IMBAS Ard-Fheis 1999: Report

I'm finally back online after the Ard-Fheis, so I'd like to issue a brief report about the event. A more in-depth report will follow soon and the next issue of An Tríbhís Mhór will be devoted to the Ard-Fheis.

I'll begin by saying what a pleasure it was to meet so many members and supporters of IMBAS in person. You're all fabulous people and I wish we could have spent more time together (and is it just my opinion or are all Celtic Reconstructionist women cute? ::grin::). For those who didn't believe me when I said I was extremely shy and quiet in person, I now have witnesses to verify that (though it should be noted that it's always the quiet people you have to beware of ::grin::).

The first day's session started a little late (we were all on Pagan Standard Time). I opened the session with an introductory speech which flowed directly into a panel discussion (about what CR is and where we see it being in ten years) involving myself, Lynna Landstreet, Alexei Kondratiev, and Morgan Mullins of the Càirdean.

After the panel discussion, Lynna gave a talk on her personal spiritual path of 'betwixt and between' CR and Wicca. After a brief lunch break, Sítheag Bochanan spoke about raising a Celtic child - her talk left me feeling very positive about the future of the next generation of our community.

The most anticipated talk of the day was given by Alexei, who spoke to the topic of Celtic spirituality past and present. In a word, I think his talk was awesome. I believe Mike Wilson taped Alexei's speech, so we may publish a transcript in the next issue of the journal.

We finished the session with a talk by Peter Urban of the Irish Republican Socialist Committees. He spoke about the current situation in Northern Ireland as well as read statements from Scottish and Welsh Republican organizations. We anticipated that a political discussion could prove controversial, but the audience was receptive to hearing alternate viewpoints.

After the session, we adjourned to Rowan Fairgrove's lovely Victorian home for a barbecue and a ceili. We enjoyed imbibing the liquid refreshments - we started out with hard cider and beer and finished the night off with Bushmill's. The music (from CDs provided by Rowan and myself) was great, but we didn't hear much of it - we were too busy talking!

The leadership meeting was held on Sunday at Rowan's house. I think the Council accomplished more in four hours than we had in the past year. We had 23 motions to vote on and every decision made was unanimous - it was truly a collective working.

After the leadership meeting, Lynna, Alexei, and myself accompanied Rowan to a ritual she was doing for world peace at which she also spoke about CR. The people at the ritual seemed very interested in CR and I think we may have even made some good contacts.

So that's the (relatively) short story of the Ard-Fheis.

Danielle Ní Dhighe
President, IMBAS
president@imbas.org

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