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.

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