An Enchanted Tradition: Using Art to Learn More About Each Other
At Enchanted Forest, we have a longstanding tradition of featuring some of our favorite visual artists in a collaborative live painting project. Two teams work tirelessly on giant collaborative canvases over the course of the weekend. Starting from a totally blank slate, these pieces evolve and change over as each artist adds their own personal touch to the mix. These murals are a way for festival attendees a view Enchanted Forest through artistic lens of Divine Feminine and Sacred Masculine so that they can channel both and learn that both are made stronger when in harmony with the other. Even if you are not a visual artist, watching live painting in action shows a lot about the creative process, the collaboration, the struggle, the joy, the flow, and how much time it takes to create a masterpiece.
In our daily lives we are surrounded by a world that supports dominance and toughness as male attributes. At Enchanted Forest, we choose to celebrate some other qualities. For starters, we believe that embracing masculinity means showing kindness even when others find it difficult. As such, we call on men to be courteous and vulnerable first. To us, the sacred masculine represents Man in spiritually distilled form, free of the petty competitions and posturing imposed on him by culture. This may be an idealized version of man but to us it signifies an emancipation from the outdated archetypes and a newfound creative freedom that can help us become better people. In fact, Enchanted Forest’s alcohol-free environment is a nod to this potential because alcohol dulls the senses and better conversations (and connections) are made with fresh faces. In other words, this atmosphere also reduces the warrior persona that emerges when men drink together. It allows for a deeper meditation and more meaningful peace through a harmony between both mind and body.
Representing the Sacred Masculine, The Union Artist Collective consists of Derek Heinemann, Jonathan Solter, Seth McMahon, Randal Roberts, Dela. Enchanted Forest was the first place that all of these artists collaborated together in 2013.
If childbearing and nurturing hearts weren’t enough, women are overcoming a lot of struggles in our culture. As a way of bringing awareness to those struggles that hurt our community the most (like unequal censorship and lack of sex education, for instance) we at Enchanted Forest hope to leverage the power of our community to elevate the consciousness about these issues. Ultimately, we hope to contribute to the momentum others have started towards a modern way of thinking about gender in our culture.
To do this we have several ways for women (or anyone) to learn or get involved. Whether joining the #freethenipple campaign or checking out to the Yoni Egg workshop is more your speed one of the big differences about Enchanted Forest is that we really do want to help people reconnect with nature and eachother. As such, part of our mission is to cultivate learning through the shared experiences we have at Black Oak Ranch. So of course, when we celebrate the Divine Feminine we are acknowledging there is a lot to learn, a lot to accomplish and with a little respect we may even find there is a lot of potential between us.
While Gender issues heat up in the country we believe that others will also answer the call to encourage learning about and between genders. Looking to the future, I can’t help but wonder if as we learn more about the differences between gender states of mind whether the Enchanted Forest Mural tradition will need to be expanded with a third mural to represent people of transgender. For now we’re offering workshops on The Hero’s Journey: Sperm to Ovum in which a single sperm recounts his adventures en route to conception and Other Genders Circle: A Safe Space for Exploring Gender Identity Outside the Masculine-Feminine Binary.
While many of us are drawn to a festival by it’s musical lineup, one of my favorite parts of the transformational festival scene is the embrace of all forms of artistic expression. From fire spinning and dancing, to painting, rock stacking, sculpture, singing… Our culture is immersed in forms of radical self expression. Take a minute to appreciate the visual art on your visit. These artists are inspired by spiritual connection, society’s struggles, and dreams that are all conveyed in this single tradition of Divine Feminine and Sacred Masculine Murals. When you’re passing by them stop to talk with the artists about what they represent to the community and I’ll bet you too will feel a bit of the hope we find for the future when we take the time to learn from eachother.
Featured Image Credit: Karl Baba