As we mentioned last week, an initial group of presenters has been confirmed for Many Gods West, and we’d like to tell you a little more about them.
But first, remember–the deadline for proposals is March 31st! If you’ve been thinking about sending in a submission, now’s the time!
Also, the deadline for ‘early registration’ is March 31st as well. On April 1st, the cost will increase to $40 for the weekend.
Now, on to our presenters!
Rev. Kirk Thomas: Sacred Gifts
Unlike the Abrahamic faiths, ancient Indo-European religion was based on reciprocity – do ut des, I give so that you may give. This presentation will examine the concept of reciprocity as well as the evidence for reciprocal relationships between the Gods and the people in ancient writings from Ireland to India and many places in between. We will also explore how these ancient practices may apply to us in the modern day as we re-imagine and recreate our Paganisms today.
Kirk Thomas is currently the Archdruid of Ar nDraiocht Fein : A Druid Fellowship (ADF) and an ordained Senior Priest in that religion. He holds a Masters degree in Celtic Studies from the University of Wales – Trinity St. David as well as a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Arts from the University of New Mexico and a Certificate from the Webber-Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, UK.
Heathen Chinese: Chinese Polytheism and Millenarian Movements
Millenarianism, the religious belief in a more harmonious society resulting from cataclysmic social upheaval, is usually associated with heretical medieval Christianity, but actually has a centuries long history in polytheist China as well. This presentation will provide an overview of various Chinese millenarian movements ranging from the disruptive mass worship of the Queen Mother of the West in 3 BCE to the anti-foreign and anti-Christian Boxer Rebellion of 1900 CE. Given the tumultuous times we live in, polytheists of all traditions may be interested in examining the forms that millenarian eschatologies and movements for social change have taken in the past.
Heathen Chinese is the son of Chinese immigrants. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. He venerates his ancestors and worships (among others) the warrior god Guan Di, who has had a presence in California since the mid-1800s. He writes sporadically at http://heathenchinese.wordpress.com.
John Beckett: Preparing the Way of the Gods
As Paganism and polytheism continue to grow, many of us feel the need for infrastructure and institutions. We want temples, groves of oaks, paid clergy, and many of the things we see in the “big religions.” On the other hand, some of us want nothing to do with anything that even resembles mainstream religion.
How do we make sure what we build serves our needs and the needs of those who come after us? How do we prepare the Way of the Gods?
John Beckett grew up in Tennessee with the woods right outside his back door. Wandering through them gave him a sense of connection to Nature and to a certain Forest God.
John is a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and a former Vice President of CUUPS Continental. His blog “Under the Ancient Oaks” is part of the Pagan Channel of the multifaith website Patheos. John has been writing, speaking, teaching, and leading public rituals for the past twelve years.
John lives in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and earns his keep as an engineer.
Anaar Niino: Feri and The Mighty Dead
This is primarily a lore share workshop. We will begin with an exercise designed to vividly recall an ancestor or recently crossed loved one. I will cover Feri lore regarding our ancestors, the Mighty Dead, and their relationship to the Gods. Tools, such as shrines and spirit jars that help us to connect with our ancestors will be also discussed. This workshop will end with an exercise to discover our own legacy. What will we leave behind on our passing? How will we be regarded as ancestors? Please bring paper and pen and feel free to bring a token of your ancestor to share.
Anaar is an initiate of the Anderson Feri tradition and has a Masters degree in Arts and Consciousness. She has spent nearly two decades studying the relationship between Feri and its expression through the Arts. Greatly influenced by the mad poesy of Victor Anderson, she seeks to create works of great mystery and power. Anaar is currently the only known grandmaster of the tradition.
Brandy Williams: The Woman Magician
Always the priestess, never the magician…until now! Western metaphysics assumes philosophers, geniuses and magicians are men. This presentation explores changes in metaphysical language and imagery to include women’s language and culture. Rethinking gender opens Western Traditional Magic to people who have formerly been marginalized and excluded. Women are not only maiden-mother-muse, we are philosophers, soldiers, scribes, solar as well as lunar, intellectual as well as intuitive. We are nurturers, but weare also leaders and teachers. Reading women into traditional male images and actions creates a new kind of magician, one which includes anyone who wishes to step into the role.
Brandy Williams has been practicing and teaching magic for over 30 years. Her work spans magical orders such as Ordo Templi Orientis and the Golden Dawn as well as Witchcraft and Pagan reconstruction. Her newest book, The Woman Magician, examines and challenges the Western understanding of women’s bodies, energies, and powers, articulating a new metaphysics which frees and empowers women to act authentically as women and as magicians. Her current work explores theurgy, practical Neoplatonic magic connecting human life with the gods.
Sarenth Odinsson: Calling to the Ancestors
How do we call to our Ancestors? Are our Ancestors just flesh and blood, or can They be those who brought us to our path? Why would we call Them? This workshop explores these questions, and many basics of Ancestor work, including who They may be, ways to call on Them, and how we can involve Them in our daily lives.
Bring your questions about Ancestor work. Bring comments and experience about your own work with the Ancestors, and bring items related to, or from your Ancestors. Please bring drums or other instruments if you are so inclined, as there will be an Ancestor ritual at the end of the lecture.Sarenth Odinsson is a Northern Tradition shaman, and priest of Odin and Anubis. He has written for RendingtheVeil.com, and Witches & Pagans magazines. He holds a B.S. in Psychology from Eastern Michigan University and his passions include writing, teaching, religion, and sustainable living. He can be contacted at Sarenth@gmail.com, or his blog at Sarenth.wordpress.com.
River Devora & Rynn Fox: Reweaving the Fabric of Connection
They are Goddesses of motherhood, war, sovereignty, victory, luck, fate, ecstasy, oaths, fertility, prophesy, land, tribe and waters, and to call upon them was to call upon the collective strength of thousands. They are The Matronae, a collective of European goddesses who were worshipped in the Roman style for 500 years throughout the Roman Empire. Join us as we call upon the old collective in a new way, petitioning them to help us reweave the frayed threads of living community, land and ancestors. We will receive prophecy and blessings as we dance and sing our way into healing and reconnection.
The Hearth of the Blessed Web is dedicated to reviving and revitalizing the ancient Cult of the Matronae. The Matronae are a collective of European goddesses who were worshipped syncretically in the Roman Empire for 500 years, leaving behind over 1,100 carved and inscribed altars scattered across Europe. The two lead priests for this ritual are River Devora and Rynn Fox.