Sunday, May 5, 2013

Body Magick

Body Magick
April 18-21, 2013
All World Acres
Tampa Bay, Florida

There is so much to tell, so many wonderful experiences, it is difficult to know where to begin.  But, without a beginning, the story of this marvelous pagan festival cannot be told.  And with a beginning comes an ending, and everything in between can only scratch the surface.  So immersed in the experience, the attendees, including me, became the experience.  We were one, inseparable.  

A few memorable highlights follow.  I share this with you knowing my words, at best, can only impart a small flavor of the totality of experience living free, loving and aware.  Nonetheless, I will try.
e is right out of the sixties in his appearance, attitudes and actions.  With long white hair and beard, wearing only a loin cloth, he was the presenter of our Oneness workshop.  Just as I was settling into my chair, he pointed at me and asked empathically, "Do you feel like God?"

"Huh? Are you asking me?" I stammered and foolishly went on to say, "No. I don't feel that powerful at the moment." The class chuckled, but I wasn't trying to be funny. I was caught off guard and these were the first words that came to mind.

In one giant leap, he was suddenly in my face and while jumping up and down in a squatting position, he yelled incredulously, "Why not?  Why?  Why?  Why?  Why not?  Oh, my god!"

Fortunately, I regained my composure and responded in a way that seemed to satisfy him.  I explained that his use of the word God caused me to revert to my Christian upbringing, perceiving Him as transcendent and omnipotent.  I went on to explain that if he had asked if I felt like the Divine, I would have responded more appropriately. 

"But the meaning is the same," he argued.

"Yes, but for me, the words act as different triggers.  When I hear the word God, I am Catholic; when I hear the word Divine, I am pagan."

He understood.  I was in an audience of folks who believe that everything in the universe is fully connected by energy, so the Divine and me and you are all part of All That Is.  Thus, the Divine is within, in which case, I should feel and acknowledge Divine presence.  And back to the original question: yes, I do feel like God (at least, some of the time).

I have seen photographs of the human aura, the electrical energy surrounding all living things, but I had never before been able to observe the aura with my naked eye.  The presenter stood before us in a darkened room and taught us how it is done.  She has an amazing ability to manipulate her aura and did so by causing it to expand outward from her physical body.  I witnessed her aura moving outward several times and it was a powerful experience.

We learn early in life that there are five senses, limiting us to only five ways to perceive the world around us.  But, this limitation applies only to our physical being.  As energy beings, we are not so limited.  To prove this point, the presenter had both a man and a woman come forward and take sitting positions on either side and slightly in front of her.  The upper torsos of each were bare and they were asked to close their eyes and visualize her hand placements.  She was standing behind, making it impossible for her hands to be detected visually.  She expanded her aura, increasing the energy flow, and placed her hand at various positions just off their bodies.  Both accurately described the location of her hand placements, sensing the locations as a feeling of either hot or cold.

Is there a sixth sense?  Of course, and actually, many more for those able to manipulate and perceive energy.

She's been referenced a couple of times on this blog.  She is young and draws me in with her beauty and warmth.  Her romantic partner chose not to participate, so she too found herself sans partner for the event.  For reasons known only to her, she asked me to partner with her during a beautiful ceremony, appropriately referred to as an Oil Puja.  (Puja is Sanskrit meaning worship.)

While meditative music played in the background, I tenderly applied oil to her bare shoulders, arms, hands, neck, breasts and belly.  Afterwards, she returned the favor and rubbed oil on my naked body.  I gave her no boundaries, but she chose to mirror my movements and limit touch to the upper torso.  This somehow seemed even more erotic than a more complete sexual experience.  We gazed into each other's eyes, exchanged smiles and felt fully connected to each other.  We parted with a simultaneous Namaste bow, knowing we just made incredible love.

As the festival draws to a close on Sunday, it is common to hear someone say something like, "Yuk, back to the real world."  While I understand the sentiment, I am always reminded of a response to this I once heard: "But you are in the real world, right here and now at this place, our sanctuary.  This is how we are supposed to live our lives.  Things only get unreal in the day-to-day living of our mundane lives."  This is how we are supposed to live our lives.

It cannot be described - it must be experienced.  I've heard this expression applied often to the main ritual on Saturday evening, called the Wheel of Life.  And it is true.  The ritual cannot be fully described, although I tried to do so on this blog last year; the post is dated April 29, 2012, if you wish to reread it to refresh your memory.

