The proper schedule and program for WS 2017 will be released in April. In the meantime, we wanted to share a little bit about the theme and also give some insight into the main ritual. Without revealing the surprises we have in store, of course!
The herb of honour this year will be mushrooms, and we will be learning much about them during the weekend. It is important that folks understand that “magic mushrooms” – the types that are illegal – will not be permitted on Raven’s Knoll property. If you have any questions about herbal safety, please click here. If you have any questions about other herbs or substances, and whether you are permitted to bring them, do not hesitate to contact us. Feel free to bring safe, edible and legal types of mushrooms to show off, or to offer for the potluck & stone soup. The staff & presenters will also be providing a variety of examples and specimens.
The theme for 2017 is Tricksters and the Fool’s Journey. Here are a few words from some of our staff on what that means to them:
The fools journey is the errant journey, the uncalled for and unbidden journey that brings by its very nature a transformation of self. This transformation is not gained through deep study and thought, but through active participation with the world around you. It is a journey where you “take chances, make mistakes and get messy” as Ms. Frizzle says. You learn as much through the seeming miss-steps taken as following the “right-path.” It is the way to know wisdom by experiencing what it is not.
In a dream the trickster came as an a owl, a great barn owl, larger then any car, unto which it landed. Wings wind blowing me to the ground in fear, as I rose Kohoko look down at me. Kohoko hopped down the car, a piece of chalk in it’s talon it wrote to me, the scrape of chalk on the road, my fear swelled and it looked at me it’s eyes of night, the universe moving in the inky landscape, The words were scratch and backwards. I found my heart and spoke; I do not understand, the chalk was placed in my hand. I looked in my palm; it was a seed.
“You will” it breathed. I awoke from the dream.
The theme Trickster’s and The Fool Journey means the ability to step outside the bounds of society, challenge the rules and learn from the consequences of those experiences. Often these trials don’t turn out the way we expect or even make total sense to us as we go through them but they leave us fundamentally changed for better or worse.
Trickers are often masters of shape; changing form or gender as needed. From that we can learn that we must be willing to change and adapt to the challenges in our own journeys. Often stories of Trickers can teach us just how important it is to laugh at our own foibles. For me listening to stories of the fey folk and little people are a reminder to be respectful and aware that the world isn’t entirely ours and we must pay heed to the stories of fools who have forgotten that lesson.
In terms of our herb for this year, I don’t think many plants commend as much respect as mushrooms do. They can be dark, dangerous and deadly but they can also provide nourishment and psychedelic awareness. Using them is about balance and walking the line between between the mystical world and the tangible one.
Wander near the river, will you sink or swim?
Tested by the rapids, water surrounds, off in the distance a lonely howl.
Truth, truth, lies and games, will you be alive to play again?
Blood, bone, cartilage and skin, twist, turn, shuffle and dive, into the depths last breathes aside.
Emerge from the hollow darkness bare, did you learn your lessons there?
A quick note about Main Ritual
“In imitating the exemplary acts of a god or of a mythic hero, or simply by recounting their adventures, the man of an archaic society detaches himself from profane time and magically re-enters the Great Time, the sacred time.” ~ Mircea Eliade
“It’s not called ‘costuming’ at conventions, it’s called ‘cosplay’. Ostensibly, cosplay means people who dress up as their favourite characters from film and television and especially anime … but it is so much more than that. We are, all of us on that floor, injecting ourselves into a narrative that meant something to us and we’re making it our own. We’re connecting with something important and costumes are how we reveal ourselves to each other.” ~ Adam Savage
Main Ritual this year will be a costumed one and will involve guising, which in modern parlance you may consider cosplay. The purpose of guising, and the various aspects and aesthetic of the ritual is to “get you there”.
Maybe you need to be more playful. Maybe you need to be less sarcastic. Maybe you want to be more clever. Or less of a control freak. Maybe you need to be less gullible. Or more cunning. Maybe you tend to fall in love with people who play you for a fool. Maybe you tend to be manipulative in your relationships.
Everyone has some of the fool, the joker, the trickster in them. Some have too much. Some too little. Some just need to balance that shit out. Some have something in them that they need to face, but avoid out of fear.
So, personify sarcasm. Personify joy. Personify cunning.
You may choose a character who has these traits. Or god or spirit. Or you may create one of your own.
Doesn’t matter if the Tricksters that we dance with haven’t played the Elder Scrolls or read The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. It’s the energy, the actions, the words that you will be portraying that matters.
Dance sarcasm, or joy, or cunning, or mental illness, or gender confusion, or rebellion (etc)
Drum it. Act it out. Hang it on the stang. Kneel before Loki or Cyotoe (etc) and be brutal in your honesty. Take it within yourself and embrace it. Or rip it out and sacrifice it to the Powers.
Sometimes we must dress up to lay ourselves bare. Sometimes we must play pretend to find the truth. Sometimes we must place a physical mask over our faces to truly see ourselves.
Such are the hard earned lessons of the Tricksters.
Your costume may be very simple, a t-shirt that you have drawn on and a paper plate mask is acceptable. No one will judge. Please do not bring your very best comic con cosplay though! You will end the ritual dirty, sweaty, sticky, smeared, and covered in glitter.
The WS Facebook group has some ideas, suggestions and helpful hints. Also remember to check the program once it’s posted for more info, especially on what offerings to bring.
One last teaser: It’s always time for tea, Alice!