The comparisons to be made between Steampunk and Druidry fascinate me. Two modern, countercultural movements that encourage more original dress styles, friendliness, and creativity. Both looking to history for inspiration, but neither really re-enactment, and not historically accurate, and constantly imagining new additions and playing with the possibilities.
We spent the last weekend at Lincoln, for the biggest Steampunk gathering in the UK – some 4000 (if not more) people attend Weekend at the Asylum, a huge event that takes over the castle and assorted other venues, fills the streets with gloriously attired people, and the evenings with remarkable music. It was an opportunity to catch up with some of our favourite people, and to wear hats. It was a really inspiring experience, and I have a lot of mental unpacking to do.
I come back with a lot of thoughts about how I am in the world, and how I want to be. I’m thinking a lot about what Steampunk means to me and how I want to place myself within that. I’ve learned a lot about skin, physical presence, affection, inspiration, and belonging. Tom and I learned a lot about working together creatively when we took to a big stage with only a bit of script, and found our way towards collective improvising. Alongside this, I was reading Brendan Myers ‘Loneliness and Revelation’ which turned out to be the perfect philosophical accompaniment to the weekend (review to follow).
Not for the first time, rain came as a tremendous blessing and allowed us opportunity to do something that would otherwise have been impossible. I’ve been noticing this increasingly, that things which might seem like setbacks so often also offer me opportunities, but rain has been especially good to me this year. Rain throws human schemes into chaos, and allows space for something else to get in (tea, in this case).
Over the coming days I shall try and unpack my brain onto the blog – it’s always an interesting process if I’ve taken a big hit of information and experience. It will take me a while to process the experience for myself, and to work out what I need to learn for me from it all, and what of that is also worth sharing. Asylum this year has changed all of my thinking about how to approach events, and there’s been a significant impact on my sense of self, as well.
It’s curious to note that in terms of inspiration and personal transformation, the four days in Lincoln for Asylum have had far more impact on me than the four days at Rainbow Druid Camp. Much of this is to do with being gently pushed outside my comfort zone, and being offered some really exciting spaces and opportunities to do more. Weekend at Asylum has an ethos of nurturing creativity and giving people spaces to grow and flourish, and that’s not just about giving people educational workshops, its about allowing co-creation of the event, innovation, challenge and an interesting degree of trust in the process of the event itself. More of that as I figure out how to talk about it.