When we dream a vision of something wonderful, like a wedding or a special festival and imagine a picture of what we hope will happen and it does actually happen, we are left with a tingling wonder and awe at having been so blessed! The dream came true! So it was with our Easter gathering at White Feather Ranch, 2017!
We have been working for months building, clearing, cleaning, and preparing for our conference, Keeping the Faith, Easter and the Holy Women, an event which would culminate with the families of those attending coming in on the last night of the conference to stay over and celebrate Easter together.
For many years I have held a dream of a little shrine in our beautiful woods for the Virgin of Guadalupe and St. Francis, close by the stream where people can come for quiet contemplation and renewal in nature. With loving hands the first shrine for the Holy Mother has just been created there.
The hope and dream was to take the children there for an Easter Service. But all the week before, every single day, the forecast was the same. Rain on Easter day. This couldn’t be! Because the dream was that we would pile all the children on our famous old vintage truck (a 1926 Dodge-
Graham so faithfully kept going by Grandpa Gordon) and drive to the front pastures, then gather together to cross the creek and go into the magical woods, singing along
beside the bubbling creek and bearing wild flower gifts for Mother Mary. (We were offering gifts for her because, of course, we all love and celebrate Christmas when we all get presents because it began with the birth of her wonderful baby boy.) Then once we were all in the special woods chapel at the shrine, we would be told an Easter story by the wisest of all Waldorf story tellers, Nancy Mellon. That was the dream. Surely this had to be! But we went to bed the night before Easter still not knowing if it could all happen. Forecast - Rain.
Wondrously, Easter morning dawned almost clear. A small group of us rose before dawn and went to the hill in the front pasture for a sunrise service of verses from the bible story, singing, remembering those on the other side and sharing eurythmy to honor the rising sun. We watched as the Easter sun conquered a dark overlying cloud, and then it was clear and beautiful, even warm. Then it all began to happen. More families came with the children dressed in Easter prince and princess finery and they eagerly piled on the old truck and son Cameron and Grandpa drove them out to the pastures. They piled off and we gathered and crossed the stream and went into the magic woods by the bubbling brook. The children brought their wild flower gifts to Mother Mary and then sat on the rock for the story. And there we were with the legendary Nancy Mellon weaving a tale of death and resurrection, transformation and the great Christ/Sophia healing love without ever once using any of those words! It was a tale that kept everyone spellbound from three-year-olds to the elders.
We all sang a “Hallelujah” echoing into the woods, and then went back along side the brook (“Where the fairies take a bath”, as three- year-old Thisby told us) and rode the old truck back to the barn where some very able teen aged Easter hares had done their part in placing eggs around the Peace Circle. The little ones donned adorable bunny hats went eagerly to hunt for the Easter treasures, for at Christmas ‘gifts’ are given, but at Easter we must go on a quest to find them. The children’s sweet faces and eager joy charmed and warmed all around.
A sumptuous potluck followed and we could all eat outside while the children gleefully mastered the zip line, or played pool and basketball. And then the rain came, light at first and later a serious blessing of rain that has so wonderfully overcome our California drought years for now.
But by then we could come into the big barn to end with a dance, the Virginia Reel called by dear Grandpa Gordon, with Grandma Nancy on the accordion (both of us still in the glow of the joy of our 21st grand child’s birth ( that is 7th great grandchild, Ashton Luca, on the dawn of Good Friday to our oldest grand daughter, Gabrielle and Joe). How we enjoyed that a grand crew of dancers - even seven-year-olds were leading the lines as head couples! Goodbyes and hugs followed with Easter joy and community celebration abounding!
Our serious conference sharing the days before was held with a small dedicated group and went from Holy Thursday and a last supper, deeply honoring the mystery and sacrifice for humanity of the Christ and especially sharing the stories of the women, who are scarcely mentioned in the Biblical accounts. For while the disciples slept at Gethsemane as Christ went through the great agony, the women were awake and praying, and while the disciples fled for fear of their lives and did not witness the crucifixion, the women stood under the cross and witnessed it all..keeping the faith. These stories need to be known so the fullness of all who were present at the First Easter, each and every one in their significant roles in the Greatest Mystery play of all, can renew and inspire us all to more significant and dedicated lives. It is truly a resurrection in our souls when we awaken to the fact that the First Easter was the mightest deed of loving sacrifice ever given in all evolution, for all humanity for all time.