Posts Tagged ‘Kris Oster’

Revisiting Gaia Festival 2008

“Mother Mysteries” - Held on October 11, 2008

Margaret Starbird, Gaia Festival 2008, "Mother Mysteries." Photo by Bree Crystal Clark.

Temescal Gateway Park
15601 Sunset Blvd
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Margaret Starbird, Author of “The Woman With the Alabaster Jar”
Karen Tate, Author of “Sacred Places of Goddess: 108 Destinations”

Workshop and Events:
Opening Circle and Altar Blessing
“Revealing the Sacred Union” Workshop with Magdalene scholar Margaret Starbird
“Pagan Paris” Workshop with Karen Tate
“The Goddess with A Thousand Faces” Lecture with Stephen Gerringer of the Joseph Campbell Foundation
Labyrinth Walk (created by Tyr Jung)
Drum Circle
- Open Time for Free Mini-Healing Sessions, Socialing and Shopping
Spiral Dance, facilitated by Stephanie Hamberger

Featured Presenter for 2008: Margaret Starbird
Margaret Starbird is a scholar whose work establishes the preeminence of Mary Magdalene and helps us to identify the archetypal Bride and Bridegroom of Christian mythology. By reclaiming Mary Magdalene as “Bride,” we can restore the masculine/feminine balance that was at the heart of early Christianity. Margaret’s scholarship was the main source of inspiration for Dan Brown’s novel, “The Da Vinci Code.”

The lecture and workshop retreat include slide presentations of sacred imagery, symbology, art and artifacts associated with Mary Magdalene.

Two of our presenters wrote gorgeous testimonials about how they experienced that sunny day in October 2008.

Greetings All,

I’m still basking in the glow of yesterday’s fabulous event facilitated so successfully and wonderfully by Kris with Stephanie’s help and support — and the help of Kris’s family and husband.  It was so lovely to see Seraphina, Kris’s new baby.  Such a beautiful baby – and I usually don’t think babies are precious. They usually remind me of little old men who cry a lot.  But not this little one – she is a treasure and true gift.

With everything melting down in the outer world, we were in Temescal Canyon, embraced on three sides by a Mother Mountain, with only one drive in – which reminded me of the vulva or birth canal.  We were in the safety of a metaphorical womb.  And it felt that way.  The day was beautiful, sunny, cool.  Hummingbirds and butterflys visited during parts of the opening ritual.  Rabbits could be seen running on the hillsides.  The energy was so loving, nurturing, casual, and informative. There was networking, support, reciprocity, a dedication to contribute to make the world a better place –  the day embodied all that is the Sacred Feminine in her many forms — including art, dance, ritual.  It gave me hope that as patriarchy  melts down, we will survive because of these Goddess ideals and aspects we all hold so close and dear to our hearts and minds.  We have the tools we need to sustain ourselves and thrive.  The day filled me with hope.

Thanks to everyone whose energy made this a special day.



Sweet Soul Sisters (and Brothers),

I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have been included in this wonderful celebration of the Goddess in all Her Incarnations. That inability to express myself isn’t due to a lack of words (rarely a problem for the excessively verbose, as you may have guessed), but because the gratitude I feel is beyond words – stirrings of the heart, and not the head.

Miranda’s pictures and Karen’s words – drawing the connection to our setting in the womb of Nature – evoke so many sacred associations for me … and “sacred,” indeed, is the key term.

Of course, I entered the liminal zone the moment I recognized the vendors’ room and the spiral labyrinth from my dream of two nights before. Then, after setting up the JCF table, I followed wooden steps down a few feet below the grassy area, to perform a quick centering ritual of my own – then looked up to see a fairy dancing among the tree branches on the slope immediately behind us! Tiny, feminine, graceful, a lustrous white – the spitting image of Tinkerbelle! (I’ll admit the rational, masculine side of my brain eventually identified her as a feathery, fluffy seedling floating on the breeze – but only one, where there should have been hundreds, given that wind!). I followed her spinning, twirling dance quite some distance as she soared above the trees and out into the open sky, before eventually disappearing into the sun.

Such magick, even before the opening ceremony – and the day seemed full of like synchronicities for everyone. Then, with the sacred circle, I could feel the grace of the Goddess welling up in me, welling up in everyone, and flowing throughout the day.

I was both humbled and honored to be included on the same program with Melanie, Karen, Joan, and Margaret. I am in such awe of what you are accomplishing, and the work you are doing on behalf of our planet, and of our souls. In particular, given that so much of the public perception of the Goddess “movement” is focused on the polytheistic, pagan forms She takes, I am sooo excited by Margaret’s mission and Joan’s work in restoring the sacred feminine to the Christian revelation.

Holy Blood, Holy Grail had a similar mind-expanding effect on me when it came out – about the same time I was first delving into Joseph Campbell’s work. From the mythological perspective, the shift we’re seeing in the popular perception, re-envisioning/re-membering the relationship of Mary Magdelene and Jesus (which we catch hints of in cinema in Jesus Christ Superstar and the alternate reality of Last Temptation of Christ, before blossoming into the unprecedented widespread popularity of the Da Vinci Code), strikes me as the harbinger of a major opening in the mythic imagination – a hopeful sign of what’s to come.

