Quest 2014

The third and final of our Open Spirit resurrection appearances, took place in the Wood Sisters Red Tent at Quest in late July where Open Spirit hosted a full day programme on Sunday 27th of July with a theme of Welcoming the Sabbath Bride.

Our Quest weekend had started on Thursday as members of all the Living Spirit groups, Wood Sisters and friends got together to transport, raise and decorate the Red Tent as a sanctuary space for Quest Festival. It was a real pleasure to bring all these different people together, including men and women across several generations (from mid teens to great grandmothers) and create community together for the weekend.

Intergenerational Red Tent Raising!

Sam started the morning with a moving meditation on being held by the Great Mother. It was a great blessing to start the day with about 30 women gathered together in stillness. Open Spirits Juliette and Hilda then held open sanctuary space, while outside the Red Tent Katie kindly 'womaned' the stall and welcome desk.

The entrance to the Red Tent and Welcome Area

After elevenses, Sam's workshop on the Divine Feminine transported us back to the Biblical times of the Matriarch Sarah through a trance telling of her story which rooted back into Ancient Mesopotamian culture and religion, portraying Sarah as a priestess of Ur. (Based on the book, Sarah the Priestess, written from her doctoral research by Savina Teubal). For some participants this gave a whole new perspective and connection with the Hebrew Bible and the matriarchal roots of Judaism and Christianity.

More open sanctuary followed, held this time by Totnes Vicar Debbie Parsons and artist and writer, Helen Sands, with soulful harp and singing from musician and thanatologist, Abigail Robinson. After lunch our final workshop was given by Ian and Gail Adams of Beloved Life who introduced us to several female mystics from throughout the ages, from a Desert Mother to contemporary poet Mary Oliver. Quotes, reflections and original poems from Ian's new book Unfurling were woven together beautifully with time for quiet, sharing and a simple ritual.

Heaven and Earth...light shines from the roof wheel to beside the altar

The day and the weekend concluded with a collaborative ceremony co-ordinated by Debbie, Helen and Sam. We gathered through silence and song and then named some of the aspects of the Divine feminine & masculine which had been invoked during the day... Nanna and Ningal, Inanna and Dumuzi, Asherah and Yahveh, Mary and Jesus... and engaged with the following words from Clarissa Pinkola Estes & the Bible, illustrated with a simple mime

From 'Untie the Strong Woman' (Blessed Mother's Love for the Wild Soul)

'The Mother I most often carry with me everywhere is the Woodsister La Nuestra SeƱora,
Our Lady of Guadalupe, she whose mantle is fashioned of moss from the north side of trees at sunset, she who has star shards caught in her wild silver hair.Her gown is soft, coarse-woven cloth with the thorns and weed seeds and petals of wild roses caught in it.

She has dirty hands from growing things earthy, and from her day and night work alongside her hard-working sons and daughters, their children, their elders, all.'

'Any human being needing comfort, vision, guidance, or strength is heard by the Immaculate Heart.....And thus, Blessed Mother arrives immediately with veils flying, to place us under her mantle for protection, to give us that one thing the world often longs for so :
the warmth of the mother's compassionate touch.'

'...and we all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Source of all Being are being transformed into the same image, from one degree of glory to the other.For this comes from the Source who is spirit.'
(2 Corinthians. 3:18) 

Then we shared a collaborative ceremony of passing on the veil or mantle of priest'hood' and taking it in turns to give and receive blessing, closing with a final circle of hebrew song and shared prayers of thanksgiving which made a beautiful conclusion to our time in the Red Tent. Deep thanks to all who worked so hard throughout the day to offer a warm welcome, inspiration, creativity and sanctuary.


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