…and thus ends the third day in OBOD Camp for Gulf Coast Gathering. And this day was jam packed with things to do, and events – and contains the most bitter-sweet moment for me in camp: goodbyes.
On this day of camp – grade breakouts start the flow of the process. In the grade breakouts, the members of each grade work together to provide a gift for the main ritual – in this case, Alban Eilir. And these gifts provide some of the best fun of camp, with lots of creative work put into the creation of these gifts. For the Ovates, one of the members brought an oil made from the resin of a tree from the University of Nebraska. This was made into a solution that was placed into four decorated bowls which were dolled up to look like nests. The Druids provided a gift of a gift (a re-gift if you will) of a dream-catcher that had been made by the Oklahoma group Circle of the Six-Fold Path and presented to him by two of their members who were in attendance. But the most entertaining gift came from the Bards, which was a story of Spring – narrated line by line from each Bard. At one point, they mentioned the saga of the Screen Door Boar which seems to now be on its way to being some type of legend in camp. It took a touch of restraint on my part not to laugh too loudly. But I heard a lot of comments after the ritual from others about how creative and fun the Bardic gift had been. It truly was.
Shortly after the ritual, several folks went on the nearby Nature Walk. I had less than four hours of sleep last night, and stayed back in camp, where plenty of conversations were to be had. Some deeply intellectual, some deeply personal, and some just downright silly. As I have noted on several occasions, conversations – for me – are some of the most amazing highlights of the entire Gulf Coast Gathering. Many of these are typically had in the down-time regions of the camp schedule.
Eventually, most of the camp feel into the rhythm of an Eisteddfod out by the fire, while a group of us prepared for the initiation of individuals into the Ovate grade. Again, I will not share details of any of the initiations that happen within camp. If you are interested in experiencing an initiation within OBOD, please come on in and join up. We don’t bite. Well, some of us won’t bite you…unless you ask.
After the Ovate grade initiations, everyone gathered up around the same Eisteddfod fire for a talk on divination with Philip Carr-Gomm. Philip is quite the personable individual, and a real joy to listen to when he is talking. Conversations with Philip are some really incredible moments as well. More than one person commented on how down-to-earth he is to talk with. I find Philip to be a true treasure for the Order. His style of communicating with people is so much like talking with your best friend. I know that I will treasure the time I have had in camp listening to him.
Shortly after Philip’s talk wound down, the time of saying goodbyes had arrived. I don’t normally stay the last day, which holds the closing ceremony. This year is no exception. With a nine-hour drive tomorrow, it was definitely time to head back to the hotel, write this blog, and go to bed. I walked around camp, hugging folks and saying my goodbyes. but these are not truly goodbyes – for we still have the internet to connect us together. And having made some new friends with new folks in camp – I look forward to “talking” with folks a bit more via this wonderful communications medium that we have.
Prior to getting out of camp, I managed to talk a bit with folks about Kristoffer Hughes’ concept of the Pagan Square Mile, as well as his point on the Druid Transmitted Infection (DTI) concerning the usage of our own personal Awen to inspire not only others, but ourselves. I will use bits and pieces of those conversations for a not-so-far in the future blog post because I believe its a topic worth revisiting, especially in the times we find ourselves in today.
I will be up and packing the truck shortly after this post is scheduled to be published. But for all of us in camp, I ask that the Gods and Goddesses look out for all of us on our travels back to our respective homes. And that the feeling of belonging, togetherness, family and friendship that we embraced within camp for these few precious days, follows us home as well. So that we can find our joy, and infect the rest of the world with our Awen – our own DTI. I am humbled to have spent time with each and every one of you, and while I may not have had the chance to speak with all of you during camp this year – I hope we find the time to do so at Gulf Coast Gathering 2019.
And one final thought – OBOD Camp as an experience is what you make of it. Everything I have posted thus far, has been about what I have experienced. So your mileage may vary, but you will never truly know what an experience OBOD camp really is unless you decide to come to one. Just sayin’….