The Oasis event held by Earth Traditions, a Pagan church out of Chicago, is presented every August. It’s focus is to present intermediate and advanced level workshops in a relaxed, family-friendly venue.
I’ve attended Oasis for three years. I’ve been impressed with the incredible quality of the people and presentations and lack of ‘drama’ there. I highly recommend checking it out (www.earthtraditions.org).
This year I held the second Black Tent offering for Oasis. Last year was the premiere year and I unfortunately did not get anything written up about it. This year I was ready.
The idea for the Black Tent came from Danica of the Black Stone Pagan Hermitage (https://blackstonemonastery.wordpress.com/the-black-tent-temple/). As stated in previous posts, the Black Tent is a temporary shrine space created with the intent of honoring Endarkenment and the Holy Darkness. This could be used for meditation, grief work, deity devotion, shamanic journeying, or other deep/dark works. “To Go Dark and Deep” were the by-words.
My Black Tent was created from a black canopy owned by Angie Buchanan, Founder and Director of Earth Traditions. It was set up in the basement of the main meeting hall. The inside of the tent is silver and I think that adds a bit of visibility in an otherwise black interior. It was draped with yards of black material, using clips and cording to keep it attached to the tent. The entrance was facing a wall, affording privacy from those wishing to use the basement for other activities (for example the silent auction tables were there as well).
I hung various Deity images along the interior – featuring the art of Stuart Littlejohn (With paintings of Santa Muerte, Marie Laveau, and Maman Brigette) and Sarah Lawless (Horned God). On the altar, people were invited to add whatever tools/statues they wished. There was a small black cauldron in which was placed black stones for people to take back home with them the blessings of the Black Tent.
I included some of my Deity tools/images on the altar. Including Odin, Kali, and my Mother, An Morrigan. Here are some photos. They were taken before the space was officially sanctified with permission of the Powers.
Also included was a black Remo shamanic drum for people who wished to journey and a lovely, large scrying mirror lent by Angie. The candles were all battery operated for safety, since they would be burning 24/7.
As I built the tent with the assistance of a sister devotee, I said prayers to the Powers that were to be invited. I asked for protection, compassion, power, strength, and blessings from the Dark Mother.
I did a brief opening rite on Tuesday night and the tent was left there 24/7 until Friday morning, the last day of the event.
I said each line and the attendees repeated them after me:
“Darkness before me,
Darkness behind me,
Darkness above me,
Darkness below me,
Darkness to the left of me,
Darkness to the right of me,
Darkness around me.
Darkness within me.
To the Vastness of the Holy Dark we bow down.
To the Fierce and Compassionate Darkness we bow again.”
Those last two lines were inspired by the Order of the Black Madonna’s Dark Moon devotional rite (for info on them see: http://www.orderblackmadonna.com/).
Friends attending this year gave excellent feedback. “It’s a Safe Space for Dangerous Work!” one attendee gleefully exclaimed. Two others utilized the sacred space as a container to hold a difficult conversation. It was also well used by those who were preparing to take part in the Sacred Hunt ritual (a transformative, ecstatic rite). I was excited to see people making it their own.
The creation of this as a Sacred Space was initiated by me as I asked for the Dark Mother’s blessings, but was built and perpetuated by the attendees. The Dark Mother, and the other Powers, responded with loving support.
On the last day, some attendees helped me take it down in a mindful and respectful manner – all offerings were given to the forest nearby and prayers were made as the items were removed.
I invite anyone intrigued/excited about the idea of a Black Tent to build one for yourself. Contact Danica and/or me and let us know how it goes.
All Hail the Fierce and Compassionate Darkness!