What is HHG?
The Hail and Horn Gathering is often called by its initials – HHG.
The gathering is a Heathen religious festival held annually on the Canada Day long weekend at Raven’s Knoll. To learn about inclusive Canadian-style Germanic Neopagan religious practice, see the Wikipedia article “Heathenry in Canada”. This event has been going strong since 2011. Hail and Horn strives to be relevant to modern day religious practices and attitudes, while also crafting a holistic experience that is well-grounded in scholastic sources
Is this a berserker party or a nerdy re-enactment event?
It is neither. HHG seeks to appeal to as many interests our varied participants enjoy. It is hoped that those who come will be able to express their relationships to the Gods, Ancestors and community however they feel most comfortable. That said, a happy medium between boisterous and introspective behaviour is the goal, so that everyone respects each other’s sensibilities at the proper times and places.
“A better burden can no person bear on the way than their mother-wit:
and no worse provision can they carry with them than too deep a draught of ale.”
Hávamál, strophe 11
Why is the festival called the Hail and Horn Gathering?
The festival is named for the values that are embodied each year in the actions of the people who attend.
“Hail” is about the worship of the Gods. The word “hail” means something which is healthy, holy, and wholesome. The whole of the HHG experience is orchestrated around the worship of the various holy powers (Gods, Ancestors, and land-spirits). Each year a new Goddess or God is selected to be given a central place in the community’s worship and a god-pole is raised by the folk to their honour, constituting a blót. The central theme of the weekend event is constructed around the mythos and esthetics of that deity so that a right ritual experience is the result.
“Horn” is about sacred social communion. The use of the “horn” is both symbolic and physical, as we not only share good words with each other in the hall, but also ever bear in mind the social bonds that rallying around the horn entails. At the ritual of symbel (sumbel) we sit within a metaphoric hall, upon benches pressed shoulder-to-shoulder, speaking boldly of our successes and gratitude to friends, family, and Ancestors.
A “gathering” is a time and place where community is built through the work of frið. HHG encourages kindreds, circle, study groups, groves, banners, hearths, and individuals to be together with other Heathen folk. We all recognize each group and person’s individuality, but also that we share common bonds and can work side-by-side with one another to accomplish shared goals, shared laughs by the hearth fire, or share a relationship with the holy powers. Gatherings of friends, kinships, and individuals was an important historic activity, as it is today. At HHG community building is a principle focus.
How do I register?
You do it on-line. There is a new on-line registration system on the website under the “Registration Information” tab.
Are children and youth welcome?
Yes, of course. There does not tend to be much in the way of programing offered for them yet. But, there are usually a few things of interest for kids offered in the program.
The folk, at a previous HHG Redemoot, decided that the age of 16 was to be considered the age of majority for purposes such as voting at the Redemoot. These older youth may also speak independently at symbel, offer how they would at blót, and attend the esoteric rite. Children under the age of 16 are welcome to speak at symbel and offer at blót under parental supervision. Those under 16 years of age may not attend the esoteric rite.
As noted, HHG follows the laws of the land, so no one under the age of 19 may consume alcohol at Raven’s Knoll.
Are pets and service animals welcome?
Yes. Pets can be important members of your family, boarding can be prohibitively expensive, and animals can provide important material services to improve the attendance experience for people. We do require animals to be under control and not disruptive to other attendees or campers. Please keep your animals leashed when out and about and pick up after them.
Your animals may also be brought with you to húsel and symbel (sumbel). However, they must be quiet and under control at all times during the rituals. They may also not sit on the benches or be on the tables. Only registered service animals may be taken past the vé-bond ropes of the Æsir Vé or to the Esoteric Rite. In both instances, please notify the ritual organizers at least 24 hours in advance of the activity to allow for accommodations to be made. If you are outside of the Æsir Vé with your pet, please do not allow your animal to mark the runestones or vé-bond posts surrounding the Vé.
What do I need to bring?
You should bring everything one might require for a car camping expedition. If you are new to camping in the Canadian bush, Raven’s Knoll has a handy camping checklist.
You are required to bring your own tableware and table setting to the húsel feast. A napkin will be provided. You are strongly encouraged to make an attempt at some type of period and/or nice table setting. (You will feel very out of place using plastic cups, paper plates, or a spork.) Thrift stores are a great place to obtain inexpensive wooden bowls and plates, ceramic crockery, metal mugs and the like.
