It has been a full week since the amazing Festival23 weekend came to a close, and I thought I’d do a quick write up from the perspective of Dana and myself.
First off, there was a LOT happening. In addition to the ‘Pyramind’ main stage, there was a ‘Third Eye Space’ tent dedicated to rituals, workshops and talks, a ‘Destabilise’ zone with art and other events, performances and things. Plus also Dr Dreadnaughts, a cafe and shisha lounge with DJs and other performers, a large outdoor fire, and reasonably priced food tents that provided decent sized portions. The pizza was great and the falafel wraps delicious. The bar sold a pleasant ale.
As early bird ticket holders we arrived and set up our tents on the Thursday, and it wasn’t long before I met Dave Lee, a magical friend I hadn’t seen or had much contact with in years. It was nice to reconnect.
An advantage of being an early bird meant we got to attend an early ‘Gong bath’. This was repeated sometime on Friday morning. This involved a lying down meditation as Suzie Price played the gongs, creating a beautiful and haunting meditative sound-scape. In the climax she carried a gong around the hall and played it over each participant, so we could each feel the air movement in addition to hearing the sounds.
This was followed a brief Erisian pathworking, a sort of opening ritual before the official opening ritual of the following evening. Everyone was clearly tired, Dana and I from the travel down from Inverness, everyone else either from their own travels or even from helping to set up the event. So the laid back nature of this pathworking was welcome. Blankets were encouraged.
Hanging around the bar and food tents in the evening we got to meet a statue called, if I remember correctly, Mino. After sitting down next to this we also met the artist whose creation Mino was, but alas I forget the name. For now. If someone can remind me I’ll update this blog…
The next day, after morning coffee, I saw the next familiar faces. Old friends I knew were coming but hadn’t seen for several years. Seani Love and Cat Vincent.
After noticing a tattoo tent with a special £23 offer on simple festival tattoo designs, Dana and I hatched a plan to get Operation Intruder tattoos. So we suspended attending morning activities until we’d got them sorted. Dana got herself the original CE5 sigil design, whereas I got the ‘You are not alone’ sigil that received after working with the CE5 sigil. We each took turns film the other, so more about this to follow. For now I will say getting these tattoos were an act of magic, empowering the sigils and all active targets of them. For my part I focused my attention on targets of the ‘You Are Not Alone’ sigil, such as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Sirian Refugees and Barrett Brown. There was also an element of sacrifice in getting the tattoo early in the proceedings as for it to heal, we needed to avoid activities leading to sweating, which meant no taking advantage of the sauna, and limiting our dancing activities to a more gentle kind of bopping.
Still, that was fine by me at least as we’d been to several musical events, festivals, raves and parties over the past several years but no magical event on quite this scale. So I more wanted to hang out around the Third Eye area anyway…
All the same we couldn’t help but pop in to see Leisure Weapons perform. Not that we’d heard of them specifically, but a strange gentlemen with a colourful plastic gun made an intriguing invite for us to attend. We weren’t disappointed.
Next thing I remember was the talk by Dave Lee, on chaos magic and chemognosis. This involved a poetic introduction to Chaos Magic as he saw it, for the benefit of those present new to Discordianism, or experienced in the latter but unaware of its Chaos Magic offshoot. In this he did a wonderful and entertaining job.
I will finish part 1 of this write up with the official opening ritual. We were asked to help perform this at the last moment by Anwen, apparently on Dave Lee’s recommendation. Suitably flattered to be asked of course we agreed. The idea was simple. The first eight of us knew the drill, the remaining members of the crowd were instructed to follow suit. The ritual began with the first couple forming an archway by raising their hands, then Dana and I walked through, as the couple whispered positive messages in our ears ‘You are magical’, ‘You are empowered’. We then formed a second arch and whispered our own positive messages to those entering our part of the human tunnel. A creature of routine I stuck with ‘You are loved’ for pretty much everyone that passed through, partly because I liked the reaction it got. I could see the words really touched some of the people passing through.
Naturally this ritual caused much confusion, people not automatically turning the tunnel to run around all of the tent. But it all worked out in the end. I’m not sure the organisers realised quite how well attended the ritual would be. I think it was the most packed I saw the Pyramind tent all weekend. Suitably empowered by all the powerful mind programming, the loved up vibe of the tent was interrupted by the surprise arrival of Eris…