I provided factual detail of the ritual, blended with a peek into my soul.  I did my best to describe my feelings as a participant (even observers are participants), but fell woefully short of conveying the true essence of the ritual.  You must live it for yourself to gain a meaningful  understanding of the experience.  I have no doubt that the experience is very personal and unique to each participant; however, no one questions the transformative and healing power of the ritual.  I received frequent private and public confirmation of this:  privately, in personal conversation, and publically, in the Village Council wrap-up session.  The latter often brought the speaker to tears, overcome by emotion.

There were a few differences in this year's ritual, the most substantive of which was an increase in the number of loving partners from five to seven.  During the calling of the quarters, each set of lovers were brought forth representing Spirit, the four elements, the ground below and the sky above.   Thus, seven blankets were strategically placed around the campfire.  This seemed to create greater energy, making the ritual even more powerful than last year's event.  To repeat, it cannot be described - it must be experienced. 

A chance encounter with an attractive, engaging woman occurred late Saturday evening.  I was walking toward the bathhouse and she was walking to her car when our paths crossed.  She had a personal matter to attend to, so it was necessary for her to leave the festival early.     

Earlier in the day, she gave a very nice presentation at a workshop and I had a few questions.  I cornered her after the workshop and we spoke briefly in private.  She answered my questions and we soon parted ways.  This represented our sole prior interaction with each other. 

Meeting once again, we greeted each other with a warm hug, which is not out of the ordinary in the loving environment in which we found ourselves.  What was unusual, at least for me, was her unwillingness to interrupt the physical union we shared.  I instinctively relaxed my grip after our initial embrace, but she held firm and I responded likewise.  Her arms encircled my neck and I held her waist.  We stepped back just enough to look each other in the eye.

We spoke of routine matters.  She asked where I lived and thanked me for driving down.  I thanked her for a wonderful presentation.  We expressed the mutual desire to meet again and I told her I would be at the Utopia Festival in October.  She echoed a desire to attend.   I'm not aware that either of us started to lean in - our kiss just happened.  It was warm and tender and lingered for a fleeting moment longer than a casual peck on the lips.  We were strangers, yet somehow friends and lovers.    

For a brief moment, two strangers fully connected, one in spirit.  It was rare and felt magical.  This is how we are supposed to live our lives.  Yet, I am all too aware that such a warm interaction between strangers could not happen in our day-to-day living experiences.  But why not?

The Village Council meeting corresponds loosely to a conference wrap-up in the mundane world.  It is always the last event of the festival on Sunday and each audience participant is given an opportunity to speak.  A talking stick resembling an Indian rattle is passed among the throng and used as a pseudo microphone.  The comments run the gambit from light-hearted and humorous to serious and deeply moving.

One man, the romantic partner of my Oil Puja workshop partner, came to the festival as a newbie with no expectations.  He dabbles in BDSM, but is otherwise vanilla with no other alternative lifestyle experience.  So overcome with emotion, he was unable to speak when the talking stick was handed to him.  The audience waited patiently in total silence for what seemed like an eternity.  Finally, and with great difficulty, he was able to express how deeply the Wheel of Life affected both him personally and the relationship with his partner.  They were one of the chosen seven and he was blindsided by the power and empowerment of sacred sexuality, something he had never before experienced.

This was my third Village Council and I have come to highly value this event.  I'm working on this flaw, but all too often I find myself overly protective of my emotional privacy; thus, I have never fully revealed myself.  However, I respect those who have and it is always fascinating seeing the world through the eyes of another person.

Why feel like God?  Why not?  How can something so hidden from the view of most people be seen?  Be felt?  Why would a lovely woman choose me to anoint her body?  How can a sacred sex ritual mean so much to so many?   What makes two strangers one in spirit?  Why not live our lives as we are supposed to?  Why not always live in an open, loving and free way?  (And not just at festival.)  Where do people find the courage to reveal themselves so openly?  I don't know the answers to these questions.  Frankly, I don't want to know the answers.

I now leave you with a quotation containing some of my favorite words of wisdom.  I don't know the original source, but I have come across it a number of times in my reading.  It is a reminder to remain fully present in the moment:

"Make no judgments, make no
comparisons, and release your
need to understand."