a life of its own as it swirled in patterns around the spinner; but now that this skill has had time to grow among Pagans, some artists are adding individual flavors to their spinning with costume, music, dance, and attitude, and are creating unique spinning styles all their own.

Another delightful nightly pleasure came from several Harmony Tribe members walking around the fire at unannounced moments, sharing replenishing food, such as cold, fresh strawberries dipped in warm chocolate. Being hand-fed such luscious treats in the already warm and sensual mix of dancers, drummers, and singers gave a new - and decidedly Pagan - meaning to the concept of communion.

In the dark of night, you walk a familiar trail through the woods. In a small clearing, you catch a glimpse of the youth Theseus, who holds a large sword. You arrive at the gates of the Labyrinth, where Ariadne greets you and asks you to carry a burden of Shadow for your community. You walk the spiral path toward the Minotaur's lair, and you hear his bellows and rumbling as he slowly awakens. The sounds he makes are startling, and you hold tighter to Ariadne's gift, the golden thread of safety and return, which you and all the others carry together. The Minotaur and his Shadow servants taunt you by naming the Shadows that you carry.

After his long battle with Theseus, you witness as the collective Shadow-burdens burn in fire, along with the horned head of the Minotaur.
-- from the Transformation Ritual, SHF 2004

Sacred Harvest Festival is a relaxed and friendly gathering, built by the hard work of the Harmony Tribe. I deeply recommend that you come visit the Tribe next year, and immerse yourself in the collective vision of their wonderful Pagan community.

For a glimpse of both past and future events sponsored by Harmony Tribe, take a look at the Tribe's website.

Sparky T. Rabbit
info@sacredcirclechurch.com

Photos.... Top to Bottom
  • Heart Chakra Shadow Screen
  • Ivo and Macha
  • Renata with Fire Fingers
  • Minotaur Mask Ablaze
  • For additional photos Click HERE

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