I arrived around 4:30 or so on Thursday.
I said a bunch of hellos and everyone asked about Liz, who had stayed home this year. Everyone was disappointed that she wasn't there. I missed her too, but was glad that she is thought of so highly by so many folks.
I set up my tent across from illious's Magical Tent of Beer Wonderment with his help. Since I was the only person from my Grove there, Tear of the Cloud Grove graciously adopted me for the weekend. They made me feel welcomed and well cared for.
I cannot say enough good things about my Grove away from home. Thank you so much, illious, Gretchen, Dennis and Brenda. I mean that. I was getting teary eyed thinking about saying good bye on Monday. You all are fantastic! I had so much fun at Wellspring as a direct result of Tear of the Cloud Grove's kindness and generosity. I know I mentioned it many times to all of them over the weekend, especially to illious but words can't say how great they all were.
The opening rite was great. I love to hear Ian run a ritual. He is so eloquent and his voice is quite engaging. He really out did himself this year.
It was quite cold in the evenings and I found that I needed to visit the hot tub before going to bed each night to stay warm enough to get to sleep. Many others felt the same way.
I went to bed around 10:30 or so as I was tired from the trip.
I woke up at 7am and got showered and dressed. I had wanted to make sure I was up in time for Ian's Three Mystical Exercises class at 9:30. I found it fascinating and really enjoyed it.
I went to the Warrior class put on my Seamus and enjoyed that. It's nice that the Guild had a chance to tell folks what we are about and that being a Warrior is more than playing silly games and lifting heavy objects for people. I think that class was directly responsible for several people joining the Guild. Well done!
One really cool thing was, as a member of the Warriors Guild, was to help with the installation of the Sky Father stone in the Nemeton. That was a very special thing. I feel that the Warriors discharged their duty with dignity and grace.
I also went to the Monuments of Ireland workshop and had a good time. It was great seeing the pictures and asking my questions.
The Sky Father ritual that evening was quite nice. Although I will say that I did not approve of the Outdwellers part. I thought this was rather confrontational and not very respectful. Ian's way of doing it was both respectful and functional. There is no need to be rude.
On another note, there were a crap load of songs in the ritual. About 3 times as many as my Grove uses. But I got to thinking about that. The ritual was very spot on, almost military in its precision. I was thinking that all the singing really helped the participants feeling like they were contributing to the ritual rather than just standing around and watching. Don't get me wrong, except for the Outdwellers part, I really enjoyed the ritual. This is one of the reasons I love festivals is so that I can see how other Groves do rituals and maybe get ideas of things to include in our own rites.
On Saturday, I didn't go to any workshops, but did the warrior games instead. The damned race took a lot out of me and I spent the rest of the weekend coughing as I had really overexerted myself. I ended up getting a cold and felt terrible Tuesday at work. I got chills and everything. Went to bed at 9:30 and everything. But I digress...
viedansante showed up and along with Dennis and Gretchen agreed to learn my new qi gong that Sif helped me put together. I haven't decided on a name yet. I was thinking Norse Qi Gong, or Run Valdr Qi Gong, but I think Sif Qi Gong is a better name. Until I can come up with an old Norse word that means roughly the same thing as Qi Gong. Old Norse experts are welcomed to chime in. But either way, I feel that Sif's name should be part of it as She was directly responsible for showing it to me.
I had fun hanging out with viedansante as she is a very talented and nice person. And thoughtful too. We had fun talking about writing stuff with Gretchen. It's nice to be able to share that part of myself with other writers.
I made my chili for the pot-luck and illious was kind enough to let me use some of his fresh garlic. Honestly, I've never used fresh garlic before and it really made a big difference in the chili. It tasted fantastic. I've decided to leave out the tomato paste. And to use fresh garlic. Now I have to buy a garlic press. Or buy the freshly chopped garlic in jars. I don't think I can go back to the garlic powder.
There was a lot of food and I ate too much. Then it was time for music. I always liked Ian and Sue's sets and they did all the good songs. Then came Locherie who were quite good. I'm afraid I didn't reall stay for any of the open mike stuff. But after I got out of the hot tub and into bed, I heard the most beautiful voice singing a song about Brid. Half the song was in Irish and the other half was in English. It was Earrach of Sassafras Grove. I kid you not, it was utterly heavenly. What a great way to fall asleep.
On Sunday I also didn't go to any workshops but did warrior games things. Sunday was archery and the dreaded circle challenge. This year we had our first real major injury. Grey, from Snow Waters Grove broke his collar bone into 3 pieces (a good Druid number) going up against his senior druid. He was quickly helped and then the determination was that his collar bone was most likely broken. I wasn't about to do any Run Valdr to heal it until it was set. He was taken to the hospital to return that night.
Then I was able to do work for him. Now Run Valdr has a symbol that was designed to help with migraines, but it works on all kinds of pains. I am constantly amazed at how well it works. As soon as I started working on Grey, he commented that my nick-name should be Vicodin as the pain had vanished. I worked on him twice Sunday night and at least once on Monday. I'm sure he will have a speedy recovery. Speaking of which, I should do some distance work as well to help him. It was gratifying to be able to help someone in pain, and to be honest, I was a bit embarrased by the amount of thanks I got from his Grove. That is a good Grove right there.
I secretly enjoy going to festivals and being required to heal folks. It makes me feel special and needed. I'm happy to do healing work for anyone in need. It's who I am, it's what I do. A day I can't help is a day that's wasted. Even if it's getting someone Immodium to help with a restless intestines.
A highlight of Sunday was the ordination of ADF's newest priest. I got a bit choked up during the ritual as I find these kind of things very meaningful and powerful. Also, afterwards, there was a memorial service for [Bad username: romandruid,]'s father. This did bring tears to my eyes and there were some who were openly weeping. We love you Jenni!
I was a bit melancholy Sunday night as it was the final night of the festival. Monday is such a sad day as you have to say good bye to your friends.
Anyway, Monday was pack up day. I got my car all packed and then it rained (the first time all weekend) for about two minutes, and then the sky cleared up. I've never had a Wellspring when it didn't rain at some point. Being the Chief of ADF's Magicians Guild, I of course took credit for the good weather. I spent the rest of the morning helping others pack up.
I got on the road around 12:30pm and got home around 6pm. I stopped for some lunch around 2:30 or so, so I made good time. Map Quest has the trip lasting about an hour.
Thanks to all, named and unnamed who made Wellspring 2008 such a wonderful experience. It's really nice to be in a Pagan setting with other like minded Pagans doing Pagany things for 5 days. Even just walking around Brushwood is a treat as almost everywhere you look you see little Pagan things tucked into corners and under trees. If you haven't been yet, you should go. If you haven't been lately, you should go. If you went this year, go next year.