Solitaire and Gracey
I leave the white bread, pop-country confines of Nashville for the pagan commune named Dragonshire in the heart of the bible belt countryside. Not the easiest place to gain entry, but with a friend living there, we are shepherded through.
Gracey Tedesco and I visit Dragonshire resident Sean Ivan, her step Dad and my host.
Pagans have a flair for the dramatic; passing the dragon en route through the grottos to an actual castle, there’s an omnipresent, dark, fairy tale feel.
Solitaire, the caretaker and artist in residence, greets us under the bower for some discourse on Dionysus, Greek god of wine and revelry. Then we arrive at the center.
We soldier on (enjoying cocktails and craft beer) at the castle as night nears, sans Gracey to avoid the Brothers Grimm fairy tale ending, though we now sorely lack our only photogenic team member. We still have the heretofore unmentioned Kevin with us, but he sleeps rough quite often and is unafraid of excess, though he fortunately brings a strong hand to the guitar so we have a soundtrack as we wander. Even in fake quests, everyone needs to bring a skill to the table.
Just a lazy Saturday afternoon working on the castle before the out-of-town pagans arrive for the dark festival. Set-up not unlike a big family barbecue, except with an altar, pentagrams and such.
Solitaire, more somber as night comes, checks our bona fides for the festival.
Night falls, and the atmosphere changes more than expected.
Casual day attire with a witchy spin.
Midnight is upon us, with the pagans dancing to chanting and drums in a trancelike state, the music crescendos.