It started out as a simple enough idea between a few female friends. Lets invite a group of amazing women who don’t all know each other to camp out in the desert and see what happens. We’ll call it a Moon Goddess weekend because there’s a new moon and it’s earth day and blah blah blah let’s all hang out together. The women behind the idea approached me with more trepidation than a bomb diffusion but I guess I have been known to be a bit snarky. I mean, to call me cynical is like calling Mother Teresa kind. It’s accurate, it’s just a bit of an understatement. It’s not that I’m not spiritual – I just hate almost anything organized – which is kind of random since I guess I’m a bit type A. I only realized this recently when I asked my friend Kat if she thought I was type A. She said –”HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA.” So I think that was a yes. I mean – sure I organize my yogurt by flavor in my fridge but so what – doesn’t everyone? Anyway – the emails and texts to me regarding the trip all had the same tone – “Ohmigod, I can’t believe YOU’RE coming.” They seemed generally worried about me and shocked that I would partake in a chic fest. Uhm – okay – why is it so unbelievable? What is actually going to happen on this weekend of women? Are we going to braid our hair into crowns and spill blood in the name of Venus? Or just shave our pubes in the shapes of peace signs? So I started asking questions – a lot of questions. Mostly about just how “organized and womany” this was going to be. I enjoy both women and spirituality a lot but I really don’t like things shoved down my throat. “Is someone going to sit around a fire and tell me how to be a better woman and to find my inner chakra and third eye and harvest my moon cycle in my anal cavity cause that shit can go fuck itself right now that’s not happening. (You can see why they were worried about me.) Here’s the thing – I love myself – a lot – not all of me – but a lot of me – and I’m thrilled with figuring out how to love all of me but it’s not going to happen by force. But hey, the opportunity to camp out in the middle of the desert with a bunch of weed and good music and some costumes and some cool chicks sounds like a blast. And so off we went – to the Mojave. I drove one of the girls I didn’t know – Arielle – possibly named after a mermaid – and just as lovely. Three and a half hours later we arrived at Cynthia’s in the Badlands – an oasis tipi campsite filled with date trees in the middle of what looked like Mars. There was an outdoor bar/kitchen, three tipi’s, and a house to take showers etc. The girls had dressed it up beautifully, there was music playing, and within ten minutes I was smoking a joint and drinking an O’douls and life was about to be really great. “This is perfect” I thought. One hour later – everything changed.
“Ohmigod the energy here is amazing! Can you feel the power of women?” And SPRITZZZZZZZZZZZ!!! I took a Lavender mist to the face that got right up in my mouth and nostrils and I thought – I’ve been ambushed by an atomizer and now I’m going to die in the desert while choking on a floral bouquet of some shit that’s supposed to calm me. Someone was more excited about this weekend than I was when I got my first Easy Bake Oven. And trust me – that’s a fuck ton of excited. There were oils and herbs and atomizers spritzing and spraying and clearing and unblocking and I didn’t know what the fuck was happening but I was already level 10 annoyed. (It doesn’t take much) Keep it together Heidi, I keep telling myself. It’s fine. It’s going to be fine. Two minutes later I heard – “Lets open the circle.” Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. How about we open my car – I get in it – and drive the hell out of here.” This my friends – is not my scene. It’s not that I’m afraid of getting all moon goddessy and shit – I just hate it when people tell me what to do and what to feel before I’ve even entered my vacation chill zone which right now was about ten hours away. I knew we were in a setting where I was going to feel a whole bunch of shit naturally and I was ready for that to happen. I had a lot of stuff I needed to let go of. I just wanted it to happen on its own. I think I went and hid by the bar and opened my fourteenth O’douls. The circle never did officially open – so yay – I guess I won that round.
The entire weekend was catered by these three adorable young women and so we sat down for our first dinner. It was awesome. So many wonderful women all chatting and eating and drinking and smoking and at least that’s the way I’m choosing to remember it but quite frankly some people shared a lot more than others and I officially tuned out after a while.
Once it got dark we decided to go on a moon hike. That sounds fun I thought. I love the moon and I love hiking. “Let’s take the cauldron” I hear behind me somewhere. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. A cauldron? Are you shitting me? What the fuck is happening. When did we get a cauldron? Fine. Lets just go. So off we went into the night – into one of the most beautiful rock formations I’d ever seen. It was insanely windy but we managed to hike up a what we thought was a huge mountain. (We went back the next day and realized it was a hump of a hill possibly formed by some really strong ants.) We all sat around and someone decided we should finally officially introduce ourselves and share. (I now hate the word share by the way unless it’s used to introduce Cher) A few women told their stories and then it was my turn. Dammit where’s my filter? Nope. Not here. “My name is Heidi and I’m here because I love my friends Kat and Chelsea and they promised me there would be no organized spirituality and they fucking lied to me.” Okay, that was fun. But I did actually fully realize right in that minute why I had come on this weekend. And I’ll tell you that shortly. We finished going around the circle and it was actually a beautiful lovely moment and then I heard – “I have to pee.” I looked up to see one woman peeing off the side of the mountain. Then another. Then another. Chelsea and I were suddenly surrounded by about eight women in a pee circle spritzing off the side of the mountain. Chelsea: “Ohmigod I smell it.” This beautiful moment was broken by the sound – and smell of urine flying down the side of this rock. Perfect. And scene.
