Faire, its attraction to many…
Have you ever considered what it is about faire that has allowed the “business” to survive and even prosper these last 50 years?
It is, from my perspective, because it offers so much—so many different facets—to so many.
For some, it is an escape from the humdrum existence of the mundane life…where one can dress up and be a character created from their imagination—an alter ego of sorts.
To some, it is a place where all kinds are accepted: everyone can find their niche somewhere amidst the illusion of medieval and renaissance times.
To some, it is the refuge of the hippie who simply does not desire to fit into the normal corporate world of 8-5, mortgages, etc…but desires more than anything a community of free gypsies who wander the countryside working faire, living in tents, and finding a place off the grid.
To some, it is magic…a place where those who found AD&D to be an allure…can play it out a bit in life.
To some, it is a more genuine type of free market without all the Wall Street marketing, packaging and mass production—where artists and artisans can still squeak out a living by selling wares they actually make.
To some, it is Shakespeare’s “All the World’s a Stage” where they can delve into their creative and thespian soul and entertain in the lanes or on stage.
To some, it is simply a more grassroots amusement park where people-watching can happen around every tree.
To some, it is a place to drink and party in safe setting with friends.
But for me, it is a part of the spiritual journey of my life. It is art, music, fire, drums, fire spinning, gathering together to break bread as mankind has done since we wandered the plains of Africa eons ago. It is about the expression of the soul. Trying to reconnect with something primitive, tribal, within us. It is about being a part nature. It is about creativity & expression.
This last weekend at the Gathering, folk met at the Seven Sisters Saturday night for drumming and fire spinning around the fire. It was amazing. Clouds, a near full moon, wonderful fire spinning and breathing…amidst our own “ancient stone circle”. One young guy was smoking and threw his cigarette on the ground…and another fellow Sherwoodian reminded him this was a sacred place and asked if he wouldn’t mind picking it up. He did and threw it into the fire.
Earlier that day, a rennie who I have known for years, a gentle soul, a drummer, a henna artist, a sojourner on this grand adventure, had approached me about all the small oaks that have come from the acorns and rain falling this year…and suggested we dig them up and put them in pots for later replacement of the many, many trees we lost during the drought a couple of years ago. He also suggested besides planting them as memorials to faire folk who have passed on…that we might consider using the small oaks as gifts to those who bring so much to the community of Sherwood.
My sixteen year old son who has struggled with teenage angst and trying to figure out what life is about has found his place within Sherwood. He has learned humility and service within these woods. He has found people who accept him with all the flaws and defects he sees in himself. Thus, he willingly cleans toilets, picks up trash, works diligently on volunteer days, hawks and sells wares during faire, listens to the woes of other teens at night under the stars.
These are the actions that so inspire me. These are the acts of community, of respect and genuine belief we have a duty and obligation to “Pass it Forward”, to make this journey about more than the consumption-based capitalism where the soul is lost in the rat race—and an empty goal of acquiring things and power.
I believe as we experience faire in our own way, we should consider the spirit of faire—even amidst the ale and good food. We should always be about strengthening our community and those who are within it. We should be about growing a spirit of acceptance and respect for each other. We should know we were never to have dominion, but rather the role of caretaker, over the earth, our environment, and the creatures who inhabit it.
Faire is many things to many people. I lift my mug to each of you have brought more to Sherwood than you have taken.