Pagan Community Notes: Summer Festivals, COVR Awards, Pagan Families, and more!

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  June 17, 2011 — 22 Comments

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note series, more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started!

Summer Festival Season Begins: This weekend the Pagan Summer festival season officially begins! You’ve got Pagan Spirit Gathering in Illinois and Wisteria in Ohio both starting on Sunday, not to mention Eugene, Oregon’s own Faerieworlds happening this weekend. At the beginning of July the recently relocated Starwood, now in Ohio, starts up. This year, The Pagan Newswire Collective, Proud Pagan Podcasters, and other Pagan media outlets have formed an official “media camp” at Pagan Spirit Gathering.

“In the tradition of the dedicated camping communities at Pagan Spirit Gathering we are forming Media Camp for the 2011 festival. This is a project organized by several Pagan media organizations, but open to all podcasters, vidcasters, bloggers and other folks who are active in Pagan media. As the PNC did last year, we will be coordinating our efforts, sharing our resources and ensuring that all media participants are respectfulof the privacy of PSG attendants. We are grateful that PSG is welcoming us back and we intend to maintain the relationship of trust and respect we have built with the Circle Sanctuary staff.”

2010 was a huge step forward in coverage for Pagan festivals, and I hope the infrastructure being built at Pagan Spirit Gathering can be replicated at other large Pagan events. With a growing Pagan media recording experiences and stories, preserving memories, and sharing this unique culture with a wider audience. An audio and textual archive of Pagans coming together to celebrate and create community. A resource that could be a boon to future historians, academics, journalists, and seekers. I’m hoping to post updates from PSG as the week progresses, and we’ll be seeing plenty of stories and interviews rolling out in the weeks following.

Llewellyn and COVR: A big congratulation to Pagan/metaphysical publishers Llewellyn on being named a finalist in five categories for the 2011 COVR Visionary Awards.

“The Coalition of Visionary Resources (COVR) is an organization formed by a unique group of businesses that deal in “Visionary Resources,” and who work with and support each other as independent retailers, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, and publishers of visionary books, music, and merchandise.”

The titles nominated for awards include Biting Back, by Claudia Cunningham, Planetary Spells & Rituals, by Raven Digitalis, Witchcraft on a Shoestring, by Deborah Blake, and Modern Wicca, by Michael Howard. Llewellyn’s website is also nominated for an award. COVR’s Awards will be presented on June 25th at the International New Age Trade Show (INATS) banquet in Denver, Colorado. Good luck!

Pagan Families is Born: A new website and resource on pregnancy and childbirth, Pagan Families, has just been launched. Founded by Sarah Whedon, the site hopes to “pool our collective wisdom about Pagan pregnancy and childbirth.  Think The Pagan Book of Living and Dying for the childbearing year.” Like many just-starting Internet ventures they are looking for contributors to help build and develop the site.

“Pagan Families seeks carefully written contributions on all aspects of Pagan pregnancy and childbirth.   Examples of the kind of writing we are seeking include: scripts for conception rituals; theological essays on the ethics of reproduction; prayers to mother goddesses; Pagan sensitivity guides for birth professionals; personal essays on the experience of spiritual practice during pregnancy; reviews of Pagan-friendly birth resources; and Pagan birth stories.  This list is by no means exhaustive.”

So far Pagan writers and bloggers like  Sierra BlackLily Shahar Kunning, and Niki Whiting are planning to contribute. If you’d like to submit material, the guidelines are here. Good luck to Pagan Families, I look forward to seeing how this site develops.

Heathens Have Festivals Too: If you saw my top story and perhaps wondered if there were Summer events and festivals for the more Heathen-minded, wonder no longer! Kari Tauring, who recently joined the staff of PNC-Minnesota, is traveling to several Heathen/Northern/Nordic events, things, and moots this Summer and reporting back on her experiences. First up: Northern Folk Gathering.

“The childrens performance was a moment that the entire hall found exceptional. Here we are, modern humans of Nordic ancestry watching our children re-create the story myth of our deepest root. It is this realization that our ancestors are alive in our children that made this moment of the event a sort of pinnacle. Listening to each person in the hall raise a horn to their parents, grand parents, great grands…by name and by deed really marks a huge difference between general pagan events and heathen events. There is a deep understanding that we are creating the world for our children based on how healthy our relationships with our ancestors are. There is a sense in each raised horn that deep healing is going on in the family of origin issues we all face and that there is a commitment to maintaining a high level of functioning for our children’s sake. I find this compelling whether at a small kindred meeting or a large regional gathering. This path is for our ancestors and our descendants, not just for us here and now.”

