Tarot Reading by Laura González: The Energies of December 2017

The month of December brings us The Hermit (reversed), The Six of Cups and The Four of Cups (reversed).

In this combination we are told that we’re currently feeling the need to come out of our isolation, to have moments of joy with family and to be open to receive happiness!

The Hermit reversed is asking us to be out in the world. Our souls have had enough of being isolated even if it’s been by choice. This month of social gatherings and winter celebrations asks of us to be out and about, even if we feel dragged into it. Our true self wants to be social, so why not try and make the best of it? The world has enough challenges as it is. Flip that energy and come out of the cave, be that social butterfly you were meant to be!

Love and family, social situations and the feeling of yearning for our more innocent times and childhood is here represented by The Six of Cups. This is all about family (blood or chosen). It’s telling us to create the precious moments we’ve experienced around them in harmony and celebration. Even that weird uncle or cray aunt. They won’t be here forever, so take advantage of family gatherings and social functions to reignite the warmth of connection with loved ones.

We often try to run away because we’re afraid of being open and vulnerable like the Four of Cups reversed, but some magical memories can be made here. It’s okay to be a little messy with your emotions. This is not a time to be guarded, but a time to be open and willing to receive what life has to give you. “Pastito al alma” I call it, grass to the soul! Family is a precious gift, be open to receive it in this gift giving season.

May 2018 receive you with love, joy and laughter, may all the blessings of a new cycle welcome you and may you be healthy, wealthy, whole and loved on this year to come!!

Best of Fortune to you all!

Tarot Rider Waite Smith

www.BrujaLauraGonzalez.com

Tarot Reading: The Energies of November 2017

A Reading by Laura González

The month of November brings us: The Seven of Wands, The Ten of Swords and The Sun.

In this combination we are told that we are currently feeling the need to defend our position and boundaries; that transformation in our mind is imperative and that once we find new ways of thinking happiness will be there for us!

I jokingly call number seven the GPS number as a fun way to explain its energies, all sevens are present when we benefit from ‘recalculating’ our situation, they come to remind us that we need to take a look to where are we heading and to evaluate if the work we’ve done has been beneficial for us, in this case the Seven of Wands illustrates that we are very passionate about what we stand for, to the point that it feels we need to explain and defend our position constantly. This creates healthy boundaries and sets a wall between us and those who we perceived as attacking us. Don’t forget though that sometimes the walls we build keep us isolated and away from relationships and situations that could be loving and pleasant. We won’t know until we break those walls! The Ten of Swords visually is not a pleasant card, however mentally is one of the most positive ones, or at least this is the way I interpret it. Swords are all about the element of air and relate to our thoughts and ideas, and being a number ten tells us “this is it!” thinking the same way we had in the past hasn’t take us anywhere, so the message of this card is to let those old ideas die so we can make space for new ways of thinking, for new ideas, to be adventurous and spontaneous, perhaps once we change our mind we can change our reality and we won’t have the need to defend our every thought, word and action. The Seven of Wands say to stand up for what you believe, however you don’t have to always stand alone. And then after the darkness we face on the Ten of Swords, The Sun comes out, we make the conscious decision to be happy and to be able to find happiness anywhere we go. The inner child teach us that as grown people we can be in control of our instincts and that what makes us feel so passionate in life, and still have fun while doing it. Now this child is also surrounded by a fence, but not a wall per se. It’s about standing for what you believe without sacrificing your well-being and happiness in the process. We are still staying alert, but not isolated. Be you and be happy! Best of Fortune to you all!

Tarot: Rider Waite Smith

BrujaLauraGonzalez.com

Tarot Reading of the Week (10 July 2017) ~ by Laura Gonzalez

 

Reading for the week of July 10th of 2017 for Lunatic Mondays – Lunes Lunáticos courtesy of Tarot by Laura Gonzalez

This week brings us: the Two of Wands, the Queen of Pentacles and the Knight of Cups; in this combination we are told is time to make educated choices, that no matter what, we have potential to manifest and to keep on moving with our projects.

