Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pagan Summers....

"She changes everything She touches,
and everything She touches changes"

I find I still have little to write personally these days, but many dreams that float through my mind while I'm driving the freeways of L.A., longing for green...........perhaps most prominent are fragrant memories of summers at the Brushwood Folklore Center in Western New York, working at the festivals, building my Moss Garden shrine deep in the woods,  spending time with my visionary friends Frank and Darlene Barney who created Brushwood..........and the many people who have come there over the years to celebrate with ecstatic exuberance the land, Gaia, the Goddess and the God, the rising of the Dog star, and Community at festivals like Starwood, and Sirius Rising.

Frank and I had a conversation a number of years ago, riding through the “village” that seems to bubble out of the ground when the big festivals happen.  It's like Brigadoon appearing, then disappearing.   I asked him what it was like to live with a particular place since childhood, to grow up within his environment of forests and meadows, as Brushwood is, and eventually become  its caretaker and spiritual collaborator.  "How", I asked, "do we speak with the Earth?"

Frank answered my question as he always does, in his own inimitable round about way. He was answering in circles, literally, as we toured, looking at favorite trees, feeling the geomagnetic intensities of various places, the “green breath” of the forest.

“Most of the voices of nature are small and delicate,” he told me, and can easily be silenced. They can be made invisible, or driven underground. And when that happens, people forget that they ever existed at all. Within a short time, they forget what it was like to live in such a rich chorus of voices, among so many stories, and they’re living without them in a world that has lost not only population, but mystery and vitality. An increasingly flat world with only human voices.

“If you violate a person, be it a child or an adult, they shut up. You silence them. They withdraw - although, with human beings, the energy of that violence is likely to erupt in some future way, in some future violence. Places, like people and animals, also have voices. Violate a place, like putting a 
Wal-Mart parking lot over it, and all the voices that belong to that place leave.”

“What I've been trying to do” he said, “for the past 30 years is to create a place that can facilitate communion with the Earth. By treating the land with respect, by acknowledging the presence of so many other intelligences, visible and invisible, that are evolving within the immanent cycles of life, right here, on the land. On this land, with all of its uniqueness. "

"And there are different ways we've accomplished that.  For example, because we didn't have much money, we couldn't do what many people do when they acquire a piece of land. Which is to come in with big machines that level and dominate the land, bulldoze it flat, force it to do what they want it do. We didn't have the financial means to do that, even if we wanted to, so Brushwood evolved gradually, organically, according to the dictates of the land, its contours and water ways and bumps and swamps and resources. And also its energy leys and vortices. 

We bring people here who have an earth friendly ethos and mythos. They can feel safe here, they can interact and create and explore without ridicule or hostility. They come here to connect, to play, or to heal. They can do ritual, make things like art or theatre or music, wear masks or costumes, dance, have discussions, make love, get naked in the sun or rain if they like, the children can ride their bikes or play in the mud - they feel safe. So the Earth can speak through them in all the things that they say and do.

That’s how we talk with the Earth. We let the Earth talk through us.”

Erecting the Thunder Bird (2008) 

Throughout the week long festival, prayers and intentions were collected, and 
deposited in the Thunder Bird "messenger "

Photos of  Sirius Rising 2008 are by, and copyright,  Roy Jones


sukipoet said...

thanks for the intro to Brushwood. I have never heard of it. It must be amazing to live in the same place on the same land for one's whole life. Such a connection grows and is sustained to place. I know place is very important to my sense of who I am, yet I have moved often not always because I want to.

Lauren Raine said...

hi Suki, yes, so true. The Barneys have really extended that circle to the world.....although, not without a struggle. They had to deal with a lot of local discrimination because they opened a pagan center, some of it very aggressive. But Chautaqua county has a tradition of being a place where innovation happens - same county as Lilydale and the Chautaqua Institute.

Valerianna said...

Great sharing... thanks! Love the last video...
and my word verification word is "gonis", but I read it wrong at first, I thought it said "gnosis!"...

Lauren Raine said...

hey Val;erianna, "gnosis", that's a good sign for talking to the earth!

T said...

Had never heard of this place. Fascinating post, thanks for writing about it. I always learn something when I visit your blog.