Festival of Fire was a Mind, Body & Spirit event that took place this weekend at the sumptuously appointed Conference Centre at the University of Nottingham. This was a brilliant venue with lots of space for the organisers’ ambitious programme of talks, entertainment and a large exhibition hall for the 50 or so stalls in attendance.
This was the second of these fairs that Sue and I had attended, so we are still a long way from having any kind of baseline to compare this event to others. However, we did have a very different perspective on the event to our experience of the Mansfield fair a few weeks ago because, on the Sunday, Sue was helping our good friend Kathy on her stall. Kathy, or Katherine when she is at work as a therapist under the Ray of Light banner, had invited Sue to come along to stand in for husband Phil who was on the radio airwaves this morning at Ashbourne Radio.
My own minimal involvement in the event was to wander around the event with and without Sue and to hang around Kathy’s stall a lot chatting, drinking coffee and eating Sue’s sandwiches.
Just like I did at the Mansfield event, I was struck by the calm serenity that so many of the people attending, both stallholders and customers seem to give out. However, as (very) honorary stallholders, we seemed to be treated slightly differently by many of the other, far more knowledgeable and experienced stallholders. As I walked around, many of them seem to start with an assumption that I was some kind of expert. I took pains to make sure that they knew that I was a very green newbie and without exception, people would explain things to me. I only wish I could remember everything I had been told.
However, I am rushing ahead of myself a little. On the Saturday we arrived just before the doors opened and had to wait just a couple of minutes to pay our entrance fee and get into the centre. Our first tour of the stalls showed the variety of therapies, crystals, books, jewellery and other objects that were available. We quickly located the Ray Of Light stall and met Phil and Kathy.
Sue’s first priority was to avail herself of Kathy’s professional services and to have an Indian Head massage.
Once she was suitable relaxed, we went to the massive auditorium to see Black Feather, an amazing man who I can only describe as a musician, poet and storyteller. I can’t find anything about him on the web, so my impressions will have to try to do justice to an amazing hour that we spent in his company. First of all there were no more than a dozen of us in a theatre space that would probably hold several hundred. Black Feather started his performance by saying that he wanted us to consider that we were with him in his home. This immediately made the vast space feel far more intimate. During the hour, he also asked the audience to say words or phrases that they felt. at first, I could not do this, but as I relaxed and the he wove the atmosphere around us, I joined in.
Black Feather then started to play a wooden xylophone, and his vocals were a mixture of English songs and chants that could have been in an African language, or could simply have been non-verbal vocal improvisation. Black Feather is also an accomplished flute player and a magical and engaging storyteller.
I would love to remember the two stories that he told us and write them exactly as he told them to us, but I could never do him justice. What I will say is that if you ever have the opportunity to experience Black Feather yourself, I am sure that it will be as a great experience as I had this weekend.
If this had been the only highlight of the weekend, I consider that it would have been a good one. However, things just got better and better. I am convinced that the power of the universe, or whatever is out there, was at work on me.
On Saturday we also went to a talk by Adele Womersley of Art ‘n’ Sound about Sound Therapy. This was a potentially life-changing experience for me. Adele was clearly quite nervous at giving her first such talk and my own inexperience at this kind of event gave me some kind of connection with her straight away. But when she introduced her subject and then let us play with her singing bowls, chimes, drum and other instruments, I felt that I had discovered a whole new world. I understand sound and how it is made and travels. Adele made the connection for me between the science of sound, my own use of sound in entertainment and communication and its potential for healing and for working on a spiritual plane.
Sue and I were both so taken with Adele and with this whole area that we really want to explore that our Christmas present is sat here at home; two singing bowls. I am also hoping to be able to work with Adele to create a website for her music and artwork.
I am going to write more about these singing bowls in the near future, and I intend to learn as much as I can about Sound Therapy.
Even after this, the weekend had more to offer us.
We were walking round the exhibition hall when I stopped dead at a stall that had a display of the most beautiful angels. Now I am not one to be attracted to a doll, but I felt that one of these angels actually spoke to me as I passed. I stopped and had the strongest possible feeling that I was supposed to have this angel, named “Cassiel”. Most of the angels were pale colours, many of them white, but Cassiel has more earthy colours and just stood out for me.
Amazingly, on the Sunday, Sue was called by another Angel from the same stall, Gabriel.
Both of these angels were made by Sharon Dewick of “Angel Wings” and they, and her other creations can be seen on www.naturesworkshop.co.uk.