The Two of Wands is a card that talks about a couple of choices in which we are not really emotionally invested and at the same time, both seem genuinely “the right one” and the truth of the matter is that they both ARE, so it’s not a matter of doing the right thing or choosing the right path but rather to take a look into your past and then projecting towards the future; which of these choices seems to be more likely for you to be seen to the end?, and which one (or a similar one) have you abandoned in the past?. There is not right or wrong choice, there are consequences though; which one can you live with and which one can you live without? Trust your intuition!

Whichever one you choose, the Queen of Pentacles gives you a reassuring advice, you do at the moment, HAVE the “Midas touch” and whatever you do, beautiful and bountiful results will manifest for you. Her energies within you will help you organize and maintain your resources with creativity and beauty. You will feel grounded and emotionally balanced.

At the end is the Knight of Cups who provides the final ingredient to success, moving forward with love for what you do and taking firm steps towards your goal, always listening to your intuition and intentionally finding love, beauty and pleasure on every one of your projects.

Best of fortune to you all!

Tarot: Rider Waite Smith

www.BrujaLauraGonzalez.com

Tarot Reading of the Week (29 May 2017) ~ by Laura Gonzalez

Reading for the week of May 29th of 2017 for Lunatic Mondays – Lunes Lunáticos courtesy of Tarot by Laura Gonzalez

Tendency: Ten of Swords – The energies for this week are urging you to let go of old habits and old ways of thinking which are no longer serving you but rather hurting you. Take an inventory of your thoughts, ideas and; the negative opinions you have about yourself. Now which negative thoughts are in need to die for new positive thoughts to emerge? When we are so far down the only way is up. You cannot have positive actions coming from a negative mind. The pity party is OVER!

What to do: Seven of Cups – Again about taking inventory but this time on your emotions, what is really important and worthy of your time, energy and focus and; what is only an ideal or illusion you have created in your head. Time to stop dreaming about what could have been, and start accepting the reality before you. If you don’t like what you see, change your reality, you have the control.

What not to do: Nine of Pentacles (reversed) – Once you have cleaned house (thoughts and emotions) it is time for you to build your self-esteem, recognize your accomplishments and relish on them, transforming the negative thoughts and emotions into self-care energy and actions is the best way to go. Don’t ever forget about you and the little pleasures life gives you. We are in this world to experience the best of life and in yours, you SHOULD be priority No. 1!

 

Best of Fortune to you all!

Tarot: Rider Waite Smith
www.BrujaLauraGonzalez.com

Tarot Reading of the Week ~ By Laura Gonzalez

Tarot reading for the week of May 15th 2017 for Lunatic Mondays – Lunes Lunáticos courtesy of Tarot by Laura Gonzalez

Tendency: Strength (reversed) – This week you are feeling a disconnection with your own Strength; there may be old habits or even addictions creeping their way back into your life, this is making you feel weak and powerless. Avoiding or denying these things is not Strength, Strength is confronting them head on, recognizing that we have a pattern or addiction we have not been able to shake or even accept that it’s there. The moment we name our demons they become less scary and less powerful. Asking for help and being in touch with others (mentally and physically) is not weakness but rather one of the most powerful shows of Strength

What to do: Three of Coins– Get in touch with those who may support you, those who have helped you before, they are not going to be judging you they will help you build a strong alliance against whatever it is that is ailing you and making you feel powerless and weak. You have been there for them before, be reassured that they will be there for you. Think close family, spouse or partner and friends whom you call family, these people will help you, all you have to do is have the courage to ask for help.

What not to do: Wheel of Fortune– Do not deny yourself your good Fortune, there are times when being the victim of our own circumstances is “easier” than taking action, blaming our bad Fortune is just the easy way out! The Wheel of Fortune is constantly moving teaching us that there are times of abundance and happiness but also times of lack and sorrow. Well this is NOT a time of sorrow for you, Fortune is in your favor so don’t turn your back against it. Face it and count your blessings, pick yourself up and go with the flow. Regain your Strength and keep going, at this moment Fortune IS on your side!

Tarot: Rider Waite Smith

BrujaLauraGonzalez.com

 

Meditation for Sanity’s Sake: Meditation in Motion

meditation

We hear a lot about meditation lately, from all kinds of sources: television, medical shows, metaphysical shops, and even in controversies at schools about teaching it.  So, what’s the big deal?  What is it and how can we practice it with a daily schedule that often looks like we are three or four people?  Are there really benefits to meditation, or is it something that people hype without reason?  There are so many questions around meditation, but there is one thing I know for certain: taking just a few minutes a day to calm, center, and meditate is worth the time and energy.

