The Oregon Eclipse Gathering in Totality: Photos & More from Big Summit Prairie

While thick cloud cover trolled the Bay Area during this week’s total solar eclipse, flocks of fortunate sun seekers chased a conglomerate of festival producers up to Big Summit Prairie, Oregon, to catch the event in totality.

In an off-year of their widely praised festival, the Symbiosis Gathering production team joined forces with some of the best in their game-Lightning in a Bottle’s Do LaB (California), Rainbow Serpent (Australia), Origin (South Africa), Envision (Costa Rica), Beloved (Oregon), and many more-to offer a profoundly transformational experience for everyone involved.

Each of the countless interactive installations throughout the festival grounds carried so much attention to detail and heart warming odes to sacred geometry. Symbiosis and company far surpassed all efforts of any previous gathering of its kind.

Among the estimated 30,000 people in attendance were spiritual leaders of varying practices from countries like Ecuador, Japan, Colombia, and Peru. One shaman traveled from Okinawa carrying water collected from sacred sources all over the globe. With it, she anointed participants during a water blessing ceremony.

Burning embers from Standing Rock also made the journey to Ochoco National Forest to ignite the three sacred fires around the festival grounds. The last of the sacred fires were lit moments before the moon passed between our planet and the sun.

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In celebration of one of the most astounding works of art the Universe composes, artists of the Earth, across many mediums, mustered up the best of their own art.

Marbs, a beatsmith of the Desert Hearts clan, threw down so hard on the Sky Stage-the festival’s house music haven-the rest of his gang relinquished most of their six total designated hours to keep him spinning. But the best set of the stage, and perhaps of the festival, transpired as the clock struck midnight on the eve of the eclipse. Then in the first two hours of the day of totality, everyone at the Sky Stage fell under the hypnotic control of the deep, dark, soul-penetrating, ear-hole expanding, shamanic drum rhythms of KMLN.

While the sun baked the fest well into the 80’s each day, four-on-the-floor house beats were heard at the shores of the lake, where two water slides, a handful of floating platforms, and the SymBiOAT saloon served those looking to keep cool and saucy.

The festival’s music lineup was allocated across seven stages-one main, four slightly more specialized stages, and two more dedicated mostly toΒ live performance. The Sky Stage pounded house music. The Earth Stage pushed world-influenced glitch. The Sun Stage blasted blistering psy-trance, while the Moon Stage served bassheads their bliss.

The Librarian, Bass Coast Festival’s originator, held down the Moon Stage-and all it’s psychedelic mushroom structures-with a set saturated with proper UK Grime. French glitch goddess, CloZee, received much praise for her Earth Stage appearance, and Bassnectar undeniably dominated the main Eclipse Stage. But as transformational fests go, the juiciest fruit was found outside of the music.

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Environments like The Parlor and The Hub cultivated rich, mind-bending dialogue traversing topics from spirituality to sexual identity, from crypto-currency to astrophysics.

Philosophers and physicists like Michael Garfield and Bruce Damer were found in discussion with deep thinkers at The Hub, dissecting the human experience and illuminating the front lines and intersections of philosophy, spirituality, sociology and quantum physics.

Just a day later, the anesthesiologist and consciousness connoisseur, Stuart Hameroff, waged his scientifically backed theories of the Universe itself as a conscious entity, evolving through aeons.

The prairie also learned from Ryan Rising, a community organizer for the Permaculture Action Network. Their multi-faceted mission is to create community access to land for local food growing and inform people on how to take direct action toward a more resilient way of life through social permaculture.

Of all the soul-nourishing and enlightening offerings, however, no festival feature could amount to the main event-Oregon’s total solar eclipse. The ultimate landing from which to observe the event was positioned between the two towers of the Sun Temple, where the last sacred fire to be lit was the fulcrum of a mighty stage set for a breathtaking ceremony-a collaboration of the many tribes gathered to celebrate the humbling eclipse.

Speeches and captivating dance continued around the fire all the way up to the moment of totality-the moment, it seemed, that all ego evaporated from Big Summit Prairie. For a couple minutes, the prairie was blanketed in an ominous shade and temperatures dropped about fifteen to twenty percent.

As all the tear-filled eyes fixated on the sky, so did shutter and lens to capture the blink of time. Here’s an Insta-gallery of what the photographers, both expert and amateur, were able to capture throughout the festival experience.

*Feature image provided by Jamal Eid

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Written by Ryan Mannix

Bay Area blogger and former radio host, spotlighting Bay Area music and rising artists