The 28th annual Women in the Arts Festival, November 8-9, 2013, promises to be a gathering to gladden any of our local Bards hearts. Our community here in Metro Detroit have a veritable cornucopia of pagan womyn who have attended, and who shall attend this festival.
Set in East Lansing, the gathering boasts pilgrims from across the state and Midwest who come to create, sing, dance, and recite in the spirit of the sisterhood.
Over 30 artisans will feature their works at the festival. Everything from attire, jewelry, food, photography, pottery, art, and music shall be assembled in one magnificent happening. Strolling the landscape, the divinely gifted voices of the Sistrum Chorus, Abigail Stauffer, and others shall delight and ensorcell the gathered. And for a respite, there is always the Sistrum Cafe.
What is a sistrum http://www.ancient.eu.com/Sistrum/? It is percussive instrument consisting of a U frame with bars crossing the arms. On these bars are cymbals or other jingling items that make noise when shaken.
By choosing the Sistrum for this event, a long tradition going ages back continues, as stated by Karen Tate in Sistrum Sisters, Volume 9 - NMR 49
"The sistrum also has connections with three goddesses - Isis, Hathor and Bast. Mostly it seems to be associated with the Cat Goddess Bast. One legend tells it was a gift to Bast from Her divine mother, Isis.
In Egyptian magick, the sistrum can be an invaluable tool with many uses within and without ritual: to generating energy, as a ceremonial object, to purify space, or simply for the sweet sound it makes, especially with copper discs"
Many in our community who follow the Paths of Women's Mysteries are musicians and visionaries, and find Energy, Worship, and Love here amongst the Flowers of the Goddess with each other. Their music is as sweet as any other, and is just as divinely appointed. This is a celebration anticipated all year long by our artists.
At this festival, many petaled lotuses of individuality bloom to create a place where our Bards can be free. Free to create, enjoy Sisterhood, and just exhale. They state
"This festival is an important commitment women make each year to renew our support for women artists and musicians. WITA is a volunteer-run organization with a commitment to support women in their creative pursuits and the goal of creating space for women to showcase their talents"
There shall be workshops; presentations by Patrice Blackbottle, Teller of Tales and Soul Scribe; Sistrum; Reader's Theatre with Laurie Hollinger; a solo performance by Kate Peterson; and a screening of the film "Thunder", the story of Ferron. As many who love folk music know, Ferron influenced many of the big names today, including Ani DiFranco. Our Canadian sister to the South, she is well loved.
On Saturday, there shall be an Open Mic available for our local talent. To register, please visit http://www.witafestival.com. Music, whether vocal, or instrumental, is welcome, as well as spoken word.
Free childcare is provided, as motherhood and artistic blessings are not mutually exclusive. All will be able to find peace and joy here.
Tickets are $20.00 for the festival, and $5.00 for the Saturday Artist Market only.
For more information about the talented Bard Patrice Blackbottle, go to http://renperfmerch.blogspot.com/2011/11/soul-scribing-with-patrice-blackbottle.html. She is an intuitive iridologist, one of a kind, here in Metro Detroit.s
Though not confirmed as attending this festival, you can still check out local songstresses Emily Rose http://metrotimes.com/music/cityslang/emily-rose-and-kept-rising-1.1511057 and Kris McLonis http://www.mtv.com/artists/kris-mclonis/. Regular loved features of the local music scene, they are a pagan Michigan Treasure.
Unfamiliar with the folk musician Ferron? Learn about the legend at http://www.ferrononline.com/. It is worth a look to our Canadian neighbors to learn why they love this singer and poet so much. A regular name heard in the local Womyn's music scene in Metro Detroit, her classes are the stuff of aspirations for many.
As Ferron said in "Testimony",
But by your lives be you spirit
And by your hearts be you women
This is a wonderful opportunity to be both. If not able to make it this year, the festival is annual, and volunteers can always help with next year's event.
The event takes place at Edgewood United Church, 469 N. Hagadorn, East Lansing, Michigan. A little bit of a drive, but worth it to take it again this year.