Moonlight Phoenix has risen

music, feminism, spirituality, words and more

30 Day Blogging Challenge day 19: Witchfest 2014

on November 16, 2014

So as you might know if you’ve been reading my blog recently, I went to Witchfest yesterday. Witchfest is a large event organised by the Children of Artemis which takes place in Fairfield Halls, Croydon. Although called ‘Witchfest’ it’s really aimed at pagans in general or people interested in Paganism, and has stalls, workshops, talks and music. I went for the first time last year and loved it, so I definitely wanted to go back this year.

As last year, it was a long journey as it takes about two hours from where I live. When I eventually got there, I thought I was going to be a bit late into the introduction, but there was a small queue still when they got to the venue and the speaker hadn’t started when I wandered into the main hall (which had Harry Potter music playing)! The Introduction was a thank you to all the people involved with the running of Witchfest and a brief talk about the day and what the purpose of Children of Artemis is. (they basically help pagans out in many ways including putting on these events). After the Intro, they always do a blessing for the day which I think is a lovely idea. Usually they have Tylulan Penry do this, but due to ill health she was unable to do it this year. But she was still asked to write one, and someone else read out for her. As was last year’s, it was a lovely blessing. A blessing on the day and all the people there. I particularly enjoyed blessing different aspects of the festival by shouting out “Blessed be!” after each aspect was stated.

After the blessing I stayed in the main hall as the first talk I wanted to hear was in there which was called “Shamanism: Gateway to the Gods which was done by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince. The talk was really interesting. They said how their fascination with Shamanism intitally came from their interest in Ancient Egypt and wanting to know how they got their knowledge, which led them to trying to find out how the Shamans got theirs. They talked about the research they had done, and how the Shamans got their knowledge from the spirits through a trance state often using psychoactive plants such as ayahausca. they also talked a little about Shamanism in the modern day, for example it’s been seen on TV recently with the ‘I Bought a Rainforest’ documentary and Bruce Parry’s ‘Tribe’.

next up, I tried a workshop called ‘Dancing the Sacred feminine’ as I thought it might be fun. It was led by a lady called Tree, and it was tribal fusion/belly dancing! She showed us a few techniques and just a couple of moves. Some of it was quite hard, (like trying to find various muscles!) but it was relaxed and good fun, with lots of silly laughter and no judgement on anyone.

The talk I was looking forward to the most was next, so I ran to the room as quick as I could, to find it was almost full! It was for a talk on ‘Faery Witchcraft’ which was done by Flavia Peters. The first question she asked was “Who Believes in faeries?” and I was delighted that it all but one in the room that believed, and one not sure. She talked about faeries being elementals, and representations we can put on our altars for them. She also shared some of her personal stories about contact with the fae. I really enjoyed the anecdote she told about her friend who did regular litter picking, and she one day bought a new bag. She bought it round to Flavia’s house who complimented her on it, and one point her friend went to get something from the bag, and she ended up pulling out a pair of earrings that she had lost several years ago that were her favourites! and there was no way they could have been there! I love what the Faeries can do!

After all that I took a break from talks for a few hours to take a look around, and have something to eat. I trawled round and round the stalls, there was so many nice things I wasn’t sure what to get! I ended up getting a shoulder bag with the triple goddess symbol on, and a t shirt with a pentagram that says “Out of the Broom Closet!”

I went to one last talk called ‘The Modern Wiccan’ by Tam Campbell which was about how we can be more Pagan and proud. he based on the wheel of the year, and different ideas you could do for each solstice and equniox, and the other festivals, which was very interesting, but the only thing which was disappointing for me was that he based a lot of it on children and families, which doesn’t work in my household of no children! There were one or two ideas I might try though.

there was still a few workshops after that, and music, but I was drained by this point and the journey is pretty long, so I decided to go home after that. I really enjoyed myself again though, and makes me feel proud of my choice of spirituality. The only thing I do wish is that they gave a short break between talks as it’s very hard that you have to rush straight into the next talk, and also lack of vegan food! But on the positive, the range of talks and workshops is amazing, lots of good stalls at a wide variety of price ranges, and also you don’t have to pay additional prices to go to the workshops unlike a lot of other events.

An excellent event!

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