HPF 2016: Skidding In Home

A week ago yesterday, at almost exactly midnight (and about twelve hours after we had intended), Aradia and I disappeared into the woods for the thirty-first Heartland Pagan Festival.  Last night, just an hour short of a full week away, we pulled back into our driveway.

Last year, I found myself spearheading the ritual crew for the thirtieth anniversary extravaganza.  It was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, but it was an amazing experience.  Then some cruel bastards decided that I should be in charge: first they put me in the chair of my committee; then, when someone stepped down, I let them put me on the Board of Directors.

A year as ritual crew lead did not prepare me in any way, shape, or form for the amount of work I found waiting for me as Chair of the Sacred Experience Committee.  The decision to put on four workshops (three of which were interconnected and had to happen the same day) didn’t help.  And it turns out that coordinating with guest speakers to participate in the main rituals is hard.  And where the FUCK did all the Heartland drummers go?  (Seriously, you used to trip over at least two drum circles on the way to any given port-o-john; now I struggle to recruit three drummers for ritual.)  Oh, and that whole near-miss-with-the-tornado thing?  Yeah…. that happened.

I’m still processing.  There was a lot of really good stuff that happened.  There was some really shitting stuff that happened.  There was just a whole lot of STUFF that happened. And the weather.  Did I mention the tornado?  I’ll be processing all week.

And if you’re in St.Louis this coming weekend, you should come process it with me, possibly over beers or coffee, because I’ll be wearing my PR hat and schilling for the festival at St. Louis Pagan Picnic.  And, speaking of Public Relations, if you were there at the festival with me, please fill out our post-festival survey!  The survey is anonymous, and you will have the chance to enter for a free pass to next year’s festival!

HPF 2016 Elemental Excursions: A Preview From the Sacred Experience Committee

It’s the final stretch, y’all: one week from today, Aradia and I will be disappearing into the woods to begin setting up the site for this year’s Heartland Pagan Festival.  The thirty-first of its kind, it will be my second year as a member of the ritual crew and my first year as a ready-to-take-the-blame committee head.  I’m stoked.  I’m scared.

elemental excursions art

We have a lot of fun and excitement planned for you all.  We’ve got great pagan speakers and musicians from across the country, and a local legend for our Saturday night concert.  Three days of workshops and rituals led by both our honored guests and members of our own communities.  Public rituals on all four nights, as well as the traditional night-hike Vision Quest on Saturday.

I don’t want to give too much away, or overstep myself by blurring the line between my HSA work and this, my personal blog, but I’m really excited about the four rituals.  For most of my time as an attendee, there were three main rituals: opening ritual Thursday, main ritual Saturday night, and closing ritual Monday (moved to Sunday a few years ago). Then, for a while, there were only two rituals: Thursday and Saturday.  Last year we re-introduced the Sunday night closing ritual.  This year we’re upping the ante by taking the elemental theme and escalating to four rituals.

First, Thursday’s Earth Ritual will banish the outside world and welcome everyone to the festival by introducing us to the spirit of the land.

Then Friday’s Air Ritual will clear our minds to find our truths, and help us name our ambitions in order to pursue them.

For Saturday’s Water Ritual, we will dredge up our individual fears so that we may confront and conquer them as a community.

Finally, with all obstacles out of the way, Sunday’s Fire Ritual will stoke our divine spark to roaring flame and impel us back into the world charged for action.

I really hope to see some of you there.