TWH — The end of August dealt a bit of a setback to Pagan music fans when festival organizer David Banach published a series of posts on the CalderaFest Facebook page revealing that the concert was going to be postponed. Fewer than expected ticket sales were the primary cause for the upheaval, as The Wild Hunt reported earlier this month.
The reaction among folks who were planning to attend was mixed.
One commenter on those public posts said, “I’d like to know about the developments about refunds… my group spent $1000 and we’d like our money back. Many of us made special arrangements with work and family to be there. It is WRONG to keep our money if this festival is going to be rescheduled!”
Others pledged their support, offering to volunteer or to do whatever was necessary so that the festival could move ahead.
“What ever we can do to help please let me know, this is such a special event and it must happen,” a commenter said.
The issue brought up most frequently on the festival’s page are inquiries about refunds and people taking exception with the event being postponed rather than scheduled as a new event.
Bands that were scheduled to perform were generally upbeat about the postponement and voiced their support for Banach.
Mannun, bassist and vocalist for Witch’s Mark, said that he was, “Bummed.”
He added, “But I understand, if not enough people are gonna be there to make it worth while then why do it. Try again at a later date when things can possibly be promoted better and maybe more can commit.”
Solo performer Brian Henke also expressed disappointment that it won’t be happening this year, but he also said that, as someone who has experienced concert and festival promotion, he knows about the pitfalls.
“I don’t think most people have any idea of the amount of hard work, attention to detail and courage it takes to do a festival of this size,” Henke said.
There are a lot of variables that make organizing extremely complicated and difficult, he added.
“I have nothing but respect and sympathy for the folks that put this amazing fest together and am very looking forward to being at Caldera 2019!”
Spiral Dance had built CalderaFest into their 2017 tour plans, when they travelled from Australia to the UK, where they’re currently performing before flying to the southeast United States to wrap up their northern hemisphere excursion.
Singer Adrienne Piggott didn’t seem to be too shaken by the change, saying, “We’ve got some house concerts as well as Phoenix Phyre Festival so we’re looking to launching our new CD there. If Caldera happens in 2019 and we can be there, we will!”
What follows is a Q&A with festival organizer David Banach. There appears to be some unresolved issues that he still must face if he wants to rebuild the trust of both those who currently hold tickets and those who may attend in 2019.
Banach is admirably unflappable in his belief in the festival, his love of the bands and the music that they create. It is difficult not to get caught up in his enthusiasm.However, for the people who are sitting on tickets and are feeling like an event in 2019 is not what they payed for, it will take more than a love of the music to win them back. Banach may need to do some soul-searching, as well as reaching out to ticket holders to come up with creative solutions and compromises.
While he appears to sincerely want to do right by people, he still needs to dig in and figure out how best to make that happen.
TWH: First up, if you can catch me up on what’s happened so far. On August 31 you put up the original post to the Facebook page announcing that the festival would be postponed. What’s happened since then?
David Banach: Mostly, I have been fielding lots of questions and doing my best to deal with the backlash. Mostly, the response has been fairly positive, but there have been some negative comments. I’m doing my best to ignore the negativity and focus on making the 2019 event truly legendary.
TWH: How many folks do you have working on the festival, I think I saw mention that there are two of you right now?
Banach: CalderaFest is myself and my business partner at the financial core. I have two other staff members from 2016 and then we added five other staff members for this year. We are all volunteers in this. We haven’t made a dime. In fact, my business partner and I lost a small fortune putting on 2016. It’s a project we really believe can be successful eventually. We might even make that money back someday.
TWH: Can you say who your business partner is? And do you feel like a larger pool of volunteer help could have helped pull the event off this year or was it solely a funding issue?
Banach: My partner is Mary D. She was in charge of the vendors in 2016. She’s an awesome lady and a good friend. I never could have pulled it off without her last time.
