Festival23 part 2

continued from Festival23 part 1.

festival23

Friday evening

After the opening ritual we stayed around for Cat Vincent’s workshop DADA 101: An introduction to Defence Against the Dark Arts. The name obviously drawing influence from Harry Potter, this workshop concerned magical protection and defence, with a focus on using visualisation and energy work to create a protective shield. It drew a chuckle when Cat called me onto the stage at one point for a demonstration, and I feigned biting me nails with eyes wide with terror when looking back at the workshop participants, but the exercise was really about sending and receiving energy, and Cat soon had everyone pairing off and trying it for themselves. Other techniques learned included creating an energy filter for only letting in desired energies and block those that might be harmful…

cthulhu

The final highlight of the evening for Dana and I was the Alan Moore film. Alan shared his views on counter culture and how he hoped Festival23 would help foment a new counter culture, and his announcement that he was donating free complete sets of his magazine,  Dodgem Logic, to everyone that attended the festival. Dana and I helped unpack and distribute these from the community shop, where Dana was selling some of her Trollkona Crafts products.

Saturday

The next morning we saw everyone getting excited about the Happy Hardcore Aerobics, something we had to miss due to our healing tattoos. Our morning therefore began with Dave Lee’s chanting session to empower an egregore that empowers chemognosis, or entheogenic powered magic. This consisted of runic chants and, if I remember correctly, a bindrune or sigil of somekind.

planet9

After lunch we wondered on down to the Pyramind stage to watch Planet 9 perform. This was a stunning performance. We had previous online contact with one of the vocalists, Jo Sims, and it was great to watch her perform and introduce ourselves to her after the show, even if our paths didn’t really cross again after that.

puppet-alan-watts

After watching Future Zen Puppetry (featuring the puppet Alan Watts) and Dr Bramwell discuss his haunted moustache, we arrived at Seani Love and Sophie Wisdom’s two hour workshop Eris meats Eros. One of the longer events happening at the festival, 2 hours went by quickly and seemed hardly enough. Time flies when you’re having fun! The highlight for me was the introduction of maybe logic into consent. Instead of binary yes/no consent, a maybe lets your partner know that you aren’t sure but might be willing to try. In effect it allows them to interpret the maybe as a yes or a no, but signals that they are crossing a boundary. It does this in a fun and playful way that enhances the erotic feel of the situation, rather than requiring serious explanation. Both Seani and Sophie were real stars…

star

My mind is pretty blank concerning the rest of Saturday evening. We were pretty tired, however we did make our first appearances as Agent V and Agent M that night, walking around most of the venues of the festival. Which performers were on as we wondered by I couldn’t tell you though.

agent-m-plus-dalek

We did take some photos in the various art installations of the Destablise area though, including with the ‘Pimp my dalek’ and the puppet William Burroughs.

puppet-william-burroughs

Sunday

Dana did her turn looking after the community shop on Sunday morning, and I helped out and kept her company.

community-shop

We finished just in time to make it to Seani Love and Sophie Wisdom’s second workshop Chaos Tantra. This was pretty much a continuation of Eris meats Eros, although it had a mixed crowd. Dana and I got more adventurous this time round, deciding to partner with strangers for the exercises rather than each other. I think this allowed us to become more exploratory and discover more about ourselves. Again, the two hours passed quickly and I felt I could do with a long weekend of nothing but Seani and Sophie!

Next we saw The Book of Will -intentions. This was basically a run through of a play by Daisy Eris Campbell, with the main players and a few stand-ins reading out their lines from the first draft. The play was entertaining, mystical, humorous and Discordian. It felt great to be present during its very first read through. Especially since we had helped fund her previous project, the Cosmic Trigger play, but were unable to attend for various reasons.

cosmic-trigger-cabaret1

However, later that evening I would get to see the Cosmic Trigger Cabaret, which featured much of the cast performing their weird and wonderful and amazingly hilarious routines.

cosmic-trigger-cabaret3

By this time Dana and I were back as Agent’s V and M. MIB’s being effectively underworld spirits, come to close the ceremony, reminding us that all things come to an end, much like the role played by the Ghede in Vodou.

Which brings us nicely to what for us formed the closing ritual, the burning of a cross made of new age ‘self help’ books…

dscf0837

Festival23 part 1

festival23

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.

Gongs

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.

mino

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…

Morning coffee

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…

leisure-weapons

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…