Lorelei, Elders & All – August 2016

by Shannon McArthur

I’ve been told that it seems Elders are considered wise only when they are from a foreign land. That Dutch people see me as wise is heart-warming, and I am honoured. In my experience, however, Dutch Elders have their own wisdom and I honour them–living a long time gives us perspective and experience. Wisdom is  gained only by putting in the time! I believe the wisdom of our Elders is as important a gift as the laughter of our children (and Elders have time to spend with the kids too. Mixing them together will uplift both groups, and the rest of us too.)

At the recent Lorelei Women’s Festival, a few of us gave a panel presentation based on “Opening Windows” for our younger sisters. We told stories of what it was like 40 years ago: the sexual revolution and free love; the expectations we had, and those our families had; the challenges and choices we made that created the boxes that contain us. Opening windows is one of the abilities Elders have, both through storytelling and through listening–often an interested nod will allow a rush of revelation unsuspected. After our sharing we went together through the forest to the Grandmothers’ Tent where we performed a water ceremony. Bottles of water had been specially prepared; one held the energies of the masculine and the other the feminine. Mixed together in a large bowl, they became the elixir with which we gathered the qualities we desired for the next 7 generations. As we spoke our names and our gift, we filled a little silver cup and poured the measure into a lovely large crystal vessel. During the ritual, participants of a workshop Martha had given earlier came to sing and drum for us. We joined them and more gifts were added, more water… The blessed water was then offered to each participant–a mere sip carries all the gifts, on to their families, friends, networks, the next 7 generations…

The remaining water was set aside to be used in the closing ceremony of the Festival. That was hard… the saying goodbye part, I mean. So many of these women have become special to me and the memories are still so new that I cling to their freshness, savouring the qualities of each one. A tear, a smile, a laugh, a turn of phrase, a graceful gesture, women walking away and women walking towards me with beauty and love sparkling all over their faces.

Girls love to play dress-up. Women do too! Our vendors were so playful, knowledgeable and generous that it was a true pleasure to walk amongst the stalls. Quality items for low cost, some superb artwork and crafts, crystals that can transport and uplift you; yoga and massage to ground and relax you; and workshops, and weaving, and drumming, and heart-to-heart conversations, and… 

I broke an arrow with my throat and walked on fire. I listened to a Dutch workshop on ritual and magic and understood much of it – thanks greatly to the young woman who translated for me. The Dutch people have been very gracious; I get the feeling though that they’d just as soon I don’t try learning their language because they keep telling me how hard it is! I need encouragement and fun to learn this stuff!

I talked about guidance and did tarot readings in a workshop – I told some stories and talked about the deck I use, and why, and how. We talked about how guidance is available if we ask for it and stay alert for an answer. We shared our experiences of the different forms guidance can take – a feather, a butterfly, a smell…

I want to talk about all the special things that happened and all the wonderful people. I’ll have to write more, separately, because I haven’t written in such a long time and I really want you to know that I’m having a challenging and amazing time doing things that I imagined but never thought I’d really do… and I’m trying to walk forward with courage and confidence into the unknown, guided by nothing I can see or measure. This is what I said I would do when I gave my heart and asked the Moon for help so long ago. I am speaking for Her–I am a Voice for Spirit (as are you, though you may not know it yet!)

After days of such hot weather that we melted even in the shade, the rain that night was almost welcome (though it never is when you’re in a tent!) We laughed and wondered if we might have caused it with the water ceremony the night before.

I’ve talked a lot about my experience… What do you think? Were you there? Have you walked on fire?