Starwood tent

Adventures in the 1990's

During the 1990s, EDC brought a large group of people to the Starwood Festival in Sherman, NY, which became a fertile ground for dissemination and exchange of ideas and practice about the role of drumming in community.

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Keeping Busy

by Jimi and Morwen

In the midst of all the reevaluation, other work, and raising a family, we've still been busy with events and networking, and, of course, drumming. So here's a report of what we've been up to since the last newsletter:

Way back in March 1996, there was a Magic Drum Circle at Woolman Hill. Working with animal guides, a small group of us (about 15 people) explored aspects of ourselves and expressed them in drumming, dance, and ritual. We were very well fed by Annie Hassett (good food is always such an important part of what we do!), and benefitted from the gentle wisdom of Karen Berggren (Kb) as co-facilitator of the weekend. Later that month, we enjoyed co-facilitating a community drum circle with Barry Bernstein, then with Rhythm for Life. (Barry has since left RFL and works with his own company, Healthy Sounds.)* Barry was presenting at a conference at Emerson College in Boston, and invited us to participate in the drum circle planned as part of that event. Together with Bob Bloom, we introduced about 40 people to the joys of the drum circle.

*Barry Bernstein passed away in 2009. See the Ancestors page for more.

Tee Pee by the lake

A Spiritual Gathering in Maniwaki

August 1998

When we set off to Maniwaki, Quebec for a Spiritual Gathering hosted by Grandfather William Commanda, supreme chief of the Algonquin tribe, we were responding to an invitation extended last fall after the Harvest Gathering.

You might remember that when we coordinated Harvest Gathering in September ’97, we met Frank and Sandra Decontie, traditional teachers and healers who came to HG to represent Grandfather Commanda. A few weeks later, Jimi traveled up to their home in Maniwaki (along with Gene Hall, James Walkowiak, and Wounded Bear and his dad) to help Frank with a Lodge that he was building for his community, in exchange for the time Frank and Sandra took to join us at Harvest Gathering. During that visit, many long evening hours were spent around the kitchen table talking about culture, spiritual teaching, and life in general. Upon returning home, Jimi took to heart Frank and Sandra’s invitation to bring his family to their Gathering in early August. And so at the end of July we headed north with Kaylin, accompanied by Gene and Sylvia Brallier.

Starwood with Yay Diallo

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

Summer 1998

Although it’s been a while since we’ve put out a newsletter, we’ve been keeping very busy. This past spring and summer were full of drumming and dancing and strengthening connections, old and new.

In May we attended the twentieth annual Rites of Spring festival in western Massachusetts, sponsored by the EarthSpirit community. This festival is dear to our hearts, as both of us have been a part of EarthSpirit for many years (both of us were there for the thirteenth time this year), and Rites is where we met ten years ago. Over the years we have watched the EarthSpirit community mature, literally and figuratively. Many of the young people who began to gather years ago now come with their children (and grandchildren!), and a whole new generation is expressing the youthful, exuberant Beltane energy of Rites. (Don’t get me wrong, us old fogies still manage to get in on the Beltane spirit, albeit in our somewhat more low-key way!) We have developed traditions, and that new generation is growing up in a new culture very different than the one in which most of us were raised. At the community web-weaving ritual, we witnessed how many people have been a part of the web for ten, fifteen, twenty years. There is a sense of tribe, and of gratitude that we have built a community to grow old in.