Thursday, April 18, 2013

Scholar Stream Abstracts for Gatineau 2013

“Materiality & Making Real in Contemporary Pagan Religious Practice”
Sabrina Scott,
 University of Toronto
Abstract N/A
“Many-named and Many-formed: The Identity of the Goddess(es) in the “Paris Handbook” and the Greek Magical Papyri”Andrew ChabanUniversity of Waterloo
In this presentation, I discuss the implications of connections drawn between Artemis, Selene, and Hekate in the Greek magical papyri of late antiquity, which were sufficiently extensive that Christopher A. Faraone suggests the three may occasionally have been identified with one another, leading to a composite “Selene-Hecate-Artemis.” I believe that a flexibly henotheistic concept of divinity is likelier in this context and could have addressed emerging trends in ancient theology and the relative status of various Goddesses and Gods. In order to keep the discussion within manageable bounds, I shall briefly define a subset of “lunar spells” within the corpus of Greek magical papyri and gesture towards parallels in earlier ancient magico-religious literature, including the Orphic hymns, before focusing on three spells from the so-called “Paris Handbook” of the fourth century C. E. I shall argue that these texts broadly conform to the structure of ordinary ancient Greek hymns, but in their details tend to focus on specific Goddesses rather than a triad. I propose that while there may be a form of Triple Goddess here, a closer reading of the sources is necessary in order not to lose sight of what such a concept might have meant in context.
“Reflecting on the Contribution of Pagan Scholars to the Documentation of our History.”
Lisa Crandall
University of Ottawa
Having spent the last 3-4 years working closely with a document commonly referred to as Text A (otherwise known as Gerald Gardner’s first book of shadows), I have a deep appreciation of those academics who have put their energies into capturing the unique history of contemporary paganism. In the spirit of the theme of this year’s conference – reflections, I thought I’d share some of the books and blogs I’ve encountered while doing my research.
Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente, Alex Saunders, Aleister Crowley – we all know those names. Gerald brought Wicca to the public eye, Doreen wrote a great deal of our shared liturgy, Alex took what Gardner started with and with passion and enthusiasm spread it far and wide by teaching and training on a broader scale than Gardner could have managed, Aleister who contributed by way of concepts and phrases and techniques.
Those four are the starting points – and then others picked up the torch: Raymond Buckland, Stewart and Janet Farrar, Margot Adlar, Ronald Hutton, Aidan Kelly, Chas Clifton, Jim Baker, and Philip Heselton are among the better known names. There are others however – Jack Bracelin, Justine Glass, Kevin Marron, Melissa Seims. You may recognize those names, may have read their books or their blogs. You may know other names to share, individuals local to your part of the world – names like Lucie DuFresne, Amanda Strong, Shelly Rabinovitch and Dodie Graham McKay, who should also be numbered among our history keepers.
“Printing the Wastebasket of Rejected Knowledge: The Hybridization of the Grimoire in the Knowledge Economy”
Robert Priddle
University of Toronto
In a society that values information the basic unit of currency is knowledge. The foundation of this currency is that knowledge and education can be trafficked as a business or intellectual product which then can be exported based on its perceived value. In other words, an information society can grow because of its investiture into useful knowledge. Paradoxically, knowledge which is antiquated, incorrect, or possessing no tangible use is reproduced and carried forward. The prime example of this paradox is the wide array of grimoires, tarot cards, talismans, and a sundry of oracles published today. However, the mere publication ancient occult knowledge is not the paradox. The paradox is that occult knowledge continues to survive as useful knowledge despite having no tangible application in modern society. Therefore, the question is how did ancient occult knowledge become modern occult knowledge in a society that values useful knowledge? 

This paper argues that the process of hybridizing renaissance occultism into modern occultism occurred during the creation of the knowledge economy, specifically in England during the latter half of the eighteenth century. Chiefly responsible for the hybridization of occultism in England during this period was Francis Barrett’s textbook of occultism The Magus, Or Celestial Intelligencer (1801). This argument is supported by examining The Magus from three perspectives. The first perspective examines the historical contexts of grimoires by posing questions such as: how did occult philosophy arrive to England and what intellectual pressures did occult philosophy endure? The second perspective examines the technological aspects of printing up to the arrival of the industrial revolution so as to provide an understanding how information was generated and circulated prior to the modern age. The third perspective braids aspects of printing technology and occult knowledge together and examines how rejected knowledge was modified for a modern audience in the curriculum of The Magus.

By examining the curriculum of The Magus and the surrounding historical, technological, and social contexts this paper exposes the imaginative and entrepreneurial foundations of today’s grimoires.

“Speculative Fiction & Non-Incorporated Spirituality: the Case of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison”
Etienne Domingue,
 University of Sherbrooke
In 1993, British comic-book author Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Watchmen) declared himself a “ceremonial magician”; he would later state that this turn of event could be construed as “the logical conclusion of [his] career as a writer.” Alan Moore’s oeuvre is replete with symbolism drawn from the great occult traditions. He considers various artistic disciplines to be part and parcel of the process whereby reality is created, in the purest tradition of primordial shamanism.
In Supergods, Scottish writer Grant Morrison describes his own experiences with Thelema, Voodoo, psychoactive substances, and pilgrimages to Asia. In 2008, he collaborated on The Book of Lies, stating that “[a]nything you can imagine [...] can be made to produce magical changes in your environment.”
Though they appear to have much in common, the above-mentioned creators despise each other profoundly. The comparison of their work and biography – as well as the analysis of their tensed relationship – can highlight the ambivalent rapport which speculative fiction entertains with non-incorporated spirituality. This exercise also presents the opportunity to formulate a nuanced discussion on the diversity of approaches to meaning in the context of advanced modernity.

“Zen and Tea in Japanese Culture”
Scarlet Jory, I
ndependent Scholar, Montreal Quebec
Japanese tea ceremony came to Japan through Buddhist monks who trained in China and introduced tea into Japanese culture in the early middle ages of Japanese history. Zen priest and tea master Sen No Rikyu’s notions of purity derive from his own Zen Buddhist training and beliefs. Through the works of Rikyu, tea exemplifies the four elements of Zen simplicity (harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility). Here we see how the tea ceremony expresses a Zen moment (as understood by Dogen) and is thus used as a form of Zen Buddhist meditation both in temples and by lay people alike even today. The quote above reflects Sen No Rikyu’s adherence to the understanding of sudden enlightenment and that we are already enlightened pure beings as seen through the Plutarch Sutra of the 6th Patriach. Some questions of interest and concern revolve around the life of this Zen priest and the rise and fall and rise again of the interest in tea in Japan. Who brought tea to Japan and why? Who drank tea in Japan? Why did it fall out of favor? Who brought it back and formalized it as a Zen ceremony? Why did Sen No Rikyu refine the ceremony? How did tea regain popularity in Japan? Why was Rikyu ordered to commit seppuku? By who and how did Rikyu’s Zen practice of the tea ceremony continue through to today as a popular practice for clergy and laity alike? There are so many questions and mysteries. My fascination with tea evolved along its own Pagan journey of self discovery and cultivation. As a child, tea represented a quiet and tranquil moment of sharing with family from all generations. As my interest in East Asian religions grew, I learned that my own love of peacefully drinking tea had roots in China and Japan as a form of meditation and expression of principles I hope to achieve in my life. Thus began a long and slow journey to explore various types of tea and various tea ceremonies along with the meditative and religious aspects mostly found in Ch’an and Zen Buddhism. Lastly, I have then looked at how I can then apply them to my own Wiccan beliefs and practices.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gatineau 2013 Program Update