What is Meditation?

Let’s start with what meditation is.  Mirriam-Webster defines meditation as “the act or process of spending time in quiet thought, the act or process of meditating.”¹  While meditation can include spending time in quiet thought, it is also so much more.  Calming your mind and body, taking an inventory of your physical being and adjusting to release tension or stress, and slowing your external senses to go deeper into yourself are other ways to describe meditation.  Meditation is a deeply personal practice which can be honed to be just about anything you want it to be, from calming to energizing.
Meditation has many health benefits, both perceived and scientifically determined.  In just a few minutes per day, you can reduce your stress, increase your concentration, and manage pain.  With repeated meditation, you gain long term benefits, such as help regulating emotions and improving your mood while reducing depression.  Scientists have noted that with regular meditation, in as few as five to ten minutes per day, anxiety is reduced while memory is increased.  It can be the best time you spend on yourself all day.

 

So how do we start on the path to daily meditation?  What if you are the type of person that has a hard time sitting down and just relaxing for even a minute?  There are about as many ways to meditate as there are benefits to doing so.  Depending on where you live, classes might be available through sources such as metaphysical shops, college courses, or even through the parks and recreation department in your area.  Books, CDs, and even DVDs are also helpful and are a great starting point in your path to meditation.

Learning to Meditate On Your Own

If you are nervous about trying to meditate in a group, you can learn to meditate on your own with little monetary outlay.  Find a quiet spot in your home where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes.  This can be anywhere from your bed first thing in the morning, a room you set aside for magickal purposes, or even during a bath.  Close your eyes and let thoughts wander through your mind.  Accept them for what they are and let them pass through unimpeded.  Eventually, they will slow in their presentation.  Breathe deeply and acknowledge any points in your body that are uncomfortable.  Allow your breath to fill that spot and carry away the ache or tension.  Once your body is relaxed, breathe in, allowing clean, cool air to fill you and hold you in the moment, filling you with calm energy to get through the rest of your day.  Slowly come back to the conscious reality around you, feeling refreshed and alive.
Learning to meditate takes time, so don’t be discouraged if you spend the whole time dealing with thoughts running through your head.  Sometimes you need to deal with your mind trying to keep you in the mental checklist phase of the day, before you can move into deeper meditative work.  Keep trying, though.  Some sessions will be easier than others, but as you keep meditating, your body will remember what you are trying to do and it will work with you.

Guided Meditations

Many people enjoy recorded guided meditations, or even live-spoken meditations.  You can create your own guided meditation easily with a recording app on your phone, or purchase a prerecorded meditation on a CD or through a download source such as Amazon.com or iTunes.  Prerecorded meditations can take you on a journey, or just assist you in remembering to breathe and work deeper into yourself.  If one version doesn’t work for you, try something different until you find one that you are comfortable with that does work.

Create Your Own Guided Meditation

If you’d like to record your own, try this simple meditation.  Use a calm, easy voice that will allow you to visualize the view and immerse yourself into the scene.

 

Bring your mind to center.  Close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nose and  back out of your mouth.  Focus on your breathing, breathing deeply and allowing your breath to carry away all your stress.  Start in your toes.  Wiggle them.  Feel the stress leave as you work your way up your feet, into your ankles.  Move them in circles, allowing any tension to leave you.  Feel your calves and shins, releasing any stress as you relax.  Release your knees and thighs, letting every bit of tension just melt away.  Feel your hips, letting go of any hidden stress as you work your way up to your abdomen.  Take a deep breath and push out any stresses from your back and belly, letting the earth below absorb them and fill you with clean energy.  Feel your chest.  Breathe deeply, feeling your lungs and pressing out any unwanted tensions.  Let it flow down your arms and out your fingertips, leaving them soft and relaxed.  Move your neck slightly, letting go of anything lingering there as you move up to your head and face.  Let everything go slack and relaxed.  Tighten your face and let it relax into a natural position.  Take one more deep breath, pulling up energy from your toes all the way to the top of your head.  Envision the energy as a golden light that fills your body, every crevasse, with calming energy.  Blow out any last remnants of stress or tension, leaving the golden energy in place.  Again, take a deep breath, pulling up healing energy to heal any parts of you that need attention.  Hold that energy, releasing any dis-eases that remain.  Sit in quiet harmony with the energy for as long as you like, breathing deeply and allowing your body to remember this relaxed state.  When you are ready, come back to consciousness, realizing the temperature of the room around you, the light, and the furnishings.  Hold the energy you’ve gathered, as well as the relaxed state you’ve found throughout your day.

