| Tory Pittarelli
By Mackenzie Page
Photography by Tory Pittarelli
A lot of you have been curious about Festival of the Muses and I am so grateful to the Mischief Collective for hosting this ‘Blog-Takeover’ so I can tell you a bit about it. My name is Mackenzie Page. I am a musician, painter, poet, and lover of all things creative. If you do know of me, it is most likely from the band Gipsy Moon.
I am also, gratefully, a co-host of the first annual goddess gathering called Festival of the Muses. This September 15th - 17th at Joyful Journey Hot Springs in Moffat CO, we will come together to honor and celebrate all things Woman. And yes, men you are invited too.
At Festival of the Muses we’ll create a space of healing, connection, and appreciation. We’ll soak in mineral hot springs straight from the earth, sleep under the stars, learn new skills like herb-tincture making, ancient bead stitching, and book binding. We will share meals (breakfast and dinner for both days are included in the ticket price), wisdom and songs, while healing the body, mind and soul. Above all we will invite the creative muse to shine within us as we dance amongst the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. Pinch me, because I still can’t believe it’s happening.
All summer I hop from festival to festival, from show to show with my band whom, if you don’t know, are all men. After six hours in a van with five men I am a moth to a flame when it comes to finding feminine friends on the road.
I see old friends, and make new ones. We hug, reminiscing about the last show or festival we saw each other at. We compliment each other on a song or a photo seen on Facebook. We hug again and swear this time we will keep in touch, check our phones to make sure we have the right number, text to make extra sure, then we part ways, lamenting our "love you's" into a starry, music filled night.
During the more difficult days sitting in the van, moving from one venue to another, I dream of a gathering of women: a place to recharge creative batteries, to gain inspiration and to deepen friendships that are just budding, a place where connections could be made and we would all cherish and experience each other's creative gifts. There is nothing like a woman’s comfort when you are needing inspiration or a bit of up-lifting. You know, like our mothers do for us.
I also realized that I have this uncommon access to Wise Women here in Eldora CO, my home. There’s a group here called the Five Weird Sisters. They are a coven of sorts and they host the Nederland Witches Ball every Halloween or Samhain. They have experienced life's road bumps and have gained a wealth of knowledge in doing so, just itching to share with a younger generation. Sometimes they let me join in their ceremonies and rituals. They call me their "Little Sister”.
Youth is so often glamorized in main stream culture. It terrifies younger women to get older and it beats down women who are. There are anti-aging creams, gray hair removal kits, and just about anything you can think of to erase the physical signs of time. The idea of honoring our elders includes a nursing home, Hallmark cards and phone calls, and this only with those whom we share blood. I discovered that this kind of gathering could connect these two loose ends of youth and wisdom within a small community. We could honor women in the arts and music, inspire each other, and teach one another skills our grandmothers used to know.
The skill-share workshops offered throughout the weekend are the most exciting aspect of this event. Recently we posted an application for workshop hosts and received an overwhelming response. We are in the process of announcing them now. One workshop I’m particularly excited about is the art of Bookbinding, where we will learn the proper and ancient stitch of binding a leather journal. Participants will go home with a journal too and the knowledge of how to make another.
Mr. Greg Foley will be teaching us the magic of brewing with a Komboucha mother. Men are more than invited to the gathering. It is a great opportunity to connect with the feminine in all things, because feminine energy isn’t limited to sexual orientation or biology. It is a part of our daily lives and our stories.
I was in Portland, Oregon the day of the women’s march last January, and it was a wonder to behold. The sheer amount of men, women, and children coming together was astounding. Continuing this energy is necessary, and it’s important to not get overwhelmed by the mountain of change we need to climb in this world. For myself I figured, hey, if this gathering can inspire even one person to be more creatively open; if they can gain support and inspiration, then it will all be worth it.
More than anything I’ve done in my life Festival of the Muses has been strangely effortless. I've had to wrangle songs, work though relationships, and dig though personal growth, but this gathering has been present, essentially telling us what it wants next. This is the first year, and I don’t know what to expect in the end, like all creative endeavors it's a risk, but what I do know is that when people gather, magic happens.
For more info and to purchase tickets, visit the festival website