The main issue for 2017 was lack of ticket sales. Putting on this festival is very expensive. When we announced the postponement, we had about a third of the tickets we needed to break even. The other factor was volunteers. We need about 90 to make it happen. At the end of August we had 12. The current plan is that volunteers get a severely reduced rate for working three 6 hour shifts during the festival. I’m currently working on a plan to be able to boost volunteer numbers for 2019 by offering a lower rate in exchange for working one shift as well. I want to give people lots of choices to find the plan that works best for them.
TWH: That’s awesome, I was really sorry I couldn’t make it to the first ‘fest. Are you concerned that you may get into a position where you have enough volunteers but the reduced rate still doesn’t hit the break even point.
Banach: There’s always that concern. I’m also working on alternative ways to fund the next CalderaFest as well. We will be selling some fairly inexpensive sponsorship programs that include advertising on our websites as well as ad banners on the stage and on the festival grounds. Corporate sponsorship would be great, but just like we focus on independent Pagan musicians, I’d like to be able to get independent Pagan businesses, media outlets, and organizations, including other festivals, to sponsor with us so we can help each other grow and be successful.
TWH: Have you worked with any fundraising pros to help you create a plan?
Banach: It’s not something we’ve done in the past, but I will be looking into getting some help in that area.
TWH: You mentioned that you chose the new date because of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. Since that’s about a year and a half after the original planned date, why not aim for some time in 2018?
￼Banach: That wasn’t the only reason, but I mentioned it to build some excitement for 2019. The other factors involved are simply the amount of time needed for everyone involved to make arrangements to be there. There’s the guests that buy tickets, of course, but also musicians, vendors, and volunteers. Plus we have to work with the venue for its availability and one of our key staff members will be unable to do it in 2018 for health reasons. The best reasonable time we could find was Memorial Day 2019. If we had postponed only a week, or a month, or even a few months, most people wouldn’t be able to make their plans by then. We thought this was the best plan that was the most fair for the most people.
TWH: Since you mentioned musicians, do you have a list that have committed to the new festival date? Are there any lineup changes?
Banach: I really don’t have much info on that yet. Most have said they want to come back, but actual details for 2019 aren’t even tentative yet. The plan is to do a Woodstock thing, so yes, the actual schedule will change a bit. The lineup is yet to be determined.
TWH: Have you heard anything from the bands that were booked for this year? Any gripes? I know Spiral Dance was slated to perform, were they understanding?
Banach: All the musicians were very understanding and wonderful. Most knew that things like this happen, some were very disappointed, one even cried. I love them all like family that I still geek out on when I see them. They are really awesome people.
TWH: People are understandably upset about the changes, are you offering refunds to those who can’t make the new date?
￼Banach: I want to do what is right. If I had the ability to refund everyone, I would. I have given the people who have tickets several choices and they have been very understanding of the situation. I will do everything I can do for them. I wish I could do it all.
TWH: What are the options that you’re giving them?
Banach: We would really like them to keep their ticket for 2019. I’m brainstorming ideas to benefit those that do keep their tickets. They can also sell their tickets or we can sell the tickets for them via brokerage. When tickets go on sale for 2019, any brokered tickets will be sold first. The last option is of course refunds. I understand that this may be the only option for some. I will do my best to take care of all of the people with tickets.
TWH: Have you had anyone threaten to sue or anything like that?
Banach: There has been some talk about it on Facebook, but fortunately not. I hope people realize that we’re not a giant corporation with unlimited resources. We are just regular people that wanted to make something wonderful happen. I’m doing my best to satisfy everyone.
TWH: Do you feel like you’ll be able to regain the trust of fans/vendors/bands? What would you say to people who are feeling uneasy about investing money for the 2019 event?
￼Banach: I know this isn’t the first event to be postponed, and hopefully everyone will know that this project is our passion. It’s what we gave every free moment of our time and our life savings to. We want Nothing more than for CalderaFest to return better than ever. I’m asking them to believe in CalderaFest and us. If they need a second opinion, ask those who were there in 2016, fans, and musicians. It was real magick for those few days. We can, and will, do it again. We need everyone’s support to make magick again.