Only one meal is provided by the festival. The on-site food truck is not open during HHG. There is a grocery store a six-minute drive away, however. Many people find that there is little time for elaborate cooking, so prepacking easier meals or snacks is suggested.
The evenings can get cool and the benches upon which we sit during our rituals can get uncomfortable part way through a long ritual. Thus, nice cloaks, furs, and blankets are often much appreciated.
Is period garb necessary?
No. Historic clothing styles (“period garb”) can be beautiful and fulfilling for many. It can contribute to a Heathen esthetic, which places some in a more spiritual headspace and is used as a way to express identity. It is, however, not necessary. Some prefer the comforts of modern garments, which can also be both practical, spiritually, and esthetically important to the wearer.
Is it possible to only participate for a limited part of the HHG weekend?
HHG is constructed to be a holistic, immersive experience. All of the rituals are connected to one another. It is hoped that those coming to the festival will feel drawn to a high degree of participation and engagement. It is an event of the folk, for the folk. It is not an event for tourists. The registration fees are structured to reflect this philosophy. (See “Are gifts required?” for more context on this second point.)
That said, it is understood that people can find the weekend to be a demanding one, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Also, some people simply do not have the time off work or have child-care responsibilities to which they must see. Therefore, any level of participation must be determined on a personal basis.
Many do find volunteering “behind the scenes”, prepping food or setting tables, to be an important act of devotion to the Gods as well as folk. This is always appreciated by all.
So, yes, it is possible, but it is not encouraged and doing so is less cost effective.
What are the rituals like?
It is difficult to fully describe the feel of the rituals, but we will do our best.
Some have commented that the rituals are both powerful and introspective. Others find greater happiness in the sharing of food with friends, than the raising of a god-pole. As there are many different people coming to HHG, the “feels” of each are manifold. Many will tell you that at least one of the rituals has been incredibly meaningful and transformative.
The rituals are, in reality, not truly separate from one another. They are threads woven together to create a grander ceremony that is the tapestry of the whole festival. Each ritual relates to the others of the weekend, which is why people are encouraged to attend for the entire weekend. The esoteric rite often stands most apart from the other rituals, but it can provide a keystone of understanding linking the entire weekend’s experience for some people.
What is a blót?
Ask a hundred Heathens, you will get a hundred answers. Therefore, we will describe blót in the context of HHG. Each year, a God or Goddess aligned with the ætt (tribe or clan) of the Æsir is carved into a pole which is raised in the Æsir Vé by the folk. Many offerings are given to the Gods, foremost of which are some of the raw ingredients which will be used to prepare the húsel feast on the next day. Once the god-pole (an idol) is raised, the folk are welcome to return throughout the weekend (and in the future) to give further offerings, building upon the gift cycle. This is the ritual where the most personal interactions with the Gods takes place.
What is a suitable offering at blót?
Most anything can be a suitable offering. Many folk give mead (or other alcoholic strong drink), coins, jewelry, fruit, etc. Whatever is of importance to the giver is believed to be well-received in the Vé. Some give in relation to the nature of their request or as a thank you for favours already received. Offerings are usually symbolic and/or personal. For the most part, offerings that are considered to contravene the rules of the Vé are forbidden (such as items containing human body fluids).
Offerings are removed periodically from the Vé to be sunk in the Raven’s Knool Sacred Well or burnt in a sacred fire if it is not possible to sink them in the Well. Thus, please refrain from offering plastics or polluting items. Also, food items are much more likely to be quickly removed from the Vé and ritually transformed and sent on their way, in order to protect the lives of local wildlife that could become problematic visitors (such as bears and coy-wolves).
What is an esoteric ritual and do I need to attend?
An esoteric ritual at HHG is a ritual containing mainly sorcerous or mystical elements. Long after nightfall on the night of the blót, a ritual is held to honour of Holy Power of the year. The ritual may include elements of divination, trance-work, possession, or performance. These rituals tend to by heavily influenced by personal or collective gnosis and may have more syncretic elements than other rituals at the gathering. It is important to note that not everyone is expected to participate. Some HHG participants prefer to relax after a long day by the hearth fire and reflect upon moments experienced at the blót. This is the ritual where the mystical and otherworldly experiences tend to occur (or, in reflection, afterwards).
What is húsel?
