Monday, 5 September 2011

Mercian Gathering.

 A trip vastly needed, indeed I didn't realise quite how much until I arrived.  Life has been rather chaotic and busy, rhythms abandoned, lots of wild children running in and out of my house, a newish mindee; while he's settled very well, he is an only child and sometimes he finds sharing me with other children difficult.  Wednesday was a particularly difficult day where he yelled alot.  Speaking to one of the other children would set him off, still, the Wednesday before we went to a friend's house for Letterland day, and much to my suprise he was up and off playing happily, not the least bit fussed if I moved about, left a room etc.     But anyway, all this had led to me feeling very much in need of a break and change of pace.  I love, love the company, simply though, I needed a holiday, and the Mercian Gathering was perfect!
 Myself, Rye and my best mate, Jen, arrived Friday afternoon.  The journey took a little longer than anticipated because of traffic, but who cares - ROAD TRIP!  On arrival  set up my tent with the help a lovely bloke, called Peter.  We camped in a group with Sarah & Colin's family and their friends and we were made instantly welcomed.  Such a tonic to be outdoors with friends and new friends, the children running and playing, a camp fire.  Gosh, it was wonderful!
Rye made instant friends with the other children.  Alice and Saule, he already knew; Kye, he quickly became fast friends with, and oh gosh, the sharing between these two was a beautiful sight.  Kye shared his thomas trains with Rye, and Rye shared his cars with him, as well as the Octons, pencils etc.  And on the last day he shared his food with the children too.  Running up to me asking if he "may" share his goodies with the others.  Ahhh, makes a mama's heart swell with pride.
The Mercian Gathering is set out over several fields, this rather well endowed gentleman marked the limnal space between two of the fields; to the left there was the field with the Wicker Man, upon which we made place offerings and wishes before he was burned as sacrifice, and to the right was the field where the talks were held and a few stalls selling all manner of pagany things.  I bought a beautiful dye green leather journel with the tree of life embossed into the leather.
The Wicker Man, another very well endowed gentleman, one who for a wee while was missing a pair of testicles.  Only at the Mercian would you have announcements asking for testicles to be made!  hehehehe.
The labyrinth being fired ready for walking through.  Alas, I was unable to actually join in much because Rye did find some of it a bit daunting.  When we congregated for the rituals, he constantly repeated he didn't like it and became a little distressed, so while I encouraged him to watch I left participating for another time.  This time at the Mercian was very much about introducing Rye to a new experience and him gaining some familiarisation, so with any luck, next year we'll be able to participate more.
Aunty Jen and some of our friends walking the labyrinth.

The arches ready to shoot flaming arrows into the Wicker Man.  This ritual Rye enjoyed more, gosh it was stirring stuff.  Oooh just added a wee video I took of the Wickerman burning.. you can hear the chanting, "burn burn, Wicker man" and Rye been a little unsure and asking why the wicker man is burning and saying he doesnt' like it.  Bless him, however, once the wicker man was properly ablaze he got into the spirit of it.

The Witchmen, a morris troupe.  Sadly, we didn't get to see them dance, here they are leading the procession for the finishing ritual.  Again Rye wasn't over keen but he did walk with me and I was able to watch the entire ritual.

 Here we were getting ready for the procession for the closing ritual.  Rye decided he didn't want Sarah to face paint him; but Alice and India looked beautiful.
Ahhhhh our wee camp fire circle.  Gosh we had a giggle, the children were in bed by 9am each evening, and then the grown ups sat around the fire talking of things, I simply couldn't repeat, hehehe but lets just say there were many surreal and hiliarous conversations; and a bit of singing too.
The Hearth of Arainrhod led the rituals, and yes it was very Wiccan in flavour, but I enjoyed it nontheless, I realised just how much of my "pagan" life has been neglected since becoming a mother, home educator, childminder etc, and how much I really need that spiritual side of me.  The Mercian has reminded me to nuture that side and to set aside time for spiritual pursuits.

Sunday came far too quickly, and time to pack away the tents and fill the cars again - though it did afford the children with some lovely bouncing opportunies - here they are helping to get the air out of an air bed.

Many firsts, first real camping trip and I loved it, even if my novice-ness was very apparent; as I completely forgot about taking a recepticle for water!  Thank goodness I'd bought some small bottles of water to drink!  My first Gathering too and it's sparked a keeness to attend many more next year.  I loved that the Mercian is very much about honouring the Old Gods and learning and is not a piss up, which many pagan gatherings can be.  Not that's there's anything wrong with that, but the Mercian was a perfect pagan camp for families; and oh, Sarah's friends did make us very welcome and soon became our friends too.  We already agreed we'd meet up next year, perhaps in Glastonbury and then again at the Mercian, and I can't wait!

Neither can Rye, this morning he asked me if we could go camping again :-)
A wonderful weekend, filled with wonderful company and new experiences.


Birka said...

Oh good, I'm really glad you enjoyed yourself!

Liz said...

Sounds amazing, really hoping to go next year :)

Anonymous said...

Loved camping with you guys, we had a wonderful Gathering. Hope we can all do it again next year, we'll let Paula arrange us lol and please don't repeat what was said around the campfire, I think you had all had just a tad to drink ;)
Love to all x Sarah

bettywobble said...

Looks like you all had such a wonderful time :)

Woolly Wanderer said...

So pleased to read that you all had a great time.

San x

Jessica said...

A wonderful looking festival:) Its so important to have those little times when we can connect spiritually with others and with ourselves.This has been a recent brainflash here too. There is not many pagan based things I can get to either with the kids in tow, and we just do not do nights! There must have been an awesome atmosphere at the Merican!