A Vinotok Pilgrimage & Radio Theatre begin September 13
Vinotok has always prided itself on being an institution of sacred activism. Sacred because we honor the Earth and our relationship with it. Activism because strengthening our bonds to nature, community and self is a form of cultural revolution. We just tend to do it with an extraordinarily creative and wild flair.
This year feels incredibly potent and significant to what has always been our mission.
We are living in an age of the Wastelands. From climate change to the pandemic, from racial injustice to political ineptitude, this social and environmental barrenness rises from a culture of neglect and imbalance. The Wastelands appear as a concept in ancient Celtic mythology as a consequence of lack of respect and relationship for and with the Earth and her gifts.
In this extraordinary age of transformation, Vinotok takes this opportunity to heal these Wastelands through a series of practices our community can engage in to foster gratitude, balance and reciprocity. To banish what no longer serves us, and as we rise out of these transformative and communal flames, to beckon a future that is brimming with respect and love for the planet and all her creatures, and to every single human we share her with.
Here’s how to tap in…
Go on a Vinotok Pilgrimage
Temporary art installations, what Vinotok calls “Altars,” representing Vinotok’s archetypal characters from the Harvest Mother and Green Man to Maidens and the Magistrate, are spread up and down Elk Avenue as well as out in nature, in Wasteland sites surrounding Crested Butte.
Beginning Sunday, September 13, strike out on a personal walking tour of the installations through “Walking the Way: A Vinotok Pilgrimage,” gathering information and activities along the route.
The altars in the Wasteland sites hold a special purpose. In Vinotok, we rightly venerate our mining heritage. From these strong, heart-led people comes our strong sense of community, affinity for polka and taste for potica bread. And the mining practices that began in the 1800s and continued into the 1970s, caused an immense amount of destruction in our landscape, from the tailings that surround us, to toxic water leaching out of glory holes, to pushing the native Ute people from their ancestral home.
Each “off Elk” Wasteland site is on a mining scar in our local habitat. We believe part of creating right relationship with the Earth is to notice. We must acknowledge the detriment of our past actions, and pledge not only to restore these lands, but to move forward with greater respect. Wasteland Altars aim to heal the past destructive relationship we’ve had with the land, and recreate one based on the attributes of balance and reciprocity, strong themes in this year’s Vinotok.
To begin your Walking the Way Vinotok Pilgrimage, first go to www.vinotok.org to download and print a map of all the altar locations. Then, grab a journal and pen, bring a satchel of appropriate offerings, and be prepared with a camera. You’re ready! Take the opportunity to disconnect from technology and reconnect to yourself by taking this slow walk in nature.
Functioning like a treasure hunt, each stop along the Vinotok Pilgrimage offers a mythological explanation of the character, as well as provides the gift of a special activity feeding into one of our 2020 themes of “Stoking the Internal Fires.” These gifts might be a journaling prompt, or instructions on constructing a Beckoning Prayer Flag for the Fire Circle. One might direct you to Grump & Gratitude papers to access for writing down your Grumps and leaving at the Fire Circle; another will provide materials and direction on beginning a head wreath. Many activities lead into the final stop and culmination of the Vinotok Pilgrimage—the Fire Circle at the crossroads of the Four-Way Stop.
Reinforcing our theme of balance and reciprocity with the land, you will be asked to leave a blessing, sentiment of gratitude and appreciation, an offering of healing or a pardon request to the land where that altar exists. Examples of offerings might be a bundle of herbs from your garden, or a special rock, feather or other found object.
After each pilgrimage station, you can visit www.vinotok.org to download all the mythology, information and activities formatted with original artwork by Peggy Morgan Stenmark, to compile your very own Vinotok 2020 book.
Vinotok Altars are generously sponsored by Mountain Earth, the Eldo, Slogar, Talk of the Town, Bonez, Mikey’s, Dogwood, Teocalli Tamale, Secret Stash, Tobacconist, Kochevar’s, Mountain Spirits, Last Steep, Public House and the T-Bar.
Buy a Community Feast Box
The locally and regionally harvested, organic Vinotok Community Feast is on, with feast boxes! These delightful boxes are an experience in and of themselves, each containing all the raw ingredients necessary for you and the loved ones of your household to prepare the full feast (excluding staples such as salt or oil) at home, accompanied by traditional recipes (some by our very own old-timers) and instructions; special Vinotok bread from Mountain Oven; homemade pickles from Ellen’s Pickles; and flowers for the table. Our very own local Buckel Family Wines has brewed a very special Vinotok Village Zinfandel for the occasion with original label artwork by Steph White, which is complimentary with your Feast Box.
Each box also contains a blessing from the Harvest Mother and Green Man; a traditional potica bread family recipe from generational Buttian Trudy Yaklich; and a Grump & Gratitude form all designed with original artwork and calligraphy by Peggy Morgan Stenmark.
Then, while you’re stirring up your delectable feast, tune into KBUT, the tie that binds us, for a non-denominational Community Handfasting Ceremony, music with Lizzy Plotkin, and call-in toasts. The Community Feast is a lovely way to financially support Vinotok and our full week of offerings, while settling in and getting cozy, warming up the kitchen and uniting through radio.
