Hello! Long time no see I’m afraid. What with the lead up to the conference, the conference itself and then the busy period immediately afterwards, I have shamefully neglected my blog 😦
But on with the story to celebrate and relive a fantastic week at the 18th Glastonbury Goddess Conference! It all starts with me dying my hair bright orange – yes I know, ‘what was she thinking?’, I hear you mutter as you shake your head. For some reason, I had the urge to have orange hair. I can’t explain it, apart from the romantic notion of looking like a pre-raphaelite painting but I did it the night before we were due to set off for the West… I awoke startled at myself and a little bit horrified but soon forgot all about it as I hadn’t done any packing etc!
We set off at 10.30 am, thinking that we would have plenty of time to get there and set up in the Town Hall before 5pm. Easy peasy, it should only take 5 hours if we include two decent motorway service stops. You know what’s coming, don’t you. Yup, traffic jams. Horrible, long, hot jams that make you think the car will overheat… Ok, so I should have expected the M25 jam. It’s notorious after all and silly me for thinking we would get away with it because of the time we were travelling. The worst was yet to come though, on the A303. Next year, someone remind me to find an alternative route! I kid you not, we sat in that jam for almost 2 hours and for what? Two seets of traffic lights, that’s what. Gggrrrr! On the upside, the sign for Stonehenge was in our sight for a good hour and we even got to see the ancient site of Stonehenge itself,
albeit as we sped past because as you might be able to guess, at the most interesting part of the journey, the lights were finally in our favour.
Just in case you have never heard of it Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England. One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks. It is in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.
Archaeologists believe it was built anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Radiocarbon dating in 2008 suggested that the first stones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, whilst another theory suggests that bluestones may have been raised at the site as early as 3000 BC.
Anyway, we finally made it to the Town Hall at 5.15pm (no one recognised me because of my orange hair), Just enough time to unload the car and realise that I had left my bank card in the petrol station the previous day when I had filled the car for the journey. Deep joy. No cash = no dinner. We needn’t have worried as the Goddess came to the rescue! There was a Pot Luck spread at the Goddess Hall and we were invited. The food was delicious and we were very grateful for the generosity of everyone that contributed 🙂
We finally got to our Hotel, where I greedily consumed a number of cups of tea before crashing out as I knew we were in for a busy week (note the orange hair).
We had decided to walk into town and back each day to be green and save some pennies but that first day we ended up in a cab as we had stuff to carry and it was raining but we were not perturbed and arrived early to register and sort out our table as we had just about had time to dump everything before the hall closed for the evening the day before.
My gorgeous daughter and beautiful assistant for the week! Next a walk round the hall to introduce you to a few of my fellow stallholders – amazing Goddesses, one and all!
Heather, selling lovely silk and velvet scarves and flower headdresses (I am now the proud owner of no less that three scarves and one beautiful gown, plus two headdresses!) Me womanning my stall 🙂 The gorgeous Ronnie, recently from Egypt, selling all manner of goodies, including a few bits now in my possession, one of which is the necklace, which I fell in love with. I thought it had been sold but my lovely daughter had secretly bought it for me as a present 😉
And Vikki, I call her Boudica ;), who makes jaw dropping silver and copper jewellery and yes, you guesses it, I have some of her lovely stuff too – and we are planning a collaborations and skills swap day, which I am very excited about! She also teaches Yoga at The Little Yoga Rooms.
