A Celebration of the Kosmos, the Chaos, the Forest, and the Tribe
A week ago as I write these lines I was already 7 days into the forest. Still, some battery on the phone, needed because we were still expecting people to arrive. Taking a phew photos, perfectly aware that the screen steals my time and compresses my attention to make it fit in the rectangular-device-all-so-connected-with-the-rest-of-the-world.
Ten days ago, on June 21st 2022, the Earth’s rotation axis was tilted exactly towards the Sun (9:13h U.T.C.), causing the day to be the longest of the year and the night —the shortest (in the Northern Hemisphere). The June Solstice (a.k.a. estival solstice or Midsummer) was happening. A turningpoint for the Wheel of the Year.
Five planets and the Moon aligned this June.
Time almost stood still.
It was the time of the 9th edition of the Summer Kosmosylvana.
The term solstice is used in reference to either of the two points of greatest deviation of the ecliptic (the Sun’s apparent annual path) from the celestial equator. From Latin solstitium, from sol ‘sun’ + stit– ‘stopped, stationary’ (from the verb sistere ).
Here’s the Story, from its Beginning:
In December 2012, a small solstice celebration took place in the local forest, in a village in western Romania.
It was called End-of-the-World-As-We-Know-it-Party, a tongue-in-cheek about the Mayan Apocalypse predicted for December 21st 2012.
The place that we chose for our celebration is a 45 minutes walk away from the village, on the far side of the forest.
It holds shrubs of wild roses, hawthorn, some wild pears, herbs and grasses, and mainly oaks. The liminal space between grassland and forest, is a perfect case study for The Edge Effect , one of the Permaculture design principles.
The celebration in 2012 was small yet intense: a feeling of belonging not only to the human community but also to the rest of the living world, being part of the Cosmos. Mayans may have gotten the date wrong and the world went on but something, somehow was different ever since.
A small, eclectic group of determined people met every solstice, Summer and Winter, to celebrate Life, the Seasons, the Forest, and each other. Spiritually and magically inclined, ecologically aware, with no particular agenda or program. A core group and a round calendar to remind people of the two most “extreme” moments of the Year: the Lightest and the Darkest. Coordinates for the location.
This is how it went on:
It became a ritual that feels like living in a tribe.
Organically emerging, sharing food, stories, and being human.
A completely autonomous gathering of self-organizing people. Everyone brings their own light, power, and magic, as well as water, food, and something to use as a shelter. Most of the things are shared. Like magic, all sorts of useful items appear in the scenery, without much effort. Objects like a wine opener or some “kitchen furniture” for the trees. Somebody had thought of it and brought it. Or makes it. There are some tarps, ropes and cutlery that we use time and again.
Sitting around a fire, under the trees, under the sky.
Stars glittering on top of the canopy.
Our consciousness, connected to that of the Forest. Our barefoot steps, guided by the Moon, the Sun, and the Earth. A direct experience of alchemical elements and how they interact to create life.
Finding our voice and letting it vibrate in humms, tales, and laughter. Caring for each other, being present, just being.
Foresting: bewildered, creative, dusty, and happy under the canopy of a wild wood.
The forest is always different. Same spot, different times — different situations.
Let me write what I recall a few summers into the past:
Three years ago there were mosquitos. Moist and warm.
Two years ago it was perfect. Heaven on earth, I joke you not.
Then it was hot and dusty.
There was one year when it was super rainy and cold.
Winters are different in other ways.
Most of the time the forest offers more comfort than what you have in a park in the city.
This time it was dry and we shared the space with huge wasps that had their nests in the “kitchen tree”. Not so many wasps and mosquitos in the city because they are being systematically killed.
The wasps were our teachers, reminding us to keep calm and breath deeply. To accept what we cannot change. To respectfully share the space with all-there-is and walk mindfully and gently on the earth.
Water — and the Lack Of: Thoughts About Privilege.
The hills that hold this magic forest only have seasonal streams and no river.
There is no water at the spot where we meet every year.
That means we have to bring it. Everyone contributes. From as little as “just the water that you drink yourself” to carrying 20 liters with the help of someone else.
The so-called Water Missions. Water teams.
We self-organize. Water is a gift that we bring to the community.
Not having water as a default resource puts everything into perspective.
How we drink, cook, wash, clean, and cool off.
How All Water is Sacred. All Water is Holy.
We learn new techniques to do dishes with a minimum waste of water.
Greywater goes to the dogs.
Insects approach our dishwashing spot because it’s the only water available for miles.
Draught is not something to joke about…
Seeing plants wither in the middle of the forest was shattering.
By the end of the week (Sunday, 9th day into the forest) we unset the camp.
No more battery. Only hugs and goodbyes.
One hammock left, mine.
The tarot room (close to the portal) is still on.
A bit of perfume, incense, a cup of water, and some berries.
The Altar — looking different once again.
The Place —barren. Only the Trees, Shrubs, Leaves and the usual living population of Insects and Birds left. No other human presence than mine. Silence.
As I finished packing my stuff and the last empty plastic bottles, as I was walking around to say goodbye to the place, to thank the forest for holding the space for us, I was flushed with an ocean wave of Gratitude for the past week. For the Gifts, the Connection, the Songs, the Food, the Shade, the Water, the Tribe, the Magick, the Lemons, the Fire, the Wasps, the Dust, the Cutlery, the Ropes and Tarps, for the Co-Creation.
Long Story Shory:
The Solstice Celebrations are now called Kosmosylvana, recurring like the seasons we experience.
A celebration of the Sun, the Earth, the Moon, forest, seasons, people and all there is.
The history of the Kosmo Kalindar and of the Kosmosylvana celebrations are woven together.
We needed a calendar to help keep track of the solstice celebrations. The designs are inspired by imagery that arose in states of Unverified Personal Gnosis, symbols, and archetypes that reflect and sustain a connected view of the World. Animism and the constant dance of seemingly opposing forces to merge into a non-dual, deep sense of meaning and connection.
In december 2014 the KosmoKalindar was born and we handed them out on Saturday, 20th of December 2014, during the 3rd winter Kosmosylvana.