We cannot accommodate substitutions or changes to the boxes. You must be 21 to order a Feast Box. Order at www.vinotok.org. $70 for a box for two; $120 for a box for four, each includes a complimentary bottle of Vinotok Village Zinfandel. Pick-ups at the Depot: Thursday, September 17, 6 to 8 p.m.; and Friday, September 18, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Give a Gratitude Gift
Express your gratitude to your friends, family, co-workers, the cashier at the grocery store, the person who was kind to you on the street—whomever! This year’s Green Man will be hand-delivering Gratitude Gifts with a special blessing from him printed with original artwork from Peggy Morgan Stenmark, and a small token hand-selected by the Green Man (examples might be a beautiful poem, a treasured object from nature, or a hunt for a magical find in the forest) to the people of your choosing, leaving them secretly on their physical doorstep. Think of them as a Vinotok Valentine sent by our very own Cupid. Let’s love up our community by sending Gratitude Gifts all around! Gifts delivered throughout the month of September.
$5 donation per gift ordered at www.vinotok.org.
Make a Prayer Flag
This year Vinotok is particularly focused not only on what we need to banish from the Wastelands, but also on how we want to rise up out of this fire. At one of the stops on the Walking the Way: A Vinotok Pilgrimage you will receive instructions on making a “Beckoning & Blessing Prayer Flag,” but there’s no reason you can’t get started now. Cut an 8 x 11-inch rectangle out of any kind of green cloth you can find. Leaving two inches at the top, decorate your rectangle with blessings and beckonings. These could be wishes, pleas and visions for the community and for the planet as we move forward into a brighter future.
Decorate with markers, paint, sewn objects, beads, bits of fabric—whatever strikes your creativity. Then, any time between Sunday, September 13 and Saturday, September 19, visit the Fire Circle at the crossroads at the Four-way Stop and hang your Beckoning & Blessing Prayer Flag on the line provided. Vinotok will sew all of our Beckoning & Blessing Prayer Flags together, rising from the flames of transformation, to call in balance, reciprocity and goodness for our community and the world.
Write through the Changes
While Vinotok’s bonfire often gets the most attention, the creative co-directors of the celebrations intentionally prepare for weeks beforehand. To “Stoke our Internal Fires” Vinotok is providing a weekly worksheet throughout September leading up to the Autumn Equinox. In “Writing Through the Changes,” author and educator Molly Murfee shares the more contemplative Vinotok practices of meditation, responding to journaling prompts and connecting to place. Each week’s worksheet revolves around a 2020 Vinotok theme: Gratitude, Balance & Reciprocity and Banishing & Beckoning. Find these free Writing Through the Changes worksheets on the blog of www.vinotok.org, or through our Facebook page to make the most of your preliminary preparations for Vinotok and the turning of the Autumn Equinox.
Tune in to KBUT
Vinotok partners with KBUT to bring our community, and the world, our events normally held in person. Through exciting radio theatre—a production of music, poetry, sound effects and more—listen in as we gather around the airwaves to tell each other story.
Vinotok—Myth, Meaning & Ritual: Monday, September 14. 6 to 7 p.m. on KBUT
Discover the secrets behind the flame. This special session with Vinotok founder and master storyteller Marcie Telander covers everything you want to know about Vinotok. Learn the ancient lore, origins, history and mystery underlying Crested Butte’s favorite festival and the all-community Harvest Celebration unlike any other. Call your questions in to KBUT for a live Q&A and ask Marcie your heart’s desire on all the myth, meaning and ritual behind vinotok.
Celebration of the Harvest Mother: Tuesday, September 15, 6 to 7 p.m. on KBUT
Celebrate the Harvest Mother with a radio theatre presentation of this year’s chosen discussions, poetry and storytelling of the Earth Mother archetype, the divine feminine and honoring the goddess. With Vinotok founder and godmother Marcie Telander, Harvest Mother celebrants K.T. Folz and Adge Marziano and the 2020 Harvest Mother, Kat Bernier. Call your questions in to KBUT for a live Q&A.
Frank Orazem Memorial Storytelling Evening: Wednesday, September 16, 6 to 7 p.m. on KBUT
This year Vinotok is ecstatic to present Phyllis Charlene Spann Guerrieri. Listen to Phyllis read stories from her book, Pure Joy. Phyllis is an artist, storyteller and fourth-generation rancher of the Gunnison Valley. She began painting scenes from her life at age 78, after a successful career as the business manager of her family’s ranch. With the support of her daughter, Cara, Phyllis combined her artwork and personal experiences to publish her first book, Pure Joy. This not-to-be-missed storytelling event will share local history, and also intimate stories of how generations of women in the Gunnison Valley have lived and worked. In her book, you can find colorful paintings by Phyllis that bring her humorous and poignant stories alive.
The evening commences with the announcement of the 2020 Vinotok Green Spirit Awards, honoring community members with strong dedications to earth stewardship in our valley.
If you’ve always wanted to be a part of Vinotok, but the larger crowds felt daunting—this is your year! We need folks for helping to assemble the Community Feast Boxes and folks inclined to gather greenery and dried things to make decorative bundles for businesses and other areas. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to enlist your services. Please know we are practicing the strictest of health precautions in all of our preparations, with the vast majority of our volunteer opportunities activities you can complete on your own with no gathering at all.
Stay in the Loop
Archetypal mythology; Writing Through the Changes meditation and journaling practices and reading recommendations; Walking the Way: A Vinotok Pilgrimage activities; Community Feast Box tickets; and Gratitude Gifts can all be found at www.vinotok.org. Check out our blog for up-to-date inspirational information on interacting with this year’s very special Vinotok. We’re also on Facebook.