Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Goddess Conference Days 4 - 5

Saturday began with a superb illustrated presentation by Max Dashu on The Old Goddess of the Witches. Her research on the persistence of Goddess Paganism in mediaeval Europe is fascinating. She ranged over reverence to the Goddess in planting and harvesting, in spinning and in weaving; the Goddess as spinner and stone raiser, shamanic myths of flight and much more. I found her study of the etymology of Goddess names particularly interesting - Erda, Hulda, Holle, Holt, Perchta, Perhta, Habonde, Abundia...

This was followed by a celebration of Lady Olivia's 90th birthday. Sometimes pagan bloggers talk about the pretentious titles some people love. Well Lady Olivia really can claim that title and an ancestral home, Clonegal Castle in Ireland. She is, of course, the co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis and a quite remarkable lady! I am always amazed how easily she organises a whole hall full of people and gets them moving in beautiful ritual in no time at all.

Rose Flint led a short (too short but time was pressing) presentation on Ecology and encouraged everyone to weave very practical work to honour Mother Earth into their daily spiritual practice.

The morning ended with a beautiful ceremony to crown Queens and Crones and honour their lives, their wisdom and their work for the Goddess. Each woman spoke her own truth and received a beautiful crown. Two men were also crowned as Sages.

The afternoon is given over to an Abundance Fair where anyone at the Conference can sell their own beautiful hand crafted work. Goddess loving women seem to be especially talented and it is very easy to spend too much money on the most wonderful items.

Saturday evening by tradition is time for a masked ball. Amazing costumes, lots of fun, wonderful music provided by Julie Felix and the Daughters of Gaia. Lots and lots of Goddess Songs and the opportunity to dance and dance and dance.

On Sunday Morning everyone processes from the Town Hall up the High Street along to Chalice Well and then to the top of the Tor. It is always a colourful and noisy occasion with Lydia's Banners, colourful dress, drums and horns and voice. A treat for the tourists who all stop to take lots of photographs. This year it was also filmed and broadcast live by the BBC on their Sunday morning religious programme, Heaven and Earth. The BBC also included interviews with two Priestesses, Annabel and Katinka who gave clear and intelligent answers to the interviewers questions. Now in its twelfth year the Goddess Conference goes main stream on the BBC, the world is indeed beginning to change!

The procession stops at the Chalice Well for song and ritual and fun with the water ! It then wends its way up the Tor with the banners flying proud in the wind. The Goddess always seems to shine on the Conference and the climb up the Tor was made in the intense heat of the hottest day of the Summer so far! The Tor fruit fest provided welcome refreshment before we all danced the spiral dance around the summit.

Sunday afternoon and the Conference is almost over. A time to draw the raffle in support of the Goddess Temple, to exchange gifts and to thank all those wonderful people who work so hard to make it all a huge success. Then the closing ceremony, jubilant singing of, "The circle is open but unbroken. May the peace of the Goddess be ever in your heart" and lots of hugs and farewells and promises to meet again next year.

I hope to conclude tomorrow with a short piece on the Concert on the Monday evening after the Conference and a note about Caroline Probyn's beautiful exhibition in the Miracles Room during the Conference.



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