From Black to Green, The Northern Green Gathering 11-14.08.16

We had had a tense journey again from Blackpool via Wales and the Snowdonia national park. It should have been fantastic, out hiking, swimming perhaps along that coast, visiting with dear people Lea & Luke in the old frontier town of Montgomery it was such a beautiful place, but we missed it, I had sunk like a stone after the Rebellion, could have been we were so tired, could have been the come down after such great music and the reconnecting with old and dear friends, could have been feeling the earth beneath our feet after feeling the universe run though our hands and watching the positive effects of well timed words, the coincidences and confounding confirmations that what we are dealing with is as real as you and I. Could have been the meeting with old band members, and the  avalanche into the smooth surface of my emotions, I was, I am ashamed to say full of hate for them and that was deeply depressing, betrayal is a terrible hurt to heal, even if, when I am honest I know I played a part, still it hurt deeply, it could be also I don’t feel able to leave Orsi on her own for any long period, so all in all I crashed and burned all through the mountains of Wales we should have been watching the glorious sunsets instead I was picking over the bones of a long dead beast, magnificent though it was, it was dead and there is no bringing it back.

We arrived in the middle of England, not sure at all where we were, somewhere near Derby and Stoke on Trent. We’d come through Shrewsbury, Stafford and were driving along a narrow lane looking for a field with tents in it, near somewhere called Hulland Bradley that was all I knew when two smiley faces in orange fluorescent jackets waved us down and we got our first sight of the festival field.  We snapped out of our shadows, there were witnesses now, we couldn’t let them see, so we suddenly found the sun within, its always close by isn’t it, if you need it and by then boy did we need it.

We were guided in by the lady who I think had emailed us, I offered her a lift, but she’d said to follow her on foot into the Northern Green Gathering encampment, right then it looked a little unpopulated I figured that it was Thursday night and people were probably still to arrive, it would prove to be a wild hope and optimistic prediction. She stopped here and there to have a chat to people and waved to others across the field, every time she did I thought it was a direction for us. I’ll spare you the expletives.

We got to our allotted space, a taped of area half for us half for the kids playground,

“Could we park the van at the back of the dome” I’d asked, she looked at me for a second or two then said

“No problem, if need be the kids can always move a few feet”Northern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160811_181706

I liked that and honestly we didn’t mind, we’d just noted all the other live in camper van conversions tucked in behind the scattered tents around the great wide-open sloping field, and in fact the next day the kids area was taken by a couple, a guy from Birmingham and a girl from Spain who were doing juicing, trouble was they had forgotten to buy fruits and veg, so they were down to squeezed watermelon water with herbs which just isn’t the same thing, but that’s another story and they turned out to be lovely.

We sat in there for a good half an hour silent, brooding, just looking out the windscreen onto the grey windswept scene, august the 11th mid summer England. Everybody we saw walked quickly, hunch shouldered, arms folded, leaning into the wind wrapped up in layers of woolens and thermals, thick boots and scarves. Flags that had been erected around the camp looked furious, as if trying to escape, if its true that the Tibetan prayer flags carried the wishes and prayers on the wind as they dissolved, I assumed there would be good news coming very soon at the rate they were dissolving if they were answered of course, the sky above wasn’t so far above either, in fact so low, I felt I could easily reach up and touch it, but I didn’t dare in case I tore it and the heavens opened and I just didn’t want to risk that as well.Northern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160811_181238

The two of us looked out onto the scene with dead fish eyes

“It’s a tragedy that English summers are so shit” I said, everyone was really trying to enjoy where they were, but honestly right then, they weren’t.

We set up the dome or the blue jellyfish as some kids had christened it, under the over hanging specter of our bad mood, it loosened its grip as we worked, but danced around us mocking, but we got our heads down and it was all done quickly and economically. Then almost as soon as we’d finished the opening ceremony was being announced. I looked across coolly at the stout lady with the red hair shouting, her blue eyes sparkled and the green Robin Hood cape and hood flapped in the wind. She was banging away on a skin drum, gathering all of us children together. In my minds eye, which zoned in on her coldly and calculatingly, like a tiger, a punk, still angry, I summed her up then I went across, but took my time. When all said and done there is a vein of decency and curiosity that runs through my core that will never be lost. The tiger withdrew its claws but looked on dispassionately. Perhaps i am flattering myself, perhaps it was the little kid and in fact picked my toys back up and went across, perhaps both.

