Gathering Roots

How Very British!
Greetings Campers!
Can you guess what I've been up to this weekend? Yep, I've been braving the deepest wilds of Kent, well ok a local camp called The Roots Gathering - a blend of workshops and talks with like minded folk. Originally I had made arrangements to go with a friend but as it turned out on the day, I headed off alone. Having a deep breathing session and after giving myself a talking to as I drove and like a child asking Goddess for her help, I won't lie it was still with some not inconsiderate level of trepidation that I pulled up and to pitch my tent. Just goes to show how much anxiety can be hidden behind a smiling face...  As I put my tent up I was scouring passing faces for a familiar one, busying myself arranging the contents of my tent and my equipment, before retreating inside for a little calming exercise and a quick reassuring chat with himself and the kids on our family group chat. Carpe diem'ing the living daylights out of the situation, I pulled my invisible
Beautiful Mandala
cloak of non anxiety tightly round myself and armed with my steaming mug of tea I went in search of the communal fire, what a good place to start!

As the fire lighting ceremony got underway a few familiar faces appeared amongst the smoke, and whilst some long lost friend didn't suddenly and miraculously appear there were enough people I recognised and enough friendly smiling faces to make me feel a bit better and head off to the main tent to enjoy the evening's entertainment, including watching work start on this amazing mandala and some fantastic acoustic singers (one of them a camper who felt brave) the desire to run back to my tent, pack up my stuff and run away slowly diminishing!
The following morning after a remarkably
Rise and Shine!

good sleep - my brand new pump up mattress doing it's job admirably, despite a cold coming on, I sat watching the beauty of the morning as the sun rose higher in the sky over tents of sleepy campers. 

Clutching my yoga mat - which had the best airing it's seen for a long time this weekend, I heading off for the first of the morning workshops, choosing the fabulously named didjeridoo sound scape meditation. I had no clue what to expect and wasn't disappointed, 3 didji's playing, drums, wooden flute, crystal singing bowls and rain makers providing an evocative and dreamy backdrop to our own personal meditation journeys of well .. just being! Rivers and spirals of colours just washing around me somehow connected, sifting through the previous week, tumbling it through my consciousness, leaving what was needed to carry on the journey safely within my reach and discarding all the detritus that no longer served me. I could have been in an ancient cave in the deepest outback, instead of in a slightly damp ex army tent in a field on the Kent/Sussex border - Awesome!
Story Telling Round the Camp Fire
Feeling decidedly braver as the day progressed, chatting to familiar faces and striking up conversation with random people such as the lovely ladies Yvette and the Kashas camped right in front of me, I learned about Forest kindergartens, heard the harp played by the Bard Chris, watched him encourage a shy child to have a go, talked to the lovely Faye about the strange link of connections and how they take you places and people you never dreamt of. 
I attended a fascinating talks on the local to me Coldrum Stones, Bone Singers which all resonated deeply a talk on Shamanism and poetry from the land before working on a collaborative group piece called Voice of the Land where we all roamed round the grounds for a while then came back and offered our line/s in a circle to make an eclectic fast moving bit of work! My lines where something akin to this: 'Wind brushed Beech, solitary marker to secret warrens, guarded by thistles and brambles'  purely noticed because I tripped in one, clearly the land talking to me about looking where I am going! 

More wonderful music, drumming and a crazy banjo player followed by some fabulous story telling round the camp fire, complete with the strains of a 'Viking Disco' coming from the main tent- which added the perfect back drop. If I closed my eyes I could have been listening to a weary traveller recalling tales and legends in return for supper whilst sounds of the feasting and music drifted in from the Great Hall, fanciful but wonderful. I really feel this something we are missing, the stories, the spoken word, that rooted connection.

Another morning, a bit more head coldy, but
An Appropriate Purchase...
undeterred, another mediation journey, this time accompanied by a Gong Bath, the blended sounds of about 7 or 8 gongs, a beautiful and harmonious soothing sound that I can only describe as well shimmery! A fascinating meditation journey of walking through forests until I came to the edge of a deep canyon, which I decided to leap into, plunging down until suddenly I became an Eagle, soaring and swooping up and down along the river running through the bottom of the canyon, before alighting at a cave full of the spirits of the ancestors, sitting with them and then painting my hand with ochre and marking the wall with my hand print, which somehow said I was there, connected with them, one of them. Browsing through the stalls I came across the most wonderful smell, it was this incense being burned by the lovely Coldrum Stones Speaker, that he makes himself...Kentish Roots, with a name like that I had to treat myself!

I Made This!
By now my head was pounding, with both the cold, headspace clearing as some people suggested the powerful symbolism and possible brain cell over load of all the talks I had attended, so I decided to try my hand at simple basket weaving. 
Look at what I made! From grass, roots and raffia. It's not the tidiest but wow I am ridiculously proud. Sitting in the sun, chattering about the different workshops and talks we had attended we wove a rich tapestry story of our festival experience as we twisted and threaded our little baskets together in a companionable atmosphere. With the chink of the metal at the smithy stall, flutes and drums playing melodiously out of sight,the smell of woodsmoke and outdoor cooking along the sounds of children playing it was as though we'd travelled back in time again. 
A very familiar sensation, it must be so deep rooted in our souls and in our genetic make up, even if we appear to have forgotten it most of the time, so busy in our modern world. I decided to admit defeat and leave early, knowing that my head was getting worse and I needed
My Lovely New Necklace
sleep. So I packed up and left, sad to have missed the talks on divining the landscape, wells and closing ceremony. It was the right thing to do though - I got home and slept for 3 hours! Before I left I passed a stall and a necklace caught my eye, my heart, my soul and everything else. One hand shot out to touch the stone whilst the other rummaged in my bag for my purse. Very unlike me, I'm not usually so taken with material yearnings for things. I'd never seen one like it before and hadn't got a clue what it was. Chatting to the stall holder the lovely Mandy who I have met before at Folkstone Circle and lives 5 minutes from where I work as I paid, she informed me that it was Lodolite, the Shaman's Stone. I love it! A bit of research on when I got home revealed it's connection to the spiritual plane, visionary experiences and past life energies. 
I so know this is the start of another journey ...
So now I'm going to try and stay up for the local online Moot and then let this cold or clearing whatever it is do it's thing.

Have A  Blessed Week x x

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