Music for Meditation

There are a lot of music choices available for meditation these days.  Your choice is merely a matter of what you enjoy and what works for you.  Nature sounds, such as rain forests, thunderstorms, or oceanscapes call to many people.  A simple drumming beat can assist you in journeying during your meditation, and that type of energy works for some people.  Ethnic music, such as Celtic or Native American chanting is also a good choice.  Check with your local metaphysical shop for options.  Many times, they have CDs open that you can listen to a sample of, which will help you narrow down your choices.  Services such as iTunes and Amazon will also let you listen to samples so you get an idea of what you are purchasing before you pay for it.  In the end, the music that works for you may be something totally different than the usual stereotype, such as Beethoven or even Metallica.  Meditation music is  a very personal choice.

This Shutterstock image #1353791 was downloaded on 5.21.07 for HSW: KNITTING THE EASY WAY 823775

Meditation in Motion

My favorite type of meditation is actually what I call meditation in motion.  There are certain things that I do that allow me a deeper meditation experience and a calmer sense of self, while having something to show for it in addition to reduced stress and better health.  While admittedly, these methods won’t work for everyone, they are great for people that calm their mind while moving parts of their body.  These tasks are always a repetitive motion, and one that I don’t need to think about to complete, such as crochet, knitting, and weaving.  Painting, drawing, and singing also can take you into a deeply meditative state where you can relax and remove the stress from your life.  Things with complex patterns that you need to follow aren’t good options, but if you have the pattern memorized, or there is no real pattern, creating art or textile goods are a great way to let your mind calm, and find that place within yourself where you can bring up the healing, relaxing energy to obtain a good, deep meditation.  Things like crochet and knitting can be portable, making them a great option for stressful situations or traveling, when you might not be able to create a calming space for yourself.  Immerse yourself in each stitch, stroke, or note, letting the conscious part of your brain work on the motions while the unconscious takes over, allowing you a calming experience with which you can refresh yourself.

 

No matter what form your meditation time takes, from meditation in motion to sitting in a quiet room concentrating on your breath, with practice, meditation can transform your life, reduce your stress, and create a whole new mindset for you.  The key is keep trying and don’t give up!

 

¹ “Meditation.” Mirriam Webster. 15 January 2014 http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meditation

 

Pagans and Death: Holding Space for Other Faiths

Hands-cupping-candle

Pagans believe a wide variety of things when it comes to death.  Some believe in the Summerland, a place to go to rest after this life.  Some believe we die and our soul energy becomes part of the Universe from which we came.  Some believe we just die, plain and simple.  But what do we do when we are faced with the death of a loved one who believes in something different?

Every faith has a slightly different theology on death.  Working within the context of that faith can be hard for someone who doesn’t believe, but ultimately, it is the choice of the dying as to what faith they want to be surrounded by.  It’s our responsibility to make sure that happens for them, despite our own faith or sometimes lack thereof.

Recently, I reconnected with my uncle.  We had been apart for many years.  He was my Godfather, my Confirmation Sponsor, my mentor, and my friend.  He helped raise me in the Roman Catholic faith and he never said anything negative to me when I slid easily into the Pagan faith.  “You do what you gotta do.  Believe what you believe and don’t let anyone tell you something different.”  We picked on each other mercilessly, but he was like a dad to me.  But at Thanksgiving, I realized that he no longer embraced the faith that he was once so strong in.  I don’t know what brought him to that point, but it was clear when he was asked to participate in the Thanksgiving blessing and he refused, that something had changed.  All the while, he was dying of cancer.

In situations like that, how do Pagan ministers fit in?  How do we minister to the dying?  Do we minister at all?

