This past weekend was the “Raw Union Festival” a wedding for two leading spokes people in the raw food movement, conscious life movement, intentional awakened living, on and on…you know – all the good stuff movement. The festival part was basically for the ultimate betterment of all life and directly for all who came to be an active part of the festivities which included lectures by many of the cutting edge raw foods spokespeople including of course Angela and Matt themselves, but also Elaina Love, Annie Jubb, David Wolfe and many more, awakened cosmic activists and inspired conscious creatives, live food demo’s with Melissa Mango, Christian Bates, and not to mention little ole me…hee,hee, Healers, yoga with none other than Rainbeau Mars, positive and moving musical performances, moving art and constantly forming alters, permaculture lectures, raw food booths, hemp clothing and just some of the most radiant beings on the planet – Holy Macadamia Nuts, was this an activated wedding & festival!
With Massive importance I want to mention the AMAZING crew of volunteer kitchen and ground staff, the wedding caterer herself Solla was the most gracious, playful, positive, kitchen sprite ever! What a Blessed and radiant woman,
I am SO honored to have had the opportunity to share space with her and connect to a new yet ancient soul sister if ya know what I mean.
Follow this link to check out more about the line up.
Angela Stokes now Angela Stokes Monarch and Matt Monarch gathered together between three and four hundred people to attend and enjoy their ceremony of celebrating the union and acknowledgment of an eternal bond and commitment to one another and it seems through that union to the whole of the world by way of fulfilling their destiny and living life in a continued spiral of awakening.
I’m sure there are tons of rawkin’ folks out there posting blogs all about this phenomenal event. Now, I will share Raw Union through the lens of what was going to be a Demo Chef turned Wedding Cake Chef, and an overall delighted and honored soul that got to participate in bringing together a truly enchanted weekend of Love and Light!
When I first heard about this wedding event I knew that it would be a great honor and joy to share an offering of my skills as a demo chef (in all honesty there was a voice in the back of my head thinking – “Wow, I wish I could make their wedding cake – I know it would be the very best ever” and at the same time, I knew how special it was that the Boutenko family would be making it and for sure they would do an outstandingly incredible job!). I sent an email to Laura Fox (producer of this event and powerhouse of a woman, inspiring, and opening the doors of vitality through her blog, radio show and radiant personality), with photo’s of my food art and an idea of what I would love to share in a food demo. She wrote me back with a big YES – Yay, and I began to prepare recipe ideas to share with all! Time went on, life was busy as always and before I knew it the week of the wedding had arrived. It was Tuesday afternoon and I was being Oompa Chaya at Coracao Confections when I took a break, checked my email and there was a note from Angela Stokes asking if I would Love to make the wedding cake, for some reason the Boutenko family had to leave to Russia and wouldn’t be available to make the cakes. You can guess what my response was right??? Well just in case you couldn’t guess it was a quick and big YES!!!! It would be a complete HONOR!
From that point until the actual clean up after the wedding it was a non-stop process to pull everything together. With a booked schedule and two days to create wedding cakes for 350 I knew sleep would be minimal and energy would be high. From gathering ingredients, equipment, tools, adjusted recipes, getting a ride, packing clothes, still preparing for the food demo that I was on the bill for (which I felt strongly about following through with, because I knew folks would be looking forward to it and I am a stand for being true to your word), and making sure all of my regular work details were covered the flow seemed to be magically seamless…this was obvious Divine coordination, as the whole of the Festival was!
I arrived at Angel’s Farm just outside of Medford Oregon around 9:30 pm Thursday night (I could tell it was a special place, but would soon become aware of just a small portion of how special it was, this is definitely a revolutionary place that I would love to spend more time at). The hustle and bustle was on in a BIG way, kitchen crew still working on into the night until about 11pm, this was all for the wedding day which was the Summer Soulstice Sunday the 21st.
