Although it may be difficult for many to look past the upcoming holiday weekend, there are other exciting events occurring in early November. One of these is FaerieCon East 2015. As is advertised, “For nine years, FaerieCon has been a global destination for three days of workshops, panels and presentations and the Mythic Marketplace, called ‘the finest fantasy lifestyle shopping experience on the East Coast.” The event is packed with fantasy and mythic arts, crafts & costumes, ancient wisdom teachings, best-selling authors, and tribal music.
Some of the presenters are well-known to many Pagan and Heathen communities, including David Salisbury, Raven and Stephanie Grimassi, Byron Ballard, Michael Smith, Chris Orapello, and others. Ballard said, “It’s a treat to travel up the Shenandoah Valley in the autumn and then arrive at FaerieCon. Last year was my first time there and I was warmly received and had a great time with old friends and new ones. After the intensity of the Samhain season, it feels like a real getaway to the forest and the wild. Now, if I can only score an 18th century wig for my Good Faery costume...”
This year’s musical guests include composer Einar Selvik of Wardruna, Faun, Martine Kraft, Adam Hurst and more. FaerieCon will be held from Nov. 6-8 at the Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore, Maryland.
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Last week, Religion News Service (RNS) reported on the opening of a new hof in California. Located in the “foothills of the Sierra mountains,” the land and structure were purchased by the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA) for the organization’s personal religious use. AFA reportedly raised $50,000 over a 3 year time span to fund the enormous project. The grounds include both indoor and outdoor ritual space. As noted by RNS, the hof “was inaugurated in early October with a blot … that included candles and prayers, fires and blessings, banners and sacred mead. About 80 people attended, some from as far away as Florida.” The RNS article quotes various AFA members about their Asatru traditions, the use of hof and other various aspects of modern Heathenry.
Since its publication, the RNS article has been picked up by a large number of news sites across the country. While it may be exciting to see Asatru and similar minority religions featured in mainstream news articles, not everyone was thrilled with this recent press. Dr. Karl E. H. Seigfried, whose 2013 survey is cited in the article, described the RNS article an “ethically problematical piece.”
In response, Dr. Seigfried published his own very detailed article, in which he describes his interactions with the RNS writer before and after the article was published. With the help of a number of voices from the Heathen community, he challenges many of the writer’s claims including, for example, that this building is the first hof on American soil. Additionally, Dr. Seigfried demonstrates that, through the writer’s own admission, she did little research into both the backgrounds of modern Asatru and the AFA, showing a flippant disregard for any of the controversies surrounding its leadership.
Dr. Seigfried writes, “Editors of mainstream media outlets continue to assign articles on Heathenry to writers with no prior knowledge of the tradition or contacts in the various communities. This usually leads to questionable stories with some variation on “religion of Thor” in the title.” Dr. Seigfried is a vocal proponent of independent Pagan and Heathen journalism, and regularly watches mainstream media for its treatment of Heathenry and other minority religious practices.
* * *Directly after the Parliament of the World’s Religions was over, the Correllians held their Lustration of the Living ritual in Salt Lake City, Utah. As noted by Chancellor and First Priest Rev. Donald Lewis, “This had been envisioned as a small private ritual for the Correllians at the Parliament, but we ended up being joined by many friends!”
During the ritual, the Correllians presented a number of awards. The Order of Tchalv was given to Rev. Selena Fox for her devotion and life’s work. Rev. Lewis writes, “What words can you use to honor someone who has done so much to benefit the spiritual community and the world at large?” The Order of the Round Table was presented to Rev. Jeanine DeOya with the African American Wiccan Society, and to Arch Priestess Linda Isles with the Isian Triad Union. Both women were honored for the work that they do within their traditions, organizations and communities.
Rev. Lewis also said that more Correllian announcements are to come with the upcoming publication of his full report. Congratulations to Fox, DeOya and Isles!
In Other News:
- The American Academy of Religion’s annual meeting will be held in Atlanta, Georgia from Nov. 21-24. As noted on AAR’s website, the meeting brings together “thousands of professors and students, authors and publishers, religious leaders and interested laypersons… the Annual Meetings are the largest events of the year in the fields of religious studies and theology.” According to AAR, 10,000 people attended last year’s meeting, which hosted over 900 sessions. Many Pagans attend the AAR meeting. Read past articles for details on that experience. For those interested in attending, all registration information is currently the AAR website.
- While Samhain is still in the air, some Pagans are already preparing for Solstice. A Canadian group has just launched the “Solstice Dispatch Service.” Organizers say, “Write a letter to the Oak King and tell him of your hopes and dreams for the coming year!” The group has a Facebook page as well as a website. Children (and adults) can send their letters to the Oak King and have them answered. This is similar to the traditional Christmas Dear Santa services.
- In the most recent issue of Pagan Dawn, there is an article reviewing a new book that will be available in 2016. This unique book is titled Of Shadows: 100 objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic. Written and produced by Simon Costin and Sara Hannant, the book provides a vivid overview of the contents of the famous Boscastle museum. Its introduction was written by scholar and author Ronald Hutton. According to the Museum, the book with run for “£20 paperback and £30 hardback.” Want to read the review and see a preview? Pagan Dawn is the official magazine of the Pagan Federation and can be ordered online through the PF’s website.
- As noted on the Bad Witch’s Blog, the speakers for the “Seriously Bewitched” symposium have been officially announced. As noted previously, this one-day symposium is sponsored by the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP). It seeks to “examine the subject of witchcraft, both ancient and modern, from a range of perspectives.” The newly announced speakers include: Dr. Helen Cornish, Mark Norman, Bekie Bird, Charmaine Sonnex, Ethan Doyle White, and Deborah Hyde. Seriously Bewitched will be held at Goldsmith’s College, in New Cross, South London, on 28 November. More details are available on the event’s website.
- Blogger Sannion of The House of Vines has just announced the upcoming publication of a brand new book of Dionysian poetry titled End to End. Sannion writes, “If you’ve enjoyed the poems I’ve been sharing here at the House of Vines I hope you’ll check out my forthcoming book … of which they are a selection.” The book’s description reads: “In this collection of inspired Dionysian poetry, H. Jeremiah Lewis blurs the boundaries of the mythic and mundane, the personal and the divine, the familiar and the unheimlich. Narratively flowing in and out of time, and roaming from dark urban alleys to the ancient shores of Greece and Italy, End to End explores the ever-changing concepts of memory and identity, serving as a guide to those who might seek this strangest of gods, Dionysos, and how he walks among us.” End to End will be released through Sannion’s Nysa Press, and will join his growing list of published works. However, at this point, no release date has been provided. Stay tuned to his blog for further updates.
That is it for now. Have a great day!