Monday, December 7, 2009

Plans for GG 2010 are Underway

The next Gaia Gathering is only six months away. Can you believe it?

It will be held in Guelph, Ontario, at the University of Waterloo. Details are on our main Web site.

Discussions are starting on the YahooGroup for what types of panels participants would like to see at the conference. Remember, the content of Gaia Gathering is determined by you! To get involved or make your suggestions, visit the yahoogroup or leave a comment, below.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Write-ups of conference panels and activities

It was great to meet some new faces and to see so many people again last month. Lots of great discussions--during the panels, during dinner, in the evenings over wine...

At the conference a few people said they'd like to see summaries of some of the sessions or handouts from presenters made available on the website. I think that is a fabulous idea and I'm willing to do coordination to make that happen. But I need help. So...

1) If you attended a session (or sessions) and want to write about it/them, email me at ravenka(at)cosmic-muse(dot)com and let me know. I'll take short synopses, personal revelations/reviews, and complete blow-by-blow accounts. Whatever you want to send, I'll consider.

2) If you were on a panel and gave handouts and are willing to have these included in our 'proceedings'/summary, please send them to me.

3) If you took pictures and don't mind them being published (and can get permissions/releases from everyone in the pictures), let me know as well.

4) I'm especially interested in reviews and accounts of our key presentations: Kerr Cuhulain, Andrew Burton, and the documentary "I'm a Witch So What?"

This initiative can only happen if folks send me stuff. I know it's been almost a month and our memories may be foggy, but send me what you can. For next conference, maybe we can try to have conference reporters set up ahead of time.

Note: This is a separate project from the proceedings from the academic stream, which I believe the Board of Directors is still working on. That does not mean that you can't write about the academic presentations, it's juts not the 'official proceedings' of the academic component of the conference.


Sneak Preview of Canadian Documentary on Wicca

How many times do you get an opportunity to be involved in making a documentary about your beliefs, at least in name only? While I am not a Wicca, this was a very very special presentation that I hope we provided her enough honour by attending to her offer to let us see her work, and her work in progress. She was very amenible to feedback from us as well.

Arwen Hunter presented a film documentary about Wicca attempting to show rather than tell a balanced view of what Wicca is, respecting that Wiccans would like to be able to have some say in the definition and message of that. Her choice of images and sound bites in from a variety of talking heads worked well, showing that there is diversity and divergence as well as similarity and convergence.

Her work was, in my not so humble opinion, one of the best documentary works about Wicca I have seen to date....and the exciting part is that it was not finished yet. While she was at the conference, she gave us the opportunity to add our voices and imput to her film. I know afterwards, she asked for some imput, and some of the people attending provided film and interview commentary to add to it. The discussion we had of the film was cozy and intimate, with the majority of us it seemed were pleased with it. Thank you Sam, for suggesting we add this lady and her work to the conference agenda.

This was just one of the many fabulous things that happened at the conference.

So, if you knowledge of exciting projects or artists on the cutting edge, or theatre work or what have you like this, feel free to to make a suggestion to the Guelph committee, or the Board of Directors. This is how exciting programming happens....organically from you. We invite your input, as we respectfully know that the show is about all of us, not just what we think it should be.

I would like to thank Bythor, Sam, Amanda, and Lucie for working so hard on this conference. We had the privilege of hosting an outstandingly high quality group of conference participants. Thanks so much for allowing me the privilege of being a part of this.

Charlene /\

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We Gathered in Vancouver

Well, the conference is over and we're all decompressing. Thank you everyone for your active engagement in the conference and all the great discussions, presentations, and conversations. We wish you safe travels home and look forward to seeing you next year in Guelph, Ontario.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Last Call...

Last Call for Programme Advertising.

We're wrapping up the programme layout this week. If you were considering programme advertising or sponsorship but hadn't quite gotten around to contacting us, now is ur last chance. We will accept advertising up until Friday May 8th at 1pm ET (10 am PT). You can download the programme rates and contract here.

Last Call for 2011 Bids

The deadline for bids for 2011 was May 1st. We haven't received any bids yet. Bids need to be published in the conference programme and online in advance of the conference. If you were planning on putting in a bid, please have it in to us by Friday May 8th at 1pm ET (10 am PT). You can see the bid guidelines here. If no bids are received by this Friday, the current Board of Directors will recommend to the membership at the next AGM that there be no conference in 2011, and that he next one be held in 2012. We may also want to consider having the conference every two years instead of our current annual model.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mental Health Panelists Sought

:: Reposted from our YahooGroup::

Hi there,

This message is a call for panel participants for the mental health panel. By now most of you will have registered, and I’m hoping a few people will step forward to help make this panel possible. As of today I haven’t received many inquiries about serving on the mental health panel at the Gathering and am looking for presenter.

