Turning the Tide 2014 was our 8th annual Yuletide celebration! It truly is wonderful that we continue to be able to host the Witches and Pagans of Florida year after year. We spent another amazing weekend in the woods, surrounded by nature and each other.
Our weekend opened with a wonderful ritual that let each participant lend their energy to setting up our sacred space. With our energies combined, and with the steady beat of our Roots of Magic drummers to assist us, the boundaries were set for a magickal weekend of connections, community, and fun. The land always welcomes us with open arms and awakens immediately to our presence.
The Great Hall was once more a hub of activity – from Registration to Meals to Workshops – and was festively decorated by EMLC’s own Sacred Forest coven. Adding to the decorations were entries for our annual Wreath contest. And overflowing in the corner was a physical representation of the generosity of our attendees, as they left their donations of toiletries and toys for the YWCA Harmony House!
After Opening Ritual, many witches gathered for a midnight rite to Hekate. Offerings of food, flowers, and energy were left for this Threshold Goddess who was to be a big part of our celebration.
Saturday kicked off with Yoga, as normal. After community breakfast, the workshops commenced. There was something for everyone! From Astrology to Teas, Drumming to Ritual Etiquette, our workshops were as varied as our attendees. Apprentice Seers from the House of Brigh returned once more to lead a Faery Breathworking down by the river. And devotees of Hekate led a wonderful discussion about their Goddess in preparation of the Main Ritual.
When our attendees were not enjoying meals together or participating in workshops, there was still much to do at Turning the Tide! Making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and just enjoying the space in a relaxed way made for an enjoyable weekend.
Once more we were blessed to have our EMLC singers lead us in fun Yuletide carols. This led the way into our Ritual Feast, consisting of delicious foods contributed by all those who attended Turning the Tide. After feast we processed to our Ritual Fire Circle for Main ritual.
How to describe Main Ritual — it was quite intense! Members of the Temple of the Crossroads drew forth Hekate. She spoke through three High Priestesses, blessing the attendees and relaying messages to them. Being present as the Priestesses joined arms and spoke in sacred space left everyone with goosebumps. The energy was palpable!
Saturday closed with more drumming and dancing by the fire. Some folks wandered off to enjoy each other’s company. Rousing card games and sharing of sacred drink accompanied much merriment!
When the sun came up on Sunday, it was time to pack up and leave the campgrounds better than how we found them. But before we could leave, there was still much to do! Lady Bridget brought back an old favorite – Battle of the Witches! This Family Feud-style game surveyed 100 pagans and ranked their answers. Our competitors had to match the best answers to win.
We then awarded the prizes from annual drawing, as well as counted the votes in our Wreath contest. Lucky folks went home with handmade athames and wands, soaps, Florida Water, and, of course, the Wreaths!
It was bittersweet to say goodbye on Sunday. Closing ritual reminded us all that the spirit and energy of the weekend travels with us through the coming year. When the final lock was turned and the place put to bed, it was definitely with the feeling that we would all be back soon, rekindling our connection with the land and celebrating another Turning of the Tide.