Confirmed Program Topics for 2013 in Gatineau


Tradition in Canadian Pagan Identities 
Featured Guest Speaker- Dr. Brian D. Hayden Identity can be developed in many cross-cutting dimensions:  national, geographical, ethnic, ideological, historical, socio-economic status, and many more.  Being an archaeologist, what I would like to focus on is Canadian pagan identities with the past, specifically, how we relate to our ancestral pagan practitioners, whether we identify with those of the Stone Age, the Classical, Medieval or later periods.   All religions have legitimizing histories.  In pagan circles, this takes the form of frequent claims of direct descent of practices and rituals from much earlier pagan times.   Some scholars, and even some pagans, have cast doubt on the reality of such claims with the result that this has become a contentious issue in the pagan community.  I will discuss the realities and relevance of this issue for our times and our communities.  Sources for many of our practices can be identified, but whether there has been an unbroken tradition of praxis is probably not as important as what effects they had in the past, how effective they were in the past, whether they can still be just as effective, and whether we can recapture or recreate those effects.  Comparative studies of traditional religions provides a strong basis for dealing with some of these issues.
A Familiar Helper
Pagans claim to be bearers of an earth tradition originating many thousands of years ago in our ancestral cultures. As generally stated, the pagan goal is to be in tune with nature, seasonal cycles, and spiritual connections to those realms. However, our ancestors who developed these traditions were forest or rural dwellers, while the vast majority of pagans are urban or sub-urban dwellers. Thus, past practices have had to be adapted and changed in large measure to reflect urban settings in industrial cultures. In the process, I suggest, we have lost sight of some of the more fundamental aspects of traditional pagan religious practice, and this loss handicaps our spiritual development. One of the most important aspects that was omnipresent in the traditional world was the use of spirit helpers, or familiars. These are well documented up until Medieval and Renaissance times but play virtually no significant role in most pagan practices today.   Spirit helpers can provide an entirely new dimension to modern pagan spiritual practices, and I would like to advocate adopting them and experimenting with them, building on the cumulative wisdom of ancestors and other cultures.
Dr. Brian Hayden
 is a Professor Emeritus of archaeology at Simon Fraser University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, with a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He has conducted ethnoarchaeological field research with the Australian Aborigines, the Maya Indians, the Hill Tribes of Southeast Asia, and the indigenous communities of the British Columbia Interior. He has excavated in these and other countries with most recent excavations along the Fraser River near Lillooet, B.C. His book publications include: Shamans, Sorcerers, and Saints: A Prehistory of Religion (Smithsonian Press), and  Archaeology: The Science of Once and Future Things (W.H. Freeman).
Ceremonial Magick from the Inside 
Dominque Smith
This lecture will delve into the seemingly hidden world of Ceremonial Magick from the perspective of a long time Witch. We’ll explore the similarities and differences between Witchcraft and Ceremonial Magick as well as how Ceremonial Magick can be incorporated into any spiritual practise with great personal benefit. We’ll shed away the stereotypes and misinformation to reveal the the beauty behind this misunderstood and often maligned magical practise. This lecture will also have a demonstrative and participatory element.
Dominique has been a Witch for 25 years, an initiate in the eclectic Wiccan lineage of Black Ring and is a founding member and chief to the House of the White Stag through Ordo Astrum Sophiae of the Ogdoadic Tradition.
Judith O’Grady
The book, God-Speaking, is a short book published by the Pagan Portals division of John Hunt Publishing about trancing and coming into and maintaining communication with Land Spirits and Gaia Herself with a strong folkloric and Irish bias. Judith will read an excerpt followed by a discussion.
I am a Leaf on the God’s Wind.
“I am an Irish Descendant and a Celt. One side of my family came from an island in the Far Wild West of Ireland and the other are largely Welsh people who immigrated to hilly farm country in the New World and stayed there for hundreds of years.  I describe this mixture as thinking with my dark Welsh head while feeling with my Black-Irish heart. When I was in my teens, I started researching my roots; reading folklore and history, anthropology and fiction. My people are not Kings and Heroes, they are common people, and so I began reading more specifically about how they lived and what they believed. This lead me to the fairy-doctors and wort-masters, the magic they used, and the communication they had with their environment.”
Judith is a many-years member of the Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) and has completed their Dedicant’s program. The Goddess to Whom I am dedicated pushed her to join in public ritual with the Druids after thirty-odd years of worshipping by herself and gradually this led to her being the Grove Organizer of the local ProtoGrove Lake of Oaks. With much less hesitancy she started blogging and this gradually expanded into the exciting prospect of being published in a week (advance copies are available) and spewing opinions in essay form and discussion generally. In her published book she glances over the examples from lore that outline the necessary behaviour for Druidic Right Action in these troublesome modern times.
Nature Magic in the 21st Century – The Difference Between Science and MagickRichard Fox- Renard , The Fire DruidWe will delve into how intelligence is organized within nature and ways to communicate with it.  We will explore the distinctions between Science and Magick. And we will look into the mechanics of the universe and four primary influences that determine what a human will experience at any point in time.
Renard has camped out for most of the year in the great forests of the United States, over the last 18 years, which has given him a unique perspective about living with and communicating with Nature.  During that time, he planted more than 700,000 seedlings as he worked his way through his Earth Druid phase. He is the Executive Director of the non-profit organization Trees, Water & People, where he manages natural resource and renewable energy projects in seven countries and with 18 Native American tribes. He has a small home on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota where he sometimes lives with his Lakota friends and partners and where they manage the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center. He also serve as the Editor of Aontacht, the global magazine of the Druidic Dawn.
A History of Pagan Philosophy – A Summary
Brendan Myers
For the last two years Brendan has been writing a book on the history of pagan philosophy from the ancient world to the twentieth century. And in this presentation he will describe some of the highlights of that research. Three prominent themes tend to stand out: Pantheism, NeoPlatonism, and Humanism: or, the Earth, the Gods, and the Soul. Brendan will describe all three of these themes, as well as a few places in history where one or more of them made a surprising resurgence.
Brendan Myers, Ph.D, is the author of nine books including “Circles of Meaning”, “Fellwater”, and the award-winning treatment of pagan ethics, “The Other Side of Virtue”. And there’s a rumor going round that he recorded an album of pagan folk music too. Follow him on Twitter @Fellwater, or visit him on the web at
The Gods as Mythic Beings
JD Hickey (“Hobbes”)
Take a journey with us as we explore the power of myth and storytelling for both personal practice and performance art. This lecture will cover such diverse topics as Mytheism (using myth for spiritual expression), bardic etiquette, performance techniques, as well as practical exercises for practicing and improving your bardic skills!
JD Hickey (“Hobbes”) has been telling fables, folktales, and legends for over 15 years, winning several awards at festivals and storytelling competitions. He was also part of the organizing committee for Gaia Gathering when it was held in Montreal in 2011.
Ancient Egyptian Religious Practice
Anna Thompson
This lecture will be an exploration of Ancient Egyptian religious belief and magical practices. This overview comes from Egyptological studies and will cover mythologies, deities, practices, rites, symbols, basic tenets as evidenced in the literature for the living and for the dead. Brief comparisons will be drawn to other more familiar pagan cultures and their religious and magical rites. Information in list form will be presented for quick summarization. A laptop with illustrations will give the listener context to the explanations being given.
