I spoke with C. J. Blackwood about her experience at Pagan Spirit Gathering (PSG). C. J. is a visually impaired author. One of her essays was included in Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Soul under the name Lady Cedar Nightsong.
What was your favorite thing about the event?
All of the music. There were quite a few concerts. Spiral Rhythm and Tuatha Dea played Celtic Rock. They were really good. If I had to name a favorite thing, it would be making friends and meeting a bunch of people. Everyone was really cool. There were lots of nice people there from different traditions and backgrounds sharing their stories.
Since you are vision impaired, did you find it difficult to navigate such a large gathering?
One thing, the roads were decent until the rain hit. People were great about directions, especially the guardians who were police and military in “real life”. They would help with anything but mainly they were there in case of any disturbances. Someone always helped me get around.
What was it like camping in all that rain and mud?
Tough, very tough. I had a very small tent so I had all my things scrunched up in there. It was very cold. I also had trouble keeping my sandals out of the mud. There were a couple of events I missed because I didn’t want to slog through a torrential rain.
I have three pieces of advice for people attending for the first time:
Gnats were bad. Bug spray helps some but get a bug band that you can wear.
Get a tarp to put over your tent and one to use in front like a porch.
Keep up on your vitamins and veggies. Do a lot of hand washing and keep your camp clean because with all the people you meet you might pick something up. I came home with a slight head cold.
I saw a picture where you had your stones out on your cooler. What was that altar for?
I used the cooler as a table for crystals and altar items to charge and gather the energy of the place. It may not have been so wise, since a few people had things disappear.
Speaking of coolers, C.J. packed most of her food. There were only three vendors. One was vegetarian, one Greek-like, and the other one had more fair-type food.
What was your favorite ritual?
The women’s ritual was very moving to see all of us together. We ended up dancing around a bonfire with a small tent over it during a thunderstorm. We taught each other different dances. We all connected not so much in a magical way but in a sense of unity.
This year was the largest PSG, with over 11,000 people registering. The opening ritual began with a huge drum procession going through all of the camps then ending up at the opening circle.
Edit from Tara:
“This year, PSG broke its own records with well over 1,000 people attending and more than 400 events, including workshops, concerts and rituals.” – See more at: http://wildhunt.org/tag/pagan-spirit-gathering#sthash.aBC5MEdV.dpuf