Saturday morning very early Wonder and I left for Limburg to celebrate Imbolc on the Brookberg with the Children of the Circle. Normally people gather there around noon, but this time we had to be present around 9.30am. To pull down the old sweatlodge and build the new one we needed the extra time. Wonder and I were somewhat earlier so we had time to pitch the tent. As always it was a wonderful group of people. We were with 10 people. Most of them we already knew from former celebrations, the others fitted in perfectly. It was a small group, but that felt okay, just right.
The weather wasn't cooperating very well. It wasn't cold, but the rain kept falling. When it got a bit more dry, we started to tear down the old sweatlodge. With knives and axes we severed the ropes, broke the branches in two and piled them up around the fire place. Then eight of us started to build the new sweatlodge. The old one was made of willow branches, the new one of young birch. Birch stands for cleansing and new beginnings. We bent down the vertical branches over our back to curve them and tied them together. Other branches made a horizontal spiral from top to bottom. The new sweatlodge was ready. After that we placed the stakes for the fence. Then the rain came back and we had to stop.
Because the rain only got worse we confered and decided to do no sweat lodge ritual. It would take too long before the stones would be hot enough for it. At first that was a disappointment, but the alternative programme turned out to be great too. After a light dinner we gathered outside to burn the remains of the old sweatlodge in a big campfire. We did a circle in which everyone let something go. Because of the wonderful experience I had on the Witchy Girls Night I decided to let go of the grief and pain of mum's and dad's death. It won't be away in a moment, but saying it out loud and giving it to the fire starts a process. They'll always be with me; moving on doesn't mean I'll forget or neglect them. It was a very moving ritual for everyone, but we were there for each other.
Back inside the big room was prepared for a special journey. Eight mattresses were put down with candles and crystals in the middle. Benjamin Two Bears drummed while Juniper guided us in a journey. Somewhere in the process I lost her story and went further on my own. I just wanted to relax very deeply and enjoy the drumming. In the beginning I saw fragments like pictures as if I was glancing through a photo album. Later on I just remember the peace and quiet I felt. When we were brought back to the room I felt wonderful. We just lied there for a while and talked. After we had something to eat and drink one after another went to bed.
Outside it kept pouring, but in the tent it was dry and warm. I only woke up once, but enjoyed a good night's rest. We woke up when the aggregate was turned on. I wanted to call Ron again, so I was the last one to arrive at the breakfast. We had bacon and eggs, yummy! After breakfast Wonder and I took down the tent in the pouring rain. When we were ready, the rain stopped!
Because the sky was clearing up, we decided to finish making the fence around the sweatlodge. With combined efforts that didn't take too long. Then we closed down and said our goodbyes. It was a great weekend once again!