litharriel: (Tightrope)
[personal profile] litharriel
It’s a solid two hour drive, to get to Lothlorien from home, but it’s a nice drive, through some of the prettiest countryside in the state. Lots of woodlands and hills and cliff-like bits, where the road cuts through it all. The directions on the website are (I think, deliberately) difficult to follow and outright wrong in places, so you‘re likely to get turned around unless you‘ve been there before or are coming with someone who has.

It’s a beautiful, little privately-owned nature preserve, and I am always happy to go. Josh and Rachel were waiting for me as always and there was much cuddling.

The first thing to greet me, this year (apart from them), as I was walking up the road from where I was parked, was a bohemian tea party. (There was an abundance of tie dye, along with the vaguely Victorian garb, and nobody was quite sure what kinds of tea we were drinking.) It was being served by a handful of rather pretty, shirtless young men, and one of them was also meandering about, offering bits of pineapple that had been soaked in some kind of sweet liqueur. There was an amiable bidding war over the last piece, and it was ultimately decided that it should be placed upon the bosom of the first bidder (a rather pretty girl in a corset and top hat) and be eaten from said bosom by the second (an also-pretty, very curvy, older woman in a flowing red dress.)

The camp grounds all stem off of a central loop of road which runs around the Lightning Shrine, which is where the bands play, over the festival, with vendors tents running along either side. For the past few years, we’ve been camping at Shaman’s Circle, for its proximity to the nightly drumming circle at Thunder Shrine and to the vendors.

Dinner both nights came from 2 Bears, a café of sorts that always springs up for the festivals, run by a gay couple who comes every year. They serve the best grilled sandwiches you will ever eat. (And they also had the most delicious pumpkin soup, this year.) Afterward there was hanging out with Beck and Janet and their group (an Indianapolis branch of the poly scene). It was Miranda’s wife’s birthday, and so Pizza was brought in, and cupcakes were had, and between us we drained a bottle of passion fruit mead and half a bottle of Moscato.

From there we meandered down to the Thunder Shrine, a kiva-like structure big enough to hold the couple hundred who always filter in. The drums go from dusk till dawn, and generally the evening’s kicked off by a ritual to one deity or another, followed by some the campers showing off their skills with fire. There were many poi spun (Beck is getting amazing) as well as people doing tricks with flaming fans and staves, and one very skilled man with a fire whip.

Between the mead, the wine, and the young man meandering through the crowd offering up ladle-fulls of peach vodka, I was decidedly tipsy at this point, and, really, that’s a good state to watch the dancing in.

You really get to see the full cross-section of the pagan community, at Thunder on a Fest night. An aristocratic goth in leather pants danced by a hippy earth mother danced by a guy in a luchador mask danced by a girl dressed in nothing but a fluttering scarf. They come in robes or sequins or sarongs or nothing at all and move to the beat. All shapes, all sizes, all ages, all beautiful.

The fire was huge, like every year, rivers of red-orange sparks floating up. They make little paper hot air balloons and send them up with them while we howl our encouragement. There was a man singing scat to the djembes and the didgeridoo. The celebration went on till dawn.

The next day was horribly cold and rainy, but I got up early, read a few chapters in Jane Eyre and went to breakfast at the long hall, did a little shopping at the vendors and got a pretty little cup carved out of a chunk of green and orange agate, and was informed by one of the sellers that I have "very bright" energy. Went back to the tent for another nap. (My energy was clearly not that bright. After I got back up, we went over to Lightning to watch Keshvar Project, before we fled to the tent for the rest of the night. They were one of my favorite things about last year, a sort of Spanish Arabian Gypsy Jazz band with a troupe of belly dancers who perform on stage with them.

All in all, but for the cold (and the extra super fun of waking up this morning and realizing that all of those tiny, wiggly shadows covering the outside of the tent were in fact an army of slugs) it was a fun festival and I got to hang out with some good people. I didn't get nearly enough proper sleep and I'm feeling a little feverish from the cold and damp, but nonetheless, I regret nothing! Hopefully next year the weather will be more cooperative. X-D
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litharriel

July 2014

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