Spoutwood Faerie Festival 2016 – Event Review
What are you? A Faerie? A Troll? A Goblin? An Elf? Faerie Festivals all over the country are growing in popularity as a place for families to experience “imagination games”. The Festivals encourage imagination and creative play for people of all ages. For some of us, imagination and creative games are part of our spiritual manifestations or expressions. Most of us would also agree that belief can manifest itself. “If you believe its true, it will be.” We can all agree that imagination play feeds the soul!
In my spiritual curiosity I have explored many spiritual paths including the more unusual ones like Otherkin. Otherkin is a community that identifies with being something other than purely human. Many people take this idea and apply it in different ways. In the Otherkin community I have been exposed to beings that are spiritual and energetic about their theories rather than Furries whom are more about a playful expression of themselves. Otherkin are spiritual and energetically responsible beings, or strive to be. There are many types of otherkin including elves, werewolves, vampires, faeries, and other animals & creatures. The community has a basic moral code and understanding that seems to have stemmed from the sex positive community about asking for permission regarding energetic fields & connections instead of just during sexual encounters. Generally the community is sex positive since the majority sees sexual encounters as energetic exchanges. The community is rather new compared to other alternative spiritual communities so the elders are few and far between. The Otherkin community consists of people between ages 20-40years old with a few elders older than 40. I have been to several gatherings like “Walking The Thresholds” which was my deepest exposure to the community. Otherkin communities have meetings and gatherings but many of their connections are online, with a heavy community on Tumblr.
The greatest thing that I learned from my exploration as an Otherkin was that “what feels right” is exactly what is right for you. An empowered message my mind needed to hear over 10 years ago that helped me awaken and come to terms with my inner Faerie. Due to my severely neglected childhood I didn’t really get exposed to Faeries until I was reading books and watching movies with my son, he was born when I was 17. When I was exposed to the Radical Faeries I was introduced to the idea of being our most authentic selves, as fabulously as we possibly can. I could identify with the people in the community, the ideas and the medicine of being as authentically fabulous as possible brought miraculous healing to my oppressed soul. I finally came to terms that, energetically or somewhere in my DNA, is Faerie. From a practical perspective it seems healthy for me to have creative expression now that I have the opportunity. Especially after my oppressed childhood.
I deeply connect to trees in that I feel more like we are kin rather than an energy I want to be close to. I also feel like my heart is lifted and my soul is lighter when I express my inner faerie. Since the otherkin gatherings are few and far between I decided to try out the Faerie Festival. I wanted to explore my expression as a faerie. First, I attended the festival as a dryad, a tree faerie that is known for being a shape shifter. Gender is typically neutral and in most cases dryad’s at their purest form, are trees. So I created wings that matched trees that I was connected to, using the branches and leaves that fell from the tree. I created the most androgynous look I could accomplish. As years past and I came to a better understanding of myself and even the “energetic experience” of playing a certain character. Playing a dryad was great for me and brought me great joy. It inspired my family friendly drag king, Izzy Ahee. As time went on and I grew more authentically fabulous I reached for the Hobbit. As I learned about furries and discussed embodying characters with them I realized that a Hobbit is also a good character for me to emulate.
I began to to create my own Hobbit character, that I now call Tobi Longbottom. I love to bring him out at various faerie festivals, its a perfect match, simply because diversity makes the festival fun for everyone to explore their inner faerie. The Hobbit is child friendly and fun to adventure with, gender neutral (although people still misgender me), and pure of heart. As I began to embody the Hobbit I even followed the diet, its good for me to eat many small meals a day. As a result I lost 50lbs with the method. Once I began to embody the Hobbit I found that I worked to create the purest love I could for those I love, as well as the community. Even when someone sparks feelings of anger, irritation and sadness I am faster to move to compassion for them, therefore pure love, even if they have done me wrong. As the Hobbit I can explore my imagination at the faerie festival and all of us can enjoy being in our characters.
I recently returned to one my favorite Faerie Festivals at Spoutwood Farm. The Faerie Festival has been often compared to Ren Faire Festivals with a faerie theme. The Pennsylvania May Day Faerie Festival celebrates many of the spiritual expressions I am familiar with including the May Pole and connections to nature. The farm speaks to my environmentalist values about recycling, composting, and organic farming. It gives space to celebrate spring in whatever way you want, even if it is just spending time with your kids. Children attend in costumes and are entertained by various musicians, side shows, collaborations, and interactive activities. I love participating in the ambassador program because I get to meet so many of the children and other faeries. As the Hobbit, people are immediately aware of what I am at first glance, assuming they are familiar with the story. I love to dance, play, and take people on adventures.
The faerie festival is also the first place I heard a Hang PANArt, a very special instrument that is faerie in it sounds. The joyous and celebratory sounds of the handpan help to create faerie realm feeling for the festival. Bright Hawk’s uniquely and joyfully tuned Hang PANAart helps to uplift any listener, helping to create an “Faerie Realm”. Her storytelling helps to inspire creativity and imagination in the minds of the listeners. Also, I got to catch the show for Frenchy & The Punk and am always inspired by their familiar covers and lyrically creative songs. I loved the inclusiveness of Ken Crampton’s Drum Circle. There were more than enough drums and rattles for all people, even on a Saturday afternoon. The unique vendors and creative programming create an overall family friendly event for all people, including gender variant people.
In attendance there are tons of families. I noticed that although there is a majority of fairly “normal” families there are numerous families with people that are gender variant, differently abled, and other unusual folks. The welcoming atmosphere helps to bring out the authentic and creative soul that most of us hold inside during every day public interactions. The Faerie Festivals give us the platform to bring our creative selves and help inspire other acts of creativity. I am always inspired by the other third gender people I encounter at Spoutwood Farm, an inclusive creative expression for this Hobbit.
There are Faerie Festivals around the world, find one in your backyard and see what your inspired to present! Kubiando!