Anat, Het Set, Het Eset, Het Anpu, mother, pagan, wife, Scribe in the service of MAAT, Oneiromancer (studier of dreams), dancer, drummer, chantress and Priestess and servant for the House of Eset and Set.
The House of Eset and Set started off as a virtual temple honouring the Great Neteru Isis and Seth. As of 2010 my renovated home has given space dedicated to the sole worship of the Neteru and especially Isis and Seth. In the coming months a library will be available to visit by appointment. Rituals happen on a regular basis.
The Path of the Stoics or How to Live the Good LifeMichel and Pam DawThis session will explore the re-emergence of Stoicism as a spiritual and philosophical path within the larger Pagan Mosaic. We will discuss the foundational principles of Stoicism and the Community which is being formed around them.  The integration of Stoic philosophy with other Pagan paths will also be addressed.  Come and see what the practise of Stoicism can add to your personal spiritual quest.
What is Stoicism? – Stoicism is the study and practice of living a complete life based on reason and relationship, one where we explore and express our best selves, where we flourish to the best of our abilities in all places and circumstances. Stoics reach for personal excellence, which we call virtue, in all the domains of our lives, privately and publicly, to benefit ourselves and our communities.
How is Stoicism a Spiritual Path? – Stoicism is the practice of changing the way we look at life to arrive at a point where our baseless worries are defeated, our paralysing fears abolished, our violent passions tempered, and our childish selfishness turned to generosity and compassion. Practising Stoicism involves all aspects of our being – body, mind and soul. We celebrate and honour our connections to Gaia and to each other. In short, it is to live deeply, purposefully and wholly. This is the Art of Living in accordance with Nature.
Who is the Stoic Community? – We are a loosely connected group of men and women who have chosen to adopt Stoicism as an Art of Living. Our Stoicism is the same as the philosophy founded over two thousand years ago in Greece, and at the same time profoundly different, evolved for our current age and our current understanding of Science, Psychology, Philosophy and Religion. We choose to study and practice a philosophical life, in order to express our truest natures.
Michel and Pamela are modern Stoics, reviving the ancient philosophical and spiritual path. Michel is a founding member of the College of Stoic Philosophers, an online study program for the Stoic Practice. Pamela runs Stoic Civitas, a nascent umbrella organization or Stoic Spiritually they have been jointly hosting monthly Stoic workshops in the National Capital Region, the monthly Ottawa Region Pagan Discussion Night, and have spoken at festivals and conferences on Stoic Spirituality. Together, they also manage, a Stoic Website and resource centre, as well as Words of the Ancient Wise, a daily Stoic blog.
Canadian Pagan Identity
Canada is without a doubt a very diverse country into which we have as many types of Canadians as there are places in our extremely large country. We have had a lot of difficulty trying to define who we are as Canadians let alone as Canadian Pagans. This panel will attempt to narrow down who are we, how do we define our identity, and what makes us unique and stand out from pagans in other parts of the world.
Creating Local Conferences
Conferences are a wonderful way for intellectual discussion, information sharing, networking and celebrating our spirituality. Gaia Gathering, our national conference has helped connect those from across the nation, but why should we not do this closer to home. How do you create a local conference, what challenges are faced and how can you overcome them.
Gender Identity and Sexuality in Paganism – Round Table
In 2012 this panel discussion was brought forward at Gaia Gathering to explore the Canadian Pagan perspective on the public discriminatory behaviour of a well known American Pagan towards Transgender, Gay and male Pagans. This year we’ll be switching things around and opening this topic up into a round-table discussion. We’ll discuss gender balance within group workings and if gender identity or sexuality affects the energetic balance or cohesion within a group dynamic.
History of Gaia Gathering
During this panel the stories of our national conference will be shared from the beginning, how it started, which cities have hosted, themes of past and highlights of previous years.
Humanist Paganism 
Humanism is a fluid concept. At one point, during the Italian Renaissance where it emerged as a philosophy, it brought many scholars to the point of being pagan, by extolling the value and virtue of pre-Christian philosophers.  Over time it evolved, and the modern version of Humanism is largely understood to be atheist. However, many theists, including pagans, identify as humanists. So what does it mean to be a humanist pagan? How does it work, being both an atheist and a pagan? Are there contradictions to reconcile? What are the humanist influences on paganism?
Incorporating, Not Appropriating Indigenous Spirituality
In search for the sacred, some members of the pagan community turn to Indigenous spiritualities for guidance and wisdom whether their ancestors are native to North America or not. As both Neo-paganism and Indigenous Spiritualities are both earth-based in origin there are similarities but it is not necessary for neo-pagans to appropriate the native culture to celebrate the wisdom inherit. This panel will explore how both paths can be incorporated and how to respect the wisdom endemic in each culture.
Living Paganism in our Daily Lives
Our lives on a daily basis can be very busy and full of small things, groceries, picking up the kids for school, going to work, etc. We get so caught up in the bustle we often forget that wondrous feeling and energy we feel when we connect to our Gods. The reality is you do not have to stop and do a full ritual to recreate that feeling. We will explore how to generate the sense of sacred and spirituality into our daily lives?
Pagan Media, Films, Facebook and Podcasting
Once a secretive community, modern Neo-Paganism has exploded on not only traditional media, but also on the Internet and Social Media. Not only are mainstream media makers exploring Pagan themes and ideas, but Pagans themselves are broadcasting their ideas, art, insights, culture, communities on an ever-expanding media world stage. Being put under such a bright light, what are the impacts on modern Neo-Paganism? Does this kind of availability, scrutiny, and transparency broaden our horizons, or does it dilute our culture? What is the best use of media to make our communities stronger, or is it better to shy away from the spotlight and keep our secrets for ourselves?
The Literary Canon of Contemporary PaganismWhat books should be occupying the bookshelves and minds of well-read, thoughtful Pagans of the 21st century?  I asked for volunteers in our community and have been delighted by a wide-ranging response, promising an array of opinions.
Working with Local Spirits
Our pre-Christian ancestors had a deep and intimate relationship with the land on which they lived, and worked with and made devotions to a myriad of local land spirits. They gave these spirits/gods names, most of which have been lost to time. Although our culture and literature is strongly bound to the land here in Canada, local deities and spirits remain largely un-identified and un-worshiped as we focus on main pantheon Gods. Yet, there are people who are seeking to revive the practice of local spirit worship. This panel will explore the various ways pagans are building relationships with local deities, and how you can too.
Mentoring the Next Leaders
Our leaders are wise, giving, and patient people; you know the ones who are washing up the dishes after everyone has gone home. Without them the various events, rituals and groups just would not exist and we really appreciate them for all that they do. But who are the next leaders when these amazing people decide it is time to move on in their spiritual paths? This panel will address how we can recognize those who are willing to step up and be a driving force in their communities, and how to ensure that transitions are smooth and supportive.
Pedestal Worship
We as a culture we idolize our heroes whether they be mythical, cultural or iconic. Your hero could be your mother or father, your teacher, a sports star, a movie star or your priest or priestess. Looking up to and turning to our heroes is a natural course in one’s spiritual path but how does that elder deal with being revered. What if you are that elder, how do you handle the attention without letting it go to your head? What role do you take in that worship, is it necessarily a healthy relationship?
Open Communications Among Traditions
This panel will explore how the different paths within the Neo-Pagan, Reconstructionist, Wiccan, and Heathen communities can work together and build bridges to create a stronger cooperative spirit both locally and nationally.

