Tuesday, September 16, 2008

We’ve got spirit — Metaphysical fair spreads positive message

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

The upper floor of the warehouse building at Kenai Landing was imbued with a sense of spirituality Saturday and Sunday, older than even the rafters graffitied with names of cannery workers who had inhabited the old Ward’s Cove fish packing plant nearly a century ago.

The smell of old wood and dampness mingled with incense and all-natural lotions. Uneven floorboards creaked underfoot, adding occasional percussion to the cadence of tarot card readings or the rattle of handmade beaded jewelry and healing gemstones clacking together. The cavernous, uninsulated expanse caused people attending the central peninsula’s second annual Spirit Fair to cinch colorful, hand-woven scarves a little tighter and snuggle deeper into cozy alpaca sweaters.

Overhead, bare light bulbs cast sparse yellow light on the fabric-draped booths below, offering arts and crafts, clothing, metaphysical supplies, guidance, healing and — most importantly — fellowship.

“It’s about being happy to be themselves, to follow their truth,” said Camille Moritz, an intuitive reader and spiritual healer who owns Something To Believe In metaphysical center in Homer. She and Rondell Gonzalez, owner of Pye’Wackets metaphysical gift shop in Soldotna, organized the Spirit Fair.

Moritz has been offering workshops and wares at metaphysical festivals around Alaska for eight years, and she and Gonzalez decided the Kenai needed to have its own fair.
“We felt we had to have one on the Kenai. We decided if it was going to happen, we should do it,” Moritz said.

The theme of this year’s fair was “healing the waters,” and included a water healing ceremony at 11:11 a.m. Saturday and a ceremony with the GrandMother Drum International Peace Project on Saturday night.

The 7-foot-diameter, crystal-inlaid drum took over a year to construct, starting in 2000, with more than 1,500 strips of wood, 200 crystals and a giant buffalo hide covering it. The project is the outreach arm of the Whirling Rainbow Foundation. The drum travels the world promoting peace and unity through the global language of music, dance, and cultural and healing arts, and serves as a symbol of the heartbeat of love that connects everyone, regardless of their race or nationality, according to the foundation.

Diana Thomas, of Soldotna, participated in the GrandMother Drum ceremony at last year’s Spirit Fair. Members of the audience are asked to circle the drum and play it as one.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. That was pretty powerful.”

Thomas said she liked having a metaphysical festival in the Kenai area.

“It’s nice to have options, to be exposed to different things. And it brings people from different places in, too.”

Alice Sullivan came from Talkeetna for the Spirit Fair. It was her first time at Kenai Landing, and she said the space was a beautiful setting for the fair.

“I’ve been here (in Kenai) dipnetting. This was a reason to come to the Kenai without all the crazy dipnetters,” she said.

Elaine Elledge of Companion-Way, A Pathway to Healing, came to the fair from Wasilla to practice intuitive massage. She invited her friend, Joyce McNamara, an intuitive life coach, up from California to participate.

“The people like those that are selling their wares are genuinely sincere and have a sense of strong community and want to provide the community with alternative ways of viewing things,” Elledge said.

She saw the fair as promoting a heightened sense of awareness for anyone seeking it.
“It doesn’t matter what your religious persuasion is, the spiritual doesn’t have anything to do with religion,” she said. “Spirituality is a state of mind.”

A steady flow of fair patrons visited booths Saturday, and on Sunday a smaller, but thoughtful, crowd spent time working its way from booth to booth, Elledge said. Even in slow times, that gave vendors a chance to visit with each other and share what they had to offer. Elledge said she felt a welcoming, open-minded reception.

“It’s very refreshing in a small place that there is that lovely, lovely thing happening — a beautiful awakening for the people on the Kenai,” she said.

On Sunday afternoon, nearing the 6 p.m. close of this year’s Spirit Fair, Gonzalez said she was happy with the weekend.

“It’s been a great weekend. The turnout, the receptivity, everybody’s just been wonderful to be around,” she said.

Many of the vendors are friends, or at least associates in the metaphysical community of Alaska. For that matter, even the new faces of fair visitors were still tied together.

“We work to bring the light into the community, by connecting people. It’s both of our life’s passions,” Moritz said of she and Gonzalez.

The fair gave Moritz an opportunity to educate people about the intuitive abilities she says everyone has. Likewise, other vendors could present their specialties, many of which may be termed “New Age,” but more often have ancient roots.

“It’s a taste, a sampling of what different people do. It’s educational and informative,” Moritz said. “It’s a safe setting to have the opportunity to show we are all united as one human race.”

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