For three days at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina at Camp Grier there was a synthesis of souls looking for a return to innocence. There is much that takes away from the innocence we all had as children and the often-traumatic marks they leave on our psyches can subvert our capacity for flowering into a thousand-petaled lotus of enlightened consciousness or even to just live a live free from anxiety and depression. We hide who we truly are and inhibit our luster. Getting to the core of the issues that afflict us starts with a return to that point in our lives when we were untouched by the maladies that came to negatively affect us….before the child became wounded and before the shadow self emerged and developed.
Scott Love, the founder of Three Days of Light Gathering, set a profound intention for the consciousness festival and retreat that many with whom I spoke felt deeply and wish it could have continued beyond the three days. In fact, I would have loved for it to never end. That is a story of success for a sincere intention that permeated the gathering as a whole for those three days. Putting together a gathering such as this is no easy feat, and while there was some bumps in the road from time to time, the community came together in the spirit of unified co-creation to help. If a conscious-minded intentional gathering such as 3DL is to be a microcosmic model for a macrocosmic society than it is only reasonable that we practice what we preach.
Perhaps that’s what really inspired me about 3DL…how enthusiastic people were to be genuinely open to being individual operators of a collective organism. Stories of a strong cluster of energy vortexes the likes of which are reported to be felt at places such as Sedona, Arizona and Mt. Shasta, California came alive when I met and connected with people at 3DL that had a purity and genuineness about them that simply stunned me (I’m from New York, after all). I thought to myself, if people shined their brilliance and higher aspects as much as those that came to 3DL did, we’d have paradise on Earth. I felt an almost surreal quality to the atmosphere around me…a feeling not unlike what I felt at the Synthesis gathering at the Mayan pyramids on 12.21.12. There was ever a wedding and everyone was invited!
A Gathering, Not a Festival
3DL was one of the smaller events I’ve been to, numbering at less than 400 people including staff and volunteers. A stark difference between all the other events that SHIFT> has covered to date is that Three Days of Light is designated as a gathering, not a festival. The intentional use of ‘gathering’ rather than ‘festival’ in the name is meaningful considering the event-defining purpose for a festival is different than for a gathering.
As I mentioned earlier, Synthesis was a gathering on the Yucatan peninsula at the end of 2012 with a set intention to coalesce luminaries, elders, and wisdom teachers throughout the world at the ancient Mayan site of Chichen Itza to assist in the acceleration and magnification of a positive shift in humanity’s collective consciousness, getting assistance from the energetic interplay of ancient pyramids and electromagnetic emanations from the human heart and brain (a synthesis, if you will). The Rainbow Family Gathering is a better-known gathering given it’s been an annual occurrence since 1972, holding a set intention of achieving peace and love on Earth.
These two gatherings, among others that occur around the world every year, have at their core a spiritually-minded purpose that has been established as a means of catalyzing positive progressive shifts towards a more unified and enlightened humanity. There’s over 7 billion of us now, but we’re still all family. It’s easy to forget that sometimes, with all the suffering humans cause to other humans, but we are one big family nonetheless.
And speaking of family, 3DL was family-oriented, which meant attendees were encouraged to bring their children. This is a critical aspect of the inner reflecting the outer in that if we are to be a model society, we need to include all members of a society. Whether an elder, a child, or anyone inbetween…encouraging the whole human tribe to come together is a unity-oriented approach. It brings more legitimacy to the underlying cause being promoted, in this case being a gathering for the evolution of consciousness towards a unity-oriented and love-centered society. In this way, 3DL really shined.
As at the Rainbow Family Gathering, there was a designated Kids Village where all the children could camp, connect and play with one another. Some people bring their children to festivals but, since there’s hardly any other children there, they don’t feel the same festive and joyous spirit that the older attendees feel because they don’t have others at their level of consciousness and level of development to interact with. As a result, these children may not wish to go to future events for risk of feeling alienated which would be unfortunate since those events could have significantly altered their life paths if they only had other like-minded kids to frolic, connect, and play with.
Children are the tiny humans that will one day become the societal change-makers replacing us. If we are to see this conscious movement to imprint a new paradigm and way of living on this planet be a success then placing more focus and care about nurturing the Children of Now is critical to making that happen. I’m happy to see 3DL doing its part in this endeavor and look forward to seeing more festivals and gatherings in the growing conscious culture putting more emphasis on these events having a participatory aspect to them for children.
I think in today’s growing ‘transformational festival’ scene we could use some more transformational gatherings as well. At 3DL, the primary focus was not the music (although there were some amazing artists like Living Light, The Human Experience, Srikalogy, Infinite Third, and others), not the yoga, nor was it the workshops and activities (I counted over 50 for Sunday alone). The focus was the bigger picture…on reflecting what a conscious culture could be like.
