I've really never done wifty stuff, and I'm a pretty radical skeptic, and certainly far out on the agnostic fringe, as well, so going to Twilight Covening in and of itself was a big step outside of my comfort zone (and that was part of the point). I don't really believe in "this stuff", though I also believe that there's plenty that we don't know about forces in the world, yet, so it's foolish to think that what's known now is all there is. Right, but what does that mean about these specific things? Well, in part, who cares? It's not what's "real" that's important but what's experienced as real.
To that end, I approached the weekend with a strong dose of willing suspension of disbelief. I tried to go into it assuming that everything I experienced was real, figuring that I would sort out the details, and the internal contradictions in the days after returning home. I succeeded reasonably well on the first part, but I'm still working out the contradictions. Contradictions are like that.
I'm still not convinced that there's a whole lot of There there, though, but, on the other hand, I'm not convinced there's not. I'm looking forward to playing with poking holes in my ideas in the future.
I was in Fox Clan, which I was calling the sensory deprivation clan. The idea was to close off our traditionally strongest senses in order to tune into the more subtle ones. We spent large chunks of our time wearing blindfolds, and some of the time also earplugs, and some of the time, wrapped in blankets to limit other sensations or movement.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the most profound part of this was the blindfolded dancing we did on Saturday afternoon. I don't actually know how long we spent dancing, but one of my clanmates said about two hours. There were four of us in the clan, and our leader. The four of us danced and the leader spotted, sitting in a corner to make sure nothing went horribly awry. I think this is something you have to do yourself to fully feel, but some of what I experienced was a remarkable combination of getting away from myself while simultaneously being more present in my body than I often am.
Despite knowing that someone was watching, I also felt completely freed from having an audience, which I hadn't realized I had quite so present in the back of my head until I felt it go away. I became aware of how I move my body, and what parts of my body use more or less. At the same time, I was entirely outside of my body, with my mind off doing its own thing, which is pretty rare for me, and it was awfully nice. I was back-burner aware of the other people in the room, and "tuned into" that more when I felt like I was near someone. At one point, we all ended up in a clump in a corner, and I very deliberately removed myself from it and went drifting off to another part of the room. It seemed to me that the rest of them stayed together for a time (which was confirmed the next day, when they were all surprised to learn I hadn't been part of that). I think if I'd been doing this in a group of people with whom I felt a connection, I would have enjoyed playing between the solitariness that I was feeling and the groupness that I avoided, but as it was, I was far more interested in doing my own thing. (This is not, obviously, out of character for me.)
kcatalyst asked if we had a chance to debrief this, and the answer was "sort of". We had a chance to talk about it if we wanted to, though I didn't, and I also didn't want to hear about other folks' experiences, so I stepped into the woods when that happened. catya wanted to know why I didn't want to talk or hear about it, and at first, I didn't have an answer, but after a bit, I came up with this: it felt like a really private experience, and I didn't want to try to put words around it right away, and I definitely didn't want to share it (though I might have been more inclined to try if it had been a group of people I knew well.) And I didn't want to hear about others' because there was one person who seemed to have the experience she thought she was supposed to have, and looked a lot for validation from the leader or from others, which annoyed me, and the other two... I didn't want their experiences coloring my memory of mine.
So, that was the dance.
The next day, we did a full sensory deprivation meditation thingy, where we were laying wrapped in blankets, wearing blindfolds and earplugs. This was very nice, but it wasn't far-removed from my day-to-day experiences as dancing blindfolded, so, while I did come out of it feeling far away, it was much more mellow and relaxing rather than completely altering.
The other big thread of the weekend (and the answer to istemi's questions) started before the weekend, on a personal issue I'm working through for myself. I had prepared something in anticipation of the releasing fire, thinking about a part of my energy that I wanted to transform, but I found, once I was in the fire circles, that the thing I had prepared was not, in fact, the thing my mind kept going to. Instead, I kept returning to this issue that I've been mulling over for the past few weeks. Okay, I thought, I guess that's what I'm releasing, then. And for a moment, with that realization, I had a moment of being physically overwhelmed by a sensation of preparation for relief, sort of a psychic version of lifting your shoulders to take the weight of a heavy pack off your waist strap so you can then take it off. Almost as soon as I felt that, though, I backed off it, and though I tried to approach it again from a few angles, I couldn't get back to it. I know why I couldn't, though, which is interesting. Anyway, the important parts of the releasing fire were, therefore, the big surprise revelation to myself about what it was I was working on and the glimpse at the greater release, which I'm looking forward to finding in another context.
So, that topic remained near the top of things all weekend, both by choice and by chance (if you believe in chance for these things, which I do), but was uncannily reinforced by my tarot card draw at the end of the visioning ritual, which is directly related to this topic. Well, then. It doesn't really matter if The Universe is telling me something or if it's just chance that I got that card; in either case, I choose the meaning I make through my actions. But, still, I had a moment of, "Waaait a minute," after reading an interpretation of the card, and some skeptical peering around for the person pulling the puppet strings behind the curtain.