I’m a consultant who provides technical and project management services to non-profit organizations, including the local schizophrenia society. I’ve written public health fact-sheets on psychosis/schizophrenia and manage an online support group for family members/supporters of persons with a mental illness. However, I’m not a one-woman panel.

Here’s some ideas to hopefully suggest topics or people within the community who might have something to say for this panel. I’m looking for priest/esses who’ve had experience providing pastoral care to or received enquiries from persons with a mental health concern or mental illness, or for persons who’ve found their Pagan faith or practice helpful in managing or coping with mental health issues (e.g.: depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress) or mental illness and would like to speak about this process on the panel.

What I see as an issue and have encountered once as a priestess is that people who are experiencing hallucinations or delusions might be particularly drawn to us given that our Pagan worldview is often more open to ideas of unusual psychic powers or experiences. As Pagans our belief system often includes believing that we do have some extra-sensory powers, ability to shape outcomes by magic, and a belief in psychic abilities. This can mean that a person who is experiencing a brain illness might seek us out to talk to about what they are experiencing, as they know we’re not going to dismiss their experiences out of hand. I thought we might have a discussion on how to tell a person is not having an actual psychic experience but something due to a brain illness, and if so how to handle it (that topic I can help with).

Probably more commonly, some of you might have experienced your faith being helpful in healing post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety in yourself or coveners?

Are there any priest/esses out there planning to attend Gaia Gathering who’ve had coveners with mental health issues that would be willing to talk about it on the panel (keeping details confidential of course) in a panel on mental health issues and Paganism?

Blessed be,


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Do You Twitter?

Why not tweet about Gaia Gathering?

Help us continue to spread the word by tweeting about Gaia Gathering.

Find other tweets about the conference, and presumably other folks who might be attending, by using the hashtag #GG09 in your twittering. Other suggested hashtags are #Vancouver, #Canada, #Pagan

Not sure what about GG to twitter? Try simply:

"Are you going to Gaia Gathering? #GG09, #Vancouver, #Pagan"

Friday, April 24, 2009

GG Sneak Previews New Documentary

Documentaries on contemporary Paganism are few and far between. Canadian ones are even more rare. So we're delighted to have been given the opportunity to offer an advance screening of a documentary on Wicca from Victoria-based Gamut productions. The screening will be followed by a panel and Q&A period with the film-maker.

I’m a Witch, So What?
Saturday Evening

Today, the number of people practicing witchcraft is increasing more than any other non-immigrant based religion. Why Wicca? Why now? I’m a Witch, So What? is a critical look at a religion generally considered to be without doctrine and spiritual over-authority. One of its only rules is that everyone is free to carry out their (own) personal exploration as long as they 'harm none.'

During a time of rising global awareness, the witch returns in a new form after years of being misunderstood, coming forth to share common goals with many other open religions as they seek a broader understanding of the direction of our planet. The witch remains a vital part of human progress, emerging in this documentary with a voice that challenges preconceived notions of the past.

This documentary looks at contemporary Wicca with a variety of perspectives, interviews and a quick review of some myths. Made in Victoria (Gamut Productions) earlier this year, Arwen Hunter, the film-maker, will be available to answer questions and discuss the film.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Programme Advertising Deadline Extended

We've extended our deadline for programme advertising and sponsorhip to May 1st, 2009.

The conference programme highlights the activities of the weekend, presenters, bids for the 2011 conference, local information, and more. Every participant will receive a conference programme as part of the registration package when they check-in at the registration desk.

To offset the cost of producing the programme, as well as the cost of the conference itself, we accept paid advertising in this programme. If you run a business, advertising in the programme is a great way to get visibility for as little as $35. It's also a tax deductible as a business expense. If you don't run your own business but work for a Pagan-friendly company, consider asking them if they'd like to advertise in the programme; or consider running a fun 'ad' of support.

Advertising rates, based on 8.5 by 11 sheet size, are as follows:
Full Page $185
1/2 Page $95
1/4 Page $50
1/8 page (business card) $35

Ads should be in a standard graphics format and insertion ready.

