The Quest festival

Wiccan Rede * Summer 1983 by Morgana Sythove

For the last five years or so there have been a number of ‘New Age’ festivals held in England. The format is often similar: groups and artists are invited along to display their goods whilst guest speakers give lectures and workshops on alternative lifestyles, methods of healing etc. Recently there has been a feeling of disappointment growing amongst visitors to these festivals who feel that commerciality is creeping in and that the original aims are being lost – i.e. promoting a ‘New Age’ mentality and consciousness.

As organizer of the Quest Festival, Marian Green tried to avoid what she felt to be ‘mistakes’ in the previous festivals. Her aim was to provide an opportunity for people to display their wares whilst creating an atmosphere wherein visitors could talk to stand holders and other visitors. In meeting this requirement she deliberately avoided inviting people engaged in Tarot readings, astrologers, palmists and fortune tellers. In many respects her wishes were met. The festival, whilst being fairly small, provided an opportunity of meeting people of many different artistic fields. It was noticeable though that this was basically a pagan festival and there was little evidence of eastern orientated material available, So often at festivals of this nature the eastern philosophies seem override the western tradition which is of course a pity for those people involved in paganism and occultism. A number of pagan groups were present, including Marians own group ‘Green Circle’. Several Green Circle groups are now operating in England. Pagans Against Nukes who are very active in the Green movement in England also attended. We spent quite some time with Rufus and Nicola exchanging news about the situation in Holland and England regarding the peace movement, the craft and our respective magazines. (See also the article by Rufus about PAN in ‘Heksenkring’). In fact we met several people with whom we have corresponded for a number of years but have never met personally.

This in itself was quite an experience and we had very lovely conversations with our pen-friends. It was also extremely encouraging to hear how interested people were in the pagan scene in Holland. It was certainly noticeable that the links between the two countries are very strong and could easily be made stronger. We found this to be very positive and hopefully in the future there will be even more interchange. We also met some new people and were able to see there work. One of them was Bel Bucca of Elfane whose work was incredibly beautiful (see the individual write-up). Both he and Dusty Miller are involved in woodcraft. Dusty also makes amulets and cudgels which are very popular. He also gave a talk on ‘Tree Magic’. Talks and workshops were held on both afternoons and included speakers such as Marian Green, Colin Murray and Mary Caine (famous for her work on the Glastonbury Zodiac.) Unfortunately we didn’t go to all the lectures – we were far too involved in conversations with other people! As usual there was too little time to manage to fit everything in. John Lovett of Occultique brought along an assortment of occult books, incenses and magical paraphernalia whilst Hermes Books also had a good selection of books. Frances and Terry Halpert of Halpern sounds provided a pleasant musical interlude with their selection of Steve Halpern and other tapes. (See also the reviews). A number of people had brought along examples of their juwellery. Bill Elliot and M.A. Prynne of Caterbury had brought some beautiful examples of their ceremonial swords and athames, and an assortment of hand-made candlesticks in yellow and red copper. Lionel Pepper, goldsmith, had even brought his workbench along to do quick jobs. He had some very fine occult jewellery worked both in silver and gold. Pagan Magazines were well represented, including ‘Pipes of Pan’, ‘Quest’, ‘Panakaeia’ (feminist) and ‘Celt’. Andy Highfield who publishes ‘Black mirror’ was present to sign and talk about his new book ‘Symbolic Weapons of Ritual Magic’ (See reviews).

There were quite a number of other stall holders who displayed their craft wares such as ‘Tabitha Designs’ – who make robes and gowns, and handmade clothing. Brenda of ‘Arthur and Brenda’ also makes beautiful velvet bags for Tarot Decks, wall hangings etc, whilst Arthur, a herbalist, gave advice on herbal medicine. We attended the festival on both Saturday and Sunday, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. If Marian Green’s ideal to get people together to exchange ideas, news and goods then she certainly succeeded in our eyes. The atmosphere was conducive to making contact and judging by the length of time many people stood talking at the various stalls it seemed as though we weren’t the only people taking advantage of an opportunity to meet new and old friends!

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