BRADLEY, CA -- Lightning in a Bottle Festival sure has a killer musical lineup, but the headliners are only one small part of the multifaceted event happening May 25-30, 2016. The Village is a central spot of the grand event where some of the most powerful and awe-inspiring ideas diverge.
Launched in 2013, the Village has grown exponentially every year, and hosted some of the most noteable speakers from around the world! It is truly a gift that many of these honorable thinkers, activists and experts are included in our ticket price. In my personal experience, the speakers last year completely made my weekend, while my friends partied back at camp.
So which talks should we discover? They are all influential, but I've highlighted the best talks from four important subjects, so you can choose what interests you most: Community, Self Growth, Alternative Medicine, and Environment.
Damanhur: The Magic and Power of Community
Hosted by Esperide Ananas
Esperide Ananas hosts this talk and is an Ambassador for Damanhur, a spiritual community in Italy. I had never heard of Damanhur, so I did some research and found that it is a multilingual community nestled in the foothills of Italy that has its own Constitution, culture, schools and currency, among other unique practices.
I don't want to give too much away, but Damanhur is truly magical in the way it was founded on values like sharing, and respect for the environment, among others. It even won awards from the United Nations for its sustainable eco-community, and is studied around the world for its harmonious ways of living.
Esperide will discuss more about her role, and how these communities can flourish. We can remember that our community is not only the places we live or work or go to school, but also consists of our subculture groups like the Lightning in a Bottle community, or your festival family. I have a feeling that more communities like Damanhur will be popping up around the world during our lifetime, so if you are interested in this general topic then check out this talk.
The Serpent Path
Hosted by Isis Indriya and Eve Ladyapples
Glancing at the title of this workshop and the names of each speaker, we recognize a mythological theme. The Genesis tale of "Adam and Eve" comes to mind with reference to the "serpent" and "Eve Ladyapples," while the name Isis reminds us of the ancient Egyptian goddess, the feminine archetype for creation.
While my observation of these ancient allegories is a personal one, the talk will touch on how self-realization is a key to evolution as a culture. Both hosts will guide the audience through "the serpent path", a journey of personal and collective transformation up the Tree of Life. They will also perform a new original work with their ritual theater ensemble Ashes and Seeds.
Although the ritual workshop sounds like nothing I've experienced ever before, the backgrounds and work of each host are intriguing, so I'm excited to embark on the healing path they will expose to us!
Ancient Medicine Ways on a Modern Path
Hosted by Kuauhtli Vasquez
Out of all the incredible speakers and contributors that Lightning in a Bottle hosts, the festival uses the word "honored" to describe their affinity towards this host. That's because Kuauhtli Vasquez is a Mexihcah medicine man and 20-year Sun Dancer. He will host the festival sunset ceremony nightly at 7:30pm in the Village, and will also speak about his lifetime work as a "peyote road man" and spiritual guide.
I think the important phrase in this talk title is "on a Modern Path". How can these ancient ways of medicine apply to our lives today? Furthermore, what can we learn from a leader who has been spreading this knowledge for a lifetime? Although his expertise is in medicine, we can guess there will be much more valuable wisdom shared from all walks of life.
Planet Experts Panel
Leila Salazar-Lopez, Marcus Eriksen, Anna Cummins, Heather Rally, Erica Wohldmann
This panel is hosted by the Planet Experts, a community of "global change makers" who are raising awareness through stories, information, and resources from environmental wizards all over the world. These blue planet connoisseurs call on leading scientists, advocates, innovators, visionaries and journalists to bring these threatening environmental issues to light, exposing the reality of our world. Even more importantly, they raise solutions to these issues, sharing a positive goal to reach radical sustainability.
Though many of us in the Lightning community are aware of the major threats affecting our eco- system, the panel that includes 5 experts as well as individual presentations should surely show us all sides of the spectrum, with back-and-forth observations and newfound insight that us festival attendees can relate to. After all, Lightning is commended as the greenest festival in the country, winning the "Greener Festival" award five years in a row.
Not only are there dozens more talks happening at the Village, but there is an expansive list of activities happening all weekend! Learn useful skills at the Permaculture Action Hub or Ancestral Arts Arbor. Understand sacred teachings at the Casa Sagrada. Gain wisdom at the Essential Oils Learning Lab and Witch's Hut. Find sanctuary at The Haven. Honor the Sunset Fire Ceremony every night. Taste farm-to-festival theatrical dining at The Last Supper Club. Watch worldly presenters at the Community Lodge.
Last of all, try not to be overwhelmed by the plethora of activities and offerings. Whatever you end up doing, just remember - you are always in the right place at the right time.
Sincerely written by...