It was pleasant and she bless her was genuine and meant every word she said, projecting theatrically, arms outstretched throwing good will out across the gathered crowd, as if sowing seeds, about all of us being connected all of us being part of the earth, she was of course right, but I wasn’t happy right then with the fluffy language used, my hackles were up. We saw her again a few days later, she was horse, I had melted, fur smoothed down by then, I felt for her and realized just how much she was giving out, though right then at that moment on the first night the still glowing embers of anger and hostility glowedNorthern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160814_211212

The Green Gathering fire was lit and songs about the earth were sung, we all held hands in a great circle, it was actually rather sweet, I felt a thaw, though it was shaky ground, as a grubby looking woman stepped forward to announce that she had created a temple right there, which was in fact a few plastic sheets and some rickety wooden poles with bungee cords holding it together. She had opened a vortex underneath the whole festival she said and Gaia had told her to tell us all that she loved us all and had been waiting for us. It was all I could do not to bear my teeth and snarl, but afterwards in a more considered frame of mind, I thought if there are forces out there, and I think there are, they don’t really care about the look of things, it would be the intention behind it that mattered, right? Still even though I was more considered I wasn’t tempted to go in, pity really as it may very well have been something remarkable, my power animal may have been awaiting me, I’m being a smart ass now, I see them every day out in the fields or up in the trees being mischievous, I’m always talking to them.

A woman had been circulating around the whole camp whilst we’d been setting telling everyone about a company called “we the un-civilized” a couple who had gone in search of sustainable communities in the UK and had made a film about their travels. Sounded just up our street.

We went across at 8pm took our shoes off and sat quietly apart from one another. The film began and we were both jaw dropped by the depth and the quality. They had dropped their jobs as we had done, converted a van as we had done, had searched out alternative communities as we had done (with regard to healing) they had filmed it as we had said we would and had not done. It was quite shattering to us both.

I was nearly in tears it magnified just how far apart we had both drifted, how different our goals seemed to be right then, it magnified to me my urge to document and write and how important i felt it was, it had become unbearable

There were many sensitive pieces, one in particular really got me. A man had a son who had a serious illness, somehow he’d stumbled upon ancient overgrown streams on the outskirts of Hastings. They were chocked with many years of debris. He’d made a deal with the land that if he cleared the streams the land would give healing to his son. The footage of him clearing them and the waters begin to run clear again, touched me very deeply; he even came upon an ancient well. I knew it, I recognized myself. I have done similar things along the way.

I said to myself “I’m not mad am I…!!”

They had a baby the woman nearly dying afterwards but coming through and here they were, they had very definitely grown. When the film was finished, we could hardly speak, I was so choked up with feelings, sadness and frustration. Check the film out,

Orsi went straight back to the van and as ever that was an affront to me, why couldn’t we just walk and talk about it, so I closed up even tighter and just went to lay in the darkness between the van and the glow of festival fire I didn’t know where else to go, a couple of girls passed by and thought I’d passed out till I sat up and said

“It’s ok, I’m just enjoying the stars”

Northern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160812_213554

Next day we woke up, I wanted to drop this mood now, it was too heavy, I went to shower to try and snap myself out of it and shake it off

“Do you want the slow shower” the guy had said “or do you want fast one”

I quipped, “I’d like a slow luxurious one please”

He bent over behind some filthy looking tarps and pulled out two blue buckets, one had lots of small holes one had none,Northern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160812_123508

There was an old rusty heater that they had somehow rigged up to have piped water run though it. From here rubber pipes were rigged up to a stand pipe and from there rusty coloured water ran like gold into the blue plastic buckets, they even had a Jacuzzi, but that looked a little to rusty and grim even for me.

“When you pull the outside bucket off the water will run out, hang the inner one on the pole and stand underneath it” he said

I stripped off and stepped behind the billowing filthy tarps and hung the blue bucket up on the pole, the water was a little too slow, but I was at that moment very grateful for it, it was the first warm water I had had in weeks. I ‘ve become a master at washing my hair and my private parts in any sink you could mention, but hot water over my head and down my back; that was a luxury. It was donations so I gave them £1.50 each time

That day was spent sat outside the dome looking across the windswept Healing area, which was pretty but empty, The travelling homeopathy people next to us had a really impressive geodesic dome with wooden struts. It made me realize just how well we’d done making ours out of plastic conduit, light and very easy to assemble. I am always hoping somebody will teach us something useful with regard to healing techniques, its what we’d set out for and they did, sort of, confirm the placebo effect, belief and the power of the mind.Northern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160813_113845

Orsi had a couple of readings and at one point called me in to help a lady in a wheel chair with cronic pain, it was such a good half an hour session. The lady walked out of there looking great and feeling fantastic, we just took it as matter of fact, but after the fact I have thought about it very much. If that can be done in half an hour what can be done in a few focused sessions.

