While attending the North Bend Film Festival last month, I had the chance to participate in The Annabellee Experience, a weekend long event where a select few would have the chance to meet with Annabellee in person. The following is my account of my experience which touches upon my meeting as well as the realization that this was not my first encounter with Annabellee.
Description: In this multi-dimensional experience, participants are invited to let go of their inhibitions and immerse themselves in a journey filled with magic, discovery and new truths. Once you welcome Annabellee into your world, there is no turning back. Annabellee is a soothsayer who during a visit to Snoqualmie Falls, as part of her mission to find the most sacred places of creation, discovered a mystical root. Enchanted by the area and this strange gift from the earth, she has decided to set up camp in a curious cabin outside Snoqualmie. Legend has it that when a soothsayer arrives and reveals the secrets of the universe, you must make haste, seize the opportunity and track her down.
Thoughts: I love a good immersive experience, especially one that spans the course of a few days, which was why I was so excited to check out The Annabellee Experience at the North Bend Film Festival. What I was not expecting was that this experience would tie into another one that I did seven years earlier in New York City, an experience that was so profound that it had stayed with me all these years.
Before I get into all that, let me backtrack a little and set up the scene for you. Prior to my physical meeting with Annabellee, I had the chance to visit the Oracle as part of the VR setup at North Bend Film Fest. To not detract from this review, I highly suggest clicking HERE to read about my visit with the Oracle before proceeding with the rest of this write up. All I had known prior to my appointment with Annabellee was that I would be meeting with her in a cabin outside of where we were all congregating for the film festival. As I got in a car with two other participants, I remember thinking to myself how much I was looking forward to whatever was about to happen as it had been some time since I had done an immersive experience such as this.
When we arrived at our location, I was blown away by what I saw in front of me. It was the most adorable “cabin in the woods” that I could have hoped for. I noticed two people out front, one digging, the other one standing on the patio, both of whom were present during my Oracle experience. From what I could gather, they were followers of Annabellee and they were there to help her with whatever she needed. Our experience started after one of them took us into the forest surrounding the cabin where we got to meet Annabellee, who had us sit around her as she discussed the importance of nature. It was at this time she asked that we each pick three items from the earth to bring with us into the cabin - I chose a flower, a rock, and a piece of bark - at which time a memory started to come back, abstract at first, but soon taking shape as I began to remember doing something comparable before.
Once back inside the cabin, Annabellee took each of us at a time back into the forest to perform a ritual. While we waited, her two followers spun tales surrounding their lives while hanging beautiful artifacts from the ceiling of the cabin and offering us delicious tea and biscuits. When it came time for my turn, I followed Annabellee outside as she picked specific herbs to put inside a small vial. It was at this point that I realized I had met Annabellee before, seven years earlier, when I attended my first ever immersive event, Sleep No More. As the memories came flooding back, I tried to maintain a neutral stance until I knew I had the time to speak with Annabellee privately.
As the experience came to a close, I was reminded of how important the ritual was that we just participated in. I’m purposely not going into specific as Annabellee asked that we keep a lot of what we did private, but what I can say is that it truly is an eye-opening experience and is a reminder of how nature can sooth and heal us. Though I didn’t get the chance to speak with Annabellee long, I was able to tell her quickly that I had met with her seven years earlier in New York and had gone through the same ritual, only that time the herbs were pre-selected from the famed park in New York, the High Line, and placed inside of a locket as opposed to a val. To have an experience come full circle such as this one was really an incredible moment for me and one that I’m going to cherish forever.
The Annabellee Experience was a beautiful way to end my time at North Bend. From having my fortune read by the Oracle to re-uniting with Annabellee after all these years, this experience became something much more than just a run-of-the-mill immersive encounter. Becoming one with nature while listening to Annabellee discuss the importance of what we were doing was hypnotic and relaxing, leaving me feeling as though I had become centered and whole. It’s hard to put into words the effects that an immersive experience such as this has one’s life, but believe me when I say that something such as this leaves a lasting impression. My vial, which is filled with herbs, along with the special key I was given, are nestled on my nightstand as a reminder of what I encountered and where I am going. The Annabellee Experience is a personal one that opened my eyes to a lot of what is going on in my life. Though I don’t know when Annabellee will return, or if I will see her again, I urge all of you to follow along on social media to find out where you can meet Annabellee. I hope someday soon, you have your own special encounter, whether in the woods drinking in all that nature has to offer or in a smoky club hidden away from peering eyes, either way, you will walk away changed and fulfilled.