It’s been six or seven years since I’ve visited my friends at Phoenix Phyre and I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to share Ostara with them this year.
The weather has been absolutely glorious coming into the festival with a few very light quick-passing showers that we all expected in spring. While they are cooling, it doesn’t seem to raise the humidity.
Long travels are difficult for me with my current pain issues, but I was blessed with wonderful friends who let me spend the night prior to festival in their home and had the opportunity to recover a bit from the drive up from South Florida. In the morning, it was a short one hour or so drive out of Orlando over to Lakeland.
I have to admit that we got turned around a few times locating the festival, but realized as soon as we got here that it was obviously the result of our pagan wandering ways and not the location that was the issue. The location was, in fact, very easy to locate and, as the Lakeland area is the hub for several Florida industries, you can occasionally hear the sound of trains in the distance, but it only adds to the ambience of the festival and reminds me of younger days spent in the Lakeland area. Don’t worry, though! I’m not going to start meandering into bygone days.
The location has the benefit of being rural with a rustic feel with all the conveniences (Publix and Walgreens) within three miles of the front gate so minimal time was spent on the first day acquiring essentials. We brought two of our children camping this time and had to travel very light due to space restrictions, and it was a blessing that we could quickly go shopping and return to camp with minimal interruption to our wonderful camping experience.
Our gathering tribe,The Abyss, arrived in fine fashion and was warmly greeted by our longstanding friend, Druydess, whom we haven’t been able to visit recently due to my health issues. So, it was a real treat to have side-by-side camp sites with her and all her wonderful people. I extend extra gratitude for the help in getting set up and organized, as well as the communal dining area we share between our two tribes.
I personally have never tried to rank one festival, rite, circle, or tradition as being “better” than other. I feel they all have their place in our Community and diversity is quite essential to the expansion of our Community with opportunities for education and experience in a manner that appeals to different tastes and approaches. As for me, I personally try to visit a variety of festivals and gatherings mostly to reestablish and revitalize longstanding friendships.
One of the things, I’ve always liked best about Phoenix Phyre is that I always have an opportunity to revitalize those longstanding friendships in the Community as many Elders in the Community from Georgia as well as Florida can often be found at Phoenix Phyre. When I say Elders, don’t make the mistake of thinking it means that this is where all the old folks come. There’s a wide variety of ages and having so many Elders sharing a festival is truly a blessing for the Community. Newcomers to Paganism and Wicca have the opportunity to sit down with established Elders from a wide variety of traditions and experiences and share thoughts in a very warm and open environment in which the Elders are “deepening” their own faith. It is and has been a very strong spiritual and faith driven retreat.
While there are plenty of spiritual activities and workshops, don’t expect a bunch of solemn people at this festival. There’s also the drinking, cavorting, and rambunctious partying as with any gathering, which I can well attest lasted into the wee hours this morning. Unfortunately, due to my new meds and being tired from travelling, I had to turn in rather early as I usually do on first days. Tonight, however, I’m sure to be found in the midst of mischief as I embrace my inner Mead Muse.
This made opening ritual last night especially magickal. Unfortunately, I was sidelined after so much time in the car, but it is always a blessing to see many Elders from many traditions working together. I think all Pagans and Wiccans need to experience Elder circles at some point to really appreciate the intensity and precision of the workings. The ritual was extremely well led and organized by my longstanding friend, Druydess, and our new friend, Drew. We all are extremely impressed and grateful for the extended protection that was established for the retreat area during the timing of the festival.
Once the lighting of the main fire began, one of my event photographers started getting some pictures as I intended to pick just one photo to share on the website. As we reviewed them afterwards, it was interesting to realize that a portion I magickally witnessed with the Sight during the lighting ceremony actually showed up in the photos — the Phoenix answered the call of the Phoenix Mystics and rose from the first flames.
So as I am keeping company with the beautiful horses in the next pasture during the sunrise this morning, I realize it is impossible to pick just one photo, so I’m going to share several of the photos.
During the festival, I’m not sure when I will be able to head out to grab some WiFi and post, so posting times will not be consistent, but I will try my best to share PP with you all on a daily basis, so be sure to stop by and enjoy the experience of a gathering vicariously through me if you aren’t able to get out for Ostara rites this Spring.
Muwah! Mead Muse