When the person opposite you feels your focus and their subconscious recognizes your intention, magic happens. The lady was ready for it; it is an important element. I have been asked quite a few times about client-therapist relationships and the time needed to establish it. In my experience it can all be made or lost in the first few minutes. Also for some, Hypnotherapy could take a few sessions or one, dependent on how the person allows themselves to go into Hypnosis, and how deeply, even then, having the subconscious accept what is suggested by the revelations of the therapy may take time or may be instant.

There were a few other very interesting conversations that day with people who wandered in, I was realizing that regardless of all that we were going through, the two of us have already come a long way. We are actually doing it, it is having effect, we are seeing it, and it’s wonderful for all concerned. When all said and done, we do have a respect for one another, we both know support and believe in what the other is doing, to the best of abilities and we are pushing those abilities boundaries too.

All that said, most of that first day was spent looking at the blades of grass bending. Orsi and I orbited a little closer after the black hole collapse of the last few days and though the day tried to happen the blanket of grey never really moved to the side and the winds; yes, they continued to blow.

That evening we’d sat in the cab of Pearl looking out onto the field, when we really should have been out there, so after some as usual fantastic food Orsi had magic’d up and a few glasses of red, we went out to look around the camp. I had that coolness knocked off my face, I was glad of it, I was longing to connect.

There were some interesting and wonderful people out there, hanging out together, the gig tents were full and around the fire was humming, people being great trying to create something good regardless of the elements, the fire roared, bands played, but I have to say that ‘Seize The Day’ were the only melodic thing to happen, everything else was a pain in the inner ear and mostly unfathomable rhythms, The Damned have spoiled everything for a long time to come; mind you, to be honest, that first night they didn’t need much help. Northern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160812_212611

The night came down drew its veil and hid all of the glaring chasms, the fractures, frailties and vulnerabilities of the place. The stalls looked pretty, the “we the uncivilized” tent were really trying hard, the guy has something very authentic about him, his family are beautiful, and I sincerely wished them well. It was an uneventful day apart from the lady in the wheel chair walking out of the tent, She did get back in her chair once she’d made it across the field, but small steps and she’d done it so joyfully, in another environment we’d have unfurled the flags and played a fan fare, but there, we just gave her a great big hug, loved her, sent her on her way, then zipped up our coats and hunched our necks into our shoulders. We want to work.

“Next please”

We went to bed that night listening to the DJ tent up on the hill above us pumping out sound, at first I’d thought ear plugs, but when I listened closer it grew and opened, in fact over the next few days my respect for who ever the DJ was grew and grew, mixing up wonderful beats, sounds songs and rhythms. The rhythms gave me ideas for my own songs; I daydreamed and then fell asleep

Next day we woke up to the sound of a skin drum and a rams horn banging and blaring outside the door, the morning call to the therapists meeting. We’d not put the bamboo blind on across the front of Pearl, so we were able to see people gathering across from where we were. Sleepy figures and crumpled shapes drifted across the field under blankets and heavy coats towards the meeting point I thought one of us really should go and see, take part in what was happening, it was what we set out to do; right?

As I was stepping out to head across I saw Dave the organizer who on first impression seemed a very shy and quiet man and yet he‘d managed to get all of this together, which was quite a task and had all done just for the love of it, there was more to him obviously than the first impression

We were told the day before that virtually all the other therapists had been given free entry, if they did a work shop, in fact we hadn’t understood just how it worked there, if you did a work shop and took donations they didn’t charge a pitch fee, so of course everybody offered a work shop and everybody accepted donations, we realized immediately that if everybody was donations there was no chance of us making the £135 pitch fee back

I asked him why we seemed to be the only people who had been charged the fee. He seemed quite surprised, but was very sweet and said they’d sort it out and get it back to us, we settled for a percentage 15% of what we earned. In the end we gave him 20% it wasn’t much but we were just skimming underneath covering the pitch fees as it was and which we had been living on.Northern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160811_201111

