Writing & Photography by: Moriah Hope Johnson
The Heart of Sister Winds
The transformative festival scene is rapidly growing. What used to be small intimate gatherings are evolving into massive, elaborate celebrations. The excitement is palpable and the creations birthed from these events are quite the spectacle. But there is much to say about the simpler and the smaller. For me, something truly genuine lies within the heart of modest family-friendly gatherings like Sister Winds. I’ve been to many festivals small and large, humble and extravagant. One of the most exciting opportunities is to create new relationships. At the larger festivals I experienced fleeting meetings with many colorful souls; heart warming, albeit transient moments with dozens of people. Lately I have been experiencing connection that runs even deeper: connection with roots. With Sister Winds’ humble number of 400 attendees, I felt as though the entire festival was in harmony with one another rather than pockets of divergent groups doing their own thing. If I saw a friend, I was sure to see him/her again very soon rather than being two ships sailing in a sea of endless stimulation that occurs at larger festivals. Through this I was granted the opportunity to strengthen bonds in a genuine way. With no overlapping musical sets, I danced the night away with the same familiar faces under ethereal starry nights. Music ended precisely at 11 pm, and those who still had a bit of fuel in them made their way around the fire to chant and send out prayer to the heavens before getting much-needed rest for the array of heart-expanding workshops. I shared workshops with many of the same familiar faces that I had seen earlier. Together we learned. Together we evolved.
“Yesterday I returned home from doing Rainbow Lightning Youth Village
at Sister Winds Festival With Tayo and Taraz,
held at Sunrise Ranch in the lush Loveland Valley.
What a beautiful gathering! Many talented female musicians performed.
It was much like a love and family festival from the 70’s without the alcohol and litter on the ground.
The heart space was felt all around, radiating.
Very clean and intentional, some might call these festivals that we do
a traveling Mystery school for all ages. We gather together to learn
from one another the plant medicines of earth, ceremony,
the communication of the body and soul, collaboration,
using our voice and speaking up for what matters,
taking good care of ourselves and each other,
mastering our Jedi gifts and abilities…
Truly a dose of reality, this experience.
And as we walk forward from this place of unity with gratitude,
we exude rainbow light to the passersby,
to the rest of our friends and family.
Movement is current, light beams and reflection and love is contagious.
Let it Show, let it Flow, let it Glow!” -Franki Zinke (Sister Winds ambassador & attendee)
This quote from Franki Zinke describes the embodiment of Sister Winds Festival in the most eloquent way. Franki Zinke is one of the many who not only attended the gathering, but also lent a hand in myriad ways. It was difficult to decipher between ‘attendee’ and ‘employee’. It seemed everyone there played part in contributing to the space—as artists, musicians, sacred space builders, epic cooks, workshop facilitators, sound engineers; the list goes on. The theme of GIVING circulated within the atmosphere all weekend long. Sister Winds certainly holds the container for altruism to thrive. Every year Sister Winds donates to a global cause. This year the motto was “Bee Happy!” Profits are to be donated to beesafeboulder.org to help save and protect our sweet pollinators on the Earth.
“Sister Winds family,
we got so much love for the bees
and building community.
Don’t worry, BEE happy!
-Shaela Noella (Founder of Sister Winds)
Mystery School: Workshops
A big part of us coming together in circle is to enhance our abilities as evolving human beings. Sister Winds held space for the divine masculine and the divine feminine to heal and grow. These workshops took place in the men’s lodge and the women’s tent. The gorgeous indoor temple space was like the joining of the two lodges, completing a symbolic triad of workshop spaces.
I am beyond grateful for having practiced authentic relating with facilitators Booster Blake and Erin Keeley, clearing the conduit of our bodies through yoga with RR. Shakti Redding (former SYJ cover warrior!),ritual healing dance with Ixeeya Lin, the ancient science of Kundalini with Grumukh, and so much more.
Many tears streamed down cheeks and into the soil for the Earth to churn and transform while honoring the tenderness of vulnerability. Our bellies shook with laughter, unifying us in joy.
The evolution of my soul is apparent as I complete this extended reflection on my journey through Sister Winds. The transformation that occurred has been deeply anchored in my spirt, which is forever changed.The winds of fellowship have knit a rainbow quilt of love around our hearts, supporting each step into the light of our beautiful world.