The Hail and Horn Gathering is a festival that serves as a meeting place for the growing number of Heathens in Ontario and Quebec as well as throughout Canada. It takes place the Canada Day long weekend.
In 2012, Raven’s Knoll established a one-of-a-kind place of worship, the Vé, built as sacred ground to house the god-poles raised by the folk year after year. In 2012, Odin was first to be raised within the sacred enclosure, honoured by gathered folk under the banners of their many groups. Each year since a new God pole has been dedicated and raised in the Vé.
The event is coordinated by Austin Lawrence (Goði at Raven’s Knoll), Dr. Maryanne Pearce (Steward of Raven’s Knoll), Erik Lacharity and Chantal Layoun of Rúnatýr Kindred, as well as many volunteers. The gathering serves as a way for all Heathens and the Heathen-curious to experience fellowship and worship together in the manner of the ancestors. People who attend the Hail and Horn Gathering participate in a tripartite ritual that begins the Friday afternoon and ends with the departure of the folk on Monday.
First is the Blót, where a new god-pole will be raised in the Vé. This is followed the next day by the ritual of a sacral communal meal called Húsel, consisting of a tasty medieval menu, which then leads into a formal toasting ceremony called Symbel. The Hail and Horn Symbel is in the style of “High Symbel” which is reconstructed from research on ancient Anglo-Saxon tradition. In High Symbel only the old gods of the North are venerated and an emphasis is placed on interaction between groups. The three rituals are a source of great communal joy that raise the might of participants and bring gods and folk together.
There will also be friendly competition and entertainment. A Skaldic Fire is held where attendees can test their showmanship, storytelling and wits. The object of the art of skaldry is to outperform your competition by reciting old mythic epics or modern tales, poems or song of heroic stature. At Symbel great words are spoken demonstrating the virtue of the orators.
One can also expect a lot of friendly conversation and even a workshop or two. Feats of physical strength and agility are also an attraction as Heathens of all walks vie to test their mettle. Toss at kubb or play at tafl, whatever is your fancy.
Hail the Landvettir!
Hail the Ancestors!
Hail the Gods!