CMA Beltane

CMA Beltane April 18, 2011
my campsite at CMA Beltane

I’m back from a 4-day weekend trip to the Council of Magickal Arts’ Beltane festival at Spirit Haven, CMA’s group-owned land near Flatonia, Texas. This was my first large Pagan festival – it was quite an experience.

I don’t know how many people were there – I didn’t get an official count, and the orientation leader said they vary from 500 to 1500. My best guess would be somewhere in the 1000 range, but that’s a pretty wild guess.

I’m not going to try to review the event, and I’m not going to try to do a “my first Pagan festival” report. Instead, I want to talk about what I saw that I like.

I like that a group of Pagans, none of whom could be considered wealthy, have been able to come together, buy land, make improvements, and host two major festivals a year. It speaks to what is possible when we share common goals, work together, and stick with something year after year.

I like that everyone had to work a shift at community service. By sharing the labor, we keep the costs down, we avoid burning out volunteers, and everyone is reminded that the work that keeps an event (or a city) running doesn’t get done by house elves.

I like that there were many options for activities but no pressure to participate in any of them.

I like that while the mead and ale were flowing I didn’t see anyone out of control.

I like that everyone I talked to was friendly.

I like that Phaedra Bonewits led a Saturday night ritual that honored the spirits of the land with the music of her late husband Isaac. Leading a ritual for 120 (or thereabouts) people is very different from leading a ritual for 25 or 30 – Phaedra showed us how to do a large ritual right.

I like that I got to spend three nights more or less unplugged. Only got half of one book read, though.

l doubt these events will become must-do’s for me, but it was an enjoyable weekend and I’m very glad I went.

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