A child-like discovery into the soul at Solrise gathering.

Good’s self-awareness writer Justine Jamieson checks out Solrise Gathering at Solscape, Raglan

Good magazine was recently invited to a newly conceived gathering called Solrise, located on the fertile lands of Raglan’s iconic Solscape. This stunning venue, that includes accommodation, is perched on Mt Karioi – an extinct volcano looking out to the wild Tasman ocean.

Photography Cadby Kong

My slumber quarters were the ‘Small Earth Dome’ where I felt like I was inside an earth womb viewing the stars through a small cervix-type portal. I felt warm, safe and grounded in this space. In hindsight that was exactly what I’d be needing.

After dropping off our bags along with my expectations for the weekend, my friend Yelena, her two boys and I made our way to the mainstage with the most incredible view I’d ever seen at a festival. In this interdimensional bubble I began to feel the altered states of consciousness begin to kick in, as magical wahines welcomed us with song and offered us water in shells to bless ourselves.

My friend’s children clung to their mum for a bit, not quite feeling the confidence to leave her side. It wasn’t long before the local kids enticed them to play and they started to explore the wonderous free-range natural playground around them.

Photography Shane Rosemeyer

On the full moon eclipse I started to feel my own wounded inner child starting to emerge. I knew from experience my distorted thoughts can only mean one thing – that I was here for some timely transformation. As I began to detach due to uncomfortable emotions surfacing I sat and watched everyone from the outskirts. A wild, scruffy-haired blonde girl barely 6 years old ran up and angrily spat in my face. I was shocked. Frowning I said, “Hey, why are you doing that?” She replied with, “I’m a dragon, rah!” She drew her claws at me and ran off. It made me laugh hard.

A few moments later a future-leader-type kid found a pile of sticks in the bush beside me and started to pass them in a line to a group of mixed-age children and a battle began. The drum’s beat from the band in the background to add to the drama. The same little girl as before, who was half the size of the boys around her fought like a small Joan of Arc and narrowly missed getting a stick in the face. She “rahed!” at my face again, then sprinted full-steam-ahead into the battle in fury. I realised she was a mirror for me to see my warrior-like inner child, screaming to be seen and heard, urging me to be hold my space in the world.

I was amazed watching the children. Their senses were so attuned to dodge danger and they trusted themselves enough to have no fear. I began to relax and my friend and I expressed our gratitude for the blessed opportunity to be in that beautiful place. The sun began to set as we ate our vegan woodfired pizza made with produce from the abundant gardens around us. We watched a kid riding a bike, with legs out, as he dodged a small dog then went straight into the crowd of adults dancing. I smiled and realised we may have just arrived at a very unique house-party-type festival.

Later, I listened for the shamanic drum that guided me through the pitched tents nestled around the accommodation buildings to the full moon circle hosted by Karen Hunter. I looked around, each person was going through their own story in their mind. I saw people frowning, others crying and some smiling in bliss. Karen mentioned, “As a community when we are feeling good we must hold those that are at the peak of their healing, as we are the blessed ones that can illuminate others at that moment.” Her words carried weight for me at that time as I wasn’t being the most compassionate me I could be that week. We continued to rise with kirtan songs in Te Reo Māori and as the energy got higher in the group, so did the moon. People started to howl, cheer, sing and clap. As the circle naturally came to a close we could hear speakers starting to pump in the background on the mainstage ready for a night of dancing under the moon on this magical star-filled night.

The next morning I began my day on the exact time of the moon eclipse with qigong facilitated by Mataora Rongoā Hōtoke. This helped me lift into a powerful, centred, inspired and energised state. Afterwards I sat at my viewing spot on the hill and tasted the best in-house made chai, ever. I ate yum smashed avocado on homemade sourdough with homegrown salad creatively garnished with pretty edible flowers. I wrote poems as the breeze brushed my skin and the beautiful voices of Endless Splendour sang mantras. I felt the joy from children and adults giggling behind me as they learnt acrobatic moves at the ‘Freedom to Fly’ acro workshop.

Next up things got intense with a guided journey meditation into the subconscious as we lay on the grass. Then my friend and I were straight into a cacao ceremony and ecstatic dancing in the hot sun.

Throughout the Solrise gathering there were many performances, live art installations and informative and transformational workshops on offer nestled around the venue. Everything from yoga, meditation, African dance, wisdom circles, sound journeys to eco-building, permaculture, native plant medicine, Ayurvedic cooking, fermentation – the list was huge. There were also heaps of entertainment for children such as acrobatic performances from Freedom to Fly, mandala painting, yoga and other fun things at the Kids Zone. At night the kids played spotlight in this very safe community filled with aroha.

Photography Cadby Kong

During the day until late at night people danced out their evolving energy with awesome performances from many great DJs, singers, and bands such as Isaac ChambersKallidadMatiu te HukiAlice sea, Ben CatleyDj Herman Saiz and more.

Along the paths through the accommodation spaces, there was a cute market full of beautiful wares and even a tarot reader. If you needed one-on-one support on your healing journey there was massage by heart-centered traditional Māori healers, along with reiki and acupuncture inside tipis or in the native bush surrounded by bird and insect song.

I experienced an amazing healing from Mataora Rongoā Hōtoke, which included Māori prayer through song, acupuncture, reiki and deep tissue massage outside his tipi under the trees. I left feeling present, grounded and in bliss as I walked back through the native forest.

You come to expect that at any spiritual gathering you will be taken on a joy-ride through your mind and every single person you come across will mirror you to help unlock and release your fears and welcome in new possibilities of opening up and thinking from your heart centre – but for me what was most special about Solrise was the venue. It felt like coming home to whanau. We were held in a pā-type environment. I felt safe to express my own inner child’s longings in order to grow on my personal journey. I knew the transformation through my own shadows of judgment were bigger than just me; I felt a deeper feeling of connection within the community that rippled out in waves from Raglan – encouraging a more connected Earth.

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