This time last week the rain had finally stopped and the sun peeked out. I was in the middle of a huge marquee, dancing in my wellies on a mud slop of a floor, in places it was supposedly carpeted, but who knew. It was Ecstatic Dance with Jewels Wingfield, the moving meditation EarthHeart. Was I ecstatic? Pretty much bubbling over with joy and love. That's what Buddhafields (or Muddhafields as it was better known by those of use who survived) does. It makes a smile appear on your face and then stay there for the entire duration of it's being. And by mud I mean parts of the site were just slurry up to your shins, that we waded carefully through on our way to Padma Pancakes for yummy things, The Green Angels and the like.
It isn't so much the wonderful spaces and all the workshops that do it, it's the people ... everyone is just so up for sharing and giving and being. The place is full of hugs and open hearts. That's why the Ecstatic Dance works even in the rain and the mud.
It's a shock to come back to the (un)real world ... driving home and hitting a traffic jam with all the argy bargy and drivers not letting you cross lanes. It made me really appreciate the space I'd been nurtured in for a week. A space I will carry inside me and share with all I meet.
After the ecstatic dance, I had yet more chai and a chat in the wonderful Buddhafield Cafe. Then it was off to pack away the two spaces I'd created for the event. I'd been privileged to build two shrines, one to the Sun and one to the Moon, honouring the divine masculine and divine feminine energies, up between the Women's Space with Jayne and the Men's Space with Richard.
Inside the Moon Shrine
Inside the Sun Shrine
By some miracle or by some wonderful force field, despite the, at times, near horizontal and relentless rain the interiors of both shrines, even though they were open to the elements without doors, remained bone dry and relatively mud free ... and considering the rug and ground sheet inside the Moon Shrine were white I think that's pretty impressive.
I left strips of coloured cloth in the shrines for people to add and tie their own thoughts and honourings. That, for me, was a special thing, to read them all and bring those home with me ... I'll keep those for the next time I put up those two spaces.
Nervously I'd also ran two workshops ... "The Goddess Gifts of the Menstrual/Moon Cycle" for the gals and "Demystifying the Feminine Cycles" for the guys. Both were really successful and well received ... phew.
Last year at the festival I had been like a huge sponge absorbing all I could for me to process later, doing about three to four workshops a day and dancing my socks off to bands at night. This time it was about endless cups of chai, mostly at Pachamama's with Bob and his pixies, and chatting and connecting with people. I did dance though, of course ... despite my foot and the endless mud. I enjoyed some Shamanic Dance with Zelia Pye and I loved the time I got to spend in her tipi, I had a bit of a knees up with Undercover Hippy and danced the Five Rhythms with Jo Hardy. Strangely ... I had loads of pain all over my foot on the Tuesday and was hobbling around worse than ever after I came back, then I woke up with a new foot on Wednesday and now my foot is now the best it's been since the fall back in February. I can bend it more, jump off it, balance better and the joint isn't sore any more. Thank you Muddhafields.
I sang my heart out and found a place of bliss with Mahasuka and his mantras. I laughed and nodded along with the awesomeness of wit and wisdom that is Paradox ... one legged existential poet, his words not mine. And I did so many other things, beautiful, wonderful things and met so many dear souls that I don't have the time or space to tell all.
A huge thank you on my part to Buddhafield Café, whose breakfast, lunch and dinner menu and is amazing as are their smiles and dress(ing up) sense, the Recycling Team, whose job goes on for days after it's all over as they go through each bag of rubbish and sort it by hand, the Site Crew who just do so much to make it all happen, the Site Decor team, whose creativity make the place look pretty darn wonderful, Steward Crew, who went around with bubble wands, and last but by no means least the Toilet Wizards who kept those compost loos clean and topped up with piles of loo roll and Faith In Nature soap.
I will definitely be back next year come rain or shine to recharge my creative and spiritual batteries and to feel the warmth of humanity embrace me.
The Dreadess xx
A big thank you to Debbie at Pranamay for the pictures ... and the umbrella ... and the sleepover when my tent gave in!!