Art is a metaphor of your vision, your quest, your vision-quest. Creating Art can be a way to search for a sense of meaning and spirituality. Can Art in action be a magick incantation? Why are you, the artist, passionate about your Art? All the questions and more will be discussed by various artists in our collective communities.

Women’s spirituality in Ottawa in the 1990s - Academic Stream
Goddess spirituality in Ottawa has been the subject of at least one PhD thesis, yet it remains a largely unexplored field. For a small geographic area Ottawa had a wide variety of pagan groups. This panel will highlight personal experiences and group dynamics of several of them during the last decade of the 20th century: Around the Goddess, Women’s Spirituality Group of the Unitarian Congregation, New Moon Circle at the Hungry Eye.


Saturday – Banquet

Heather Dale is a Canadian Celtic recording artist and touring musician. She records and performs primarily her own original songs, which draw their inspiration from the mythology, folklore and history of various Celtic and non-Celtic cultures. Her musical style is a mix of traditional and modern, with elements from Celtic folk, jazz, blues, folk-rock and world music influences.
Lecture and screening of the “Life’s Prayer” DVD – By Biljana Banchotova from the Whirling Wisdom Art Creations
Life’s Prayer -DVD
….is an invocation and a unique experience of Biljana Banchotova’s soul medicine journeys from within Cosmic relatedness. Trough this video- her visionary artworks and ceremony will guide us through a harmonious place of sacredness, unity and feminine Wisdom. In her lecture she will explain the importance and significance of finding ‘Life’s Prayer’ in the “Waters” of our life. Earth and all her beloved live forms are co-weaving, co-creation in a multi dimensional play of sacredness and interrelatedness.
There are two components to the “Life’s Prayer” DVD, the first one is the Visionary Journey- here the artworks are reflected trough the, environment & other celestial influences, like: Nature, Crystals, Power Animals, Plants and other imagery. Biljana here recognizes her relationship with Water on many inner levels of spiritual journeys and personal myths, which prospective she offers trough the art works flow and spontaneity. In the background layers of the video is guided written meditation and landscape of music: “Rivers of Stars” from “Layers of Sky” by Rob Somerville.
The second part is “Place of Gratitude” – which is a Water Ceremony, performed by Humber River, Toronto, Ontario, with her son Justin A A Stonkus. This ceremony is guided with spoken word and Native American flute – song background “Dream Cather” from “Wings of a Dream” by Marina Raye. “Place of Gratitude” is as dedication for the healing of World Waters and “For our Children”. “Life’s Prayer” DVD is offered as a prayer and a Mystical journey of a Divine Opening, ascension in Light, Love & Consciousness. It speaks of the pathways of consciousness that call in the ‘Dimensions of the Soul” and the birth of the New Earth!
DVD – Total Time- 23:13
Biljana, has dedicated “Whirling Wisdom Creations” web site as a center for her Visionary Art and all other sacred arts and training that she offers:
She invites:
… may you explore the ART of weaving into the wells of colour, of wisdom
may you flow and seek the Creator within….
while we tell the story, of our very own
ascension, light, love, consciousness….
The Art Gallery page displays the artwork chronologically; then is Meet the Artist (Biography page) and Outreach, CV (for the exhibitions & publications).
You may read words of wisdom at the New Blog; here are the offering workshops, upcoming events, Art reflections, work with the Didgeridoos and Communal Fire. Poetry is on the go!”
Be sure to visit her Healing Art Project page and the Online Store, featuring her intuitive sessions, unique transformational tools and blessings that will further deepen your journeys within”
The WinniPagans – a film by Dodie Graham McKay
Meet the WinniPagans. In the last half of the 1980’s a small group of people who banded together and began holding open circles, publishing a newsletter called The Minstrel and celebrating Beltane in a public park. From this beginning a distinct brand of prairie paganism has grown and thrived in the middle of nowhere. The WinniPagans is a 25-minute documentary film about the development and spirit of this community and a look at some of the individuals who made it come alive and become what it is today. Commissioned by provincial cable television provider MTS Allstream for their “Stories From Home” Video on Demand service, The WinniPagans highlights some of the extraordinary events and talents in the community. Featuring the poetry of Kate Bitney and the haunting panpipe music of Glen Hoban, The WinniPagans provides an intimate look at a diverse pagan community thriving in the heart of the prairies.
Dodie has been a part of the WinniPagan community since the late 1980’s. Since then she has been initiated into two Witchcraft traditions and travelled far and wide pursuing her Craft. Since returning from living in the UK in 2005 Dodie has pursued a career in film production and is now blending a love of the Craft with her career choice and focusing on developing film projects about nature, community activism and pagan culture.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Final Information for Gaia Gathering 2012 in Toronto

We're only a few days away from the opening circle and four days of speakers, panels, roundtables, talks, and workshops. Not to mention all the other goodies. We're so excited!

Here are some instructions to help get you from the airport, bus depot or train station to our official accomodations and the conference site, as well as what to do when first arrive at the conference, plus some other handy information. (If you are registered for the conference, you should have received this information by e-mail as well.)


