I recently returned from ten days at my favourite festival: Buddhafield. Here are a few short glimpses of those ten days:

Ecstatic Dance

I am feeling very self conscious. The big top is filling up quickly with dancing bodies. My friend and I stand on the edge and sway about a bit. We both agree we will need a lot of warming up for this one. The cheesy dance song finishes and Jewlz, our hostess, gets on the mike and tells everyone to take off their shoes and socks. My toes feel their way in the cool mud as another song begins, the last of the warm up. As it comes to an end Jewlz gets back on the mike. I close my eyes as she instructs. ‘There is nobody else around. Nobody is watching. Let your body do what it wants to.’ The theme of the festival is Dance of the Elements, so we dance the elements, beginning with water. I start off feeling pretty ridiculous. ‘Nobody is watching. It doesn’t matter what you look like’. By the time we reach fire I am really getting into it. Sometimes we dance alone, sometimes in groups of three or four. The energy in the tent is amazing, and there is a large group of people outside who can’t fit into the space but are still writhing and skipping and bouncing around. Suddenly, Jewlz orders all of the women into the middle of the tent, all the men to the outside. The men are to shower us with love and wishes of freedom. Me and all the women rush to the centre of the tent. There must be a hundred sweaty, dancing women. I have only once before been with a large women only group. The energy is so different… like there is suddenly no resistance. I’m not sure if that makes sense but it was the sentence I came out with when I described the experience later, and it seems acurate experientially. The shift is so obvious, so beautiful I almost weep. After this we swap around with the women at the edge and the men in the centre. Then we all mingle together again and rush out into the sunshine, we make lines and circles and dance and flow around one another. By the end everyone is hugging everyone else, completely blissed out at this alcohol free festival. I see my friend, I thought he had left near the beginning, but no, he’s sweating and grinning with his shirt off.

The Mermaid Song

With some time to spare, I walk past Lost Horizons Sauna and see a board announcing a women only time. There is only about an hour left so I go straight in. There are only a few other women in there already but more come in after me and shortly there is a circle of around 12-13 women, with another woman and a small child in the middle on the floor making shadow puppets in the light from the candles. One woman asks if anyone knows how to start a song, then the woman in the middle stops making shadow puppets and sings the most beautiful song. We all sit and listen. When she is finished, after a few moments of silence, the girl, who must be about six years old, starts a new song. She hits every note perfectly, although the tune is complicated. The song she sings is ‘Song of the Mermaid Queen’. We are all speachless. A woman opposite me asks the girl to teach us the song, which she does, singing one line at a time which we all sing together, repeating each line after the girl. We sing the whole song twice in this way, repeating each line after the girl just as she sings it. Some of the women are weeping.

Hitching back

My friend and I left it too late to get a lift to Brighton, everyone else went the day before. But that’s ok, life’s an adventure, right? In all my days of hitching I have never had such an easy time of it as the journey back from Buddhafield. Full of loved-up-blissed-out-metta-bhavana-festival-vibes we never waited longer than 10 minutes, and although we didn’t leave site til gone 3pm and stopped for over an hour in a pub, we still got dropped on the outskirts of Brighton at about 9pm. All the way from Taunton in 5 hours! That’s about the same amount of time it would have taken to drive straight back in one lift. We had about eight lifts, and great ones at that, everyone so happy to help. So here it is:proof. We do manifest our own realities. Screw you cynics 😉

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