Deerfields Mills River NC

Firefly’s Response to Covid-10

As the world experiences this great COVID-19 crisis together, one of the best ways we can serve each other is to limit our contact, thereby slowing the rate of transmission and hopefully keeping health care available for all who need it.

It is with great sadness that we announce that The Firefly Gathering 2020 will not take place this year and will resume in 2021 (dates TBA). We regret these circumstances deeply, as we were very excited about our plans and offerings this year. However, as the world experiences this great COVID-19 crisis together, one of the best ways we can serve each other is to limit our contact, thereby slowing the rate of transmission and hopefully keeping health care available for all who need it. We encourage everyone to remain educated from trusted sources of information. The best defense against the unknown is knowledge itself.

In our 13th year, Firefly is being forced to slow down and take a pause. How interesting isn’t it, that it is in this, our 13th year, that we are called to rest?

Thirteen, used by many as a tool to breed fear and superstition, definitely felt like an unlucky number to me this year…at first. Stemming from the 13 Apostles, used far and wide to move folks to a solar calendar, abandoning the softness and subtleness of the dark, the night. But 13 was once a mystical and sacred number, especially to divine femininity.  

With 13 moon cycles in a year and the 13th moon representing the Divine Feminine and “Becoming our Vision,” it is known in many cultures as the “Moon of Transformation.” And so, it is time for Firefly to go into its cocoon of transformation, where everything that has been established and set into motion for the past 12 years will now rest, gestate, come to fullness – to be reborn next year, more complete, ripened, ready to stand strong.

My mind also goes to the 13th Amendment. Yes, the one that abolished slavery and also has the seeds of oppression written into it as well (if you don’t know what I refer to, please watch 13th, a 2016 documentary by director Ava DuVernay). And so, Firefly will take this year to deepen our awareness and our commitments; to lean harder into the racial issues that face our diverse community; and to work to see how we can make our organization more hospitable, equitable and sustainable to all beings.  

I can’t help but see that slowing down, taking our time, and cultivating the soil of our hearts and minds this year will be a good thing for Firefly – and most definitely for our species as a whole. We will be working to better equip and educate our staff and leaders around racial, social and environmental issues. The things that haven’t taken the forefront before will now have time to humbly step forward and grow.  

Oh, I am disappointed; make no mistake. We have collectively poured hundreds of hours into making 2020 one of the most special Firefly Gatherings ever. Most of all, my soul will miss the looks of astonished joy that I see every year at these events when paradigms shift and people’s minds and hearts open to the possibilities of other ways we can spend our time on and with our beloved Planet Earth. 

However, in the midst of the suffering and global sadness, panic and fear, we are collectively experiencing right now, my personal disappointments are minor. My heart goes out to those unable to mourn in their own ways by burying their deceased according to their customs and traditions. My heart breaks for the people who pass from this life without a hand to hold, without their loved ones gathered around them to send them into the next realm. It is for these people, and to try and prevent this from happening here, that Firefly will not gather this year. We send our condolences out to everyone who has lost or will lose someone to this in the near future. It seems as if we are all being touched by this pandemic in some way. 

I am also excited; I am excited for the time to grow an epic garden and continue planting food for the birds and the bees. I am excited about the 2 peach trees that I planted; I am excited about the 2 persimmon trees my friend Marc gave me. I am excited that the people in my community are excited to grow food and finally have the time to do it! I am excited about spring wildflowers and making medicine. I am excited to meditate and stretch more – to hold all beings in compassion. To nourish my children, my soul, my soil, my ancestors.

I am so grateful to participate in a deep, long cleansing breath with my beloved planet; global emissions are down at least 20% (more in some industrial regions). That’s more progress than all of our legislatures have accomplished in 20 years of trying. One humble virus can achieve in a few months what humans don’t seem able (or willing) to do in decades. Perhaps this virus is helping us refocus our intentions and remember what we hold dear. 

We most certainly do not want to be RE-active; neither do we want to be IN-active. So we are striving to be PRO-active in our approach to the events unfolding around us. Perhaps things will be “normal” by June; but most likely they will not be. Maybe normal is being redefined right now, and perhaps collectively we are realizing that there is no “going back to normal.” What was considered normal had a lot of its own issues, too. My prayer for us all is that we are able to construct a new normal throughout these strange times – one that focuses on our similarities and interdependence, one that recognizes our need to honor each other, all life and our most gracious host. 

If you’ve already bought a ticket for this year’s event, we thank you; if you are in need of a refund, please let us know. However, please hold off as long as you can while we work to implement financial relief for our emerging nonprofit organization. Better yet, let us reserve your ticket for next year, and we will have a thank you gift for all who are able to keep supporting us through this time! If you are able to support us, you can donate money or simply purchase your ticket for the 2021 Firefly Gathering. You can email us at [email protected] or call 828-202-9469, or visit our website at for details.

Together we can turn this experience into an opportunity to become more united and more aware of our oneness, our interconnectedness and our interdependence – not just to each other, but to all life. May you enjoy the slow rhythms of this spring. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Stay calm; stay sane; stay wild.  

Yours in change,

Marissa Percoco
Executive Director
The Firefly Gathering
Skills for Living with the Earth


Firefly Gathering

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Lily Harlin


Lily is an artist, creator, and dreamer. Since a very young age, she has been immersed in the natural world and draws heavy inspiration from the wild. Though her medium changes frequently, Lily’s art and expression always incorporate an element of the organic and unpredictable. She got her associate in fine arts in 2023, and now volunteers at her school as a ceramic studio monitor. She hopes to open a studio of her own one day to have a place to teach and inspire others. In addition to doing commission work, Lily has been creating many graphics for The Firefly Gathering since 2019. Lily grew up in the Earthskills community from the time she was eight years old, so having the opportunity to grow and give back in so many ways has been incredibly fulfilling. No matter where she ends up, this group of people and ideas will always hold a special place in her heart.