When the towering trees in the Swedish forests turn into a sea of rich, golden red perfection, a tribe of hardcore hippies (not naked, unfortunately, because it’s too cold) gather in a celebration of dance and love for 3 days and nights in traditional pagan trance rituals and ecstatic stomping.
It’s called Forest Star Autumn Party. And the difference between the summer festival and this one, is that it’s happening during the autumn (thank you Captain Obvious).
The thing about the lower temperatures, is that it acts as a natural filter for the not-so-committed hippies. I mean, who the fuck would go freeze their asses off just so that they can party with a bunch of dreadlocked, yoga-practising, bindi-wearing kids who hasn’t quite understood the concept of showering?
That’s us. The tribe. The big time, full-time, trance addicts who prefer to throw our souls into the embrace of the magical forests and face the possibility of a frostbite, instead of being stuck in a hot and sweaty club with people who wear shirts and sport neatly gelled back hair.
And this weekend, we were all stars in the forest.
Equipped with heavy-duty polar-bear-proof sleeping bags, military-grade tents that could withstand extreme moon temperatures, and winter clothing borrowed from the most hardcore of the eskimos, we arrived at the venue after sunset. The heavy beats were already starting to fill up the night skies, almost causing the clouds to pulsate accordingly, and the stars to sparkle like a atmospheric mirror ball. The leaves were surfing on the waves of sound, and echoing the 150 bpm, engulfing the entire forest in music, turning the enchanting nature into a psychedelic open-air dance club, inviting us, and the forest trolls, to come out and play.
And following the usual Buddha Mag fashion, we put some sticks and shit together and called it our tent. And off we went to some full-on pew pew pew action.
As we stumbled around in the darkness, tripping over rocks, tripping off our socks, and pretending to be Goldilocks, we finally reached the dance floor after what seemed like 5 hours (note that 1 second of dream time can seem like a lifetime in the real world).
The brightly burning campfire raged as hard as the full power psytrance released from the magic fingers of the DJ. We immediately felt the warmth of the dancers and lovers, flaming hot with passion and joy, akin to the orange inferno that enveloped everyone in a sea of cosiness.
Everything was illuminated by a mix of moonlight, campfire light, and of course, the all-too-familiar love and light. In front of our eyes was a flurry of colours and blurry movements, a myriad of flaming orange, luna blue, and the psychedelic rainbow from the visualiser.
I broke free from the chains of my physical form to perform the dance of Mama Gaia – a weird, semi-angelic, semi-animal kinda tribal stomping that I invented some time back. I haven’t added new moves to the repertoire, which involved a lot of “energy gathering” wrist and arm motion combined with an occasional lifting of my left leg. It’s quite a strain on the shoulder muscles, and I would generally advise anyone who wants to try this dance to stretch often and carbo-load before the event.
The air was cold and a light breeze carried the smoke from the campfire across the dance floor, creating a mysterious mist that somehow gave the place an air of magic and wonder. I wasn’t sure, but I kept smelling barbeque. It might have been my body telling me that I needed to eat something.
“I do not need food. I am a goddess tonight. And all goddesses feed on are your nightmares and pain.”
I had transcended. I was a pure embodiment of the music, and Mother Nature’s vessel for her message of love. I was a full chakra explosion. I was space space space space space…
And then something brought me back to reality – my churning stomach.
I’ve never been a big fan of shitting in the forests. I know it’s natural and shit, but in the darkness, I was afraid I might get kidnapped and raped by giant insects, or worse, other festival goers. So I decided to hold everything in.
For the next 5 hours, my thoughts revolved around the pleasure of finally taking a massive shit, and the joy of being at one with the music. You know it’s one of those feelings that make you not dare to fart? Yep, gotta take safety precautions sometimes.
Familiar faces smiled gently and radiantly at my constipated face. I managed to break into a smile in spite of the weird sensation of pushing my bowel control to the limits. These people were my family. These were the best people that I’ve met in the Swedish psytrance scene. And they quickly made me forget about my pain. And I finally mustered enough courage to answer the call of nature.
And when I came back 8 kgs lighter, there was one face that I saw, that made me realise that the world is so fucking small.
She was someone that I met in Ozora Festival this year, and I remembered us going wild with my stick then (it’s not what you think, google Levitation stick). This time, she was performing her own ritual with her levitation stick when I jumped in front of her face and gave her a giant hug.