TWH: Thank you so much for your candor, Dave. I appreciate your willingness to share. Is there anything else you want to add that I haven’t touched on?
Banach: I would like to say thank you to everyone who has supported this project in the past and we look forward to bringing CalderaFest to you in the future. If anyone is willing to help us make it a success, please feel free to contact me.
But we stopped the bus at two Bronze Age burial mounds, and at a peninsula with several Stone Age caves. One mound had to my knowledge not been excavated, but the other one had been and the burial chamber and entrance way had been recently restored. If I had brought a torch I would have been tempted to sneak in.
The Ålabodarna Bronze Age burial mound in its landscape, between sea and farmstead. (Click to embiggen.)
The very narrow entrance to the burial mound. (Click to embiggen.)
View from the top of the burial mound toward the sea. Denmark's coast is on the horizon. (Click to embiggen.)
The Stone Age caves (well, obviously formed in an geological age and not the Stone Age, but they were used in the Stone Age for temporary occupation) were the highlight. I had never been to one before, but now I want to go back and explore that area more. Scania is said to be flat as a pancake, but the Kullaberg peninsula is one of the not flat parts. Lots of people come here for rock climbing.
It was a long steep path down to the stony beach. Thankfully there were stairs (wood or natural stone, nothing fancy or easily walked), but my legs didn’t appreciate it as much as my eyes did. The beach was gorgeous, with lots of photo opportunities if you liked rock formations. There were several caves accessible from those stairs. The main one is at the beach itself, and you could get to another one at next beach along by stairs up a rocky formation and then a narrow path down the other side. The caves are all tiny, so they can only have been used for temporary shelter (annual seal hunts or sea bird egg collections?).
First part of the path. We're still in a lovely decidious wood. (Click to embiggen.)
The first stairs. Now you can (just about) see the beach! (Click to embiggen.)
A part without stairs, just a stony path. Still a long way to go until we're down on the beach. (Click to embiggen.)
The beach! Cliffs to the right...(Click to embiggen.)
... and more cliffs to the left. (Click to embiggen.)
The beach "next door". (Click to embiggen.)
A funny little plant growing on the cliffside. If you know what it is, please let me know. (Click to embiggen.)
Windswept heather growing on the cliffside. I wonder how old that plant is? (Click to embiggen.)
Coffee and Crumbs (The Idiot in the Attic Remix) (2145 words) by lost_spook
Fandom: Doctor Who (2005), Sarah Jane Adventures
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Twelfth Doctor & Sarah Jane Smith
Characters: Sky Smith, Twelfth Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, Mr Smith (Sarah Jane Adventures)
Additional Tags: Remix, remixrevival, Post-Episode: s08e01 Deep Breath, Episode: 2013 Xmas The Time of the Doctor
Summary: The Doctor always returns to Bannerman Road at the important moments. It's the timing that's so hard to get right...
It's a remix of paranoidangel's Tea and Biscuits, because we just can't avoid each other in these things! Anyway, it was fun and I had plenty of options to choose from, but my heart wanted this one. I'd actually beta-ed Tea and Biscuits (and it was a gift fic for dbskyler, too), which is a little odd, but so far in my remixing, I've always gone for stories I've loved and that's what drew me to T&B quite quickly. I'm not sure what the key is (I'm sure you could remix almost anything with a bit of work and inspiration), but certainly a story that speaks to me, one I can say something in response to is maybe what that sudden, "That's the one!" spark is. Anyway, this was fun. I was little worried about effectively switching Eleven for Twelve, because it borders on going too far - but on the other hand, the Doctor is the Doctor, and I know Paranoidangel doesn't have an aversion to any of them. (Well, as far as I know!)
