There's a band of wild women, I know, out in California. You may know them too, maybe from their social media, their blogs, or instagram. You may know their work in crafts, herbalism, Earth Grief, how they spread joy and kindness everywhere they go, and you may miss their kick-ass outfits. I've had the amazing privilege of knowing these women for years now, to have made Anne, Missa, Mary, Amber, Heather my beloved friends in real, actual tangible world. Over the last seven years, we've managed to meet many times in various configurations, and talk to each other over a message thread about everything.
It's a frequent theme of posts about our friendship, that words can't quite expressed how wonderful and important these friendships (and others that started online) are to us all. They're a port in a storm, they're a supportive, but honest opinion, they're a different point of view, they're light, and loving, serious, funny, and above all, kind.
For the last few years, Missa and I have spent a weekend together at the Northern California Women's Herbal Symposium, camping, crafting, learning, and gazing at the stars. Last time we went, Amber joined us with her lovely friend Tara, as well as Missa's friend Angeline (both of whom I now consider MY friends;), and this time, we had the best of luck to have Anne and baby Maggie in tow.
Like our sisterhood, there's really no words that accurately capture the magic of the Symposium. It's a place where women meet, move, learn, and play freely, one where magic seems very much alive, the stars brighter, the wind softer, and where the moon's meanings are totally explained to you (well, if you choose to take a class on it). It's very much my happy place. So, without further ado, I will let the pictures do the talking for themselves.
My favorite class (it's always hard to choose) might have been the basket-weaving one all of us took together. I mean, look at these two sweet 70s moms! Don't it look like a picture right out of The Hippie Handbook-a guide to conscious living ?
Maggie Mae was just the most good-natured babe, and the most popular gal in camp, making friends everywhere she went, and waving from her stroller like a queen.
Missa got us all team mugs, from her talented co-worker: lemon balm for her, motherwort for Anne, and of course (because she's the most thoughtful person ever) nettle for me. I'm sipping my morning brew out of it as I type.
It was so lovely to get to spend this extended period of time with dear Anne, a real treat. Saying goodbye to the reality where we see each other first thing in the morning for a coffee run, was so hard.
The sunday market place, as always, was really fun. There are, naturally, some incredibly talented craftswomen among Symposium goers, anything from magical threads, to everyone's favorite ethically made, knock-out dress, to little girl poets selling odes of the truth (and featuring the f-word in all the right places).
We met lots of lovely women, but I think we would all agree that everyone's favorite new friend was Vicky of Grandmother's Medicine. Damn girl. You stole our hearts. Of course Amber told her to look us up, and we're so glad she did. She took to Maggie like a house on fire, reading her books of animals and plants, playing and laughing and snuggling.
We had some good conversations and hearty laughs.
The ladies in Wellness, as always taught me a lot, even as they helped me keep on top of my allergies.
We took a class on moon phases, that further affirmed, my thoughts on their role in our lives and cycles and gave me lots of new ideas on fertility and creativity. (Anne I WILL send you my notes!)
Of course, no gathering of bloggers, former, current , or longstanding, is complete without a group shot. Our photography mistress, Anne, even coaxed a lovely passer-by to take three shots with her polaroid camera, one of which we each got to keep as souvenirs, lending the whole affair an even more 70s fairytale feel.
This gathering, is just a yearly staple for me now, a holiday among the Solstices, Equinoxes, Christmases, birthdays, and Halloweens. Being part of this roving tribe of women, spreading herbal wisdom, silliness, good cheer, health, and magic, an integral part of my life.
It's a beautiful thing.
Stay tuned, always for part two, possibly three of my California adventures.