* Arriving in Toronto
* Arriving at Gaia Gathering
* Information about the residences
* Main opening ritual
* Volunteering
* Gaia Gathering programme
* Thursday night pre-Gaia Gathering welcoming party
* Friday tours and extras
* Saturday and Sunday evening entertainment
* Gaia Gathering AGM
* Toronto museums, shopping and events
* More Information


A map and full directions to NewCollegecan be found here:

Should you need help upon arrival in Toronto please call or text 905 952 9757. We will do our best to help you from there. Air: Toronto has two airports servicing the city. Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport also known as “The Island Airport” and Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The Island Airport:
Porter operates out of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. To get from the island there are plenty of options which you can investigate here:
You may take the ferry and connect to the Bathurst Streetcar which will take you to Union Station, the complimentary shuttle to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel or take a taxi from the airport to New College.
Should you wish to take the complimentary shuttle to the Fairmont Royal York, you have a couple of options to get toNewCollege. You can take a taxi directly from the Fairmont Royal York, or you can walk across the street to Union Station and take the subway north on University to Spadina then take the streetcar south toWilcox Street.

Toronto Pearson International Airport:
There are several ways to get from Toronto Pearson International Airport to New College.
Taxi: Available on the Arrivals level. Approximately CAD$53.00 to New College.
Limosine: Available on the Arrivals level. Approximately CAD$53.00 to New College.
Airport Express Bus Service to Fairmont Royal York Hotel:
Approximately CAD$23.95 one way, approximately CAD$53.00 return. The customer service locations are: Terminal 1 - AE Customer Service is located on the Arrivals Level Curbside Post C; and Terminal 3 - AE Customer Service is located on the Arrivals Level Curbside at Area # 25
Public Transit: The TTC has several buses that will take you from Terminal 1 (Ground level) and Terminal 3 (Arrivals level) to the subway system depending upon time of arrival. The fare is CDN$3.00 (at the time of writing). GO Transit operates bus service from York Mills and Yorkdale subway stations to Terminal 1 (Ground level). This service operates every 60 minutes, from approximately 6:00 am to 1:00 am Monday to Saturday, and from approximately 9:00 am to 1:00 am on Sundays. The fare at the time of writing is CAD$4.70. More information can be found here:

Union Station
Via Rail arrives to Union Station from all over the country. You will arrive near street level. To obtain a cab speak with the kind folks at the information desk and they will direct you. To get to the subway, go downstairs or use the elevator. The Via personnel will assist you should you have any questions. Signs or Go Transit staff will direct you to the subway station.
Go Transit train lines all converge here and Go bus lines arrive acrossBay Streetto the east. All bus travelers can access Union Station by walkway overBay Street. There is an elevator for those who do not wish to carry their luggage up stairs. You will end up on platform 1, there is another elevator to take you to the main waiting area for Go Transit. Customer service staff will be happy to direct you to the taxi stand or the subway system.

Please note that there are discounts available under the Groups tab on Go Transits webpage that can be found here:

How to Get to New College from Union Station:
Go to the streetcar platform. The ticket booth attendant will kindly tell you where that is located before you go through the turnstile. Take the streetcar that is going Northbound to Spadina Station. This will be the Spadina car. The fare is CDN$3.00 (at the time of writing). Get off at the Willcocks Streetstop (first stop north of College Street). Total trip time from Union Station is around 15 minutes. New College - Wilson Hall Residence is on the north-east corner.

Bus Lines
The Toronto Coach Terminal is located on the northwest side of Bay St.and Dundas St. West. Taxis are available for those arriving at the terminal just outside on the southwest corner of Edward Street and Elizabeth Street. To get to the Subway there is a tunnel route to the Dundas subway station.


The University of Toronto is made up of seven colleges. We are grateful and thank New College for accommodating us this year. 

New College is located at 40 Willcocks Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5S 1C6. The Residence is across the street. There is a quite well done interactive map of University of Toronto St. George Campus where you can locate Wilson Hall, New College Residence and how to get to TTC Stations.

Once you arrive at the conference site (New College), there should be someone to greet you, as well as signs directing you up the stairs to the registration area. The university information desk is also right inside the doors, so if you don't see anyone or the signs, just ask them for directions.

Our registration desk will be open from 11am on Friday and 8am on Saturday and Sunday.
Please go immediately to the registration desk and give them your name so we can give you a conference badge, printed programmed, some swag, and information for the AGM. It's a good idea to bring your ticket or confirmation e-mail with you in case of glitches (they do happen), but it's not neccessary.
At the registration desk, you'll also be signing a waiver form, and we will have sign-up sheets for various tasks that we need help with over the weekend. (Helping out is completely optional but we appreciate it.)
Your conference badge must be worn at all times to access the talks, panels, workshops, and evening events.

If you are staying at the university residences, you can expect the following:
  • central air-conditioning
  • single or double rooms (with 2 single beds)
  • bed, desk and dresser
  • linen (bedsheet), blanket, towel, pillow, pillow case
  • a 23-hour reception desk (Wilson Hall Residence)
  • private security guard patrolling the residences after hours
  • complimentary broadband "wired" internet access (you require an ethernet cable or you can purchase one at the front desk for $5)
  • in-room phone (for complimentary local calls)
  • coin-operated laundry facilities on each floor (washer and dryers)
  • iron and ironing board
  • common rooms with limited kitchen facilities such as a microwave, burners, sink and fridge
  • flat screen plasma TV rooms with sofas and armchairs
  • shared communal washrooms
  • library with computer lab use (small fee)
  • business services
  • non-smoking residence
  • front desk where one can purchase long distance phone cards, TTC to kens for the streetcar and subway, postage stamps, laundry detergent, easy access to the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission–subway/metro system) just outside the door
Meals will not be provided however, there are a great variety of choice in the local area or just a transit ride away.

Be sure to bring an alarm clock and an extra pillow should you wish one. Please pack all necessary medications and special dietary requirements. Should you wish to cook your own food at New College Residence, be sure to bring what you need to prepare what you will make as the residence does not provide cooking equipment.

Our main ritual to open the conference will be held Friday night at 8pm. The ritual will be led by Richard James and guests based on the Mosaic of Canada highlighting different parts of Canada.This will be followed by a meet and greet. You must have gone through registration desk process before coming into the ritual.

Come as you are or dress up, it's up to you.


Over the course of the conference, we will need volunteers to help sit at the registration desk, supervise the hospitality room, time-keep the panels and workshops, do whisper translation and more.
If you wish to volunteer or would like more information, contact saritaphoenix(at) 

The final programme is now available to download as a pdf. This includes the schedule of what is happening when. You can access it here:

Arriving early? Meet some Toronto-area Pagans in an informal setting. Some locals have organized an early-bird reception party on Thursday night. How awesome is that? The party starts at 7:30 p.m at 40 Homewood Ave (buzzer 364) in the recreation room of the building. It is strictly B.Y.O.B. and celebrants must monitor their intoxication levels as those exhibiting inebriation must be escorted off the property immediately (condo rules). The party room is on level B1 which may be accessed via the el evator. The closest cross-street to 40 Homewood Ave, is Jarvis and Carlton (Carlton is the same street as College but changes name east of Yonge street).