And I see that I have estirose to thank for the remix of my Dungeons & Dragons fic! (Madness is still unrevealed, although I do have a suspicion...)
"Color is to the eye what music is to the ear."
- Louis Comfort Tiffany
What does "stained glass" make you think of? Church windows? Fancy light fixtures?
How about gorgeous cakes?
Ooh la la! So soft and pretty; I love the watercolor feel to those colors.
(By Paige Fong)
This cake practically glows, it's so vivid. And I like how the flowers are mirrored in the artwork.
(By Maggie Austin Cake)
I can't imagine the time it took to pipe and paint even one of these layers, much less four.
(By Corrie Cakes)
These cookies look like sun catchers! Doesn't the blue background look like a cloudy sky showing through?
(By Melissa Alt Cakes)
One of my personal favorites today! There's a great little Tiffany museum here in Florida, and this one reminds me the most of some of his windows there. Something about all those glowing greens and rich orangey-browns... Just lovely.
(also by Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes)
Both are amazing, but that blue! WOW.
(By Bittersweet Pastry)
Perhaps more of a mosaic than stained glass, but I'm blown away by the 3D flowers! Such a great design.
And another tile mosaic:
(By Passionate Cakes)
So much detail! Can you imagine how long it would take to place all those tiny pieces?!
These flowers look like they're bursting out of the glass design:
(Also by Maggie Austin Cake)
(By Vinism Sugar Art)
I take it back; I think this is my favorite. The balance of dark and light, the perfectly blended colors, that butterfly...! It belongs in the Tiffany Museum! Or my belly. One of the two, anyway. ;)
Hope you guys enjoyed! Happy Sunday!
2. I am very slowly beginning to tackle the backlog of Stuff I Kept Putting Off While Studying; this week has been all about the clothes / fabric. I have assorted piles of worn-out clothes and out-grown clothes accumulating around my room. I pulled out all the actually worn-out stuff, and bagged that up to go to recycling. I bagged up two sets of bedding we never use for the charity shop. I bought myself some underwear that doesn't have holes in, and added all the ones that did to the recycling bags, along with my oldest & least useful bras. I sorted through my socks, and chucked a good few pairs in the recycling bags, and a few others into the charity bag. Finally I ended up sorting through my stash of pretty scarves and wraps and kept only the ones that I really love and may actually wear more than once a year. (I sort of aspire to be someone who routinely wears pretty scarves etc but in practice I am never that put-together very often.)
3. I took the charity bag to the EACH shop, and came back with a very shiny pair of not!DMs and a metallic blue stripey hat. (Amusingly, I had been whinging this week about needing new shoes for winter, and hating shoe shopping, so that was very well timed.)
4. Last Saturday I watched Robocop with fanf . He was inspired by this post (linked by andrewducker ), and I'd never previously watched it - not on purpose, just never got round to it. It's very very Paul Verhoeven isn't it? Gratuitious mixed-sex shower scene, gory violence, horrible-future-media & horrible-future-adverts. Although my reaction to the project manager with the huge glasses was a. love those glasses b. you are really enjoying imagining watsisface having his hand broken c. please tell me watsisface dies horribly after forcing a kiss on you and taking credit for your work (spoiler - he does). Watsisface really is a walking example of the unwarranted confidence of the mediocre white man.
5. Nicholas saw Trolls at holiday/after school clubs and asked for his own copy. It's not awful, and I like the music, but after sitting through it with him three times in less than a week, I think I have had enough of it for now. The trailers on it include Home (based on The True Meaning of Smekday) which I've been meaning to watch, and Nicholas is keen to do so too, so hopefully I'll enjoy that more.
Astrid May for a girl, I don't know about a boy. Kevin likes the name Astrid, and I do too, but it's really his choice. May is my middle name, my mother's middle name, my grandmother's middle name, and my great-grandmother's middle name. So it's really important to me to keep that.