Co-creation was elemental in that reflection. I especially enjoyed the spontaneous emergence of co-creative music sessions that happened day and night for those three days of light. The catalysts for personal transformation and metamorphosis were all around you, in every person you came across. Meaningful connections with others could be made since the gathering format was very much a ‘choose/create your own adventure’ type of event. During the day there was very little in the way of music (by design) but it was quite populated with inspiring and knowledge-filled workshops, which allowed for the kind of serenity and mindfulness that was lacking at Shambhala Music Festival, where it was difficult to concentrate and fully be present while the powerful Funktion-One and PK sound systems gave you an internal bass massage.
An Interview with Scott Love, Creator of 3DL
Given how unique Three Days of Light Gathering is, I wanted to understand the deeper intention and philosophy behind the event so I spoke with its creator, Scott Love, to find out more.
Shift: You called 3DL a gathering, not a festival. How does it differ from the present-day festival model?
Scott: The original vision for 3DL was that it would be a festival and sometimes even I use that language still. At a festival people show up with different intentions. A gathering is more like a soul family reunion. At a festival you’re focused more on the music whereas at a gathering it’s more about connecting with people on a deeper level instead of just encountering them for 15 minutes and then not seeing them for the rest of the festival.
Shift: This year’s theme was a Return to Innocence. What sparked that intention and what’s the deeper significance of calling it that?
Scott: It really had to do with my personal journey in alot of ways and what I saw people around me going through. The last 3DL got a little convoluted and some people were involved that were really money-oriented so I was upset and heartbroken…and that led me to the realization that we wear these masks and sometimes behave like we live in two worlds [the ‘real world’ and ‘conscious community’]. My belief is that for me personally and for the community, in order for us to really turn the corner on this conscious movement, we can make a decision where we fully express who/what we are and not be afraid to do so. I wanted to have that intention as the setting for this year’s 3DL.
Shift: I noticed 3DL stems out of Emergence Earth. Could you explain what EE’s role is within 3DL and its global role is?
Scott: Before, during, and after the 11.11.11 gathering I was involved with, I noticed just how many people, like myself, were itching to get connected with each other. A friend and I sat down and looked at what we felt would best serve the community and bring them together. Emergence Earth was born out of that brainstorming session to become a reference and resource generator for the conscious community. EE, when it’s fully operational (it’s ~30% operational currently), will be a news source, reference source, and an information library for everything from meditation to building cob houses to info on how to run a social entrepreneurship business. Right now there’s about 40 ambassador programs with varying levels of activity that want to share the EE ideals and vision to their communities, which will help spiritually-minded people not feel so isolated. Alot of the people that come to 3DL actually hear about it through the various ambassador programs. This year we didn’t tap into that resource as much since we were diverting energy in so many different directions but we did have 6 or 7 ambassadors at this year’s 3DL which was great.
Shift: While 3DL has done alot in terms of promoting a more conscious, collaborative and sustainable festival, where do you see opportunity for growth and evolution from the present state of things and what can be improved upon?
Scott: There’s the infrastructure that needs more people involved, which means there’s an opportunity and chance to get more specialized and focused people to help out with the gathering in places like the entrance and the kitchen. Financially, only about 1/3 of the people that were there actually paid to be there. We have a good model in many respects but there’s alot to learn still. Going forward, we’re going to have less workshops but they’ll be more concentrated. Instead of doing 50 workshops running an hour each we may run 24 workshops running 2 or 3 hours each and modifying the schedule towards something like this will allow us to bring in more power players in the conscious community. Energetically, I look forward for 3DL to attract more people looking for that deeper experience that isn’t necessarily found at a music festival. The future of 3DL is becoming more like a retreat and less like a festival. We want to give people the opportunity to have a somewhat structured space yet let it be free-form enough for spontaneous manifestation where people are co-creators themselves in their experience.
Shift: With a burning desire for meaningful conversation and a greater sense of community among people, we’re seeing growing interest and movement towards bringing the conscious culture from the transient and temporary into a more permanent village-life blueprint. Do you see temporary gatherings like 3DL flowering into permanent intentional conscious communities and is that something you’re looking into?
Scott: Definitely. We’re looking for property we can build on and use as a re-occurring space which other people in the community can use as well. We’re looking into have a retreat and recreation center that’s also a school and education center. Every year we get a little bit closer to making this happen! But it takes some time to put something like that together and I’ve seen opportunities come and while I’m not ready to go looking for property just yet, if the universe is ready to throw an opportunity at my feet I’ll take it. With each year and with every step we take when we share our vision we get a little bit closer to making this happen.
An Interview with Amanda Amethyst, Nectar of the Goddess Temple Guide
3DL, though small, had a spiritual sanctuary within its midst called the Nectar of the Goddess Temple. This sacred space was guided by a wonderful woman named Amanda Amethyst. Since I myself have created and coordinated sacred spaces at events in the past, I spoke with Amanda to learn more.
Shift: What is the Nectar of the Goddess Temple all about?