I got settled that night, had a brief introduction to sweet Solla, kitchen crew and my sleeping bunk. I do have to mention, as I headed out the first night to find a bathroom, I heard the sweetest sound, it sounded like the vibrations of life, support, growth, love, nourishment…I kid you not. I thought perhaps there were some people creating simple meditative tones, I could hear this from my room, as I walked, soft, sweet and comforting. I looked for where the sound was coming from and was led to a greenhouse filled with wheatgrass, sunflower sprouts, and other sprouts. There is much to learn about Angel’s Farm, I believe the name says more than one might think. I didn’t have a chance to ask about it, but it seems they are using harmonious vibrational sound to assist and support the growth of their foods. It was constant and soothing throughout the weekend, a subtle sound in the background…so sweet!
Friday morning I greeted the kitchen around 5:30 a.m. and began making date paste, by pressing medjool dates through a champion juicer fitted with the solid plate. Champions tend to get very hot, so between pressing and cooling I was making almond milk, almond pulp, hazelnut milk and hazelnut pulp. Around 7 a.m. the kitchen Queen Solla delighted me with her presence and all the kitchen angels began trickling in. Before I knew it the buzz wuzz on. Everyone was so supportive of one another, playful and in the highest spirits. Ginnette, Rawbin, Marie and Sergey were the first folks I met. Everyone holding their posts, Sergey a raw pastry chef who I used to work with at Cafe Gratitude made coconut cream pies for three days straight…WOW! Solla held a consistent spirit of love, calm, peace, playfulness, expertise, whimsical creativity – there are not enough words to express how impressed I am by Sweet Solla of Iceland, Raw Food Chef Extraordinaire! The team continued to grow over the next day and the support just increased with grace and flow. Ginnette is not only a raw chef but also a massage therapist and did her best to keep everyone rubbed and loved.
The wedding cakes on my menu were two Chocolate Hazelnut sheet cakes serving around 200 – 250 all together, and one three tiered lemon coconut wedding cake serving around 150-200 all together. Friday was all about getting the bases made, the frosting poured and everything set up in the fridge. These were non stop days for all the kitchen staff, yet we kept each other well nourished. I made a big Green Smoothie of mostly parsley with some apple and apricot for breakfast, another green smoothie was offered up later for lunch, there was always a big beautiful salad made for all volunteers and someone would throw together a dressing out of thin air. I didn’t have time to stop for food, but Miss. Stokes Monarch seemed to psychicly know exactly what I needed when I needed it and brought me a deeply nourishing green juice that she made with her own bride hands….how thoughtful and insightful!
Well 8 pm came around out of no where, and for those of you who don’t know I hold the Shabbat or Sabbath which meant by sundown Friday I had to be finished with all my work and ready to observe the day of rest until dark on Saturday. It just so happened that everything I wanted to be finished with before Shabbat was miraculously finished with just enough time to make a simple Shabbat dinner for all, shower, change and call in the Holiness of this day of rest! Phew….16 hours of work and the next 24 for pure rest, prayer, relating and Love!
For dinner I made a big batch of almond hummus and a nice big green salad. It was enjoyed by all those who were willing to wait a bit so I could say some traditional prayers, call in the angels and sanctify the day through some prayers over the meal. It was so special to share this practice with all those open hearts who joined!
The night continued with song, family and relaxation…just how it should be if you ask me. I didn’t sleep much that night or my whole stay until after the wedding. It was about 4 hours a night until Sunday when I got around 10 hours and have been exhausted until well right about now! But it was well worth it, and during the festival, it was as if we were in another dimensional space where sleep and wake were not the same as in the outside world.