All attendees have been kindly offered free admission to the Textile Museum of Canada (55 Centre Avenue -- Dundas St. W & University Ave., St. Patrick subway) on Friday. You will be required to show your Gaia Gathering conference badge to gain entrance to the museum.

On Friday afternoon there will be two guided tours. The first will be of local book shops with Richard James. The second is a tour of the Kensington Market and area with Sarita Phoenix. Both tours leave the Wilson Hall lounge at 2:15pm. Please arrive early so the tours can leave on time.


On Saturday evening, we will meet at the JangBang Bar a Korean fusion bar located at 430.5 College Street. Cutting Bracken will entertain us with celtic music. A night of friendship and fun!

On Sunday, join us in Wilson Hall lounge for a wonderful networking opportunity with nibbles and mocktails; as well as acoustic music and storytelling from Wytchwood Children, Greg Currie and JD “Hobbes” Hickey.


At the AGM on Monday, we will decide where the next Gaia Gathering will be held, elect new officers for our national board of directors, and review the reports from our out-going board of directors and local conference committee.

This year we have one board position to fill. It is for a 3-year term. We will be asking for nominations during the AGM.

We welcome bids for hosting Gaia Gathering in 2013 and 2014. As of today's date, we still don't have any firm offers. If you would like to host Gaia Gathering, or want to find out what's involved in hosting, please email or talk to one of the board members. The host city has one seat on the board of directors. It is a two-year term.

Everyone is welcome to attend both the AGM, however only those who have paid the full conference registration rates are considered members with voting rights. A buffet-style lunch will be served.

Arriving early or staying later to take in the city? here are some useful links:





For more information, please visit our website, blog or Facebook page. You can also follow us on Twitter. The Gaia Gathering 2012 hashtag is #GG2012.

If you have any questions about the conference, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Looking forward to seeing you all in a couple of days!
The Gaia Gathering National Board of Directors and Local Host Committee.

For more information click here:
Gaia Gathering, the Canadian National Pagan Conference, Toronto 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Academic Stream Presentations

We are excited to announce the details of our peeer-reviewed academic stream. The academic stream presentations will take place on Sunday morning from 9:00 am until 2:30 pm. Here are the titles and abstracts:

Sunday 9:00 – 10:15: Classroom 2
Academic Stream Block A: Esotericism in the Modern Time

  • My Wax Wings: Or, How I am Pursuing the Academic Study of Magic in Canada.
    Presenter: RA Priddle
  • The Mosaic of Neo-pagan studies, the emerging academic discipline of Western Esotericism, and Religious Studies: What is the relationship?
    Presenter: Shya Young

Sunday 10:45 – 12:00: Lecture Hall
 Block B: Witchcraft

  • Double, Double, Toil and Trouble: Representations of Witchcraft in Contemporary Documentary Cinema
    Presenter: Aradia Rosa James
  • The role of Handmaiden in Witchcraft.
    Presenter: T. Scarlet Jory
  • Text A: Teasing out the early influences on Gardnerian Witchcraft as demonstrated in the personal writings of Gerald Gardner
    Presenter: Lisa Crandall

Sunday 1pm: Classroom 2
 Block C: Pagan Studies Panel

As a finale to the academic stream of this year's conference, some of the academics in our community will discuss the current state of the academic study of paganism. What achievements have been made so far? What questions still remain to be asked? What are the basic research challenges, and what are the rewards? What is the relation between the one who researches the pagan movement, and the one who participates in it? What if the researcher is a participant, too? Join us for a hearty and intelligent examination of these and related questions.

 Presentation Abstracts
TITLE My Wax Wings: Or, How I am Pursuing the Academic Study of Magic in Canada.
BY: R.A. Priddle, H.BA, MA (Ottawa 2012), MI (Toronto 2013)
The cautionary tale of Daidalos and Íkaros tells us neither to fly to high nor fly too low lest our wings fail and we crash into the sea below. A careful reading of the myth tells a story of knowledge and control and provides a vital departure point to compare the myth to the academic study of magic by reflecting on how I have learned to traverse the atmosphere between the sun of my academic goals and the seas of material realities that I must cross to safe shore. There are three main themes that I will reflect on, the first is on my Canada mentors and their project asks questions about the cunningly crafted labyrinth of academics that I must learn to navigate. The second theme is how I gathered my materials for my wings asking questions about the education training I have been given to make my own project in the academic study of magic in Canada. The third theme is about the future of the academic study of magic in Canada, and reflects on the sorrow of Daidalos as he watched his son and his future drown in the sea.

TITLE: The Mosaic of Neo-pagan studies, the emerging academic discipline of Western Esotericism, and Religious Studies; What is the relationship?
BY: Shya Young, Instructor, Religious Studies, University of Alberta
I will argue that the study of Neo-paganism fits within the field of Western Esotericism, and that together both can play an important role within the discipline of religious studies by deconstructing the grand narratives of who we are and how we arrived there. I will do this by talking about my experience teaching Witchcraft and the Occult at the University of Alberta, delineating the emerging discipline of Western Esotericism, and summarizing the argument of Wouter Hanegraaff as to the importance of Western Esotericism within the Academy. I will also touch briefly on the work of Sabina Magliocco and Ronald Hutton, who both place neo-pagan witchcraft within the lineage of western estoric traditions.

TITLE: Double, Double, Toil and Trouble: Representations of Witchcraft in Contemporary Documentary Cinema
BY: Aradia Rosa James
The representation of witchcraft and witches in contemporary documentary often contribute to the dissemination of misinformation about what witchcraft is and what witches believe. Many of these ethnographic documentary films incorrectly essentialize the practice and technique of witchcraft as being synonymous with the new religious movement of Wicca. As the subjects speak to their own experiences, this essentialization is not due to misrepresentation of the filmic subjects of themselves, but is instead a shortcoming of the filmmakers in question, who often use their conversations with individual subjects to generalize the beliefs of many myriad practitioners. In the language used by narrators, reporters, and interviewers, the filmmakers incorrectly establish their subjects as delegates speaking on behalf of all witches. While it is vital that popular conceptions of witches (which, as explained by entertainment critic Dean Richards and historian William Monter in The Biography Channel’s Witches, largely remain in the middle ages and with Margaret Hamilton’s portrayal of Elphaba in The Wizard of Oz) are challenged and deconstructed and that practitioners of witchcraft today have the agency to represent themselves in popular media, it is important that that one type of misinformation is not replaced by another.

TITLE: The role of Handmaiden in Witchcraft
BY: T. Scarlet Jory, MA Concordia University
The history of the handmaiden is seen throughout our past. They were lady attendants, otherwise known as ladies in waiting, or handmaidens. In Japan, they served as concubines to the emperor. The history of the Robin (or Fetch or Page) is similar to that of the Handmaiden, except that it is a male assistant to a man. The role of the handmaiden in Wicca stems from the historical references to handmaidens in both the male and female sense. They were the intimate aid that was crucial for the smooth continuation of a practice. I propose to look at the various historical references and roles of the handmaiden (both male and female) as seen in history and compare these to the traditional practices of the handmaiden role in Wicca and Witchcraft. I will conclude with some of the issues and concerns facing this tradition in today's contemporary Pagan practices.