I asked a stupid question, “What are you doing here?”
I mean, of course, she was dancing and stuff and partying. But yea, we always ask that when we see someone unexpected, as if we didn’t already know the answer. “Oh no, I was trying to find a rare species of flowering flying rabbits that lived only in Sweden, and then I stumbled upon this party.”
But yea, it was her first time in a Swedish forest rave and it just happened that we were there at the same time. Yea, not sure where I’m going with this story. But the world is really small this way.
We continued prancing like wild bunnies around the fire, occasionally sitting down to warm ourselves before continuing our crazy rampage on the poor grass.
(I bet the grass hated us, stomping on their friends and families without any concern for their wellbeing.)
But the grass didn’t complain, so we assumed that they were cool with it. And slowly, the sun rose and bathed us all in an ocean of gentle, yellow rays, but not much warmth. It was still fucking cold, and then the music stopped.
By this time, most of the more sane beings had gone to rest, and what’s left around the smouldering fire were burnt-out party beasts refusing to let the night come to an end, even though the sun had given us a pretty obvious signal.
We sat around and talked shit about stuff, worshipped Shiva by using an apparatus that looked like a lingam and using our good energy to make water vapour come out of it. We shared food, warmth, music from iPhones, and shared our lives.
As the flaming furnace quietened down, so did our souls. It was 8 in the morning. Let’s call it a day – a fucking awesome day.
Hours later, I awoke to the sound of, guess what, Psytrance!
Ok, there’s really no surprise there. I mean, if I heard 50-cent and Jay-Z stuff, I’d be shocked. I put on a new bindi to mark my new aura of the day, ate 3 slices of bread, and sprinted straight back to the dance floor, where I belonged.
The early birds had already begun their tribal gathering and I jumped in with a big smile, greeting my fellow smelly hippies a beautiful morning. And here we go again.
The DJ booth was a tepee with a giant pentagram, and so were the shelters for the speakers. And climbing up into the heavens were 2 totem poles that I think I read too much into.
Ok, so this whole tribe thing really came alive in my head. We were the wild children of Mother Nature, worshipping the pagan gods that blessed us with the gift of our 6 senses. And the most natural way to give thanks was to dance, smile, and love.
It was like going back in time to the days when our ancestors had to hunt for animals naked with spears and primitive traps. We had all just come back from a successful hunt, maybe a mammoth or something, and we are celebrating a month-long feast of mammoth meatballs and sausages.
The totem poles depicted our rise to the divine. We begin as snakes, close to the ground, rooted to our values and instincts, connected to Mother Earth. And as we strive towards the sun, we become more enlightened, more powerful and evermore closer to eternity. Eventually, we transform, in a blinding blaze of noonday blitz, into a soaring eagle that overlooks the land, bestowed with the ultimate freedom of flight – the flight of our soul.
I spent about 5 hours picturing that scenario in my head.
I can’t remember if I danced, or just stood there with my mouth wide open and drooling a little at the concept of growing wings behind my back. But I was pretty happy.
What was most beautiful about Forest Star, was the presence of a divine oneness shared by the wonderful beings there.
Compared to some other festivals, there were no fucked-face junkies, no rugged dealers that didn’t smile and shit, no weekend pretend-hippies that thought themselves part of the tribe just because they were wearing harem pants.
The people here, were pure motherfucking wham bam pow pow pew pew pew magic.
Big smiles, big hearts, and hardcore PLUR. I felt that everyone there had the potential to be a great lifelong friend, and there was no fear of approaching anyone and giving them hugs. Well I mean, I didn’t really try with the strangers though, you only need to be unlucky once to be stabbed. Ok, but you get the idea.
I could freak out and roll on the ground and eat the ashes, and I was sure that people would be taking care of me. That, was something special. Try doing that in Stockholm’s city centre.
The Swedish Psychedelic Tribe made their presence felt at Forest Star. And this family, is one I’m proud to belong to.
And as we finished off the festival season with a giant blast into outer space, our hearts were satiated with renewed spiritual energy and love, and we’re already looking forward to the next time we are reunited with like-minded beings, whether or not they decide to finally take a shower.
Forest Star 2015, here we come!