090215103814_DC HOSPICE PatientRoom

Being Pagan in a Christian Family

I was there as family.  But I was holding space for him.  I was holding space for everyone that visited.  But what does that mean?  “Holding space”?  It means providing support for the dying.  Being nonjudgmental.  Being present and not thinking about the bill you need to pay or the grocery list.  It’s being able to take care of the needs of the dying.  Or maybe you hold space for the people taking care of the dying and give them the support they need.  Make sure they nourish themselves, stay with the dying and let the support people take a day off.

Holding space has no religion.  It has no faith other than the faith in humankind, that we live and we die.  By holding space, with no faith attached, only love, we ease the passing of our loved ones and allow them to die in the way they choose.  It’s not easy.  Watching someone you care about die is probably one of the hardest things to do.  Holding space for them is a gift for everyone involved.

What Does it Take to Hold Space?

Anyone can hold space.  You don’t need specific training or a fancy title to hold space for someone.  You don’t even have to hold space for someone that’s dying.  You can hold space for a woman giving birth.  Or a couple getting married.  Or even for someone who’s had a really bad day that needs some support.

  1. Patience: being patient in a situation that can be frustrating or scary is a necessity. You can be the quiet voice that provides a grounding point.
  2. Calm: keeping calm when someone’s world seems to be falling apart isn’t easy. But helping them take a breath and meet everything head on, with a calm head and an open heart can be a very rewarding experience.  Let them make the decisions that need to be made, sometimes with a gentle nudge if it’s an imperative subject.  All the while, maintain your calm.
  3. Knowledge: knowing the process the person is going through, whether it is death, birth, or anything in between, is helpful to know what is coming and how to help the person if they need assistance.  The internet is full of great, reliable resources for research.
  4. Be ready for anything: When you are holding space, be ready for anything that can happen. Have healthy snacks available, tissues, basic medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, and music of all sorts.

Holding Space in Any Faith

When holding space, sometimes that means reading to the dying or playing and singing music for them, especially when they transition.  You don’t have to be Christian to read the Bible aloud, or be Muslim to read the Quran.  The purpose of reading is known to the dying, and you can provide them the comfort they need, without judgment.  Playing or singing music can help calm the nerves of the dying and the people attending to them.

Listening to what the dying needs is paramount, as is having a plan, should they become unable to speak, which often happens near the end.

Don’t forget to take time for yourself as well.  Treat yourself well, do something nice for yourself every once in a while, and remember it is ok to cry out your emotions.  You need the release so you can take care of others.

Holding space for people is a gift given from a place of love.  Spread the love and help where you can.  Hold space when needed, and know that someone will hold space for you one day.

 

9 Reasons to Go to Pagan Spirit Gathering

PSG2016 logo (1)

 

It’s that time of year again!  Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG), hosted by Circle Sanctuary, will be ending registration on June 4, 2016, so if you are thinking of going, get registered!  If you have no idea what PSG is, keep reading for more information and reasons to attend!

 
For more information and to register, click here!

Nine Reasons to Attend PSG

1.  Coming Home!  For many PSGers, attending PSG is like going home.  If you’ve never been, it’s like finding family you never knew you had.  People are friendly, helpful, and ready to make new friends.  From the Gate Crew that checks you in to your new neighbors for the festival, you will be met with smiles and friendship.
ComeHomeLabyrinth2.  Merchants! PSG brings out the best merchants in Pagan wares, including (but certainly not limited to,) Taldish Castle which features all kinds of Pagan things from around the world as well as hand made items, Wizard’s Emporium that features clothing, Pagan things, and more, and Rainbow Dragon Dreamz which features stones, horns, and more.  At last count, there are 33 different vendors this year!

3.  Workshops! If you are looking for workshops, PSG has them in every flavor you could imagine.  PSG pulls in the best teachers out there from our communities to create a list of workshops that will satisfy your every curiosity.  Over 100 workshops are available for your perusal!  Check out the workshops here!

4.  Rituals! There are over 30 rituals at PSG, starting with the opening ritual on Sunday and ending with the closing ritual the following Sunday.  In between, there are rituals for Rites of Passage, opening different areas around town, Handfasting, and Baby Wiccaning.  There are small rituals and huge rituals, rituals for men, and rituals for women.  There’s even a ritual to Bast!  Check out the rituals here!

