In one week, I begin my yearly pilgrimage to MichFest, the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. This Festival is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. Ten years ago, I joined in this journey ‘home.’
If you can imagine a place on this earth built and created by women electricians, carpenters, cooks, and healers, a village that takes shape in the woods of Michigan over a period of three months, and is then inhabited by thousands of tired women weary of the past year’s struggles and accomplishments, joining together to be renewed spiritually, emotionally and physically. This is our MichFest: Thousands of women and not one piece of litter!
By night, we cocoon in our tents among the trees and ferns and wild mushrooms, listening to the final remnants of evening concerts performed by generations of the most talented women musicians, singers, songwriters, dancers, and sign language interpreters on the planet!
In the morning, we wander through the woods, waking up to sisters walking every path on the 600 acre space-out-of-time, making coffee at our campsites or standing in line with other women, still wearing our handwoven warm beanies and jackets while we wait for coffee, tea, gluten free — and not gluten free — donuts and pastries thoughtfully brought in from town by early bird sisters of good heart.
An hour or two later, the cooks who are both staff and volunteers, have our breakfast prepared. Again we line up with sisters from around the world, every size, color, age and energy level, serving up our washable plates with good nourishing vegetarian food. All food and entertainment provided with the price of our ticket. Three times a day we complete this ritual! And at dinner, out by the “Watermelon Tree,” is a long table that has been set up by Amazons and loaded with cool slices of locally grown watermelon with seeds.
I am one of a hundred or so craftswomen who bring our wares to share and sell. At the start of each day, I head to my booth inside one of the huge craft area circus tents to get ready for women who come to shop before and after their activities of the day. Then, when my booth partners arrive for their work shifts, I walk the winding foot-hewn pathways through the ferns with thousands of other women to workshops, the subjects of which never play in my home town.
The offerings and activities are so numerous, and so diverse, that the paths are never crowded. No cars are allowed into the village center, so women young and old, able bodied and differently abled, are free to walk and cross the unpaved roadways freely, visiting and exploring as our spirits guide us. Every child is safe because she/he has thousands of Aunties looking after their safety. Mothers are free too because they know that they and their children are safe from all harm. This freedom is what enables transformation — the turning to liquid and releasing all that has gone before — so we can know where we are going, and who we truly are.
Like the butterfly, we transform our spirit and our spirituality, our bodies and our generations. This millennia old experience of women gathering is held sacred by those of us who come, and by those of us who know we come, not just for ourselves, but for the world to continue to exist in a good way.
We learn from each other here, and we reconnect and recommit to our Self, our World, and our Truths. At the end of each Festival, the woman-owned 600 acres returns completely back to Mother Nature. We leave her as we found her: Ferns and forest, and the wildlife who have been watching us from a distance. Wise women gathering, communing with Nature and each other, for the benefit of all. MichFest is a “Menstrual Mind Revival” space. There is talk of this being the Festival’s last year. I hope it continues. We need it now more than ever, it seems.
These lovely Monarch Butterfly photos were taken outside our kitchen window over the past couple weeks by my daughter, Denise. Nature’s reflection of our transformative spirit. I’m hoping to see some of you there, and to share photos of the wild mushrooms outside my tent when I return with plans for more Menstrual Mind Revivals.
If you are on your way to Michigan, or some other place to renew your spirit, check out our green and healthy Camping, Hiking, and Outdoor Living products made by women entrepreneurs. Bee well!