The week I spent at the Sacred Harvest Festival was wonderful. It was unlike any other large-scale public Pagan event I've attended before in that it was overwhelmingly family-oriented. We had so many young families, families with adolescents, and young adults, in addition to the usual coterie of folks my age. Particpants mainly came from the upper midwest, with many from "Paganistan," AKA the Twin Cities.
The festival setting in an oak grove in southern Minnesota was Idyllic, except for the one night's endless thunderstorm and rain deluge. They gave me a great tent, and tarped it carefully, but the water seeped up through the floor of the tent, and pretty much soaked everything. If you're expecting me to call or contact you somewhere along this trip, you're going to be out of luck unless you email me your information as my address book was totally wiped out, with all the pages stuck together in one big moldy mess.
One of the high points of the festival was the creation of a huge--perhaps 30 feet in diameter--rangoli design in the fire circle. These are temporary designs created on the earth in front of doorways in India. Rongali are usually constructed in connection with the Hindu feast of Diwali, which is celebrated in the autumn, and welcomes the goddess Lakshmi home.
This rangoli was created by pouring out flour and spices in a complex geometric design. Tealights were then placed around the perimeter and in the interstices in the design.
Dancers circled the fire ecstatlcally for hours, accompanied by a large group of djembes and other big drums. They danced barefoot, and gradually the air was filled with the scent of all the spices they were treading underfoot. Each person had a particular intention for which he/she danced. Here are a couple of photos of sections of the rangoli before the dances began.