( the rest )
There were stations to get wine, beer, and food all over the zoo. I wound up getting one cup of sparkling mango wine, and then eating the food. It was good. I couldn't eat two of the things because they had seafood, but I got some steak, and a piece of a taco and some donuts. I discovered that it's impossible to see the gorillas with wheels - there just isn't a ramp onto the observation platform. So that made me sad, especially as there was someone with a microphone talking about gorillas up there, and I would have liked to listen.
I wound up watching the elephants for a long time, and the sun bears, and the pandas. The sunbears were clearly distressed that it was past time for them to be off exhibit and behind the scenes doing whatever they do there. They were pacing in front of the exit to their exhibit and occasionally jumping up on it like "let me in!" I kind of understand - it was 90F and they're black bears. But they're from Malaysia, certainly they should be used to hot weather? The tortoises were off exhibit with a sign that said "even Atlanta can be cold to a tropical animal. Check us out starting in late spring" - did I mention it was 90F out? Certainly that's not too cold for anything that has an outdoor enclosure in Atlanta?
I started driving home, and Kevin called to tell me he'd ordered me dinner from someplace we'd never eaten at before. So, I came home to dinner, and when I answered the door, the dog ran past me, and jumped on the guy with the food. He started jumping and screaming, which of course makes the dogs think he wants to play, so they're jumping and barking too. I collect my dogs and my food, and start to close the door and he's out there with his pants leg pulled up yelling "ma'am, ma'am!" so I peek out the door and he says "do you have the peppers?" I have absolutely no idea what he's talking about and he keeps gesturing to his leg asking for peppers. I finally say, "I have no idea what you want," and he says, "fine then I'll call the cops!" Since there was not a mark on his leg anywhere, and I have no idea why he wants peppers unless maybe he wants me to pepper spray my dogs, I tell him, "you do that then," and kick the door closed. Why do people who are afraid of dogs take jobs as delivery drivers? Honestly, get a job as a cook or something where you don't have to interact with people or dogs if you're afraid of dogs. Anyway, I'm seriously stressed out because I don't want him to report my dogs to the police.
- LONG WEEKEND FTW! \o/ \o/ \o/
- Today's turning out to be a 3 Hours of 90s Alt/Rock Hits kinda day. ^___^
Lately I've been enjoying tinkering with my website: igoss.net/archive. I barely know anything about php and css, but like playing around until, through trial and error or happy accident, I get the result I want. I'm really glad that I finally fixed the menu. It's now on a separate (and easily updatable) page, hence the having to teach myself php thing. That meant going back and manually changing the code and extension in what felt like billions of files, but at least from here on out, updating the menu will only mean changes to a single page. :b
It's been about 4 years since I've done a proper update, so it's slow going. I've uploaded some 2017 fanart to the site, but still have to deal with all 2013-2016. Plus I now gotta give MCU fanart a whole page for itself. Eh. Keeps me occupied when I need to take my mind off RL stresses.
- The Defenders
I spend this week *finally* watching The Defenders. Just finished episode 6 - just 2 more to go. Surprisingly, I'm really enjoying it? I don't even find Rand that utterly annoying (except for his hair). I'm sort of liking how every character has clear flaws, and the push-pull of having to work with each other. I particularly get a kick out of Jessica Jones being 100% done with everyone, especially Matt.
I haven't even gotten to the end as yet, but I'm already looking forward to more in this 'verse. I mean, I'm not gonna subject myself to watching S1 Iron Fist - let's not get crazy - but I'm definitely gonna go check out more of Jessica Jones (I'd only seen the first 2-3 eps).
I'm psyching myself to try Inktober, since it's definitely gonna be integrated into drawesome's challenge activities for the entire month of October. I want to attempt to create something daily for the first week. And maybe stick to weekends for the rest. We'll see how it goes. At least I have the official list of Prompts to get my creativity going: ( 2017 Inktober Prompt List )
I'm thinking of trying brushwork with ink, not just using a pen or marker. Will be interesting experimenting with an ink pot, and painting in monochrome as well. I tend to lean heavily on colour blending to create visual impact in my art, so it will be a good opportunity to play around with positive/negative space etc. instead, to get that sense of drama.
