As Chelse and I walked through the big circle of standing stones at Four Quarters Sanctuary, one smaller stone stood to the side. At its top rested a round rock engraved with the phrase, "Grow Dammit!" We giggled at the joke and continued wandering through the campground. Little did I realize how wise that little rock was.
The next morning our friends began to filter in, and Wickerman started to come to life. We erected our tent city. I'm not sure if any of us realized what a growing experience this was about to be. I learned so much from my camp mates and fellow festival goers over those five days.
Lesson One: People are Amazing
People ARE amazing, in so many ways. They are beautiful, creative, funny creatures who come up with the most inventive ways of amusing themselves and others. They create art, play with fire, make music, dance. In the right setting, such as this one, they're incredibly tolerant, giving, non-judgmental, sharing, and nurturing. It's interesting to see what society can be, in a perfect world. It might never really exist, but in that sacred time, and sacred space, it exists to us.
Lesson Two: Tribal Living Rocks
This I have known for a while, but I really felt it this year. Granted, my food (and the booze) was anything but Primal, but the rest of the lifestyle was perfect. Wake up with the sun, eat when hungry, rest, walk, play, dance, run. Occasionally carry heavy things like wash buckets or coolers full of alcohol. I remember the perfect tribal moment. It was my turn to wash dishes. Squatting next to the wash buckets, cleaning our dishes in nothing more than a scarf around my waist. It felt so natural... so human. Tribal living is the best. I wish I could do it always.
Lesson Three: Accept Yourself
I think I took a huge step... no... a giant leap in this department. In past years it was practically a matter of pulling teeth to get me into the river naked. This year, whether in or out of the river, clothes were merely an option. To my shock and amazement, it wasn't a struggle at all. Sure, at first it felt a bit weird to be unclothed. Now I'm faced with an equal challenge, to be a domesticated human in the "normal" world. Going back to work tomorrow will remedy that, I'm certain. Still though, I've gained a certain confidence, an acceptance of myself that I can carry with me throughout the rest of the year when I'm not at Wickerman.
Lesson Four: Assassin Bugs are Cool
We had tiny guests at our camp this year. Assassin bug nymphs. Actually the Wheel Bug variety. I've never seen these little creatures before, and now find myself incredibly fascinated with them. Apparently the adults can bite, and when they do it's incredibly painful. The babies though, are quite harmless. I rather enjoyed their company.
Lesson Five: Bread is Bad
OK, like Tribal Living, this one came as no surprise either, but for whatever reason I found myself unable to stop poisoning myself on a daily basis. It was just so damn tasty- as in it was a perfect conduit for gobs of butter, honey, and fruit preserves. One camp called Bread & Circus, had constant offerings of free baked delights for the taking, and we took. Hey, it was on the way to the swimming hole! We needed something to soak up the alcohol both before and after. Meh. It's once a year. Now I'm attempting to take control of the wagon again. It's proving more difficult than I anticipated, but it has to be done.
Lesson Six: Asbestos actually grows on trees.
We had the logs to prove it. They would not burn for all our trying.
There are so many things I learned this year- more than I can count, and I know I'm a slightly different person. That always happens after attending Wickerman. I look back at who I was a few years ago, and who I've become, and I give so much credit to these crazy, wonderful friends. I might only see them once or twice a year, but they change me forever.
Back to reality tomorrow.
I'm not ready for it.