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Country > Canada > Ontario
Date > 2003 > Jun
Activity > Counter Culture

counter culture Peoplescape

OM Summer Solstice Festival II June 20-22, 2003

OM Summer Solstice Festival II

Location Google Map: Killaloe, Ontario, Canada

A return to OM
Because of my commitment to Burning Man, I didn't really plan on going to OM this and time resources are scarce. However, as the date drew closer, I felt the calling to be there. I had to reconsider my options. As always, when the time to regain perspective is needed, I went back to my writing on what OM of the previous year was like for me. I also visited the OM site, and went to related links as well. It led me to one resolve: to be there. Looking back to what the weekend has been, I'm only thankful to have been there.

My writing last year mentioned about forever changing a fundamental shift in my headspace. The lingering question however Making an annual pilgrimage to OM was the answer I was looking for. OM has been a purifying process. A time to rediscover self, renew friendships and in the words of my friend Scott (a.k.a. Basilisk), to gather the positive influences and bring back to the real world.

Getting naked for peace
A huge peace sign formed by naked bodies was in the works with an aerial shot for posterity. I felt an initial trepidation but being reminded that there are no spectators but participants at OM, I joined the rest. After walking around and talking with complete strangers who were equally naked, I realized the trepidation was a headspace issue. It felt...for lack of a better unshackling of the mind. Afterwards, a good number of people felt comfortable enough not to put their clothes back. It was a return to innocence.

   I tried to find Him on the Christian cross, but He was not there; I went to the Temple of the Hindus and to the old pagodas, but I could not find a trace of Him anywhere.

I searched on the mountains and in the valleys but neither in the heights nor in the depths was I able to find Him. I went to the Caaba in Mecca, but He was not there either.

I questioned the scholars and philosophers but He was beyond their understanding.

I then looked into my heart and it was there where He dwelled that I saw Him; He was nowhere else to be found.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi

The OM Circle
In celebration of the actual summer solstice (the time when the longest day of the year happens), everyone gathered in a big cicle around a field, hand-in-hand in the traditional chanting of the OM (pronounced au-oo-mm) mantra. The fluid continuity of the many layered sound of OM coming from thousands resonated around the entire site and within all of us. At that moment, the thousands united into one soul under the warmth of the clear blue sky. Hugging, well wishing (Happy OM!) and dancing into the wee hours followed in celebration of the moment.

OM Summer Solstice Festival II
sunrise at OM

Generating my own high
I was in a state of frenzied high the entire 3 days it lasted...connecting, hugging and dancing until sunrise. I don't do drugs...never have, never will. I am acutely aware of the irreversible damage it can do to the body...and I regard my body as a temple that should be held inviolate. However, I know people who do and I'm not passing judgment on that.

My fitness discipline* and an almost single-minded focus on grasping and pursuing esoteric concepts in the vain hope that a morsel of truth is revealed have catapulted me to heights far beyond the outer fringes of what any man-made hallucinogen or drug can do. I can't even begin to explain the permeating sense of purity up there.

At OM, the synergy between the music, arts, vibe and people have catalyzed my high to dizzying levels.

A friend once described what the sensation of "E" was (ecstasy, the drug). It allows you to draw a demarcation line between good and the undesirable. Having isolated the good...and just the good, you then plunge headfirst into that ocean of good and soak it in....good in its unadulterated form.

In a metaphorical sense, OM is a filtration where goodwill from like-minded people of varying persuasions open up to share the vibe, their thoughts, their art and themselves within an eclectic environmental array of music (from several sound stages), workshops, live acts, etc. In an almost Utopian setting, what comes out of that is a level of good from which everybody draws from and gives into...and the good begets itself. Being at OM and shedding it all (literally and figuratively) with an open heart has allowed me to soak in all that good...the kind of good I have taken with me back into the real world.

In that regard, OM is my ecstasy.

Ending Thoughts
Given the event's guards-down headspace, strangers became acquaintances...acquaintances became friends...friends pursued a deeper level of connection. It's uncanny how a casual conversation can lead to a connection. People aware of their common denominator and taking a leap of faith invariably find themselves together.

And this led me to what OM least to me....a collective togetherness. Hopefully, that connection, like a seed, is nurtured beyond the 3-day confines of OM and grows roots. Afterall, when the music dies down and the sound stages are dismantled and the pristine land of Killaloe is left without a trace, the only thing left is human connection.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

* yoga, meditation, breathing techniques [air is a wonder drug], cardio, strength training, mountain bike racing


Leave a comment?

Reader Comments:

Tamara Brodey (August 10, 2003)
i agree about how your describe the good at OM, and i wonder alot if people who take e at om, would have the same experiences of euphoria if they trust themselves without it. I think the space creates the euphoria, not the chemicals. the durg e just allows people who wouldn't turn it on any other way to experience it as well. I also love the Rumi poem that you included with your OM article.

Shan (July 17, 2003)
I finally got around to reading your OM article-- beautifully written, as always-- and seeing the accompanying photos. It's very overwhelming. There was this incredible sense of freedom that I felt at OM, and even now I'm realizing more and more that I really miss it. Thank you so much for capturing what you could on camera and sharing it with us. With cosmic-love....

Margaret Collins (July 15, 2003)
...saw my friend Norm @ Cherry Beach and he loved your OM story and pictures. He asked me who you were since I was in your pics. You are "chill" apparently ;)

Norm (July 11, 2003)
i saw your pix of om online and am very impressed with how you've captured the spirit of the festival through photography and through words (read your review). i hope you don't mind, but i cut and pasted your review on the tribe messageboard (
just wanted to touch base with you and introduce myself. it seems like we've got a couple common friends, more specifically ms.genevieve and sarah. there are pix me in that thread on tribe if you need a quick reminder what i look like.
anyways, i hope this email finds you well. maybe our paths will cross again sometime in the near future. one love....

bennyp (July 10, 2003)
wow what a great and well written article =) It enlivens the joy of Om fest within me and makes me want to continue the momentum all year long =)
I found a picture of me sitting by the sumkidz stage with a friend, and one of my sister during the kan nal act (which was a mind/spirit/bodyrockin good time)
i look forward to seeing you at teknival if you can make it there =)

Brian (July 1, 2003)
Hey!!!! That is so well-done! I was near you when Kanal was playing, and saw you captured some of that as looked pretty blissed out, too, which was a joy to see. I'll introduce myself next year, or in the spaces between if the occasion arises.
I totally forgot about the naked peace sign...what time was it held at? I was probably reiki-ing at that time.
I did find myself in one of the pics...just a mellow shot near SumKidz. Very cool!!!!
Thanks again! Shanti.

Soma (June 30, 2003)
...really nice pictures, they bring back the memories i found one of me and my friends, thanks, now i got somethin to remember the moment with hehe

just another fckin bitch (June 30, 2003)
your pictures are so beautiful! thank you so much for sharing them

Shlo (June 25, 2003)
"In that regard, OM is my ecstasy" -- That was a fantastic article sweetie. You do pretty well at summing up my experience through your words. I'm glad we actually got to see each other there this year as opposed to finding out after the fact like last year. And for many more Oms to come. Thank you for all the beautiful pictures!

OM Blogs:

  1. 2003 OM Summer Solstice Festival
  2. 2002 OM Summer Solstice Festival

Next story:
A Day in the Life of a Mountain Biker Jun 28, 2003
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Canada Day party at Cherry Beach July 1, 2003

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