The fall equinox is celebrated in many different ways by practitioners of Ásatrú and Heathenry. Those who practice modern forms of polytheistic religions rooted in Northern Europe have revived, reconstructed, and reimagined a variety of practices and rituals to mark the turning of the year from summer to autumn.
Haustblót (autumn sacrifice) is mentioned by name in the saga of the Icelandic warrior-poet Egill Skallagrímsson. The Ynglinga Saga of Snorri Sturluson tells of laws established by the god Odin, including the timing of the main annual sacrifices:
Þá skyldi blóta í móti vetri til árs, en at miðjum vetri blóta til gróðrar, hit þriðja at sumri, þat var sigrblót.
There should be sacrifice toward winter for a good year, and in the middle of winter sacrifice for a good crop, a third in summer, that was victory sacrifice.
If “toward winter” can be interpreted to mean “in the fall,” the first rite mentioned may be the Haustblót of Egill’s Saga. However, there is more documentation for the historical celebration of the main autumn ritual not on the equinox itself, but approximately a month later.The modern Icelandic Ásatrúarfélagið (Ásatrú Fellowship) celebrates Veturnáttablót (winter nights blót) in the second half of October, when members of the organization thank the god Freyr for his autumn gifts and ask the deities for a good winter. The U.S.-based Troth also marks Winter Nights in its ritual calendar.
The Heathen holiday celebrated on the equinox is today variously known as Haustblót, Harvest Blót, Winter Finding, or another related term. As with so much of modern Heathenry, the specifics of historical practice are up for debate. Regardless of historicity, the late-September celebration can be deeply meaningful for those who include it in their ritual practice.
As in my column “Nine Heathens Speak of Spring,” which centered on celebrations of the spring equinox, I asked Heathens from a variety of locations to tell me what the autumn holiday means to them personally and how they and their community celebrate it. There is a wonderful diversity in the answers they gave.
I would like to thank all who took time out of their busy schedules to articulate their relationship to this time of the year. I hope you enjoy reading their responses as much as I did.
Lonnie Scott (Illinois, USA)
The autumn equinox rolls around again. This signals the harvest on the way. The cycle of reaping what you sow can be seen in the land all around. The leaves turn and fall. The air grows crisp and colder. In my area, gardens are yielding their final gifts. Corn and beans are about to be harvested. Pumpkin patches are opening. The smell of baked pumpkin goods fills the cool air. Winter is ahead, along with deepening cold and growing darkness.
We honor the nature spirits in group ritual. It’s a good time to show gratitude for the fruits of the earth. This year we honored the Sangamon River in Central Illinois as a specific spirit and ally. Our waterways are the very arteries of the earth, and their gifts to our lives are boundless. We use our waterways for life-giving water, fishing, and even play. It’s also our waterways that suffer terrible pollution, much of which comes from chemicals used in farming and industry. Honoring the river is a good reminder that we need to honor all our land and waterways throughout the year, recognize our own contribution to their condition, and reinforce our duty to be good stewards. I personally spend time reflecting on the rune jera in meditation during the equinox. The seasons have turned, and now I can look back on what I’ve grown in my own life.
I was prepared to say more about my spiritual practice. Then, on Sept. 20 at 11:33 am, a 14-year-old young man walked into my local high school’s cafeteria with a gun and opened fire a few feet from my daughter. Thankfully, a fast-acting teacher named Angela McQueen subdued the shooter before any fatalities happened. One student was injured. Now the hard questions arise about parenting and bullies. Have I raised my kids well enough to be safe and act fast? Have I taught them proper values to respect life and people around them? Have I convinced them to be a voice for those being bullied? Has the system somehow failed the kid who brought a gun to school? That event did not just suddenly happen. Seeds were planted and nourished through a series of unfortunate and painful events. The harvest came in the form of enraged violence in the one place he and other students are supposed to be safe.