We have Margaret and Joan and other tireless workers to thank for taking this re-visioning out of the realm of fiction and giving it form in spiritual practice. Wow is all I can say …

But I also learned so much from everyone I spoke to Saturday – about belly dancing as an ancient aid in the birth process, about the origins of weaving reaching back to the time of the Goddess of Willendorf, about the Pacific Garbage Patch, and so much more.

Kris and Stephanie (great first name, Steph – wonder why I like it so much?), thank you for creating the sacred space and time to birth this magick. The only “criticism” I have is that it’s far too short – but then, everyone brings so many gifts of the soul that a weekend or even a week would be far too brief to take it all in. Thank you for your labor of love (and thanks to Kris and Shaun for the labor of love that is sweet Seraphina).

I returned to my home in Modesto yesterday afternoon, and found myself immediately immersed in lawyers and copyright violations and all that other stuff that seems a function of masculine, patriarchal thinking – but the grace of the Goddess evoked this weekend carries me through.

Metaphorically Yours,

steve (gerringer)


Gaia Festival Creatrixes

In 2005, Stephanie Hamberger and Kris Oster formed Soul Pilgrim (, a sacred retreat and pilgrimage tour company. They originally met in 2002 while on pilgrimage to Glastonbury, England and became fast friends and soul mates, even though they lived on opposite coasts. Stephanie is based in Colden, New York and Kris lives in Santa Barbara, California.

In September 2006, Stephanie had a vision of an annual community gathering, focused on Earth-centered spirituality and self-transformation through rhythm, dance, yoga, film and art.

Stephanie contacted Starhawk, author, environmental activist and leading voice in the Goddess movement, who agreed to participate and facilitate two workshops entitled, “The Earth Path: Giving Spirit Roots” and “Taking Root: Grounding Spirit in Earth.”

On November 11, 2006 in East Aurora, New York, the first Gaia Festival was born.  Later that year, Kris Oster, Stephanie’s business partner, began planning a West Coast edition.

On May 26th and 27th of 2007, Gaia Festival premiered in Los Angeles, California at Temescal Gateway Park.

About the Gaia Festival Creatrixes

Stephanie Hamberger (East Coast Creatrix)

Stephanie is the organizer of the first annual Gaia Festival. She worked as a photojournalist for years, which eventually led her onto her present path as the co-founder of Soul Pilgrim ( – an adventure that brings sacred travel, workshops, retreats and events to folks who want to honor and heal the land.

Of both Mohawk and a mélange of European descent, she identifies with both the traditional Native American and Old European expressions of spirit, but mostly hears and honors the wordless ancient call and “does what the land tells her to do”.

Stephanie has shared the songs, art and movement of our ancestors with travelers during her sacred pilgrimages to Glastonbury, Cornwall and Bath, England 2001-2005 for Lammas celebrations.

Stephanie debuted the Enchanted Mountain Goddess Conference on August 31-September 3, 2007 in Allegany State Park, Town of Red House, New York. The conference was a huge success and was held a second time in 2008.

Kris Katsuko Oster (West Coast Creatrix)

Kris Katsuko Oster is a percussionist, myth scholar, sacred event organizer and web developer.

At 19 years old, Kris dreamt of a beautiful goddess rising out of the ocean, calling out to her. At the time, she was studying African-Brazilian and Cuban rhythms on percussion instruments at California State University, Northridge where she earned her BA in Music. Many years later, she realized that this goddess was Yemanja, or Iemanjá, as she is known in Brazil.

In 2006, Kris spent three months in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil studying Candomblé, an African-Brazilian religion originating with the slaves brought from West Africa, to complete research for her dissertation, “Mothers, Female Tricksters and Heroines: A Mythological Portrait of Feminine Dynamism in Brazilian Candomblé and the Women Drummers Movement.”

Gaia Festival took place in Los Angeles in 2007 and 2008, and will take root in Santa Barbara on November 13-14, 2010.

Kris continues to explore and experience the mystical, transcendent aspects of drumming, and completed her Ph.D. in Mythological Studies/Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute (, which houses the Marija Gimbutas, Joseph Campbell and James Hillman archives.

Kris can be reached at

About Soul Pilgrim

Soul Pilgrim proudly hosts and organizes events, pilgrimages and workshops that honor Mother Earth. We are committed to walking the sacred path in everyday life.

We bring folks to far away places to honor ancient sacred sites as well as remind ourselves of the sacred landscape in our own backyards. We share the intuitive rhythms of the drum, which mirrors the heartbeat of Mother Earth. We sing from our depths the songs of stone and bone, fire and wave, feather and cave. We make lasting relics of our pilgrimages with our hands and hearts. We walk the Earth not in seeking, but in honoring.