We also accept programme inserts. So if you have a flyer or catalogue that you'd like to insert in the programme, that is possible. Contact us fo rates.

Sponsorship is also available for folks who do not want to advertise in the programme but want to support the conference in some way. Contact us for details.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Topics Descriptions From Our Keynote Speakers

Kerr Cuhulain (Saturday)
The topic of my presentation is hope. The modern world seems to be more and more chaotic, increasingly violent, and ever more isolated. One of the greatest gifts that our Pagan community can give the world is hope. Hope for a better and more peaceful future. It is time for the Pagan community to set an example for the rest of the world to follow. It is time to show people how to be stewards of the earth. It is time to replace the guilt of the Judeo Christian religions of the Western world with the responsibility of the Wiccan Rede.

Andrew Burton (Sunday)
This presentation will explain and demonstrate the process of social action theatre and its application in addressing problems of prejudice and discrimination. Dealing with issues often means listening to a talk about something. Doing so does raise awareness but often does so in an academic and abstract way. Theatre allows participants to experience the emotions and details of an issue in an immediate and powerful process. Social Action Theatre goes beyond this by requiring the audience to take a stand and get involved, to generate real-world solutions to problems rather than just hear about them. Audience members will have the opportunity to experience and take part in a play creation process. Street Spirits actors will demonstrate and involve the audience in creating interactive scenes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Have You Registered Yet?

Wow, we have only five weeks left to the conference, and just over three weeks to the pre-paid registration deadline. Are you registered?

If you are planning on attending, I can't emphasis enough the need to send in your registrations, or at the very least request a paypal invoice, sooner rather than later.

There are a couple of really good logistical reasons for this. The main one being that we need to confirm space as well as final headcounts for food and morning coffee with the University next week. If folks wait to the very last minute to register, then we may be short resources or end up booking spaces that are too small for our needs.

Also, all the conference facilities and food needs to be prepaid next week, and other expenses are coming up later this month and in May as well. Our cash flow is completely dependent on registration income. So we need the registration income to actually do the things needed to host the conference.

So, if, like me, you've been procrastinating....

Registration form is here:

Details about paying by PayPal can be found in the previous post.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Registration By PayPal?

Yes, we have PayPal! And yes, we take credit cards!

If you have a PayPal account, you can simply 'send money' to us at info(at) Them when you send in your registration form (pdfs via email are also welcome), simply indicate on it that you paid via PayPal. Please include your PayPal confirmation number so we can easily match the payment to the person.

No PayPal, or want to pay by credit card? No problem. Simply email us at info(at) .We'll send you a PayPal invoice that you can pay from.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Preliminary Schedule

The preliminary schedule is up. You can access it here, or from the right menu bar of this blog.

We've tried to group similar topics together into 'streams' and tried to work the schedule so all topics in the same stream are in different time slots. This worked well, except for the diversity stream. Here's what we've got:

Taking Care of Each Other:
Recognizing and Preventing Burnout
Mental Illness and Pagan Communities
Our Aging Pagans
Pagan Parenting
Finding a Mentor or Teacher

Paganism and Indigenous North American Traditions
Pagans, Polyamory and Kink
Paganism and Activism
Uniformed Pagans
Ethnicity and Paganism
Our Ethical Codes Across Traditions
Coming Out to Family and Friends

Organizing and Leadership:
Organizing Festivals
Pagan Pride Days: Importance and Logistics
Media Skills
Setting Up Churches and Non-Profits
(Recognizing and Preventing Burnout - also in Taking Care of Each Other)

We also have the music stream, scholarship/academic stream, two guest speakers and a history panel.

There's a lot of content packed in there right now and there's not much breathing room. We're considering thinning out some of the options, but before we do so, we'd like to hear from you about the schedule itself and which sessions you think you're most likely to attend, or not attend. Maybe after abit of discussion we'll find that there are a few obvious cuts, or perhaps we'll find that we have a good mix and folks are okay having a full schedule. You can join the discussion on our YahooGroup, or leave a comment here.

We are still looking for moderators and panelists, especially for those topics where you don't see a name beside the title. Interested? Let us know. Know someone you think would be a great fit for a panel, let us both know!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Introducing Our Second Guest Speaker

We recently realized that we never really officially annouced our second speaker for Gaia Gathering this year. So without further delay:

Andrew Burton is the founder and Artistic Director of Street Spritis Theatre Company, a youth-driven social action theatre based in Prince George, B.C. An experienced as actor, director and playwright as well as a professional therapist and counselor, he has been involved with theatre and social action for many years. His directing credits include “Mama Mafia”, “The Rez Sisters”, “Misty Lake” “Bootlegger Blues”and “The Cripple of Inishmann” among others .