The húsel is a sacred feast. The feast consists of a multi-course menu, thematically connected to the nature of the God or Goddess honoured in the given year. The menu is balanced and is inspired by the historic foodways of Heathen peoples and those they encountered. The meal is considered a sacral feast and is not just a meal with entertainment. The húsel is the link between the blót and symbel. The blót is for the Gods, the húsel is where the folk eat with one another, with the Gods, and with the Ancestors. We eat the same foods at húsel that are offered to the Gods in blót, húsel is an extension of blót. Many attendees volunteer to prepare the feast, others selflessly offering to provide table service to the majority and all enjoying the privilege of soulful eating in pleasant company. We serve each other and the Gods at húsel. This is the ritual where less formal relations are developed between people, the Gods, and the Ancestors.
What is symbel?
The symbel (sumbel) is a form of communal ritual where words are spoken over a horn from which one drinks. At HHG, we use a more historically-inspired form of symbel than most. We sit in hall-like tents, side-by-side at the bench. An alcoholic beverage is used to fill the ceremonial drinking horn, Friðdrífa. The drink is made sacred through a blessing (i.e., hammer hallowed). A Byrele (Hornbearer) carries the drinking vessel to those who would speak. They may give toasts to whomever they wish and boast how they will. At a point, gifts are exchanged by those who would do so, during a part of the symbel called the “Giftstool” (the gifting round). At HHG, we do not oath at symbel as, understanding the sacral mechanics of the ritual, we cannot hold each other to follow-through as vast distances may separate us. It should be noted that boasting about something that is going to happen in the future gets into the realm of an oath, so the wording for such an utterance must be chosen carefully or avoided. This is the ritual were the most personal interactions between people takes place.
What does the name of the horn – Friðdrifa – signify?
“Friðdrífa” is the name of Auz’s ceremonial drinking horn. It is the horn used at the Hail and Horn Gathering. It is made from a large Texas Longhorn cattle horn, rimmed with sliver, and lined with beeswax.
The name “Friðdrífa” embodies the intent and action of what takes place at an inter-group symbel (sumbel). The name is an Anglicized compound of two Old Norse words – friða and drífa. “Friða” (frith) is a very important concept in the cultures of historic Heathen peoples and, hence, their theologies. It loosely translates as “relations free from conflict” or “a balanced state of being”. It is a much more active state than the modern English word “peace”. “Drífa” is a word with many meanings, which is often used poetically. It can mean “an accumulation of many small things”, “a crowd moving”, “a fall of things one cannot avoid”, “the power of a performance”, or “a sprinkling of something that clings to you”. (Most of these meanings arise through an observation of the movement of snow and metaphoric connections to these observations. In modern English, our word “snowdrift” is one of the last remnants of this use of the word.)
Are gifts required?
No. Gifting is not required. However, if you do choose to gift someone, remember that the gifting of one to an other forms a special relationship. As it is said “a gift demands a gift”, thus if gifts are given too liberally, the burden may be too great to the receiver in the ensuing years.
“A person must be a friend, to their friend; and give a gift for a gift.”
Havamal, strophe 42
“Better don’t ask than offer too much; for a gift demands a gift.”
Odin’s Rune Song, strophe 8
Also, seeing people who may know each other well give and receive gifts can be difficult for some people. It may raise feelings of jealously, envy, or lead to a sense of exclusion. This can be difficult. However, know that this is not the intent of gifting; for another’s success is not your failure. Once bonds are established you too will enter into relationships with others that may have a similar character.
“If you would have a friend to trust, seek them often;
for if no foot is placed on the path, then brushwood and grass grow high.”
Hávamál, strophe 118
It should also be noted, that everyone who attends HHG ritually and literally participates in a gifting cycle, even if they leave no offering or bestow no personal gift. This is because part of the registration fees goes towards the arm-rings bestowed on the new Doughty, by the folk. (See “Who are the Doughty and what are the “arm-rings?” for more information.) Part of the registration fee also goes to purchasing all of the ingredients for the feasts, part of which are offered to the Gods at blót. Thus, anyone participating in the event has ritually entered into a relationship with the Gods and with the other Heathens present.
Why is a winter Goddess like Skaði being honoured during the summer?
