A Fractaled Forest Festival: Enchanted Forest 2013
02 Aug 2013

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i-wS8jkq2-X2Road trips are great. Allowing my imagination to run wild with the anticipation of the upcoming destination makes for quite the entertaining drive, especially with 1000 watts of sound to keep me company. Enchanted Forest, a three-day conscious festival in the Redwoods of Mendocino? Yes, please. Although a hefty journey for someone like myself living in Los Angeles, the drive up the California coast includes stops in San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, Oakland and San Francisco, where my tribe of Jedi’s, hustlers, spiritual gangsters, fairy goddesses, and everyone in between reside. What a fantastic place to live! We’re all living in Cali-for-nia, however it’s a different world once you get up North. I liken myself to a battery that gets hooked up to a universal energetic charger once I get into the Bay. There’s just something special about the energy up there that makes me feel recharged when I head back down to LA. Anyway, this isn’t about charging energetic batteries; this is about the experience of Enchanted Forest.

i-XpMxBZ5-XLIt’s funny how your thoughts, views, and focus change as you grow and become more accustomed to the festival culture. I know all of us at one time were the super excited spaz that wanted to be at the box office BEFORE it opened to make sure you were the first one inside, got first dibs at a camp spot, etc etc. I like to think I’m a little bit more laid back these days after earning a few stars and stripes, however I found myself feeling this slight apprehension at running late and arriving *gasp* a few hours after the box office had opened. Once I arrive with my crew, it was scorching hot, and there were close to 100 people standing around unloading their gear into huge piles; we were apparently not anywhere near the festival. “Shuttles? Aw man, I hate this *%$#” Apparently I’m not as zen as I’d like to think I am if I’m already complaining before getting out of the car. However, a quick reminder to enjoy the now, and I look around and start enjoying the company of all these amazing super humans that have begun to assemble, all sharing the exact same experience of hot Mendocino sun… together! Yay!  A short wait and a few conversations later, two school buses each paired with an equipment truck loaded up nearly everyone waiting around with surprising efficiency. At one point we drove by a group of kids on the side of the road staring at us as we cruised by, I’m sure they were wondering what school this ragtag bunch of merry pranksters was from and where they were going!  

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Thankfully, the ride was quite short, and quickly forgotten the moment I stepped off into the festival grounds. Massive, ancient redwoods shot up into the sky, protecting us from the harsh, unrelenting sun. The trees provided a safe haven for all participants, with an unlimited amount of space for EVERYONE to find their perfect campsite. There was no shortage of shade, comfortable flat ground, and cooling plant life to surround and embrace us all. What a beautiful location, I thought, bringing me back to memories of Symbiosis 2009 in Yosemite.  Environment is one of the most important contributions to a positive experience at an event, and this was definitely upper echelon. Mad respect to the organizers for locking this location down.

Unfortunately, sometimes having a beautiful amazing location leads to sacrifices in other areas. Although the sound system was straight THUMPING, this was another festival that was a casualty of the more and more common sound ordinances that restrict sound levels after a certain hour. Despite this amazing stage production, it was underutilized 50% of the entire festival time by being at low volume or not even used from the hours of 2am until whenever the music would start the next day, usually not until 3pm. In my past experience, festivals that did have sound restrictions were able to more successfully lessen the effects of restricted sound by perhaps shutting the stage down until early morning, but then to have a full volume incredible sunrise set at 6 am as soon as the sound ordinance was lifted. Although the exact details of Mendocino County’s and Philo’s sound restrictions weren’t available, I found the hours between 2:30am and 7am seriously underwhelming. I can only imagine how all the producers and DJs felt having to play on this brilliantly designed stage at half power.

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Despite my gripes with the sound restricted stage, the musical talent at Enchanted Forest was terrific. The lineup was filled with a veritable list of West Coast bass magicians, as well as a sprinkling of producers from overseas. From the Oriental-infused, organic whomps of Kaminanda, to the bass-heavy, trapped out MiKHAL, the musical offerings were varied enough to enjoy a mix of styles based on your time preference to join the dance floor. Saturday night’s Nominus set was one of my weekend highlights, as Tipper’s protégé deftly showed us his own unique talent, while equally paying homage to his teacher through well-placed remixes of his teacher’s work. He brings something that is uniquely his own, however the influence that Tipper has had on his music is unmistakable. The moment of the weekend however was definitely Sunday’s White Bear set. After a dreamily slow Liberation Movement performance, White Bear brought the energy level up with his Australian, Goa-influenced tribal sound. Numerous other festival goers I spoke to agreed that White Bear’s performance topped the list. For one of the few moments of the festival I was truly blown away from start to finish by this fresh new psychedelic bass, that definitely had hints and signs of that Kalya Scintilla sound which we all love, yet unique and individual in its own right as well. I believe Australia’s bass music scene is great for the collective Bass culture as I see that organic, tribal whomp is influencing our own tribes out here on the West Coast. White Bear killed it, best show of the weekend, no question.

i-DZ9Fjdr-XLVisually, the stage was impressive and invoked a powerful sense of magical, wondrous awe. The DJ booth was nestled up in between two massive redwoods over a magical, crystalline charged altar, adorned with sacred objects and relics, and even a pond with a waterfall. What an incredible vision by the stage producers to seamlessly blend the elements of nature with the functional necessities of a full-blown festival stage.