PSG Main Rite Bonfire 20125.  Pagan Leadership Institute (PLI)! The PLI is for any Pagan that is in clergy, ministry, or any leadership position, or is training to be in one.  These specialized classes help deepen our understanding of what it means to be a leader, as well as give us more tools to use when we go back home.  PLI classes are taught by leaders within our community.  Look in the workshop link above for PLIs!

6.  Community! PSG creates a village or town that is entirely Pagan.  It’s a great opportunity to be immersed in the Pagan community, which is unique to PSG.  Once you are there, you can let your Pagan flag fly and be yourself!

PSG Solstice Fire 2010

7.  Sweat Lodge! Have you ever wanted to participate in a sweat lodge?  PSG is the place to enjoy a good sweat!  The people that set up and facilitate the sweat lodge are amazing and they walk you through every step.

8.  Concerts! PSG brings in some amazing Pagan musicians that will teach workshops, hold meet and greets, and have concerts!  This year, Tuatha Dea, Celia, Spiral Rhythm, Sentinel Grove, Arthur Hinds, Brian Henke and Beltana Spellsinger will delight everyone with their own brands of music.

Musicians

9.  Nationally known presenters! Selena Fox, Byron Ballard, Kathryn Hinds, Lupa, Judith Olson-Linde and Nels Linde will share knowledge through workshops and meet and greets.  It’s a great way to get to know these great leaders in our community.

Presenters2016

10.  BONUS! Bardapalooza!  In this one night, all of the musicians will come together for a wonderful night of sharing music between the groups, to the awe of everyone in attendance!

 

If you’ve never attended a festival, you should seriously look into PSG.  It’s an amazing experience no matter how long you’ve been on your path.

Many Blessings!  Come see us at PSG under the Three Rivers Pagans banner!

 

PSG Registration is Now Open!

It’s that time again!

Pagan Spirit Gathering has opened its registration process for the 2016 PSG festival and now’s the time to get your registration in while the prices are lowest!

Why Should I Go to PSG?

The reasons are innumerable to attend Pagan Spirit Gathering.  No matter what you want from a festival, it’s here.  Top notch classes taught by knowledgeable instructors, phenomenal entertainment from the best Pagan musicians, as well as vendors whose wares cater to your every need, greet you at every turn.

Location, Location, Location

Pagan Spirit Gathering is changing location this year to Tall Tree Lake in Vienna, Illinois.  The site has a 40 acre pond for swimming and boating, wonderful camping areas, and a reinstated feature of “generator camp” for those RV’ers who would like power to their campers and bring a generator.  There will be more space for a variety of rituals, and of course, some of the best people to hang out with for a week.

The Particulars

When: June 19-26, 2016

Where: Tall Tree Lake, Vienna, Illinois

Who: YOU!

RSVP: Register HERE  

 

Pagan Spirit Gathering is a festival facilitated by Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wisconsin.  Check out their website for Circle Sanctuary  for more details about the work they do!

PSG 2015: The Year of Community

The Green, lovingly renamed Labyrinth Loch ~ © 2015 photo by Chris Eldridge

The Green, lovingly renamed Labyrinth Loch
~ © 2015 photo by Chris Eldridge

Pagan Spirit Gathering 2015

I don’t really even know where to start telling you about Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG) 2015.  We had such high hopes for a beautiful week, filled with love, friendship, and community.  The theme, after all, was “Celebrating Community”.  What we didn’t know was how true that theme was going to become.

Three Rivers Pagans had a contingency of six, three that were 1 year veterans, and three virgins.  The veterans had told the virgins what to expect, what might happen, and what they would see that was vastly different than our conservative town has to offer.  For some, it could be quite the culture shock.  There’s no judgement at PSG, from how you want to dress to how you practice your faith.  There’s no “you’re doing it wrong”.  People actually ask how you are doing and they mean it.  They also pitch in to help when something happens.  That was totally evident when disaster struck at Stonehouse Farm, the venue for PSG.

