|Lorelei Sims (blacksmith & writer)|
This is WGR's 3rd year, and two Goddesses (ONLY two Goddesses) have remained constant influences in all that time -- Brighid and Aphrodite. I have a few theories about that, but the prevailing thought is that both Goddess have a very strong influence on the land. Our Haven was founded under Brighid's mantle, if you will. There were three devotees of Brighid who came together to bless the land in Her name as one of their first acts of consecration of the sanctuary, and Brighid's shrine (a beautiful spot) is a darling of the founders.
Aphrodite may not have been at the forefront of the founders' minds, but She has staked Her claim at Our Haven. There are no less than three places on the land that bear Her name -- and none of them are MY doing, I'll have you know. =) The Aphrodite Shrine that I help maintain was built years before I came to Our Haven. I am just it's most visible and consistent care-taker. (Even so, I am by no means its only care-taker.) There is also the Sanctuary of Venus Erycina, an adults-only sacred sexuality circle tucked away into a lovely little private nook in the woods and maintained by a couple from Cincinnati.
Finally, flanking the stage are an Aphrodite Hazel and a Brighid Hazel. They were each intended for their respective shrines, but the benefactor of these lovely hazels left them in someone's care who didn't *quite* understand her instructions. So they ended up together in a separate place of prominence. Symbolically, these hazels say what I've always known -- Brighid and Aphrodite have both made indelible marks at Our Haven.
Those marks are born out again at this year's Goddess Retreat. This is the third year that I'll be presenting the Aphrodite Circle. (Not shocking.) However, I am VERY excited about the chance to help out with the Brighid Circle. Mary, one of the Sanctuary's founders and a devotee of Brighid, will be leading the Circle; and I will demonstrate and help guide each woman through a little forge-craft. It's going to be very basic, and VERY awesome. As Glaux and I told our guy (to his bewilderment), "You just can't have a women's retreat without the rebar."