How many summer festivals include three meals a day in the ticket price? Not many! And how many festivals include three delicious and varied macrobiotic meals each day? Only The One World Summer Festival! Star chef Angela Agrati Prange and her team of dedicated volunteers created tasty, healthy meals to suit all tastes throughout the festival – no sooner has one cooking team completed a meal than the next gets into action!
One could go there just for the amazing food, but then there is the beautiful setting in the ancient Somerset countryside – the cornfields and footpaths leading up into the Blackdown hills, the sweet fresh air and the huge starry skies. And so many great workshops to choose from, many happening at the same time – (shall I go to the shiatsu, or the family constellations, the story telling or the nature trail or….?). Adding to this the great music and happy fellow festival-goers, this all goes a long way to offset the slightly decaying facilities and shower doors that did not shut!
This year’s festival saw a beautiful ceremony to honor macrobiotic teachers Michio and Aveline Kushi, Fransisco Varatojo and others who have passed on, as well as to provide the opportunity for anyone wishing to remember their own departed friends and family members.
A sacred space had been prepared in the centre of the room representing the four elements: a bowl of water, a dish filled with freshly dug earth, some beautiful flowers and a candle. As people filed into the hall they were each given a small origami lotus flower and a copy of the words of the Buddhist Heart Sutra. The giant gong was gently played (by gong master Bear Love) joined by a cello (Julia Palmer- price), creating awesome sounds evoking deep ocean and far space. Anna MacKenzie led the ceremony, explaining its purpose and how it would unfold. The One World choir, let by Carol Donaldson, sang a powerful song “We are Together” (Thina Simunye) bringing everyone into a connected heart space. Alexander Kushi, grandson of Michio and Aveline, spoke about his family and his gratitude to them. We chanted together the words of the Heart Sutra, the final line of which means “Let us go, go beyond, Awaken, Hail!” and then we were asked to call out the name of anyone who we wished to thank and send our love to, and many people in the room did this. Another beautiful song, “Let there be Peace,” was sung by the choir.
In the days leading up to the ceremony people had written messages, thoughts and wishes onto scraps of paper and tied them to the lower branches of a giant oak tree. The ceremony was now completed by bringing these from the hall, where they had been gathered in readiness, to the campfire area. There they were placed in the flames of big wood fire while we sang again, as the messages went up to Spirit. Many people commented that they had found this ceremony to be very moving and that they were grateful for this opportunity to honor and thank those special to them.
And then it was time for a delicious supper and dancing far into the night!