SHF Workshops – Inspired by the Muses

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Seducing the Muse was the theme of this year’s Sacred Harvest Festival and many of the workshops were true to that theme.  There were workshops on opening up your inner self to divine inspiration, lace making, writing, leather working, and achieving ecstasy through chanting, just to name a few.  Temple Arts by Gypsy Nilsen and Color Texture Therapy by Judy Olson were two workshops that involved a high degree of hands-on participation by attendees.

Temple Arts was for women only and was a discussion of how Priestesses in ancient times cared for one another and celebrated their femininity through such acts as washing each others’ feet, helping one another in the bath, and dressing each others’ hair.  Approximately 15 women attended this workshop and all were invited to divide up into pairs and take turns washing each others’ feet.

When questioned how washing each others’ feet changed how they felt, one participant said, “This is a surprisingly intimate act.  I felt very vulnerable, very open.”  The consensus among the group was that it was harder to let someone wash your feet than to do the washing.  Another remarked, “That was hard.  I wanted to hide my feet.  You had to just let yourself be, just be a woman, and not worry that the other person was judging you based on standards of beauty.”

Workshop leader, Gypsy, said that a secular way that modern women are seeking to recreate this experience is by organizing girls’ night out, where women can gather together and just be women.  “We get to slow down in our lives and it is nice to get together and elevate one another instead of tear one another down.  This is something women need,” Gypsy elaborated.  She went on to say the customs of ancient Priestesses and modern women going out for the evening are “acts of love and honor and we need to respect that.”

Color Texture Therapy, a workshop attended by 10 men and women, was all about unleashing creativity.  Judy started off the workshop by asking attendees if they experienced overwhelming urges to stop at the fabric and craft store.  If so, they were at the right workshop for them.  “Some days, when I’ve had a stressful day, I stop at Jo-Ann Fabrics and just walking around in there makes me happy.  Do you do that?” she asked.   Laughter and a show of hands  greeted this question.

Participants got to dive right in, picking out colors and textures that appealed to them.  They applied these fabrics to a rectangle of foam board and then decorated the boards with more fabrics and trims.  Judy noted many of the fabrics had a special connection to Sacred Harvest Festival.  “That green fabric over there was left over from a robe that was used in one of last year’s rituals,” she noted.

Mary Oczak, a workshop attendee, said she loved the workshop.  “Oh I loved Judy’s workshop.  I love the opportunity to be creative.  It was a fun and relaxing way to spend the afternoon.”

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One thought on “SHF Workshops – Inspired by the Muses

  1. Michelle says:

    I did not attend either of these workshops, but have to say I loved the ones I attended. The Theme was intrigueing I was inspired by the hands on feel of it. Then in contrast I felt at points not at all inspired, until a friend of mine brought it to my attention that incubation is part of the creative process. I can say since then I have been inspired and actually putting it to practice. I hope to hit more workshops next year.

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