Our National Guests have a rich menu [ click 'Read More' ] of engaging topics for Festivants at Sacred Harvest Festival! Don't miss this lineup of workshops, rituals, the Children's Play, many rites of passage, and reconnection with your tribal community. Beat the registration rate increase and register this week !
Andras Corben Arthen :
The 'Indians' of Old Europe
Popular belief to the contrary, European paganism never died out completely; to this day, substantial ethnic survivals of traditional pagan practices can still be found in remote areas of Eastern and Western Europe. Andras has spent over 35 years seeking out such surviving traditions, and in this workshop he will discuss the nature and scope of some of these practices, how they managed to survive, and the striking similarities they share with indigenous spiritualities from other parts of the world. He will also address their potential impact to both the interreligious and pagan communities, and assess their chances of survival beyond the next few decades.
The Witch as Shaman
A talk on the relationship between witchcraft and shamanism, starting with the concept that the people who were originally called ‘witches’ might have been, in effect, Western European shamans, and proceeding to explore the many correspondences that can be found between these two traditions. It includes a discussion of ways in which contemporary witchcraft can emphasize some of its shamanistic elements.
Animism: Religion Without God(s)
Animism is perhaps the oldest and most fundamental form of spirituality, considered by many to be the foundation from which all religions have evolved. It is deeply rooted in the complex interrelationships of the natural world, and is still widely practiced among many indigenous peoples. In this workshop, we will explore the essence and practice of animism as an alternative to the dominant theistic, analytical and urbanized religious paradigm of Western culture.
In the Spirit of the Earth
Historically, culture and religion have deeply intertwined. Modern paganism, however, is a religion without a supportive culture of its own. Rather, it has evolved within a cultural environment which, for centuries, has actively opposed the pagan traditions and brought them to the very brink of extinction. Is it really possible to reconcile pagan principles with mainstream Western culture? What would a modern Western pagan society look like? What can we identify as pagan spiritual and cultural values, and how can we implement them in our daily lives? What kinds of models can we create that will help develop and sustain pagan culture and community?
A discussion on reasons and ways to bring and keep pagans together for fellowship, celebration, education and mutual support. We will also discuss some of the constructive elements of pagan community, some of the pitfalls, and some controversial topics.
Concert: Songs of the Otherworld, Tales of Wonder
This performance/workshop focuses on several traditional songs, primarily from the British Isles, which are linked by otherworldly themes: witchcraft, magic, apparitions, fairy beings, shape-shifting, etc. In addition to performing the songs, Andras will discuss the lore and symbolism to be found in them.
Lady Yeshe Rabbit :
Kirtan from the Heart
Open your heart and lift your voice in this workshop for the whole family! Yeshe Rabbit will lead the group in chanting and singing several time-honored mantras, as well as teaching some original circle songs for use in rituals later in the week. She will also teach accompanying mudras, or hand gestures, to open the chakras and psychic centers. This workshop will take us through a magical progression to align body, mind, and spirit. We’ll begin by centering with the sacred Om, proceed to clearing obstacles with Ganesh, and then move on, building to an ecstatic crescendo with several other chants dedicated to specific deities. Please be prepared to either sit up tall for easier singing, or to stand/dance for portions of this workshop if you wish. (singing/chanting/dancing, 75 minutes, all ages)
In the Hut of Baba Yaga
Wise Crone? Evil Sorceress? Wicked Witch? Raging Granny? On the surface, Baba Yaga seems to embody the archetypal wicked one that gives witches a bad name! She’s ugly, mean, smells bad, scares children, and might even boil them up in Her cauldron and eat them, according to Her fairy tales. Yet, there is always more to the story. To those who dare to walk Her path, Baba Yaga gives an unflinching and powerful courage, a strong commitment to personal and collective integrity, and a deep acceptance of the natural processes of life, death, and rebirth. In this workshop, we will explore the mythic lore of Baba Yaga, trace the threads of Her stories and their symbolism through our own lives, and offer a ceremony to Her to ask for justice, protection, and healing. With Baba Yaga, we stand strong and acknowledge the blessings of life’s difficult lessons. (lecture/ritual, 90 minutes, adults & children)
What do the majority of American “bank holidays” mean to you? A day off? A picnic? Nothing? For many pagans, the majority of American holidays don’t hold much spiritual interest. Yet these holidays generate a huge amount of undirected raw energy that could easily be channeled toward the greatest good by witches who are willing to critically and magically engage in the sanctification of the American experience. In this session, we will discuss several different holidays observed in the US, review their history and roots (often, but not always, pagan in origin), and diverse ways that we might bring our own magic into these celebrations at the personal, family, and community levels. When we harness the available power of these holidays and begin to direct it away from over-commercialism and toward the higher awareness of our nation, we actively bring our magic into action on behalf of this beautiful Land and all of Her people. (lecture/discussion 90 minutes, adults & children)
The Antlered Doe
While much has been written of the Stag King, there is an equally-powerful, yet lesser-known archetypal Deer Goddess who glides through the snows, mountains, and skies. She is the Great Shamaness, the Midwife, the Navigator: The Antlered Doe. She is the one who leads the herd in the annual migration. She is the one who writes the destiny of the world. She is the one who knows all of the stories of time. In this workshop, we will learn more about this fascinating Goddess of many names and cultures, locate Her in literature, mythology, and contemporary practical magic, and perform a guided journey to meet Her in the high steppes. (lecture/meditation, 90 minutes, adults)
Aphrodite Pandemos: Lady of Love
What happens when we strip down our defenses and lay our hearts naked at the altar of love? This ritual will be an exploration of Aphrodite Pandemos: the Lady of Love. She turns away no seeker of love and pleasure. She opens her heart and body to the embrace of humanity. We, in turn, open ourselves to the Divine Lady and give Her homage with songs, words of praise, offerings, and our own ecstasy. This ritual will involve scent, casual touch (nothing more complicated than holding hands), the creation of holy water, and a lot of laughter! Please dress in a way that makes you feel beautiful for this ritual, and bring any offerings you’d like to give to the Lady of Love. (ritual, 90 minutes, adults)