Across at the morning meeting I noticed as I stood there, I felt quite vulnerable, I listened to what was being said. There weren’t many paying people, it seemed as if everybody there were therapists of some sort and everybody was doing a work shop. There were so many on so many different things it was quite astonishing, there was plain old Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Morning Yoga, Slow Yoga, Mindfulness, Find your power animal, Journeying Sessions, Somatics, Chakra Chanting, Honey Drumming, Creative Intents, Homeopathy, Singing, Toning, Head & Neck Massage, Massage, and of course Hypnotherapy, Healing Tarot & Balla card readings and that was just the tip of the ice burg I just cant remember any more

I waited till the very end and quietly announced we were doing Hypnotherapy Healing that Orsi was reading the cards, that we were doing question and answers. 1pm-2pm everyday. There seemed to be a lot of peculiar people offering a lot of other peculiar things. I’m ashamed to say that I had my judgments right then and to be honest, I was in the wrong, but I turned it around. I did catch myself

We met Sonja the yoga lady we’d met at the Willowman festival and had the chance to re-connect with her. We’d got off to an odd start with her there. I went to one of her Yoga classes that morning and really enjoyed it. She’s a down to earth straight talking lady and it may work out that she can come and do the Yoga classes at the Rebellion next year. She had a reading with Orsi who then sent her across for a session with me too. It felt good to sort things out with her. She’s a good one

As the day went on I softened to the gentle loving open influence of the place, it was still blowing a fierce wind across Lincolnshire and the site. People were lovely, all dreads and rags, baggy layers and stitched together tat, and remarkably there were no dogs, apparently they had a no dogs policy there.

Then astonishingly things seemed to change gear, a couple of people very strange women came to the question and answer Hypnotherapy session, a very intense hostile woman asked me if I could do Hypnotherapy on her to heal the rift between her and her son, it seemed obvious to me that it was her son who would benefit from a session. Another lady stayed on afterwards and I stepped up to the line and had a good session with her, from there on in things just got better, I noticed too Orsi began to get very busy. We had changed, we had opened up and we had opened shop; fascinating.

It was such a relief that we had the deposit back, we could then relax and give what we could when we could and that was magic. We love what we are doing and so we accepted £5 for a two-hour session, Orsi got a mango and a bag of cherries and a pear, but we are practicing and we are growing because of it. Word seemed to go out, and people came and we did the work.

The combination of the Healing and Hypnotherapy is really starting to develop, the pain relief is such a remarkable thing to me that the subconscious can and will turn the volume down as I call it, very effectively. There is not much chance of follow up sessions at festivals but we have received quite a few emails about the benefits of the one session, if we are talking about the subconscious, I have thought that everyone and everything knows the clock is ticking there, the opportunity is now, there and then, so lets take it and make it happen.

I have been commenting over these past few weeks about all that stuff about ‘how little we use our brain or the mind, only 10 or is it 15%? The thing that is interesting is that it is always talked about in an abstract way, in the third person, how we don’t use our full potential, and always talked about and imagined positive.

In fact it seems that we use much more of the mind and brain than we give credit for. The suppression of emotions and energies are a real and tangible thing, it takes great effort and just about everybody does it, it seems. Feelings are buried in the body and feelings ARE energies. Buried treasure rotting, causing chaos within and then manifesting physically in the body. It is remarkable how much of our mind we do use, unconsciously and out of controlNorthern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160813_212629

The Saturday night was notably warmer and we really softened and opened, how could we not with who came and what was presented to us, we of course stepped right up, then had a great night just wandering into the different tents and stalls. We went up to the DJ tent and discovered that the electricity there was all powered by the revelers taking it in turns to ride a row of bicycles which generated the power for the whole tent. It was quite remarkable and funny, we had such a great night let ourselves go, dancing around our coats along with everybody else. Great musicNorthern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160813_231505

We wandered through the camp watching odd bands who we had no idea who they were, people were dancing, circles were formed, lights flickered voices legs and arms were raised, the Green Gathering were having a great time, we peered into stalls, browsed and pawed healthy chocolate bars at the Tat for Tibet bus. Processions of amazing luminous creatures passed by. We peered into the ‘we the un-civilized’ tent again and looked in upon the open mic they were doingNorthern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160813_213909

Everybody there seemed to be searching for something, looking for healing in some form or other, and in fact they demonstrated over and over, kindness and gentleness, but not in dumb passive acceptance, they all had something to say at the morning meetings at our dome and around the fire. A guy there had had kept the fire burning and no matter what time we woke up and peered across he was still there, tending to it. There were people around that fire all night long, every night.Northern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160813_214148

On its own it may appear as a scattered dim ember, a fire on a damp English hillside. But, it all fitted together, it was remarkable, I really changed my tone, I felt it and noticing it made me very happy, sweet people. The work that was done too, a lot of free Healings and the more I did the deeper it seemed to go. In that mode and frame of mind I didn’t need to rest, the energy was there, the focus was there and we were right there, we were getting it.