Stay tuned to PNC-Minnesota for more updates from Kari, I’m glad we can benefit from her coverage of this often overlooked events and festivals.

Get Well Terry Dobney! In a final note, we here at The Wild Hunt would like to wish Terry Dobney, Archdruid of Avebury and Keeper of the Stones, our best wishes as he recovers from a stroke.

“Druid Keeper of the Stones Terry Dobney who traditionally leads a Pagan greeting to the rising sun will be missing from the Summer Solstice celebration at Avebury on Tuesday. Mr Dobney, 64,who lives in West Kennett and has who has been involved in the solstice celebrations at Avebury for more than 30 years, suffered a stroke and is currently recovering in the Great Western Hospital, Swindon.”

Dobney was recently embroiled in a tabloid scandal in the UK concerning welfare fraud. Luckily, the Druid was cleared of all charges, and was able to return to his life and spiritual duties. Here’s hoping he’s back on his feet and able to lead ceremonies for the 2012 Summer Solstice at Avebury.

That’s all I have for now, have a great day!

Jason Pitzl-Waters


  • Ed the Pagan

    Looking forward to not being the only one covering Pagan events….over the last few years this has definitely grown, and it feels good to see the emergence of more News. WSI Media, with Pagans Tonight and Magick Tv is looking forward to covering PSG.

  • Thanks so much for writing up Pagan Families, Jason. And congrats on your big move to Patheos.

  • Daniel

    I think all this distinction of heathenism from paganism and vice versa is really unfortunate. Different people follow the old gods in different ways. But “we’re different from them” all too easily turns into “we’re better than them”.

    • Joseph

      Labels are important so that people have some idea of what to expect when they encounter a group or are thinking about attending a gathering. “Heathen” has a very specific meaning relative to “Pagan” and I appreciate having that sort of shorthand available to give me a heads-up.

      Bear in mind, though, that even Heathenry is a huge umbrella term, encompassing a broad collection of beliefs and practices. They just narrow the focus somewhat, and I don’t find anything wrong with descriptive terminology. Like it or not, we *are* different from one another.

  • Anonymous

    Ooh ooh I hope the Media Camp at PSG will record panels again! It was sort of like being there except I didn’t have to deal with all the bugs I am allergic to thus preventing me from ever attending in person.

    I am LOVING (can you do html in Discus?) Kari’s Thingtide Travels. I know no Heathens online or off save the normal commenters here at TWH so my experiences with how they do things is nil. It’s fascinating and I’m so glad to have a bit of a report on the festivals.

    I’ll be passing on the Pagan Families link to some friends of mine 🙂

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    This is a dicey balance, between covering Pagan events and preserving the privacy of attendees. It’s been (too many) years since I’ve been at a festival and so have no idea how this is being struck. My best energy to those striving to keep this balance.

    • We don’t get in people’s faces, we try to use audio when possible and always use consent forms. We have no interest in being a bad guest!

      • Baruch Dreamstalker

        Glad to hear it, thanks!!

  • Chas

    “This weekend the Pagan Summer festival season officially begins!”

    So the Beltane Florida Pagan Gathering, Beltania in Colorado, etc. are not really official Pagan festivals?

    • Aren’t those more Spring-time events? Perhaps I should say the Summer
      (Solstice) season begins.

      • Chas

        Colorado’s Front Range Pagan Festival was the weekend of June 11th-12th. I forgot to mention it. So that is summer, no?

        • Well, if you want to get technical about it, Summer starts on June
          21st. Though, having said that, let me note that I did not mean to
          imply that festivals and events taking place before the big Midwest
          events were somehow lesser. Mea Culpa.

        • Melia

          Dragonfest occurs the first week of August in Colorado too. That is summer…or would you call that fall. 😉

  • Lori F – MN

    Sharon Knight and Winter will be performing at Wisteria.
    I saw them in St Paul on Wednesday. Lovely concert.

    • I was lucky enough to host them at the beginning of their tour, lovely
      (and talented) people.

  • Get well, Terry.

  • Ceworthe

    There is also Kaleidoscope Gathering Wednesday July 27 to Monday August 1, 2011 in Eganville Canada at Raven’s Knoll, Submitted by a New Yorker 😉

  • Just a reminder, to get all the Pagan Events being covered/attended by Pagan Podcasters, just look on the right sidebar of