Merry Meet Pawb
So here it is: the quiet after the storm. After months of preparation and hard work finally the week-end of the South Wales Summer Camp 2011 had arrived. We had one of the most perfect spots in Wales, we had excellent speakers, we had fantastic workshops, a big fire, lovely fellow Pagans; the only thing letting us down was the weather. Now, we in Wales are used to a bit of 'weather' aka rain and after a hearty chant to call the sun on Saturday, led by Siany, we did indeed manage the impossible: the sun appeared for the day. It was the wind though. The payment for the gorgeous views was the wind.
When we arrived on Wednesday, it was pretty dire. So we decided to do all the other jobs and leave the marquee for the next day, when there would be more hands available to help. In the night the wind was so bad that our tent nearly took off and our brand new gazebo folded like it was made from match sticks. This did not bode well for the raising of the marquee. Now, thankfully we had David and Karen from Hereford with us, very experienced festival visitors, who had helped put up a marquee or ten in their time. We were all set to lift the top onto the legs when disaster struck: a huge blast of wind and the marquee roof tumbled down the site like a child’s umbrella. Everyone leapt into action and together we finally caught up with it. What an adventure! In the end we managed to put two marquees up, a welcome area for our intrepid visitors as the weather was bad Friday and Sunday.
Regardless of these little issues, we all had an absolutely wonderful time. The excellent advertising by Lizzie brought in the punters from as far as LLoegr: Bristol, Gloucestershire, and Herefordshire – and obviously Wales. We had not expected anyone from North Wales but Steve and Moya made the effort and the long trip to be with us. It was lovely to meet many new friends, some of whom had never been to a Pagan Federation Summer Camp before and to see again our usual suspects like Sheila and Alan from Newcastle, Pat and Nicholas from Staffordshire, Lee and Lou all the way from Basingstoke.
We danced the night away to the sounds of DJ Psyborg, seeing two Heathens doing the Prince Charming dance was a sight to behold! The home made Blackberry brandy flowed and greased old bones, some of us reverted to their misspent youth and I think we had the better of the young-uns but I could be biased.
There was a lot of witchy cackling around the fire, many a naughty song was sung and dirty joke told, in between Pat French told us stories and played the flute as did our host Sid, both beautiful and haunting.
One of the highlights of the camp out for me was our panel debate: a concept blatantly stolen from the Witchfest gatherings by me but nevertheless, I could not let the opportunity slip by when I had so many eminent pagans in our midst. For many months now I have been worried about the backbiting and bitchcraft that is making itself felt in the Pagan community in the UK. Wherever I come across a forum, a facebook site, visit a moot, speak to individuals etc. there are often quite bitter exchanges about the right and wrong path, which leads to diversity when others are working hard to establish a closely connected community.
So the question was: What is Paganism? Kicked off by our own esteemed ex-DM, Steve Ludford, who has been a Crafter for over thirty years, the question was discussed by Ros Briagha, James Denning, Cyt Warwick, Pat French, Siany and members of the audience with myself as referee. The result was astounding: we are not defined by our similarities to each other but our difference from other faiths: we have no dogma and there is no right way to be Pagan. Tolerance is the keyword that connects us all. A lesson we should all take to heart, including myself. Be good to each other, until next time -
Although both Terry and I caught the lurgy from hell in mid December and were still not over it, we decided we could not miss the opportunity to glimpse a view of the Winter Lunar Eclipse. So, out of bed we got, dressed in soo many layers that I looked and felt like the Michelin man and off we went to the closest beach, which is Llanelli North Dock.
There was still a great deal of snow on the ground, so Terry, in true Topgear stylie, tried to spin the car in the empty car park - never works when you try!
We walked along the empty beach in the dark, the waves gently lapping up at us, the stars sparkling still, that alone made the effort worth it. Like in most other areas, the cloud cover did not allow us a look at the moon but there was an eerie glow in the Western sky. At one time it went bloodred. It was a beautiful and awesome sight to behold.
Now, I know a few people talked about evil portends etc. in conjunction with this phenomenon, but to me it was magical. I felt vibrations in the air and earth that I hadn't ever felt before. Anything seemed possible in these moments.
Soon the red in the West was rivalled by the red in the East of the upcoming sun, which eventually rose with a warm, golden glow. The new day had begun, the spectacle was over - and we had been part of it. Blessings indeed.
A few months ago I was elected to be the new Regional Coordinator for South Wales and would like to take a few moments to introduce myself. Before I get to this though, I would like to thank my predecessor in the job, Kit Warwick, for his sterling work. A good friend and a patient soul, Kit took over at short notice and managed to keep us going until a full time coordinator could be found. Kit, you're a star! On behalf of the PF in Wales, thanks again for your help and support.
My name is Bee Baganz - Dickinson, I have been living in Llanelli with my husband Terry for the last 6 years. I have been active in the PF for about a year as Chairperson for the South Wales events committee and thoroughly enjoyed this role. Taking on this new role is a big step for me but I look forward to working with all my colleagues to make this region ever bigger and better.
I have started to visit the moots in the area and have been made very welcome by their organizers and the people that visit the moots. It is important to get a feeling of what pagans in South Wales know about the Pagan Federation's work in their community. Several of the mooters have come forward with comments and suggestions, which I will be discussing with Steve.
Obviously I would like more people to join the Pagan Federation because I believe in what it stands for and what it would like to achieve for our members. I think visiting the many events that we put on during the year is a great start to get to know the Pagan Federation. I hope during my visits to the moots I will be able to advertise the events and get more people to come along. It's always great to meet new friends.
Another plan of mine is to establish closer contacts with educational institutions, both HE and FE, to allow young people interested in Paganism to speak to responsible practitioners and ask questions in a safe environment. In my day job I am a teacher and have come across youngsters that use the internet to find out about paganism, especially witchcraft. Not all that glitters on the internet is gold and I am concerned that some of the young people may be misled by unscrupulous adults, who use their interest to draw them into unsavoury dealings.This does no one in our community any favours, especially when the media gets involved. I guess you can tell this is one of my bugbears.
I would love to hear from anyone who has ideas and comments they wish to share with us here in South Wales. You can either contact me direct via the Myddle Earth website: http://www.myddle-earth.info or join us on the Pagan Federation Wales forum: http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/pfwales/