I have been loving the festivals for the fact that we do not know who or what is gojng to turn up., so I am finding I am very alert, heightened, watching intently every move somebody makes when they step into the tent. It’s usually 15 or 20 minutes talking, all senses are alert, watching, listening and feeling and then into a session. It can be remarkable what occurs, listening, and following, instinct heightened, on my toes.

The last day Sunday I was feeling much happier, i had been across for the morning meeting and announcements, not feeling so vulnerable now, the group was much smaller, though every possible minute of the day it seemed was being booked up with workshops but we didn’t get chance to go to any

I’d started playing some of my songs outside the tent that I had remembered “Only Moments Ago” & “The Painted Sea” beautiful songs, I was quite emotional as I realized the mind set I was in when I wrote them. Songs are time capsules, I was just playing them to myself sat on the little stool outside the dome, when some people stopped to listen, so I opened my heart and my throat and sang, really sang, they seemed to blink in astonishment. It meant a lot to me, I love to sing, I miss it.

It seemed to do the trick and all of a sudden I was doing an emergency session with a lovely lady Orsi had done a reading for, followed by another lady who was trying to deal with betrayal. Nothing is as simple and straightforward as it at first seems. The surface signs and dramas, the initial entry into the maze, were almost always the result of a belief that resulted from a suppressed feeling from a time that magically drew the later experiences to the person over layering the original one until it was forgotten and only later remembered.

People did or at the very least, sensed that they could take a different course, and take control again.

The Sunday night we were into the general swing of it though Oris is usually tugging to go back to the van, I resisted, so she went for a walk. I ended up at the fire and added my face to the flickering cozy group.Northern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160813_222455

As I stood there a girl stepped forward and announced that if anybody came across her violin could they return it to her, she described it, it had gone missing from out of her tent. I was mortified for her. I had dropped my guard and presumed we were in a safe sacred space. Dirty rotten scoundrels who ever it was. I struck up a conversation with her. As we talked she told me of an issue she had so we chatted about it, it felt good there, Orsi came back and joined the cozy smoky camp too. People were singing and playing instruments others gossiping chit chating and laughing and others were quiet with glazed fireside eyes. It seemed that anybody who was left that last night seemed to have crowded in, it was lovely. Northern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160814_215151

As it seems is always the way, on the last day people had began to build up courage, a little like me with my songs, there had been quite a few who came up the previous evening and asked us if we were still around on the monday, we of course said yes. So I was up at 7.30 that morning. Across the silent deserted camp site then, even the guys at the now smouldering fire seemed to have run out of steam and were just laid flat out around it, the shower wood burner too was just embers. I got myself a blue bucket of brown luke warm water and poured it slowly over my naked body, it was just the shock of it, I wasn’t sure whether I was any cleaner but I was definitely wide awake.Northern Green Gathering11-14.08.16.jpg20160812_184020

Back at Pearl I just had time to have a few sips of coffee before Rachel from the night before had appeared from across the field, It was such a good session, then afterwards a lady came back for a follow up and after her, her husband. A very good morning

I finished at 12.30pm stepped out into dazzling sunlight, pity that it was the day everyone was leaving. Orsi had done a few readings too and whilst we’d been busy, all around us the camp had noticeably begun dissolving Gaia retreating and the vortex closing up and the usual muted sounds and feelings at the end of a festival

We stripped the dome down as a well oiled and much happier team and eventually found Dave the promoter to pay him. We said our goodbyes, people held us close, it was lovely, we had certainly worked, we’d done well, we have learned and are learning, getting into a stride now, looking forward to the next place, though we had a lot to think over and a lot to think on.

The drive out was pretty painless and we’d decided to head stop off in Cheltenham that night on the way to Salisbury for a job interview and then onto the Beautiful Days festival in Devon. We had been there and knew where the launderette, coffee bar and parking spaces were.Cheltenham15.08.16

We left as different people smelling of smoke smiling lighter brighter a team again.







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