Yes, it is true that most Heathens honour Skaði (Skadi, Skadhi) during the winter time. However, it is the tradition at Hail and Horn that, at a Redemoot at the end of the gathering, those present select the theme for the following year, determining which new God or Goddess will be honoured. In 2018, Skaði was selected for that honour. HHG is the traditional time God-poles are added to the Raven’s Knoll Æsir Vé. It is the only time during the year that such a large number of diverse groups of Heathens gather together in this part of Canada, as well. Thus, it is the timing for the most important blóts, no matter to which of the Gods they are offered. That is why we are honouring Skaði on the July long weekend in 2018.
Is HHG an inclusive space?
Yes. Both HHG and Raven’s Knoll are signatories of Declaration 127 and the Canadian Pagan Declaration on Intolerance. Furthermore, the Witan, as hosts of the event, adhere to and uphold the laws of the land. We brook no discrimination based on race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, Heathen creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, family status, or disability. Excluding toxic and bigoted attitudes and behaviours from HHG is part of what allows HHG to be maintained as an inclusive and friðful space.
“When you see misdeeds, speak out against them, and give your enemies no frið.”
Hávamál, strophe 127
I am new to this event. Will I be welcome?
Absolutely! The gathering is often the first experience of people with a public Heathen ritual experience or event. Sometimes experienced Heathens may come alone or travel from afar to experience this very special gathering. We understand that it can feel daunting to come to an established event where some groups of people know each other well already. You will find, though, many very friendly people interested in you, your life’s journey, and your beliefs.
Anyone who is attending alone or is new to Heathenry is invited to sit at the High Table with the Witan during the húsel and the symbel (sumbel). This is optional. But, it can be fun to be “at the centre of the action” and it allows for questions to be answered immediately to figure out what is going on.
“Hail to the giver! A guest has come; where shall the stranger sit?”
“Water and towels, and welcoming speech; should they find who comes, to the feast.”
Hávamál, strophes 2 & 4
Are all Heathen traditions welcome?
Yes. At HHG, all “creeds” that practise a form of Germanic Neo-Paganism are considered to be Heathens. All traditions – whether eclectic or reconstructionist, Anglo-Saxon or Nordic, Frankish or Northern Tradition, focused on sorcery or celebration, Æsiric or Vanic, syncretic or not, etc. – are welcome. HHG does not ascribe to a right or wrong way to be “Heathen”. There is, however, a local Hail and Horn Gathering and Raven’s Knoll set of religious customs that all groups, regardless of their local customs, adhere to at the gathering. They do this in order to create frið amongst each other and to be good guests.
There is one important caveat, however. Bigoted Heathens exist. They exist across the spectrum of Heathenry. The Witan of the gathering is in complete agreement with past affirmations at the HHG Redemoot that racist, misogynist, and other exclusionary ideologies and attitudes do not contribute to a friðful gathering. Those endorsing or espousing such forms of intolerance are not welcome at this event. (See: “Is HHG an inclusive space?”)
I honour the Jötnar and/or have a special relationship with Loki. Is this gathering a place where I am welcome?
Yes, it is. People who practise in the Northern Tradition, as well as self-identified Lokeans, are regular attendees at the Hail and Horn Gathering. The Jötnar, the Æsir, or the Vanir are the same type of being, just from different ætt (tribes or clans). In Heathen mythology, they intermarry and have both good and bad relations with one another.
It should be stressed that the Hail and Horn Gathering activities focus specifically on folkloric and mythological personages that have, at some point, been allied to the Æsir. For instance, in 2018, Skaði is being honoured in the Æsir Vé with a god-pole, and she is of the Jötnar, married into the Æsir. Loki, due to his membership in the Æsir through his blood-brotherhood with Odin (Oðinn), has always been welcome to be called on in the Æsir Vé at Raven‘s Knoll and at the Hail and Horn Gathering symbel. The focus of HHG is on building frið within Heathenry, no matter one’s creed or religion. (See “Is this just for Heathens?” for more information about frið-building between differing spiritual beliefs.) There have been (and will be in the future) gatherings and events at Raven’s Knoll specifically dedicated to honouring the Jötnar, but they take place on a different weekend, and focus on a different Vé.
There is another Vé at Raven’s Knoll dedicated to honouring and communing with the Jötnar. This Vé may be involved in some rituals during HHG. The Jötnar Vé is set in a place of honour at a complimentary end of the Shrine Trail from the Æsir Vé. It is a place where any of the Jötunn ætt are honoured, regardless of relationship to the Æsir. This includes: adversaries of the Æsir, such as Hel; members of the Æsir who are also Jötunn, such as Loki; or, those that are neither adversary, nor true ally, such as Hyrrokkin.
