"Let's Get (Meta)Physical"
The Free Spirit Gathering's ninth annual Sacred Sexuality Beltane festival starts today (April 27, 2006) at Ramblewood in Maryland. It got quite a writeup in Philadelphia's widely read alternative weekly the City Paper, which came out today. The story is an attention-holder:
The gathering, which runs today through Sunday, draws dyads, triads, quads, groups and singles from as far as Hawaii and Canada to a 200-acre retreat near Havre de Grace, Md., 90 minutes south of Philadelphia. . . .
What started eight years ago as a family-friendly Pagan fest with flower garlands and naked hippies dancing around the maypole has evolved into a pansexual, clothing-optional retreat offering workshops and lectures - at least half of which are Pantheist-oriented and taught by instructors with names like Puck, Freeheart and Wilddragon.
The teachings cover a wide range of topics, including spiritual S&M, Chakra orgasm, advanced spanking, tarot reading, foreskin restoration (aka Take Back the Turtleneck!), sacred prostitution (aka hooking for the good of the Temple), Taoist handjobs, and the always popular Tantra.
For the socially conscious, there are classes on overcoming homophobia and other "sex-negative demons"; for the anal-retentive, there's "Exploring the Rosebud and Pelvic Cradle," a two-part series on tailbone adjustment and starfish massage. The lick-a-witch workshop explores the wondrous vulva, and a women-only circle of love is being co-priestessed by two bisexual Wiccan feminists.
The story gets the polyamory part right:
Polys don't nurture bullshit notions of needle-in-a-haystack soulmates or happily-ever-after serial monogamy. They thumb their noses at Hollywood romantics who believe love is a Klimt painting, and point to high divorce rates and rampant infidelity when accused of corrupting family values.
Never to be confused with swinging (all about the booty) or polygamy (all about the wifeys serving the man Big Love-style), multimaters like [organizer George] Marvil base their relationships on honesty, equality and respect.
Read the whole story.
Followup: At the time I wondered: would this be too much publicity? Would a mass-market writeup like that bring every sketchy creepolo in Philly to the registration gate? No, as it turned out. One long-time attendee responded, "Beltane was a success and seems to get better every year."