Mr. Burton will be speaking at the Canadian National Pagan Conference, CNPC, Gaia Gathering, on Sunday May 17th.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Help Us Spread The Word!

With two months to go until the conference, we're working hard to spread the word about the Gaia Gathering, CNPC, in Vancouver over the May long weekend.

We have two guest speakers lined up, most of our panel discussions and round tables have been slotted in, and all but two spots have been taken for vendors. We're finalising the banquet menu with the caterers, making sure that we have enough coffee in the morning, and putting the final touches on the weekend's entertainment.

It's going to be a great conference!

Help us spread the word by downloading one of our posters from the right side menu and putting them up at venues around your town. We currently have a 1/2 page flyer suitable for printing in black and white, as well as a selection of postcard jpgs. Use them to print your own colour flyers or postcards. The jpgs ahve also been designed to respect the print requirements of commercial printshops or on-line copy shops (like

CNPC09 Poster (2 per page)
Postcard #1
Postcard #2
Postcard #3
Postcard #4
Postcard #5

Of course, there is also the registration brochure, that no only contains the registration form but also gives a bit of detail about the conference this year.

Registration Brochure

Stay tuned for our preliminary programme with a draft schedule, descriptions of streams and panels, travel information, and more. It should be up around April 5th.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Programme Advertising Contract

The english version of the programme advertising contract has been uploaded. You can access it here.

Rates this year are as follows:
1/8 page (business card) $35
¼ page banner $50
½ page $95
Full page $185
Inside front or back cover $220
Back cover $250
Programme insert or custom size (contact us $TBD)

Deadline is April 21st. Electronic submissions are preferred, but we can take hard copies. There will be an additional fee if design work is needed.

Payment is required before we process your ad. It can be made by cash, cheque, money order, or PayPal ( We can also issue an e-invoice if you want to pay online using a credit card.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Academic/Scholar Stream

The CNPC invites scholars, both academic and grassroots, to submit paper proposals for the Scholarship Stream on Saturday, May 16, 2009. The conference is an opportunity for Canadian Neo-Pagans to exchange information, networks, and encourage the exploration and identity of Canadian Neo-Paganism.

We encourage paper submissions from Canadian scholars doing research with Neo-Pagan traditions and communities, or of interest to these communities. Papers related to our theme this year are expecially encouraged. Abstracts should be 300 words, with a representative reference list. Presentations shall not exceed 20 minutes. Submissions will be refereed by Neo-Pagan academics.

Lucie DuFresne, University of Ottawa, will be coordinating the academic/scholar stream this year. If you have something you'd like to submit, or for more information, please contact her at: academic(at)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Read GaiaGathering on LJ!

You can now get Gaia Gathering updates on your Livejournal friends page!

Simply subscribe to the custom feed, and voilĂ !

Pass the word.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Early Bird Deadline Approaching!

‘Just a reminder that our next Early-Bird deadline is approaching for registration.

Register before February 28th, 2009 and pay only $80 for three days of presentations, discussions, and meeting fellow Pagans from across the country. Social events will be available for an extra fee. Our banquet gala on Sunday night is a ‘steal’ at $30 (vegetarian options available.) To download the registration form, click here.

While you’re travelling to Vancouver, why not take the opportunity to see the Rockies? It’s off-season for ViaRail, so fares are comparatively inexpensive. Some sample travel return fares to Vancouver are $246 (taxes included) from Edmonton ($718 if you want a berth), $377 from Winnipeg ($943 if you want a berth), and $804 from Montreal ($1650 if you want a berth). There’s also the option of flying one-way and training the return, or vice versa.

Some examples of current return airfares to Vancouver (taxes and surcharges included) through Air Canada are $250 from Calgary , $366 from Winnipeg, $470 from Toronto, and $680 from Halifax. West Jet fares are usually similar, but check them out for your selves.

Accommodations start at $38/night for a single dorm accommodation. Or gather together six friends and share a suite with a fully equipped kitchenette for $259 (maximum occupancy is seven people). Visit our accommodations page to book online: Click here.

If travel fees are completely out of your reach, but you’d like to contribute to Gaia Gathering, consider volunteering to help out during the event and apply for one of our travel scholarships. For more information see our website. Click here.