This year, and every upcoming year, I will raise a horn to Angela McQueen for her heroic and selfless actions. I’ll continue to meditate and reflect on what I’ve contributed to my community through word and deed. I’ll honor the land, the water, and all the nature spirits with gratitude, offerings, and support to organizations working to protect them. Most importantly, I urge everyone to allow the autumn equinox to inspire reflection on what you’re experiencing and how you contributed to it becoming part of your life.
Destiny Ballard (Oklahoma, USA)
The autumnal equinox is just that for our kindred. Saying that, we do not flinch at it being designated as either Mabon or Winter Finding. We clearly are not reconstructionist. We also clearly do not occupy Northern Europe, ancient or modern. We are influenced by, not dictated to, when it comes to the available lore, history, and archeological remnants of pre-Christian Northern Europe.
We live in a very rural portion of northeast Oklahoma where agricultural harvest is not symbolic and Native Americans celebrate the seasonal shifts most prominently with pow-wow. Along with our wider home community, this equinox represents to us a time of ending hard labor and travel. It is a celebration of what we have sown, how our ancestors prepared the way to be sown, and also the recognition of the life cycle. What is born must ripen and then die, or at the very least go dormant for a time.
Our celebrations over the last several years have been as guests of our regional folk community of Midwest Heathens. First with a group in Manhattan, Kansas, with a long weekend of camping, ritual, games, and communal feasting in a pasture. This year and last year, we are doing the same at an evolving gathering of many Midwestern Heathen groups at a campground also in Kansas called Gaea. There we will have our own activities planned but will also have a communal feast and workday to build gefrain – worthy reputation and trust – with the park board and its eclectic pagan community.
Haimo Grebenstein (Germany)
In our community, celebration of the fall equinox is simply called Herbstfest [fall celebration]. The fact that autumn is my favorite season makes it my most important event on the wheel of the year.
In our ritual practice as an association, we only have the four seasonal changes as commonly practiced holidays in the year, and we leave it up to the groups and individuals to add additional activities on the wheel. Our local group Bilskirnir usually combines the equinox with the harvest festival, since most of the harvest has been done at this time.
Our ritual is based on the nine-part standard we always use, but it has no fixed texts. When I prepare the ritual, I always include some fall poems that have a nature or Heathen context. This year we leave home and visit the Verein für Germanisches Heidentum [Association for Germanic Heathenry] group in northern Austria to celebrate equinox at their stone circle that was set up 10 years ago.
Philip John Parkyn (England)
At my home this Saturday evening, our London group, Hendon Heathens, will be meeting for a small, private gathering for an autumn harvest blót. It will be a fairly informal ceremony. No scripts needed, as we have been doing this for many years and are well versed with our form of blót. Around the fire in the garden we will thank the spirits of this place, Oak Harrow Garth, our ancestors of blood and of spirit, and the gods and goddesses with our homemade mead. We will share fruitcake made from homegrown apples, grapes, and plums and leave some as offerings to the old oak tree, Oak Harrow. After some stories, jokes, and songs, the evening will end with a discussion about the next day’s public meeting of our esoteric group, Kith of the Tree and the Well, which we hold every two months.
Sunday lunchtime we will be at our usual venue for KTW, a room booked above a pub near London Bridge. This is a more formal affair and about fifteen people will attend. We start with people introducing themselves, and then one of our members will give a talk on the seasonal customs and deities. We then share out scripts for the blot and give some explanation and instructions about it, and roles are allocated to those who volunteer. For some of the people, this is the first Heathen ceremony they have been to. Some have never celebrated together with others before. The pleasure they get from being able to join in the celebration with like-minded people makes it all well worthwhile for us.
