Peacemakers gather at Jackson Wellsprings

Wisdom circles, teachings, meditation and music highlight The Gathering of the Peacemakers and the One Love Festival, two events being held Labor Day weekend at Jackson Wellsprings in Ashland.

Organized by Julia and Robert Roskind of North Carolina, The Gathering of the Peacemakers runs Friday through Sunday and includes wisdom circles, or teachings and discussions, on "Creating Loving Unions," "Finding Your Life's Mission," "Creating a Balanced Work Life," "Conscious Parenting and Caregiving" and "Staying Awake in a Sleeping World," among others.

The weekend also includes performances by artists such as Alcyon Massive, Cornflower, Skip Wicked (of Indubious), Freedom, Synrgy and Rocker T, multi-media presentations, open mic and fire circles.

The cost is $75 and includes camping.

On Monday, there'll be a one-day version of the event called the One Love Festival, featuring shortened wisdom circles and music by the same groups. The event runs from noon to 10 p.m. and is $20.

The wisdom circles are small groups in which participants "become enlivened, by each person speaking their heart and teaching others," Julia Roskind says.

Robert Roskind says the circles are about "how to express unconditional love in a relationship, in the media and everywhere and using it to help find your mission in life."

"At this time in history, the planet needs to move to greater levels of love," says Robert, author of a dozen books. "Our problems won't get solved by political leaders or technology or any other such means."

The couple say their nonprofit organization has presented 170 such festivals, many of them in Jamaican ghettos, North Carolina prisons and in Native American settings, drawing understanding about love from elders there.

The festivals promote the idea of "one love," a Rastafarian motto that means "full expression of the sense of unity and oneness and living positively, without fear," Julia says.

It carries the religious and psychological ideals of agape love (Christian), shalom (Jewish), the "beauty path" (Hopi) and unconditional love, but is "spiritual, not religious, Robert says, "and is a tool to help people remember their assignment in life, which is to go teach love."

The message of love, the couple say, is that all the world's problems — greed, violence, exploitation — come from lack of love.

"It's about love, forgiveness and justice," Robert says.

For Robert, an "ex-hippie from Wolf Creek and Grants Pass," the Ashland event represents a homecoming.

Tickets to Monday's event are available at Music Coop and at the gate. The event is alcohol- and drug-free and dog-friendly, meaning dogs under 25 pounds are welcome.

For more information, see http://www.onelovepress.com.

John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

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