The Goddess Gathering

Well, all is quiet on the home front. Mr. GG was marginally chastened about the whole wolf thing, and before the end of the day, sent me confirmation of a business trip to Arizona in October – which is he taking me on, since I have never seen the Grand Canyon. Today, I am getting ready for the annual summer Goddess Gathering – a weekend of food, arts and crafts, alcohol and catching up with a group of women friends who have been doing this for a couple of decades longer that the 11 or 12 years I’ve been involved.

The attendees shift from year to year, but the core group is a bunch of lawyers, judges, health care professionals, archaeologists, teachers, and social workers who have known each other forever. And have supported each other through marriages and divorces, the deaths of children, serious injury, health issues, job loss, job changes, retirement, broken hearts, broken bones, challenges in child rearing, financial shifts, in fact, just about everything life can throw at you while you are plowing through it. These women have turned it into a celebration. A few times, one member has arrived by parachuting out of a plane to land by the pool. Others drive or fly in, bunking down on site, or with local goddesses.

In the past, we were more spiritually oriented. We always had a candle ceremony and a ritual on Saturday nights. Lately we have moved towards lolling in the pool, and doing art projects, with a constant flow of beer and wine available. Last year the hostess hired a bartender to make us frilly drinks. The first year I came, she hired a masseuse, and I was one of the lucky ones who got a shot at that – my first ever massage. Art projects since I have been coming have included sewing fetish dolls, decorating gourds, making birdhouses, coasters, small memorial shrines, and collages. Before my time, I know they painted wineglasses, and decorated hats. This year we are going to make flowers out of plastic bottles – an idea snagged from an Anthropologie store window.

There are always what we call “door prizes”. We draw names and get wrapped presents till we run out of gifts. It doesn’t matter if you bring a present or not… everyone understands that sometimes life is just too much to buy or wrap stuff, and there is always enough to share. We also have a habit of bringing tokens – jewelry, magnets, finger puppets, nail polish, lotion, socks, glasses, candles, lavender sachets, – little things (heavy on the dollar store, or homemade). One year I had the Baby make origami cranes for everyone, and we hung them on a wire strung across the deck, where they fluttered in the breeze. Even though some of us are grandmothers, we all squeal and laugh when we share our loot. We usually stick on some fake tattoos, try on each others sandals, share sunblock, Last year one of the lawyers brought supplies and gave anyone who wanted, a pedicure. Another goddess brings jewelry, and passes along items from her collection that she is ready to recycle.

The opening brunch is usually a potluck. It almost always includes Bloody Marys. Throughout the day, we nosh on the kinds of junk food you would be ashamed to have anyone else see you consume. Dinners are getting easier. In the past we have had steaks and salads, and one year I fried eggrolls on the deck, and we have ordered in Mexican and Chinese, and done stuff from Costco. This year we are having Italian takeout – gives us more time for the art project and gossip.

Every now and then someone gets up and scoops the bugs and leaves out of the pool. We share the pool floats and toys. We wander around our hostess’s yard, which is a triumph of landscaping and floral abundance – the woman has a gift. I am especially fond of her little bird house village, an area where she has a gazillion bird houses on the fence, on stakes, on holders, – like a mini bird ghetto – where the birds have elegant, whimsical, witty taste.

We talk gardening, jobs, kids, relationships, vacations. We compare depilatories or admire the goddesses who braved botox. We look at catalogs and magazines, hit the kitchen for snacks, and if you want, you can wander into a back bedroom and take a nap to restore you for the next round of laughter and food. Sometimes new people show up and they are seamlessly blended into the existing conversations. People float around the pool, having one-on-one heart-to-hearts, or sit in lounge chairs, giggling and reconnecting. Sometimes and in some situations we cry, because it is safe to let go with these women. This group of women would be there for you no matter what, even though we live in several states and some of us only see each other this one time each year. How great is that? I am lucky, blessed, and can’t wait to get there and see everyone.

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