I found myself experiencing a sincere feeling of intimacy at Enchanted Forest through the multi-faceted dimensions of the festival space. There really was an intentionally fostered sense of connectedness all throughout the festival grounds. This connectedness pervaded to me in three areas particularly: the art, the dance floor, and the yoga/healing space, aptly named the “Temple of Squish”. Feeling this sense of intimacy and connectedness was a welcome feeling, as technological developments have lessened the frequency of person-to-person connectivity through touch, spoken word, and eye contact. Enchanted Forest excelled at bringing people back to their roots, together.

i-M8PNgPJ-XLThis interconnectedness was universally expressed in the artwork on display. The art surrounding the dance floor was like a fuzzy, warm coat gently embracing everyone together inside of artistic creation. Themes of sacred geometry completely pervaded the works of art, continuing this sense of connectedness. According to Drunvalo Melchizedek in his The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life, “The Fruit of Life is said to be the blueprint of the universe, containing the basis for the design of every atom, molecular structure, life form, and everything in existence.” This blueprint connects us all and is seen through the cosmic and perfect design of everything: plants, animals, rocks, crystals, water, and even us. My first exposure to sacred geometry years ago was one of not much importance. I remember originally thinking to myself about the flower of life, “Oh yeah, that’s a cool pattern, I like it,” and not much else beyond that. However, over time through continuous and repeated exposure to these symbols, patterns, and designs, I have begun to understand sacred geometry experientially. It is something that I have seen, it is something that I have felt, it is something that I have known, and it is something that I continue to remember and understand on a continuously deeper level. I now see and feel the geometry within the movements of the human body on the dance floor and on the yoga mat. The human body is truly miraculous in its perfection. All the joints and limbs of the human body create a grid that allows for the seamless connectivity with the self and others like puzzle pieces perfectly interlocking. On the yoga mat, the knowledge and knowing of this geometry allows for the full expression of poses, allowing our body to reach its fullest and highest potential. Yoga and dance are forms of expression, an expression of the universe’s perfect art on display for us all to manipulate and mold in our own unique vision. This transition of connectedness from the canvas to the dance floor was a beautiful experience to become aware of, and it just got deeper and deeper the more I explored it.

i-9MrCWdc-XLThe dance floor at Enchanted Forest was a truly unique and hyper-activated tenth dimensional dance space. Immediately I could see the influence of “contact dance” also known as “contact improvisation” within this space. This style of dancing usually centers around the use of physical points of contact between partners to create a boundary in which exploration of movement, weight, force, and momentum can be experimented with and manipulated in unlimited dimensions of creativity. Even though I consider myself a dancer, I found my own ego creeping in and intimidating my own exploration of this dance space with all these amazing and “professional” (as I heard another participant say), dancers. However, breaking out of my ego-shell I visited an introductory contact dance class led by an amazing and inspiring group of individuals, Alyssa, Mylo, and Ayala. After exploring some of the concepts of contact dancing, I began to feel that this dance style truly fosters a sense of connectedness between individuals, breaking free from an individual sense of movement, to one that encourages a true flow and attunement between partners. Seeing the dance floor collapse, expand, and merge into and on itself with any range of partner combinations was quite entertaining. Two dancers, three dancers, five dancers, ten dancers!?! While I do know that there is sometimes a sense of distaste by some about contact dancers and all their flailing about, those with skill, precision, and elegance are truly an impressive sight to witness. It was apparent that those who were in fullest command of their body and space had a deep understanding of the geometry of the human body. The human body’s design is such that we can move ourselves in these two ways: straight and curved, both of which are the base of shape and movement, and also the form and basis of the Flower of Life and Metatron’s Cube within it.

i-g6DGm8w-XLEnchanted Forest’s “Temple of Squish,” was a veritable playground of the body, allowing all to explore and heal the body through an expansive selection of modalities. Yoga classes, acro yoga, massage, sound healing therapy, even multiple sets of buffers and massage toys were available for everyone. This space brought people back together, providing sanctuary to heal and play with the body in a more intimate setting. The acroyoga class I attended further extended my growing understanding of geometry within the body and how it links us all. I began to see this progression of dance, movement and yoga from more of a singular experience to a group/partner experience. One human body is capable of only so much, however two bodies together can create so much more. Exploring and pushing the boundaries of strength, tension, weight, inertia, momentum through a pair of bodies allows an even deeper understanding of the self, as well as the connectedness between the energetics that link us all.

i-RpBj5dG-XLBeyond just the physical exploration of the body, I experienced a form of sound healing in which I laid down on a specially designed table that had multiple speakers within the table itself. These speakers played different tones and vibrated in frequencies that were specially designed for bones and muscles in the lower half of the body. This was a unique experience that helped my progression of healing injuries from my past, opening up and letting go of stagnant and stuck energy. The Globe Sound Healing Institute, are cultivating and raising awareness for these sound based modalities that can help and influence a range of conditions. I found this experience to be extremely enlightening, as I never really imagined or understood that sound could help heal on a physical level. While always aware of the power of sound in an emotional or psychic space, physical healing through sound was a completely new experience!

Looking back on the weekend I found it to be much more of a reflective experience than I had ever imagined- a byproduct of my changing views and focus at these festivals as I grow. What used to be a weekend of partying has now turned into weekend of self-development and reflective introspection, finding my place in the world, and the understanding and exploring of the deeper meaning of what we see and experience on the surface. Enchanted Forest fostered an intimate space, allowing for any range of experiences to be had by its participants. They encouraged personal contact and connection throughout, which was quite enjoyable and appreciated in a time that festivals are getting bigger and bigger, sometimes losing that feeling of intimacy and family tribe that I think we all could use a little more of.538449_10150839282552938_1319758569_n

857707_10200710388942077_1545070824_o<<This heady article was written by our homie, Arjuna Wedman!

And pictures captured by our other homie, Teddy Anderson! >>

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