TITLE: Text A: Teasing out the early influences on Gardnerian Witchcraft as
demonstrated in the personal writings of Gerald Gardner
BY: Lisa Crandall, MA Candidate, University of Ottawa
Gerald Brousseau Gardner (1884-1964), generally acknowledged within Wicca as the founder of Gardnerian Wicca (Witchcraft), claimed that in 1939 he had been initiated into a highly secretive religious tradition that had a lineage dating back hundreds of years, possibly even predating Christianity. This claim has been energetically debated in academic and pagan circles for decades but it still constitutes an "origin myth" of contemporary witchcraft. Part of the debate is fueled by the lack of published analysis of early Gardnerian documents. Over the past three years I have been transcribing, sorting and analyzing the contents of Text A, Gerald Gardner's assumed first Book of Shadows. Building on textual and source analysis I will present some of the more startling discoveries I have made regarding the origins of some of Wicca's most cherished rules and words. How early was he using the word "athame"? When did the phrase "Book of Shadows" enter his, and our, lexicon? Was Gardner a goddess worshiper? Breaking Text A down into themes I have recognized some elements that have left their trace in today's rituals and beliefs and even the language we use. I look forward to sharing with you my fascinating journey through the literary elements that Gardner researched, pondered and compiled into the notebook that is now known as Text A. This research forms the basis of my Master's thesis work at the University of Ottawa.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Panels for Gaia Gathering 2012 in Toronto!

Finalized Topics!
  1. Ageing and the Elderly in the Pagan Community
    As our Neo-Pagan communities grow up we are also growing old! How can we build a community that will tend to the needs of our elders? What types of infrastructure is required to make sure that their wisdom is not forgotten? How do the roles of our various priesthoods change in our golden years?
  2. Mental Health in the Pagan Community
    Our community is diverse and accepting of eccentricities. How do we manage a situation when eccentricity crosses the line into mental health issues? How do we tell the difference between delusion and profound spiritual experience? How do we support leaders in our community experiencing Pagan community mental exhaustion?
  3. Marketing and Advertising of Pagan Events
    Pagan events are often running on a shoestring budget! How do we spread the word about our events without breaking the bank? Find out what resources are out there and the most effective marketing and advertising tools that really work for our communities from the folks who work with these things in their Pagan and mundane lives.
  4. Revitalizing the Community
    A vital community involves Pagans of all ages and experience levels. How do we retain the longtime community members and engage them with the same enthusiasm as the new comers? How do we make public events enticing to all the members of our communities and introduce new people to local resources? Where are the opportunities for folks to meet and network?
  5. Religious Tolerance
    Most Pagans come to their own spiritual paths from an existing religion often rejecting their religion of birth. As an open community how accepting are we of each other’s spiritual paths within the Pagan umbrella and within society in a whole.
  6. Social Networking
    The internet has changed the way Pagans meet and communicate to each other. New ways of communicating keep growing and developing. How do blogs, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest impact the Pagan dialogue and community? Do they help or just water things down? Are we as accountable for our actions in this world?
  7. Are you willing to pay for your Spirituality?
    Some traditions have strict rules about accepting money for teaching, some think nothing of it. When is it appropriate to pay for Spirituality? Is it ever appropriate? This panel will tackle this topic from different viewpoints.
  8. Gender Balance
    How much of an issue is gender balance in our Canadian Pagan scene? Where is the pendulum swinging these days? Are we really a female dominated community? Are the opportunities equal for men and women? Are the Gods and Goddesses worshipped equally? Do they need to be?
  9. Reconstructionist Traditions
    How do you respectfully honour the Gods and rituals of a past era? How can you revive forgotten practices from a distant place? Modern practitioners of old ways discuss how they breathe new life into ancient practices.
  10. Pagan Arts
    How is the Pagan movement represented in art? Who are the creators of Pagan art and is our community supporting their effort? How do the artists honour their Gods and traditions through their chosen media? This panel of Pagan artists discuss how they work and why.
  11. Ancestors in the Pagan Mosaic
    Ancestor reverence or a special time set aside during the year to remember our ancestors is common across many Pagan traditions, even if we approach it differently. It seems to be a piece of the Pagan mosaic that we all share. This panel discussion features Pagans who each place an emphasis on ancestors in their traditions or spiritual practice.
  12. Supporting Social Change with Magic
    Some Witches and Pagans see magic as a tool that can be used during public protests and demonstrations such as the Occupy movement and environmental demonstrations. Who are the people who engage magic and activism together, why do they do it, and what tools have they found to be effective in demonstrations. Pagan activists share their stories.
  13. Pagan Book and Media Share
    What are your favourite Pagan titles and who are your favourite Pagan authors? Join us at this facilitated round-table discussion as we introduce each other to the best books, podcasts, magazines, blogs and websites out there, especially Canadian ones.
  14. Gender and Sexual Identity in Paganism
    This panel round table discussion will explore Gender and Sexual Identity within Paganism focusing on the moral implications of tolerance, acceptance and integration. The purpose of the panel is not to define a specific morality but instead get Pagans talking about issues that many would like to avoid or have just never thought about.
  15. Planning Large Public Ritual
    Putting on a public ritual can be both exhilarating and terrifying. What are the skills and steps necessary to successfully plan and execute a public ritual? What makes some rituals more successful than others? What re the pitfalls to avoid (or at least consider)? Experienced public ritual planners from across the country share their successes, failures, and advice.
  16. Conjures, Spellcraft, Rootwork, and Petitions. Oh My!
    Folk magic is practiced by Pagans and non-Pagans alike. It is also known by many different names, each with their own distinct flavour and style. What are these different types of folks magic? How do they differ and what makes them the same? And what traditions are they associated with. Join a diverse panel of magical practitioners as they discuss their flavours of folk magic.
  17. Pagan Chant Share
    Chant plays an important part in many Pagan rituals for creating a group mind and raising energy. It's also fun! In this "roundtable", we will share songs and chants from our communities or personal repertoires. Don't worry if you don't have anything to share, simply join us to add to your own repertoire. The facilitators have more than enough songs and chants from across the country (and continent) to fill the time.
  18. Ceremonial Magick
    Ritual Magicians have often been misunderstood, misrepresented and quite regularly maligned. With a magical path that seems to be secretive, solitary, and with few practitioners its easy to understand where information might be misinterpreted. Well no more! Join two active Ceremonial Magicians who will cut through the veil with truth and openness. You will get to experience actual ritual practises that will lead to a greater understanding of the theory and energy behind ritual magick.
Still to be finalized!
Pagans on Film

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Some of the Worshops and Lectures for Gaia Gathering 2012 in Toronto