The gift of Shabbat is rest, and the acknowledgment of all that life is and the perfection and completeness of it, rather than during the week when we are adding, building, creating, re-creating, constantly going etc. What a gift it is, the additional gift during this weekend was the fact that I had a chance to experience the festival itself, whereas if I didn’t observe the Shabbat I would have definitely worked through the whole thing. I had a chance to rest in bed, here some lectures, including David Wolfe’s, which was so inspiring and insightful. I was especially inspired by the ideas he shared in regards to the cosmic energy impact on different foods and on us through those foods. Very deep stuff! The pinnacle of the day I must say was having the opportunity to share in the song and blessing circle that was Angela’s Bridal Shower. It was guided by Annie Jubb who is truly a powerful and transparent woman and leader, the songs were led by an expansive and earth connected Momma who’s name I am not recalling. She guided us in simple and timeless songs, sung by women throughout the ages, some of which were traditionally never heard by men. This sacred circle of wise women truly helped me and I’m sure many others to reconnect to their innate knowing, and power centers.
Weddings, gathering and reuniting of souls in community is a great gift and healing for all who choose to join. This weekend accomplished that in a very powerful way. After dark Saturday night it was back to work. This time not only on the wedding cakes, but I had to prepare for my demo which was scheduled for 1:30 Sunday afternoon…..how that was going to be possible I had not a clue, and my attention was just on love, trust and allowing the process with ease and grace! Bedtime was around 1 am and wake up 5 am…yes crunch time! Woohoo!
Now it was time to decorate these massive cakes. My vision was for “Enchanted Garden” wedding cakes. I was assigned an Angel to be by my side, her name was Angie and the first task I gave her was to collect me a wide variety of beautiful wild flowers. Little did I know she had a special connection to plants and gardens from childhood. All things truly work out perfectly when you stay in trust. As the day progressed so did the art, and a bit of nervousness. Nonetheless there was a constant flow of support reminding me to breathe and offering service. Wow!
As 1 pm came around, I quickly prepared to teach my class, and fulfilled that obligation with joy and nearly a 50 person audience. One of the kitchen Angels video taped the whole thing. I will post it later along with the recipe so you can make your own Blueberry Meringue Pie if you like???
The rest of the day moved very quickly, I didn’t get to see the whole ceremony, but what I did see and hear was absolutely gorgeous. One thing I would like to mention about the magic of the day was how Saturday was all cloudy, it felt like rain and knowing Oregon that was a definite possibility. By the time Sunday came around the clouds were broken up, the temperature was perfectly comfortable, and the sparsely clouded skies were a treat to the eyes and senses.
David Wolfe officiated the ceremony, there was an opera singer who could shake the heavens, and just as the ceremony was being completed with a kiss we brought the finished wedding cake out for the first cut and taste by the bride and groom. I create that feeding one another the first slice of this live wedding cake was a symbol of feeding each other vital sweetness that would be the beginning or continuity of an eternity of life and sweetness.
Here is a close up of the finished tiered wedding cake:
After watching and throwing rose pedals, it was back to the kitchen. The raw cake was in the sun for a bit and had to be replaced into the fridge until after dinner. During the dinner, I was completing decorations for the last two sheet cakes and they were finished just in time to serve for dessert. Here are the “Enchanted Garden at Midnight” Chocolate Hazelnut Wedding Cakes:
I did have a chance to taste Solla’s food. Not only is her personality outstanding but she makes food to match. All the flavors were delightful, simply beautiful and oh so satisfying. The rest of the night was filled with music, and celebration. By the time I was done cleaning, my feet were ready for a break, but I thought after all that work, I better push a little further and boogie just for a bit! That’s exactly what I did, until it was too cold and I could stand no more. Then it was off to bed, and I was out from 11 pm ’till nearly 10 am on Monday! What an incredible weekend. I look forward to many more like that.
I LOVE this community/family, I am definitely going to go and hang out with Solla in Iceland, Matt and Angela in Ecuador “the valley of Longevity” ahhhh Yeah! And many more raw adventures to come.
Thanks for taking a journey into my experience, I hope you had fun, and check back soon for videos of the event, class and recipes…Yummmm! I love you all, Chaya