Amanda: The Nectar of the Goddess Temple is an installation of sacred space. It’s a mobile temple that I’ve been called to bring around to various events and festivals and sometimes to a particular geographical location. The intention of the Temple is to be a beacon for people to know themselves. It’s a spiritual activator for people who come to it. Inside of the canvas bell tent there’s an area for meditation, toning, relaxing, engaging conversation, and a library of books. There’s also a space outside for ceremonies for larger groups to get together. We offer guided meditations, group meditations, healing modalities, discussions & workshops. We especially love working with children, so we have a few programs such as mindfulness and various ‘play shops’ for the children. Also, a big part of the Temple is supporting the goddess culture and the rise of the divine feminine and sisterhood of women who are rising up to balance with the divine masculine. Our innate abilities and attributes will co-create a balanced world and that’s a huge part of what I’m promoting through the Temple.
Shift: What was the catalyst that made you decide to do this?
Amanda: A little over a year ago I was a park ranger for the National Park Service living mostly in Alaska and decided I was done with that part of my journey and wished to share my gift in a more spiritual way. I wanted to shift away from focusing solely on environmental issues and instead talk about expanding and evolving our human consciousness. I decided to travel to Asia and prior to doing so I stopped in California and went to a meditation retreat in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh who was there and I went into deep meditation where I saw core self, and quite suddenly received the idea of a mobile goddess temple. Instead of traveling around Asia I created the Nectar of the Goddess Temple.
Shift: What are some of the other festivals and gatherings you’ve brought the Temple to?
Amanda: I started out at a ceremony called by the International Council of Thirteen Grandmothers in Arkansas. I’ve also brought it to Gaia Flux in Arkansas, Sonic Bloom in Colorado, Gratifly in South Carolina, Arise in Colorado, and Three Days of Light.
Shift: How did you feel the reception to the Temple was at 3DL?
Amanda: As a matter of fact, at 3DL I had the most people out of any of the other festivals and gatherings participating in workshops and coming to workshops and healing ceremonies. It was wonderful to see!
Shift: Do you have any plans in the works for where you’re bringing the Temple next?
Amanda: I’m really excited to hopefully come back to some of the same events next summer and also expand into bringing it to children’s summer camps and really work with kids more. I remember when I was a child I felt disempowered, like many children do today. I wish to nurture children and help them realize how powerful they are!
Shift: With the ever-increasing number of transformation-focused festivals and gatherings, do you feel there’s a truly promising movement that’s happening at these catalysts for change?
Amanda: I do, I feel there’s alot of positive momentum that is created by these events and the communities that get built up around these events. They’re safe containers for people to express themselves authentically and that’s what we need right now. I also think that it will be helpful if we emphasize more of the community aspect and the learning opportunities such as the classes and workshops rather than focusing more heavily on the music and party aspect since I feel that will continue the Shift. I’m not against parties at all (I love them!) but at the same time if we’re really trying to create this new paradigm then it’s time for us to explore what the other ways are in which we can come together and work towards that new world.
Philosophical 3DL Flowetry
I crossed paths with an insightful brother Kevin May, otherwise known as Phil Osophical, who handed me some poetry that fits really well within the context of the Three Days of Light Gathering so I decided I’ll share his flow below, as a way to close my 3DL reflections.
New Eyes Flowetry
We’re flowin, we’re growin
We’re here to gather,
There is no place – that we would rather
Cuz here we are FREE to simply be WE.
Though as we coalesce amidst this cornucopia
What about our brothers in Ethiopia?
And our sisters in cities full of loneliness?
Everything mediated, we can feel the phoniness
This is real, heart to heart, face to face
Not Skype, not text, but the same time and space
Here and Now, space and time collapse
The future and past are clasped
Entire lifetimes elapse!
We can release our fear, guilt, and doubt
Here we remind each other what it’s all about
Peace, Love, and Unity connecting through community!
Not a vacation, but a New Earth demonstration
Matata Hakuna, Lady Luna celebration!
Here, the veil of separation is lifted
Once you arrive, your whole world is shifted
Divine remembering, we’ve all been gifted
Cuz we are Infinite love wearin finite cloaks
The Cosmic Trickster laughin at its own jokes…
Hahaha – so let out a little giggle
Cuz paradox is the answer to the riddle
You are simultaneously student and teacher
Both sittin in the pews and pontificating preacher
You are the starving child and the aristocrat
Karmic lottery – scratchin off the mix and match
I just say scoobally doo
Cuz I am hollow bamboo that the universe jams through
And I love this crew,
This tribal jumbalaya
Really I am just the humble child of Gaia
Earth below, Moon above
As without, So within
I love you all with all my heart
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin!
To learn more about 3DL go here. For more info on Emergence Earth go here. For more great 3DL photos, check out the ones taken by Bryan Edward Photography and Black Creek Photography. We encourage you to come and be a part of the 3DL family in 2015!