Beltane greetings to you all!
We are T-5 days from the start of our annual retreat, and this is the season to see life is springing forward in all directions. The energy is lively - like a playful child exploring new horizons. Plants are exploding from the earth while animals are enjoying the warmth and rush of new resources available. Now is the time to take on new challenges and test your boundaries with a playful mindset. Growth happens through inquisitiveness, exploration, overcoming challenges, and adapting plans after lessons learned. This approach helps nurture the growth of your projects and goals. This season is a great time to increase physical activity once again, enjoy the increasing bounty of spring crops, and increase social community experiences. This is why our vibe for this weekend is "play!"
To that end, I hope you'll bring this playfulness into The Hunt, a game where attendees run through the fields of Gryphon's Nest chasing each other, in search of the May Queen. Think of it like a combination of tag, hide-and-seek, and flag football. We want to help you understand more about the central event of our three day weekend, which is an optional activity to help determine our May Queen and Oak King, who will be the main players in our Beltane ritual.
When you arrive at the Nest and finish setting up your camping space, wander over to the Clubhouse, where you'll see several boards and sign-up sheets. For the Hunt, you have the option of signing up to be either a Hunter or a Holy. Those who sign up to be Hunters will chase the Holies through a section of the Nest, looking for the May Queen. The May Queen looks like every other Holy, and will only be revealed after a Hunter has captured them and answered their esoteric riddle correctly. The Hunter who who does this becomes the Oak King, and both people will embody the progenitive energies of Nature in our ritual. There's a third group, the Fae, who entered our Hunt last year to cause chaos! You cannot sign up to be Fae... you must be chosen.
Please note that Hunter, Holy, and Fae are non-gendered roles, and we have had several same-sex May Queens and Oak Kings in our past 12 years of doing this event. If you do not wish to take part in the Hunt, we are always looking for drummers to provide that sacred beat during the Hunt itself (in a shady area, with plenty of water).
Since our event this year is only 3 days, both the Hunt and the Beltane rite will be on the same day, one right after the other.
We will be sure to provide water stations during the Hunt to keep everyone hydrated. If you're not sure what to wear for the Hunt and ritual, please visit our Pinterest page to get costume inspiration. If you would like to just observe the Hunt, we encourage that too... it's fun and hilarious!
Don't forget to check out our schedule of events, which includes group play sessions focused on nature, our Crawfish Feast on Saturday night, potluck feast on Friday night (organized by Daizy Daigle), and our Slip 'n' Slide Kickball Tournament (organized by Clint Daigle, prizes for the winning team). Festivities end with our closing Maypole dance, led by Pocket Traci.
Gates open at 3pm on Friday; until then, only volunteers should be on the premises. The weekend will end at 3pm on Sunday, when we will ask attendees to vacate the Nest so volunteers can clean and go home. Please remember to take ALL TRASH (including camping equipment that has broken or gets wet) off the grounds with you. The indoor kitchen will be available for cooking/storage (you must clean up after yourself), and people are welcome to store cool items in either the indoor or outdoor fridge (the outdoor kitchen's not available for cooking).
There are designated places to camp, and volunteers will instruct you when you arrive at check-in. Please remember, cars stay parked in our parking area, car camping will happen in a specific part of the faery forest, no illegal drugs or weapons are allowed, and it's BYOB (but our safety stewards will keep everyone from getting sloppy). This is, of course, a 21+ event, and as always, Gryphon's Nest Campground is a clothing-optional space, but clothes should be worn when walking around the front of the campground. The rules have been posted for years, so don't be caught unaware... check them out.
Registration emails will go out this week to help expedite your check-in. If you do not fill them out, you will have to take the time to do so at check-in. As always, I want to thank the volunteers who are coming out and making the event possible.
We hope to have an excellent time with everyone, and want to see you leave on Sunday with a restored feeling of peace and connection with your inner child!!