There were lots of others both new and people I had met last year but I didn’t manage to get pictures of everyone as we were all so busy but you can see more if you click the link to Tatomir’s article below! Anyway, Shoshana, Sue and Ruth deserve a mention for organising us all and taking care of us. Ember Vincent was there again this year with her lovely creations – yes, I do have one of her pieces 🙂 I am hoping to make some largish sculptures soon and she very generously gave me lots of useful information, for which I am grateful for. There was Gwen, who did the most amazing Henna body art. She makes her own henna – brilliant stuff, lovely and dark, so I had some of that too, as I have been known to dabble 😀 I popped up the the Assembly rooms to see who was there this year – if you recall, that’s where I was last year…
There were many more and I’m sure I took more pictures but sadly, I can’t find them 😦
So, the first night brought the opening ceremony – wow! It was amazing, beautiful, primal. There are no photographs of this event once it got going as it was not appropriate but it was a very powerful performance and we all joined in the singing and dancing – what a great evening 🙂
The next night was the night of the Lammas bonfire! The procession left the Town Hall and we sang all the way to the location of the bonfire, which was uplifting and much fun! The route took us up the high street, through an alley, round the houses and finally across a big field on a hill with lots of cow pats. I had been serving a last minute customer and left my walking footwear under the table, so have a little chuckle now, as I fell off my shoes a few times and finally succumbed to borrowing a pair of my daughters sandals, effectively dragging my trouser bottoms though some suspicious looking brown gloopy material…did I mention it was a cow field?
In a workshop earlier that day, many people (including my helper) had made a clay piece – their depiction of The Mother – which had been arranged around the bonfire.
There was much singing and dancing as the Mother was invited to join the ceremony! There was a magical moment when the torch bearers came into view…
More singing and dancing ensued when the fire was lit! It was a lovely and joyous evening for everyone!
We didn’t stay until the end as I was unsure if I would make it back down the hill in one piece in my daughters shoes in the pitch black!! So we made our way back to the hotel exhausted but happy 🙂 And no, I didn’t fall flat on my face in the muck 😉
The walk to ‘work’ and back each day was refreshing, past the sheep, who we exchanged pleasantries with each morning and we returned the salute afforded us by the lone tree trunk. Before we returned each night, we partook of tasty vittles at a local hostelry, The Beckets Inn, which I highly recommend – great food at great prices and lovely staff.
As the week wore on, we met some wonderful people and had lots of laughs. I have to say hello to Sarah – who bought lots of beads from me this year. Sarah was the inspiration last year, for the pregnant Goddess beads. Sarah was expecting twins when last I saw her and she had them the very next day – she had managed to hang on to them for the duration of the conference! They were delivered safely and are a little pair of sweeties. Sarah is planning a visit to my studio to see how I make my Goddess beads soon. I look forward to that! 🙂
We also met Tatomir Ion-Marius, a journalist from Romania, who wrote an article all about us, which was published online. The article appeared in the Actualmm.ro. Lots more pictures of the Town Hall stalls.
As the week draws to a close, there is much excitement about the masked ball. Everyone gets to dress up as the Goddess or God of their choice and entry is not permitted unless one is suitable masked 🙂 I was the Goddess Sedna of the oceans deep! We decided to make our own masks and my helper was dispatched to the local shops for paraphernalia and gubbins whih which to construct them. She did such a great job, that soon others were asking her to make theirs too, so Lauren is now known as The Entrepenuerette 🙂
The following pictures were taken at the ball, among them are Sarah and her beautiful twins and one of my favourite ladies, Georgina 😀
On the final day, the closing ceremony procession took place. Sadly we couldn’t join in as we were preparing to pack up in readiness for our long journey home. We start with a picture of Karin, whose outfit is entirely hand-stitched!
And end with one as everyone returns to enter the Town Hall to finish the closing ceremony.
My helper and I had the most amazing week! The atmosphere was fabulous and everyone was so friendly. I also saw some of the local people who came to see me last year – and even though I have only been there twice, in a way, going to Glastonbury is a bit like going home 🙂
So, it’s over for another year and I have much stock to make to replace what I’ve sold. More inspiration has been ferreted away ready for when I have time to play and many new friends have been made…
The journey home wasn’t quite so fraught as the journey there but is still took an hour longer than expected! Anyway, just before I go, I would like to put a question to you. We stopped in one of the M&S service stops on the way home to…never mind what for – in the conveniences, there was a soundtrack of birds twittering away. I was wondering if it was playing to a) cover the sound of ladies tinkling or b) encourage said tinkling to improve turnover – answers on a postcard please 😉
Before I go, I would like to wish you well on your life’s journey. Treat each other the way you like to be treated and hug lots. Someone told me you need at least four hugs a day to maintain your health, well I’m not taking any chances, so if you find yourself hugged by a random stranger with orange hair, it might be me 😉