Can only Heathens attend HHG?
Absolutely not! Although the experience of HHG is crafted for Heathens, we pride ourselves on being able to share our love for Heathenry with all people of various backgrounds, religions, and creeds. Interchange across cultural lines was an important part of ancient Germanic societies. Ibn Fadlan was a 9th century Islamic trader and ethnographer who spent time among the Volga Rus. He recorded their multi-cultural, trade-based society with great curiosity, documenting how cross-cultural relationships were to the Rus, as well as documenting their Heathen spiritual beliefs and practices.
We Heathens wish to celebrate the glory of our lives with our kin and kith, no matter their beliefs. We have had Christians (from Episcopalians to Copts), many Wiccan traditions, various Druids, people who keep First Nations Indigenous spiritual traditions, and plenty of atheists. This is not a problem because Hail and Horn Heathen practise is about respectful behaviour at rituals and in our personal interactions. If people attending follow proper ceremonial protocol and are respectful guests, people can believe whatever they please. Heathen custom at Hail and Horn is about action, deed, and words, not thoughts. (All of this will be explained to people at the event, so there need be no fear of making a gaff.)
People who have strongly held religious beliefs from other faiths can be accommodated at many of the Heathen rituals to allow for their partial participation. If a guest is not comfortable removing religious insignia to enter the Vé of the Æsir, they can view the blót from the other side of the vé-bond rope. The oath to enter the Vé is made on one‘s honour, which is not specific to any particular religious tradition. If a guest cannot eat foodstuffs that are blessed, they may eat of the dishes that are not the two main dishes. If they are not interested in being involved in sorcery, they can skip the esoteric rite. No one is required to speak or offer at blót or sumbel either. However, if a guest wishes to speak they need not name a Heathen God. They can offer a toast to a virtue or value that comes from their religious tradition. (But, non-Heathen guests should not invoke a personality from their own mythologies or legends, by name.) Guests are also free to show respect to those assembled at sumbel by tapping the horn without drinking, so they need not drink the blessed drink. Also, it should be clear to guests that, just by paying a registration fee, a guest is theologically connected to activities taking place at the gathering. (See “Are gifts required?” for more detail on this last point.)
We do, of course, ask people to participate as much as their conscience allows, since this is not a place for tourists.
I have dietary restrictions and I am worried about the húsel feast. Can my needs be accommodated?
We try our best to accommodate many dietary needs at the feast. There is particular consideration given to vegetarians and omnivores, as there are two blessed (i.e., hammer hallowed) dishes featured at the feast. There are always some vegan, some vegetarian, and some meat dishes. There are often gluten-free dishes and dairy-free dishes. Ingredients are mainly focused on those available in Europe or the Near East prior to the Columbian Exchange, which accommodates a number of food sensitives. However, the more restricted one’s diet, the more limited the options from the set menu become. For those with extreme allergies or very strict food taboos, we cannot guarantee there will not be any minute cross-contamination, unfortunately.
The menu is posted prior to the event. This year an on-site list of individual ingredients in the dishes will be available to read prior to the feast.
Do you need to consume alcohol at HHG?
No. There are adults who consume no alcohol at HHG for mental, ethical, health, or oath-based reasons. One must be comfortable around others consuming alcohol, however. At symbel one can speak over the horn without drinking and still be considered to have participated fully. One can kiss the horn, ritually touch it with a hand, forehead, forelock or the like. It is prohibited to pour out from the horn on to the ground at symbel, since the horn is so large, and offerings have already been poured out at blót the day before. (See “What are the rituals like?” for more context.)
What is considered appropriate and inappropriate sexual behaviour at the HHG?
While the Hail and Horn Gathering does not presume to prohibit mutually accepted, affectionate gestures, nor to govern the acts of consenting adults in private, sexual harassment has no place at the event and is not tolerated! Consent is a mutual verbal, physical, and emotional agreement that happens without manipulation, threats, or head games. Consent is enthusiastic.
Peace of mind regarding physical safety is important for people of all genders and all ages. In keeping with the standards of the surrounding community we ask that there be no nudity (including people displaying their naked boobs) at the beach area. Those at the gathering are to treat each other, the community, and our neighbours, with dignity and respect.
