Chapel Hill students need to change to their Saturday night plans because one of the more unique events near UNC might be an Imbolc ceremony with cacao, meditation and live music at The Flowjo.
Imbolc is a Gaelic traditional festival that honors the changing of the seasons, but that doesn’t stop Julia Hartsell, owner and curator of The Flowjo, and Jonathan Edwards, Hartsell's partner, from making it modern and unique.
The Flowjo is a creative space in Carrboro that offers aerial dance, hoop dance, ceremonies and also options for one-on-one healing treatment with clients.
“It’s old in some ways, and it’s new in others," Edwards said. "We’re just trying to serve the needs of the community that way."
One of the many unique things about the event is the beverage served, a drink made of cacao, or cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate. It’s a traditional beverage that’s been consumed since the time of the Aztecs, but Edwards believes it’s still worth trying today.
“It’s just a really beautiful medicine that’s gentle and heart opening,” he said. “It can be really joyful or could reveal grief that needs to be moved to access more joy—and it’s delicious.”
Even if an attendee is not interested in the cacao, the ceremony has something for everyone. Another feature of the event is live music, that will be performed by David Wimbish, a musician who is part of The Collection, an orchestral folk band from North Carolina.
“(The music is for) somebody who is interested in going within and also listening to the music," Hartsell said. "It's a meditative space, there’s space for movement, there's space for sitting at the altar or just sitting in your own private space.”
Wimbish said the music will create a space to usher in the exploration of emotions like loss, doubt and hope.
“Through the ceremony it’s a way to tap into our deeper emotions with each other, to be able to express our deeper emotions with each other, to find the transformational energy within ourselves, our songs are about that," Wimbish said.
The ceremony happening Saturday night is one of many events that The Flowjo will present — they hope to celebrate all four Gaelic seasonal festivals. It’s part of a larger vision that Hartsell has for The Flowjo.
"We're reweaving ritual and movement and healing arts,” Hartsell said. “Respecting our bodies and being present in them is part of a bigger project here on Earth right now.”
One of the goals of The Flowjo is to remind people of the more faithful aspects of who they are and to help rectify any neglect to the more subtle, emotional or spiritual side of themselves, Hartsell said.
“People are interested. It’s kind of an overused word these days, but people are interested in 'authentic,'" Edwards said. "People are interested to explore and relate from a common place of curiosity.”
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