This past week I had the great fortune to attend the second annual Gulf Coast Gathering of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids down in Louisiana.
At this point I’m not sure what to say about it other than I had an amazing time. The Gulf Coast Gathering (GCG) is such an amazing time with some really cool people that shortly become friends and family. There’s a level of connection that comes with such a gathering, and OBODies are really some of the coolest people I’ve known.
Our days were filled with scheduled workshops and talks and panel discussions and rituals, as well as the more naturey bits like visiting the Seven Sister Oak, a 1500 year old live oak, and a nature walk through the wilderness of Louisiana. But the best parts come in between those scheduled events, in my opinion, and some of my favorite memories come from impromptu, unplanned things (like when the kids virtually cornered me and begged me to play my song Badger in the Bag).
When there’s down time you’ll find people sitting around each other deep in discussion, and this is where the magic happens. You get to know these strangers that have come from across the United States—and beyond—to fellowship with their fellow Bards, Ovates, and Druids. Like I said before, they become family, and it’s always really hard to say goodbye when the weekend comes to an end.
But I always leave with a renewed sense of inspiration. When I left last year’s GCG I bubbled with the Awen as I prepared my first album Four Branches, and when I left last years East Coast Gathering in September, I sat down and started working on my upcoming album The Hour Before the Dawn (which comes out in less than two weeks!).
So coming back from this years GCG I’m once again bubbling with a cauldron full of Awen, and I almost don’t know what to do with it. But I said almost. I know what I’m going to do with it, and what I’m already doing with it, but I’ll wait a bit later this year to tell you! (spoilers!)
But leaving GCG I also learned a lot about myself, thanks to the inspiration, motivation, and words of wisdom of some of my closest GCG family. It’s hard to transition back into the “mundane” world, but sometimes you can take a step back and realize that you’re not stuck in a mundane world: the “magical” and “mundane” are one in the same. It’s your perspective that makes it so, much like the Buddhist idea of samsara and nirvana. They’re the same, it’s just how you view them that makes them what they are.
So no, I’m not plunging back into the beige meh of mundanity. I’m stepping into a world full of lessons and teachers, of insights and inspirations. Sometimes they might look like hardships and things you’d rather not deal with, but really in the end they’re the flames that temper your “soul,” whatever that might mean to you.
For now, I’ll pick up my guitar and see where it takes me. As always I’m really excited with what I have on my plate Awen-wise, and I won’t let the everyday world discourage me.