Our dear friend, Eggie, Justin & I made the sojourn to Pennsylvania for the Wickerman Burn Festival again this year. Each year is so different from the last; each an experience unto itself; this year was no exception.
We arrived late Monday night after an almost-11-hour drive from Rhode Island to this patch of land that lives almost at the Maryland border in Pennsylvania. We met some really great people, but the first few days were very quiet, easy going and relaxed. The first day it rained, but it didn’t stop us from using the opportunity to bust out Eggie’s new Nikon.
The weather cleared a bit by Wednesday – in fact, one could say the weather was idyllic, really. Big, open, bright blue sky, perfectly formed puffy clouds: you know the kind of day. The kind of day by which winter daydreams are made.
That night, Eggie & I got the idea to do some light drawings with matches & flashlights, and later we went up to the field to make stop-action stills.
Though I didn’t know it at the time, this was the night that I got a tick on my boob which resulted in a more-naked-than-preferred Keri running through the park in a near meltdown. I. Hate. Ticks. Justin got the tick out safely, and I have no indicators of Lime Disease, but I was f-r-e-a-k-e-d out for a better part of the day.
We helped stuff the effigy on Wednesday and on Thursday we had to greet new festival-goers at the gate, check ID, assign wristbands and collect money if necessary. I couldn’t remember what age a person was according to the year he was born, so I had to make a chart:
I followed through to 2010, even though it wasn’t necessary. We met some of the most amazing people during our greet, and next year, I want to greet in the same kind of time slot or nearby it. One thing I had later realized was that all of this magical meeting-of-the-souls happened on what would have been my 20th wedding anniversary, had I stayed married. I’m glad I didn’t because I would have never met Justin – or if I had, I wouldn’t have known what kind of love & experience is possible to share. So on my what-would-have-been, Eggie snapped this really beautiful photo of Justin, my what-amazingly-is.
For the past two years I had wanted to try the Sweat Lodge. I figured that my experience with Bikram Yoga this year would have prepared me for the heat, and I was probably right, but we won’t ever know because once I entered the sweat lodge and the leader shut the hatch to reveal absolute, complete darkness combined with a spiritual introduction of how the sweat lodge is to mimic a mother’s womb: I freaked out and had to leave. We hadn’t even started!
There was plenty of fire for everyone. In the meadow, a guy had set up a ring of fire that was controlled by some kind of push-button system. There was this guy with a GREAT potato sack “dress” that spanked himself to the rhythm of his brethren. There were fire bubbles, almost all night dancing, a trade-your-shit closet and some really cool theme camps. We even went to a wedding.
Then there was the burn, itself, which occurred on the eve of a SuperMoon, so there was pretty much mad Wiccan energy flying around the land.
Writing this, almost a month later, makes me a little nostalgic, but we’re hoping to go on another camping trip with the Egg in September in Vermont, which, while it is not the same kind of experience, it will be in the same vein with some of the same people.
So much love in the summertime!