Firefly Gathering is an earth skills gathering that happens every year in the southern Appalachian mountains >> this is the weekend! I want to share my reflections on how I see the Firefly Gathering serving basic needs in our busy modern lives, helping to re-knit the fabric of our human souls, modeling appropriate cultural technologies in the social sphere & why it’s drawing so many of us to it. Essentially, exploring how it’s meeting a larger purpose. I’d love to hear what what you see. Please feel free to share! [Blog by Janell Kapoor. A note on my writing style. It doesn’t follow grammar norms. This is how I like to write, so you can rest assured it’s on purpose.]

Tribe. Upon entering the grounds of Firefly, I notice how I feel held by the connections with so many amazing people who I love, respect & want to play with. Being in a space together where we can drop into an extended weekend is incredibly nourishing for our collective spirit. Especially being away from the distractions of technology, we can come together, celebrate & share our skills & our hearts more fully.

Landscape. The experience of walking the grounds each year. Seeing sky & mountains. All the tents. The peaks & pond & people engaging. In classes & circles scattered about the land. This visual is exhilarating & grounding to the part of me that knows we could be living like this all the more. What is possible in this world is exemplified here. It is simple. It is tribal. It feels safe & right & good. Having the actual landscape to BE in is a gift to us all — bringing it home at such a visceral level.

Ceremony. The maturation within the Firefly community & extended networks in our larger Asheville-area has happened over many years. At a soul~spirit level. At a heart level. At a level we might call ‘tribe’. It is a beautiful thing to be part of. I see this being partly due to the ceremonial spaces that are happening throughout the year, including at Firefly. By bringing this in, we are nurturing the collective psyche. Our interwoven vulnerability & long-term resilience. Our collective altar is built & fed. The beauty of this is that even if we’re not all present in the official ceremonies, the ripple effects are palpable & touch us all.

Crafting. I totally dig the moments when I scan Firefly’s landscape & see folks fully engaged in learning. Sharing skills. Crafting together. With hands~hearts~heads absorbed. The concentration & excitement is uplifting. It’s the kind of thing I wish for our worldwide educational system at large. How different a reality that would be. And here we are. Doing it. It’s very fulfilling to see it in action at a gathering such as this!

Teamwork. It’s an inspiring thing to witness the evolution of the Firefly team. Their culture of cooperation & collaboration. This alone becomes a lesson in community leadership. To the Firefly core: Hurray for doing it so well & pulling off a rockin’ gathering each year! You are modeling this for all of us — Thank you!!

Succession. I deeply admire & aspire to pulling off a project such as Firefly. The way it was born. The ways it has developed & evolved. And now, the founding visionary behind it all is passing off her roles. Replacing herself. Designing for succession. For moving on to whatever is most alive for her now — her next ventures of greatness! This is an important macro level pattern for the success of any venture. I wish Natalie Bogwalker great success as she moves on — being mama of a little one, running her educational programs & whatever else this awesome woman chooses to do with her one wildly abundant life.

Retention. We all love Firefly. At least those of us who return year after year. It’s sweet to have this to look forward to. It’s also a highlight in the earthskills community at large. And many newcomers join each year, too. Thanks for being a gateway, a portal into the modern indigenous paradigm. On this note, I hope to see both old & new faces there!!

Bringing it home. My wish for the Firefly Gathering & all who attend is that the culture that is seeded & modeled each year finds its way back home. Into the nourishing soil & lives of all the people who come. May it grow & spread. Far & wide!

Photo credit: Firefly Gathering

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