Written by: Shareshten Senior
Photography by: Shareshten Senior
Black Oak Ranch is a majestic land with a river running through it. The mountains engulf you in unreachable heights, which even the internet can’t connect with.
Unlike some other dusty festivals we won’t mention the names of, Enchanted Forest Gathering does well to counteract the intense summer California heat, as well as the foot stomping dust that is kicked up by happy campers’ dances. Not only does mother nature provide a serene and splashful river filled with pups, children and playful pythons, but also plenty of trees covering the dry hot ground with luscious shade.
The Saucy Spa was a real game changer—staying cool has never been so sudsy. You actually can stay clean at this dusty shindig! Participants would take turns blasting the crowd with Dr. Bronner’s bubbles, while twerkin’ it to some funky electronic beats. One feels like they have died and gone to bubble dance heaven.
One of my favorite workshops at Enchanted Forest was the ‘Make Love like a Goddess’ workshop. Before we entered the bright red glowing tent, we removed our shoes while we waited in line to be smudged with cleansing sage and a sacred feather. After clearing our energy and ora, we entered into the sacred space being held for we women with wombs.
I looked around at all the beautiful, strong women, both young, and old. All of us awaiting the Goddess Magdelin Muse to share her Goddess wisdom with us. As we sat in the circle, it felt as if our own inner wisdom teachings were being shared with each other beyond words and time!
I fully enjoyed the feather activity where me and my bestie were in groups of 3-5. We each took turns stroking skin lightly with the feather: face, arms, hands, back, neck, feet. The person to the left of the receiver would close their eyes waiting for the person with the feather to then start lightly brushing the feather over their skin. However they feel, wherever they want, paying attention to every movement and each stroke and watching the anticipation to feel. We passed the feather until everyone in the circle had received. In our safe container we were able to explore how everyone reacts differently to certain touch in certain places, noticing all the thoughts that arise and also the joy of pure awareness of the soft feather. Somewhere throughout the class Magdelin suggested if comfortable that we all sit and try to “get our Pussy as close as we could to the ground.” She instructed us further to really open up and allow the “pussy” to connect with the earth. By the end of the workshop all of the women were howling and laughing; it was awesome. Even Lucy, my service dog, started howling and we all agreed she was a Goddess as well. The Shakti Journal has noticed a pattern of women coming together to open up about their sexuality and how to connect with and honor their own wants and needs.
The Shakti tribe was delighted to see our past Entrepreneurs doing what they love: Ayla Nereo stealing our hearts as always, Amae Love rockin’ her sassy clothing line to the tens, and Cheraki sharing her voice and love through song and workshop.
Shakti Journal’s favorite electronic producers were at enchanted including the Polish Ambassador, Shpongle, Panty Riad, Bluetech, Love and Light, AtTyA, saQi, Dragonfly, Eurythmy. Shakti was also delighted to attend live music with our past entrepreneurs including Ayla Nereo, Cheraki, and AmaeLOVESLife
Ayla Nereo’s set brought the crowd to a silent meditation through trails of tears and heights of ecstasy with her voice and impeccable words. Her new album is something to meditate by as she has done the seemingly impossible and gotten even more powerful and original with her lyrics and storytelling through song. Literally hundreds of people couldn’t move from the harmony she brought to the sweet stage lit by the beautiful trees overhead that seemed to rock us to sleep in beds of roots.
Yoga is something that is often lacking attention at transformational festivals, but not at Enchanted Forest. They had such A-List celebrity teachers as Suzanne Sterling, a rooted earth mama, who loves to shake up everyone from the core, empowering individuals to fully embody truth, purpose, and devotion. When Suzanne grabs the djembe, something inside you lets loose when you didn’t even know there was a grip. Then there were yoga teachers who are literally rockstars like saQi making the cross over from MainStage attraction to yoga teacher. High profile yogis like Dr Siri Gian Singh Khalsa, who has been a student of Yogi Bhajan since 1972, were teaching Kriyas. It was no wonder the yoga tent was packed and beaming good vibrations out into the whole festival all weekend long. Great job Enchanted.
Tucked away near the food court was a magical place called Kidslandia. It was full of joyous, energetic, colorful, little critters that I like to call kiddos. The kids of Kidslandia had everything they could have possibly wanted or needed; they were taken care of by the Day Care Fairies.The Day Care Fairies would prepare them food, make sure they were safe, played fairly, and most of all had FUN! The Day Care Fairies had many neat activities and crafts to participate in as well. Boredom did not exist in Kidslandia.
This was one of the best Kids play areas Shakti Journal has seen at any festival, with professional day care and super stimulating activities. SYJ staff member Madeline Fondren was only too excited to help out during some hot day hours on the fly. This would be a great festival for child lovers and kids yoga teachers to get involved with the children and their own transformational journeys.
The Wisdom University and Community Center was a mecca for people to escape from the chaos and settle into some soul food with brothers and sisters. While we are gathered at these transformational festivals and there is so much potential for good, there is also the exact opposite – darkness, manipulation, chasing the dragon, and mind control. Yes, these festivals are very much like a heightened experience of the real world, only more obvious. Transformational festivals dissolve the veil of external labels—making someone your friend due to external commonalities: skin color, education, social status etc. Instead, these festivals show us how to quite literally not judge a book by its cover, and how to drop all hesitation to go with what feels right and without any justification or explanation needed to also move away from that which doesn’t feel right. As festivals go though, this was a super sweet California party that never got out of hand, which is nice.
The transformational experience SYJ had at Enchanted Forest is definitely not one to miss. All the California vibes were flowing, from the river of joyous, naked freedom, to the dance party in the showers, back to more naked people jamming out at the main stage. California still loves to get naked and if you are looking for some old school hippie-festie vibes, this is the place to go. Love is in the air… water… and earth in the heart of the California mountains.