Ryan Denison (Georgia, USA)
I identify as a Heathen Druid with a bit of a reconstructionist streak, and I am a dual member of the Troth and Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. Because of this, I honor both the Norse and Celtic traditions.
The autumn equinox, from my understanding of history, doesn’t seem to be celebrated beyond a feast in the Norse tradition — and much the same for the Irish and Scottish traditions — although a lot of reconstruction is going on using traditional Irish folk holidays like Michaelmas as a base. Some modern groups do have a Haustblót or celebrate Meán Fómhair from the Irish perspective.
Our local Heathens of Atlanta are holding an apple festival and equinox blót and plan on honoring Idunn and the local wights. I am hosting our local Grove of the Red Earth (ADF) equinox celebration. The Welsh pantheon will be honored, and therefore we are using the Welsh nomenclature of Alban Elfed. We will be honoring Mabon ap Modron and the Welsh pantheon. Both groups are fond of potluck feasts after rituals and blóts, and this year both groups will have apples as a central theme.
For me having grown up in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky, the equinoxes are a transition between the extremes of cold and heat, when the leaves start to either change color or spring forth. They represent for me balance and a time where the veil between the worlds seems to start to thin. Having been a bit of a jock, fall always means football and family. Some of my fondest memories are playing on Friday nights and in college on Saturday afternoons, then spending time with my family after. For me, too, it is the beginning of the countdown to the celebration of Samhain, my favorite holy day.
Kari Tauring (Minnesota, USA)
I am a staff carrier in Minneapolis, Minn. Solar holidays have great importance to Minnesotans. The delicate balance of sun and moon and hot days and cold days determines our favorite things, such as sap collecting in the spring and ricing the autumn.
In the winter, if there is good snow, I practice skiing around my house, so I evaluate the gardens quite heavily at this time. January’s figure-eight ski run goes through today’s pumpkin patch. I must move the larger rocks holding plants up out of the way of my intended ski run before they freeze into the soil. Also, I have to put up the apples, if there are many this year. I sauce them and freeze them for use in frutsøp at winter solstice. What a joy to add the nourishment of autumn to the dark nights of jul!
It is a good time to wash the wool sweaters and blankets. September sun and cool breezes can really dry and bleach the wool nicely before you have to use them from October to April.
In Norse and Baltic traditions, the sun is carried across the sky by a goddess. Sunna comes from my mother’s Norwegian heritage and Saule from my father’s Latvian heritage. I sing their runes and dainas in different ways and for different purposes on each solar holiday.
Hunting season in Minnesota begins soon after the fall equinox. There is a moment each year when the seriousness of impending changeable weather kicks in. It’s different each year, but it always seems to affect the squirrels by the fall equinox.
When the winter is soon here, we must look to our elders and get as much time with them as we can. Always spring and fall equinox see great passings, great deaths. Dark and night hug one another in [the rune] gifu on these equinoxes. Short-lived joy and then nauthiz, dagaz, ingwaz, gifu, wunjo, nauthiz.
I am grateful that I have lived in one place all my life and that this is the place my mother and father lived all their lives. If you live in one place all your life, you will get to know when an equinox feels stable, or if it feels “katywampus,” as my mother would say.
When we raised chickens on this little ski run in Minneapolis, my boys and I called fall when they would stop laying around the autumnal equinox. Spring was when they started up laying again. Here in Minnesota, that was about Groundhog Day or St. Brigid’s Day, around Feb. 2
Thursday, Sept. 21 begins the nine nights of the goddess in the Vedic calendar. I will give a gift to two little girls each of the nine days. On Friday the 22nd, I will perform three sets of songs and poems from my family heritage and in ancestral languages and include sets of nine female deities from my Nordic lineage. The concert will be on the steps of Sea Salt Eatery by Minnehaha Falls. If you have a rhythm-stick set which we call stav and tein, I will invite you up for a few. This is what we call “Stavers in the House.”
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