Entering the Faerie Realm, Leaving Transformed

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  July 27, 2012 — 7 Comments

Today marks the beginning of Faerieworlds, a three-day arts and music festival in Eugene, Oregon that embraces the mythic and the fantastic in ways that many of us in the Pagan community would find familiar. A transformational space where each of us is encouraged to embrace the numinous in our own way, our own context. A chance to “live our legend.” As I said last year, this event taps into a blossoming re-enchantment of the world, one that is very in line with modern Paganism, but is not exclusively so.

The stones at the center of Faerieworlds, before the event is underway.

The stones at the center of Faerieworlds’ realm, before the event is underway.

“Events like Faerieworlds tap into a deep cultural hunger for romanticism, for a re-enchantment of the world that has long been denied by both secular and religious institutions in the West. I don’t think the recent fantasy boom is happening in a vacuum, nor do I think it is any coincidence that a growing number of people are opting out of traditional forms of religion altogether while still holding onto religious beliefs. While Faerieworlds, or Burning Man for that matter, aren’t explicitly “Pagan” they tap into a primal need for festival, for gathering to honor the numinous, the changing seasons, each other, and our own creativity. I think that these events, especially as we weather hard times, will continue to grow in importance. There is a vital roots-up form of small-p “paganism” emerging here that is very compatible with our more formal adoption of Pagan religion.”

Jeet-Kei Leung dubbed Faerieworlds part of a”transformational festival culture,” one that re-merges spiritual/religious practices within the context of secular festival culture. Leung has just crowd-funded a web-series documentary on these festivals, and will be visiting Faerieworlds this year to document and interview participants.

“This webseries aims to explain this remarkable and important phenomenon while retaining the artistic sensibility and inspired creativity from which these festivals have been birthed in the first place. Our goal is to promote coherency and cohesion among those in the culture while building a bridge of understanding with those outside it–to support growth and expansion while preserving the magic and integrity of this potent movement.”

As in previous years, there are number of Pagan musicians involved, including Sharon Knight and SJ Tucker, and this year they are joined by the shamanic sounds of Soriah with Ashkelon Sain, the Persian world-fusion of Niyaz feat. Azam Ali, and, of course, festival headliner Donovan. Those elements, along with the performers, artists, vendors, and costumed participants, create a atmosphere that I feel is unique, one not even duplicated at the many explicitly Pagan events I’ve attended over the years. It’s a focused burst of creative energy that changes you if you’re open to the experience.

This year, I’m not only attending as a journalist, I also work for the producers of Faerieworlds, and I’m hoping to use that access to capture some images, impressions, and interviews that will enlighten and enrich. I would like to give a glimpse of the magic happening in my own backyard, in hopes that perhaps you’ll join me here someday, or even be inspired to create that pluralistic, transformational, fusion in your own backyard. Expect updates throughout this weekend!

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • Hecate_Demetersdatter

    If you haven’t read Barbara Ehrenreich’s Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy, you should. 

  • ELNIGMA

    I’m so jealous. Have fun 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FRJD66AT6LQ6CZZ46XJO43A4FM Artor

    I’ll be out there on Saturday Jason. Look for the 7′ tall guy with hooves & antlers!

  • http://sageandstarshine.wordpress.com/ Daniel Grey

    What a wonderful experience! I’ve yet to experience any festival, so for now I’ll have to live vicariously through the posts of you folks who go. :)

  • http://twitter.com/Panmankey Jason Mankey

    I’m just jealous that you get to see Donovan.  Hail Atlantis!    

  • PhaedraHPS

    I named my son after Donovan :-) So sorry I can’t attend, especially since I’m not too far away.

  • Kilmrnock

    We attended a fairy festival not that long ago not far from here in Phila. Pa. You are correct was quite fun.This  one had no live enntertainment tho . But near here the most fun i’ve had at a festival is the Wicked Winter Festival in north New Jersey. This one happens at a hotel in January/Febuary . This is a Adults only , themed event .Year before last the theme was Fairy Tales gone awry……………us your imagination , this is a fun one .Tis billed as ren faire , pirate , ninja, steampunk , adults only festival . This past year due to weak finances we couldn’t go . This fest isn’t pagans only , but many were in attendance and the producer/organiser of the fest is an ADF member …………so it is quite pagan freindly .Has all sorts of adult oriented stuff , sex toys  , burlesgeue show etc , lots of fun. I enjoy any kind of pagan freindly gathering , i find it enjoyable to be amoungst our own kind .  To hang out  with people that don’t think your odd or just plain weird . The local Ren Faire is even cool, many pagans . Not to even mention the stuff you can’t find anywhere else , pagan oriented items , home decor , jewelry , art etc.Besides these fests are another excuse to wear me kilt .    Kilm