  1. Ancient Egyptian Religious Practice
    This lecture will be an exploration of Ancient Egyptian religious belief and magical practices. This overview comes from Egyptological studies and will cover mythologies, deities, practices, rites, symbols, basic tenets as evidenced in the literature for the living and for the dead. Brief comparisons will be drawn to other more familiar Pagan cultures and their religious and magical rites. Information in list form will be presented for quick summarization. A visual presentation with illustrations will give the participants context to the explanations being given. Presented by Anat, Het Set, Het Eset.
  2. Baltic Spring Rites
    A look at the various spring observances, rites and celebrations of the Baltics. Lithuania was the last country to convert to Christianity, with conversion starting in 1386. The last sacred oak grove was chopped down by the Russian Empire in 1795, and the faith though subjugated during the Soviet Era survived and flourishes in Lithuania today. We shall look at the various festivals, starting with the Spring Equinox (Pavasario Lyge) culminating with the Summer Solstice (Rasa). Please just bring yourselves, with lots of questions. Presented by Marija Kuncaitis.
  3. Career Transition and the Soul’s Journey
    We incarnated with a purpose and a set of skills to develop and become. Our job is one way our Soul can fulfill its destiny and purpose: take your Craft to work! Magic happens when you accept that there is no separation between your Spiritual path and Career path. Call upon the path of Spirit and launch a career that reflects your Soul’s unique gifts and abilities. Learn to see career transition as Goddess’ Blessing and opportunity to take stock of your life, re-evaluate and re-choose situations that feed your Soul. Through the principles of Soul Based Energy Medicine™, meditation, divination, ritual and ceremony learn how to dance through your career transitions from a Spiritual perspective. This workshop is for anyone who is employed, unemployed, underemployed or considering a career transition and wants to explore their situation from the expanded perspective of Soul. Presented by Lydia Silent Magic.
  4. Circles of Meaning, Labyrinths of Fear
    You’ve heard of sacred places, writings, relics, and rituals, holy days and magical times of year. But these are actually representations of relationships that people have with each other and the elements of the world. Some of these relationships environmental: they involve landscapes, animals, and the streets of your home town. Some are personal, such as families, friends, and elders. Some are public, involving musicians, storytellers, medical doctors, and even soldiers. This lecture examines twenty-two relationships, from a variety of traditions, and shows their place in ‘the good life’. Yet our world is utterly saturated with fear. From practical fears like anxiety about the future, to social and political issues like the fear of unemployment, or crime, or terrorist attack, to existential fears like the fear of failure, or of death, most people in our society live in an almost constant low- level state of fear. And what is worse, we trap ourselves into doing things that we think will keep us safe, but which actually make things worse for everyone. Yet life does not have to be that way. Brendan's ambitious new book describes how we imprison ourselves with our fears, and how we can escape from our prisons by treating our relationships as sources of spiritual experience. Join Brendan Myers to celebrate the release of his eighth book, "Circles of Meaning, Labyrinths of Fear." Brendan will introduce the book, read from some of the highlights, answer questions, and of course sign copies. Presented by Brendan Myers.
  5. Deepening Spiritual Practice
    Sometimes we want to delve more deeply into a spiritual concept, practice or relationship than we are able to in our usual daily lives. Other times, we may have a single small thing that we never quite get around to. How do we create the space—physical and mental—to facilitate these experiences? In this workshop we will explore the concept of creating and implementing a personal mini-retreat around specific desires for deepening our spiritual practice. Please come prepared to work on a specific spiritual aspect or goal. (2-3 hours; maximum 8 participants) Presented by Amanda Strong.
  6. Faith Blending – “Weaving One’s Faith”
    A common and unhealthy practice in several paths of Paganism, is to divorce themselves from their parents' "non-Pagan" faith, leaving a gap in their own spiritual identity. It is not a matter of returning to an original ancestral faith nor diluting one's past or present religious practice; but simply weaving one's faith. What is the difference between religion & Spirituality anyhow? Discover & deepen your spiritual path by retracing the faith of your childhood and strengthening your Ancestral roots in your Life through patience, seeking questions, and letting each faith speak its mind. "Tree in the Mind's Eye" - What the Neo-Pagan movement can Learn from Buddhism Prince Siddhartha sat beneath a Bodhi tree and reintroduced Buddhism to the world. There was more to the tale - there always is - but it is the simplicity & universality of Buddhist concepts which is part of its appeal. Join John, a former Dharma worker & teacher, as he shares some teachings of Buddhism and how they can reintroduce forgotten parts of ancient Earth-based Spiritualities and revitalize how you practise your path. A basic knowledge of Buddhism is not required. Presented by John Huculiak.
  7. More Than Words: Movement and Gesture as Magical Tools
    In this highly cerebral world, we tend to overlook the power of movement and gesture, both as a method of communication and as a magical tool. In this workshop, we will explore the relationship between our bodies and our spirit, look at the ways we use or can use our physicality to maximize our ritual experience and magical strength, and work through a vocabulary of movement and gesture that can be used to communicate more powerfully with our Gods and each other. Presented by Julie Desrosiers.
  8. On Oaths and Oathing: A Heathen's Perspective
    In Heathenry, one's worth is associated to one's word. We put a great emphasis on the value of oaths as they hold a central place in our folkway. They can bind a group very tightly together as well as destroy one's reputation if the oath is not fulfilled. We will look at oathing throughout history as well as take a look at different kinds of oaths throughout cultures and professional groups. Through the lens of the “Toasts, boasts and oaths” structure, we will examine how and why oaths are so powerful, how they can make our communities stronger and our luck shinier. Presented by MC Perron.
  9. The Power of Myth in the Mosaic
    Take a journey with us as we explore the power of myth and storytelling for both personal practice and performance art. Part of the Mosaic that we as Pagans are building are the stories, the myths, and the truths that we share with each other, and in so doing, from generation to generation. These stories keep our traditions and are values alive, allowing them to resonate from community to community. The stories can be wildly different, but they still share that universal thread that binds us all as a spiritual community, but also allows us to celebrate our diversity. The workshop will cover such diverse topics as Mytheism (using myth for spiritual expression), bardic etiquette, performance techniques, as well as practical exercises for practicing and improving your bardic skills! Presented by JD "Hobbes" Hickey.

  10. For the love of Mother Earth - Pagan Sensibility and Pagan Land Use
    For over 20 years now, I have attended Pagan summer festivals in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. During this time, I have also participated in Native Powwows and visited Native camps and spiritual gatherings in the Yukon and Ethnic Minority Cultural Sites in Southeastern China. I've noticed some strong differences in the relation to the land, of its use and even in its abuse. These differences cannot be attributed to religious attitude or belief since all three groups (Pagans, Natives, Animist Chinese) profess a strong attachment to the land as nurturing mother. So what else is at work here? Why do some succeed in minimizing their ecological footprint while others have turned dancing on mother earth into stomping all over her? By comparing real examples of accommodation to the needs of both people and nature, I will invite discussion on how we as pagans can better express our love of Mother Earth when we gather to celebrate her. Presented by Lucie Dufresne.