Disaster Strikes

Rains had plagued the area leading up to the week of PSG, June 14-21, 2015.  The ground was wet, mud was plentiful, but everyone was in high spirits.  We set up our camps on Sunday in the rain, but a little rain doesn’t dissuade us from much.  Monday brought more downpours and a lot of mud.  As a Tribe, we became mud people, trudging everywhere through it, our feet covered to our ankles.  Shortly after 5 pm on Monday, the word came through: we were going to flood and we had to move quickly.  Guardians, people that take on the responsibility for keeping everyone safe during the festival, were assembled, along with anyone that could help.  Cars and tents were in the floodplain and it wasn’t going to be long before they were underwater.  A dam upstream was going to be opened to let water out of Shabbona Lake and we were in the path of that water.  It was time to move.

Teams fanned out, calling out to people to move their cars if they were in the lower parking lot.  Some of them were stuck, but people volunteered to push, pull, and drag them out of the mud and rising waters.  People stood at the top of the hill, urging drivers to slow down and reassuring them that they were on high ground, safe, and that nothing would hurt them.  Hours later, a mere 8 cars were left, their owners unknown.  Many of them were totalled, having taken on water and mud when the waters rose.
People who were camped on the lower end of the campground around the pond and Grandmother Willow were helped to high ground.  Many had to leave their belongings behind, watching as the water rose and engulfed everything they brought with them, leaving a sludge of mud coating most everything.  I helped direct traffic for a while, holding up safety tape to allow management vehicles to pass.  I watched as people lugged up their tents and whatever they could carry, a look of shock on all of their faces.  The displaced found lodging in other camps where they were welcomed with open arms.  New friends were made, families were forged through the trial of water.

On High Ground

At the TRP camp, we were floored early on when we were told that although we were on very high ground, some 10 feet or more above the floodplains, we were being evacuated.  We were on the edge of the flood zone and we needed to get to safety.  Fifteen minutes.  We had a mere fifteen minutes to grab what we could and find our way to higher ground.  It was hard, I’m not going to lie.  I set our virgins on a path that I knew would take them away from the flooding, but I stayed behind.  Two members of our camp had gone to move cars and I didn’t know where they were.  When one of them returned, we ran, praying to the Goddess that the last missing member was safe with guardians.  When she met up with us later, she had been helping push out cars from the mud, but she was safe.  The hardest thing I’ve ever done was take three people who did not know the terrain and send them to safety, not knowing where they were when I made the trek myself.

Monday night we were able to return to camp.  We were very waterlogged, muddy, and a mess, but everything was ok.  We were alive, together, and could support each other.

Festival Ends Early

Tuesday morning, our traditional morning meeting was mandatory.  It was announced that we all had to leave.  PSG 2015 was over.  It was time to go home.  Days early.  I looked around as the realization hit everyone.  In its 35th year, PSG was going to end early for the first time.  The land could not support us in its waterlogged state.  The shower house was overrun with water as was the septic system.  It was no longer safe for us to stay.  I spent the day organizing camp slowly, not aware of my own feelings yet.  I was shell shocked.  TRP members spread out through the camps, helping others less fortunate than we were, getting them packed up and out of the venue safely.  I’ve never been prouder of a group of people.

One Final Hurrah

Tuesday night, we grieved.  We partied.  We drank.  And we listened to some of the best music ever played.  Bardapalooza happened in the pavilion and it was glorious.  SJ Tucker, Celia Ferran, Mama Gina, Spiral Rhythm, and a host of others all lent voices and talent to keep us entertained and brighten our spirits.  We were blessed to hear a beautiful story from Janet Farrar.  Firespinners went all out on the only night they were going to get to spin.  And of course, there was drumming and dancing around the Sacred Fire.

Wednesday brought our leave.  We were helped by wonderful people to get our gear down to the parking lot, far from where we camped.  We loaded up and headed to showers at a truck stop.  They were glorious.  We hadn’t showered since Sunday, and it was much needed.

Decompressing

Now that we are home, we are working on healing the deep cuts to our psyche from seeing such devastation.  No matter how much you helped out, it never seemed enough.  No matter how many people you fed or pulled out of the floodzone, there were still more.  But as a community, we came together.  We got things done faster and more efficiently than any government agency could ever think to do.  Together, we celebrated community in the best way possible: by becoming that which we celebrated.