- Unacceptable behaviour may include, but are not limited to: persistent staring, stalking or following; voyeuristic positioning; crowding of personal space; masturbation, other sexual acts or displays; any aggressive acts or threatening body language; unauthorised photography; and/or videography.
- Unwelcome communications can include: any unwanted advances, remarks, suggestions, solicitations, propositions, gestures, threats, ridicule, innuendo or comments of a crude, racial, homophobic, transphobic, or sexual nature; persistent attempts to engage another person in clearly undesired conversation; and/or unsolicited comments about a person’s body parts.
- Unpermitted touching can include: any presumptuous touching of another persons’ body without their consent (including hugs, massages, or other familiarities); any intentional touching of a minor without parental consent; and/or, any public fondling of a sexual nature or public sexual act.
Everyone at the Hail and Horn gathering are urged to help maintain our relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere by reacting, in a timely manner, to any situation they feel is unacceptable. If possible, make your disapproval or unease known as soon as possible to the person who offended you, in an attempt to resolve the situation. If the behaviour persists or if you do not wish to speak with that person, bring it to the attention of one of the Witan (Maryanne Pearce or Austin Lawrence, Erik Lacharity or Chantal Layoun) or the designated event Húskarl (head of security) for the event (in the 2018 year, Joven Lawrence). Complaints will be responded to and investigated without delay. Confidentiality is always respected, except where it cannot be, due to criminal prosecution or other legal requirements.
Sexual harassment, as defined above, can result in immediate expulsion from the gathering, revocation of memberships and/or the privilege of attending this (or, at the discretion of other festival organizers, other festivals) and, where warranted, could lead to criminal prosecution. Raven’s Knoll takes a trauma- and victim-centred approach to supporting people who have experienced terrible situations.
The safety and security of festival goers is of prime importance to the organizers of the Hail and Horn Gathering and the Stewards of Raven’s Knoll.
“When you see misdeeds, speak out against them, and give your enemies no frið.”
Hávamál, strophe 127
Who are the Doughty and what are the “arm-rings?”
Each year two new members of the folk are selected to join the ranks of a group called “the Doughty”. The physical symbol of this honour is a sterling silver ring, which is a bracelet, called an “arm-ring”. The arm-rings represent the achievements (or progress) that person has demonstrated to the folk gathered at a given year’s Hail and Horn. The honour is not transferable, and the ring becomes a possession of whomsoever receives it to do with as they wish.
The title “Doughty” is a modern English version of the Old English “duguð”; connected to the Old English word “dyhtig”, meaning good, strong, and valiant. Amongst some Anglo-Saxon tribes this was the designation given to the ancient veterans who would provide inspiration and guidance to those still growing in their might. As in days of old, at HHG, the Doughty are recognized as inspirations for the collective folk and the Witan.
The arm-rings are not an honour received directly from the Witan or members of the Doughty, although they are involved in physically bestowing it. The arm-rings are purchased with the registration funds provided by everyone. They are a gift from the folk, to the folk. In this way the people of the festival are literally the “ring-givers”. At the Hail and Horn Gathering, we are each our own jarl.
Who are the Witan and what do they do?
At HHG, the Witan is the name given to the group of people who are the focalizers of the gathering. The HHG Witan are Maryanne Pearce and Austin Lawrence, Stewards of Raven’s Knoll; and, Erik Lacharity and Chantal Layoun, of Rúnatýr Kindred. They assist with coordinating the many individual and group volunteers who put on the rituals, workshops, and activities of the gathering. They are responsible for leading the Redemoot of the folk at the end of each festival, considering and applying (and remembering) as many of the suggested redes as is feasible, in the following year.
In historical Anglo-Saxon societies the Witan were the primary advisors (rede-givers) to the Lord and/or Lady and helped to organize tribal activities. But there is no chieftain, jarl, or the like at HHG. At HHG, all religious activity is done for the glory of the gathered folk, in furtherance of their spiritual relationships, not for that of an individual person or persons. The Witan are merely the focus of advice and action for the folk that put on and attend this event. Goði and gythia, craftspeople and workshop presenters, Doughty and húsel-cooks, vitkar and völvur, can be from any of the diverse groups or individuals that attend. HHG is an event of the folk, for the folk.