Have money left over after booking your travel? Consider donating to our travel fund to sponsor those of us on tighter budgets and from further away. Simply indicate the amount of your donation on your registration form.

We look forward to seeing you in Vancouver!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Programme Advertising

Once again this year, we will be producing a conference programme highlighting the activities of the weekend, presenters, bids for the 2011 conference, local information, and more. Every participant will receive a conference programme as part of the registration package when they check-in at the registration desk.

To offset the cost of producing the programme, as well as the cost of the conference itself, we accept paid advertising in this programme. If you run a business, advertising in the programme is a great way to get visibility for as little as $35. It's also a tax deductible as a business expense. If you don't run your own business but work for a Pagan-friendly company, consider asking them if they'd like to advertise in the programme; or consider running a fun 'ad' of support.

Advertising rates, based on 8.5 by 11 sheet size, are as follows:
Full Page $185
1/2 Page $95
1/4 Page $50
1/8 page (business card) $35

Ads should be in a standard graphics format and insertion ready. Deadline for submissions is April 21, 2009.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Travel Subsidies

Coming from accross the country and wondering how you can afford to travel to Gaia Gatheirng this year?

Each year, we provide travel subsidy assistance to encourage participation of Pagans from across this country. This year, attendees would be eligible from Ontario, Quebec and East, and from the far north (the territories). The subsidy is made possible through the generous voluntary donations of conference participants and donors.

If you'd like to apply for the subsidy, please forward us a written request, either by email or with yyour conference registration. Please include in the request:

  1. Where you are from.
  2. An explanation for your need.
  3. How you will be helping the conference by attending (ie, panel member, presenting a paper in the academic/scholar stream, volunteering on-site, etc)
  4. A wriitten budget outlining costs to attend the conference, and outlining what contribution you are requesting
Most travel subsidies are paid out at the end of the conference, although you will be informed that you will be receiving a travel subsidy, and how much you will receive, prior to the conference. In some cases the CNPC may pre-pay some costs.

When you apply does count. Deadline for applications will be March 21, 2009. Decisions for awarding subsidy to applications will be made by end of March, 2009.

If you want more information, or to send in our application for travel subsidy, please contact us at info(at)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Programme Suggestions

Some more programme suggestions have been made through our public Yahoogroups list, our alumni discussion board, and in the comments section of the blog:
  • The aging Pagan population. What does this mean for our communities?
  • Mental illness and Pagan communities: What to watch out for, how to respond to it
  • Festivals... festival nightmares and how to avoid them
  • Indigenous North American religions and their relation to pagan consciousness. Are we too different?
  • Uniformed Pagans: Here or in Afghanistan/overseas
  • Ethnicity and Paganism. Do our pagan immigrants teach their children the Old Ways or the New Ways?
  • Participatory comparative tradition workshop or roundtable
  • Dealing with family members who are not pagan; coming out to family and friends
  • Ethics
  • Dealing with the Christian "right" (ie, managing interactions)
  • Finding a mentor/teacher; what to look for (or avoid) in potential teachers and mentors

Keep the ideas coming! Also, please let us know which topics that have been suggested are of most interest to you! This helps us best plan the programme that you, the participants, want to see.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What's in the Programme?

We're starting to have some discussion on our yahoogroups list about what should be on our 2009 programme.

Traditionally, the panels and discussions at Gaia Gathering have focussed on the issues we experience as Canadian Pagans living in the 21st century, with special emphasis on the experience of being Pagan in the host city. What are the common threads that we all share in practising our paths, regardless of geography? What regional differences exist in our individual and groups practices? How do we keep our Pagan identity socially in our daily lives, when we are challenged by being a minority faith, generally poorly understood (even by media), and still searching the murky waters of faith, belief, understanding, knowledge, and so forth?

Past discussions have included:
  • Teachers, mentors and priesthood
  • Walking the talk
  • Running a Pagan business
  • Being a Pagan Professional
  • Managing Media
  • Religious rights and freedoms in Canada
  • Challenges facing francophone Pagans
  • Pagan parenting
  • Canadian Pagan music
  • Organizing churches and non-profits in Canada
While some of the slots in the programme are filled by the local host city, the vast majority of the conference programme has historically been developed collaboratively by Pagans from across the country using the Gaia Gathering YahooGroup. We hope this year, that you'll also share your ideas on this blog.

So what discussions would you like to see at the Vancouver conference?