Back we went to camp for drinks and smokes and laughs and eventually bed. There were four women to a tipi. I was in tipi Gold. I know others will say differently but our tipi was the best. Especially when Kat decided it was time for bed. Nicole, myself and Kat got in our beds but Jen was still around the Candle Fire chatting with the young-ins. Kat and Jen are incredibly close and haven’t seen each other in five years. That is something Kat seemed to forget the second she wanted to sleep. “Where the fuck is Jen? Why is she still fucking partying? It’s night one! Do we have to leave the lights on for her? Fuck I’m exhausted. I need the lights off. Just turn them off. She’ll find her fucking way. And she better close the fucking flap.” Two seconds later – we burst out laughing. Nice Goddess chat. “Fuck you Jen you cunt and your flap opening bullshit I love you you goddess you’re my best friend fuck it the lights are on and fuck her you’re beautiful and my favorite person I love you goodnight.” We laughed our way to sleep. Jen made it in fine. Someone farted in the middle of the night. We don’t know who. But this was the kind of female fun I wanted to have. I like to go Full Retard with the girls.
We slept in our full beds in tipi’s and all was right with the world.
The next morning we were lucky enough to have Jo teach us yoga. It was hot and sunny and we were barely up and there was a lot of chakra moon cycling aromatherapy peace sharing love heart centering happening and I was already totally fucking baked on weed. I’m not sure how long we were doing yoga but it felt like fourteen days so I was super happy when Kat said “I need food.” Spirituality please hold. Yoga over. Sweet!!!!
After breakfast we headed to the natural hot springs. We rolled up to this long pond in the middle of dry cracked earth and took a look see. It was dark and cloudy and filled with poop like algae and the whole thing looked like where the sickness started when the entire population died. There was a foreign family at one end of this pond scum thing – the cool end – and so we decided to climb in to the hot side. It smelled like human waste. Have you ever seen the remake of Vacation when the family bathed in what they thought was a hot spring but in actuality was a fecal dump site? That’s how I felt. We were given pots to fill with oils and then mud from the hot springs and mix ourselves up a mud mask. A big poo mud mask. Yummy. I was in and out of that hot springs pretty quickly but all the girls were delighting in making mud pots and smearing themselves with what had to be human waste. Eventually Kat convinced me to put some on. I did. If I die this year from a strange virus – this is where I caught it. Suddenly I looked around and thought – how many people have passed through this poo bath and where is it circulating in and out of? It’s just here – like stagnant water. Chelsea told me I wasn’t allowed to think about that because she already did and it was freaking her out. Suddenly I hear – “wow, I’ve never seen this many women here together.” I look up and it’s a Naked dude – dick out – dick hard – dick annoying the fuck out of me. Of course you’ve never seen this many women before. Look at you you fucking naked weirdo. Perfect. Ever notice how the first people to get naked are the only people you never want to see naked. We left pretty soon after that. I am convinced this whole tourist attraction is a joke and the locals are laughing at every person who drops themselves into that shit hole.
Back at camp we ate dinner and then it was costume time. Now this is something I can get behind. Kat brought amazing things for us to wear and Nicole let us borrow her beautiful mothers belly dancing belts and necklaces and we took some music out into the hills and danced and the amazing true hippie soul Kelly took photos and we had a blast. We sat around the Candle Fire that night but it was too cold for me to stay up and off to bed I went. The next morning I packed up so fast my car mate barely had time for coffee and a tinkle. It was time to leave the ladies behind. It was time to go home. And I was going home a little bit lighter than when I arrived. I was leaving something behind. Because despite all my sarcasm and snarkiness and hatred off all things I don’t understand – I did indeed have something to let go of this weekend. And so I did sit up on that mountain that first night and I did tell everyone how I felt about organized spirituality but I also lost my shit. There we were, in a circle, on a rock in the wind, and as the first woman spoke to tell her story – my eyes filled with tears and I started to have trouble breathing. Not because of her story – because of mine. Shit, what the hell is happening. I tried to keep it together and finally after a few more women spoke – I pulled it together long enough to talk. Breathe. You see, I am filled with the pain of an incident that happened this past year in a way that I’m afraid will never leave my system. Every time I think about it – I sob – or hyperventilate – or both. Six months ago – I watched someone I love so very much – catch on fire – and in my mind – die. I saw it happen. I was convinced of his death in that split second that he ran by me engulfed head to toe in flames – and I truly believed I would never see him again. I believed he was already dead. I can’t explain what came over me, because it’s a feeling I never knew even lived in my body. It’s a feeling that still lives with me to this very day and will probably be the thing that bonds us together for life. It’s a bond I’m so grateful for and a friendship that has truly changed me. But I needed to let the fear of losing him – go. And there, on that mountain in the desert, I started to let it go and let it blow away. And perhaps it was in that moment that I realized how things grow in the desert – from all the tears we leave behind from all of the amazing moments that occur in such a haunting place.
Spending the weekend with twelve very different women was amazing. But I still think the same thing about my sex mates now that I thought before the Goddess Weekend. We need to listen to each other more. We all have something to say and something to teach. We need to stop competing with each other. We all kind of need to Shut The Fuck Up once in awhile. Mostly myself. There is magic in the silence of what we all know as women. We share it by simply being together. We need to stop putting how we feel about things on to everyone else. Mostly myself. Every one has the right to be exactly who they are. Everyone has the right to feel exactly how they feel. Every woman who came to this Goddess Weekend brought something wonderful to share with each other, from baubles, to rocks, to necklaces, to just magical pieces of themselves they openly gave to strangers. There were four generations of women on this retreat and that in itself is a miracle to be appreciated, loved, and respected. I will never forget this weekend and I will never forget these women. Kat, Chelsea, Cherilyn, Nicole, Emilee, Kristy, Arielle, Kelly, Jo, Jennifer, Shellie… Thank you – for being every ounce of who you all are – and for putting up with me.