THE 2017 PROGRAM
(Program is listed first, biographies afterwards.)
FREYA’S DAY (June 30, 2017)
Carving of the God-poles (All day) with Rick Piché (Hundrheim Hearth)
During the day, as you set up camp, come and witness Rick carving the likeness of Heimdall or Syn into the god-poles. Get a sneak peek of the craftsmanship, envision the hidden form emerging from the rough red pine. This will be the sixth installation of heavenly pillars erected in the Vé.
Welcome Reception & Landwight Offering (8:00pm) with Erik Lacharity (Rúnatýr Kindred) & Auz Lawrence (Raven’s Knoll)
Join together shoulder‐to‐shoulder around the hearth to meet one another and make offerings to the many wights of Raven’s Knoll whose land we will be meeting upon over the weekend.
Welcome Fire (9:00pm) with Basil Gardiner (Raven’s Knoll)
Run-through of the program, with Erik Lacharity
The Lay of Rig, with Auz Lawrence
Open Skaldry, with Basil Gardiner
As people from farther afield arrive into the evening, we sit in conversation around the fire reacquainting ourselves with those who we have not seen for a while and making new connections with our friends. We will start the fire by chatting about the program and what to expect from the weekend, talking about the gods raised already in the Vé, and hear a story or two, song or poem if we are lucky.
WASHING DAY (July 1, 2017)
Tour of Raven’s Knoll (10:00 – 11:00) with Auz Lawrence (Raven’s Knoll)
Raven’s Knoll is 100 acres of nature, camping experience and Pagan sacred space. This tour will familiarize people with what the property has to offer, what is what, and how to get around.
Denial & Defense, Hailing The Goddess Who Guards (11:00 – 12:00) with Linda Demissy (Lokabrenna Kindred)
Syn stands at the doorway, neither fully in nor out. If Heimdall is the Watcher and Gerda the Enclosure, then Syn is the Boundary between gods and humans, the sacred and mundane, and the limitations of each. She is the filter that offers denial or permission to pass, the discrimination to distinguish good from bad. Her lore is scant, but here we will share the results of seven years of devotions. What is her story, where is her altar placed, what offerings does she favour, and how may we call upon her protection? These questions we will discuss, and with the insights other folks may bring, find answers that bring the Goddess of Denial into our lives. Lofn may show us to how to say yes, but Syn teaches how to say NO.
Heimdall dans la francophonie (1:00pm – 2:00pm) with Jean-Sebastien Turgeon (Nine Mountains Kindred) and Jean Sébastien Daunais (Vikings of the Metal Age Kindred)
This workshop provides an overview of two pillars of French academia’s take on Heimdall. The lore-based elements of the workshop will be intertwined with an explanation of the devotional practices of a long-time practitioner. (With a bonus course in French swearing.) Presented in English (mainly).
Esoteric Rite, Background: The Gatekeepers (2:00pm – 3:00pm) with Æsc Adams, Nicki Aethelflaed Butler, Sophia Butler (White Dog Hearth) & Myst Jeffrey (Raven’s Knoll)
Our gathering features a more experimental “esoteric rite” each year. These types of rites usually involve divination, sorcery or spirit-work; they are not for everyone. If you are interested in attending the esoteric ritual in the evening, this workshop provides an overview of what to expect. Following a brief talk on sacred drama in historical Heathenry, there will be a reading of “The Gatekeepers: A New Myth of Syn & Heimdall,” upon which the esoteric rite will be based. Myst Jeffrey will speak about the grounding portion of the ritual, and aftercare will be discussed.
Heimdall and Syn Blót (4:00pm – 8:00pm) with Jade Pichette, Luna Story, & Jessica Kelly as Gythias (Vindisir Kindred)
Hail the Watchman Heimdall! Hail the Hall-keeper Syn! Raising god-poles is the main ritual at Hail and Horn. This year we build a gateway to the Vé to keep the sacred home of the Gods safe, and to observe the oaths. Each year red pine is carved in the likeness of the gods and ceremoniously ‘planted’ into the earth within the Æsir Vé. Communal offerings of the food and drink will be eating at húsel made to Heimdall and Syn in a blót ritual which will link directly to the main feast. Personal offerings may be made, as well. Both Syn and Heimdall will be given their own processions to the Vé. Will you walk with Heimdall and travel the worlds with the lapping of the waves to see into the worlds? Or will you walk with Syn who teaches boundaries closer to home, she who denies what is harmful in our lives? Both bring lessons, both will be honoured as they watch over ourselves and the Æsir Vé.
Folk Fire (9:00pm)
At this laid back fire, we will raise a horn or two, chat with folk newly met or longtime companions. There will be the opportunity for anyone to share a few myths or stories, poems or songs, as well, should anyone be moved. If they are about Heimdall or Syn or are Heathen-themed, that is most appreciated.
Esoteric Rite: The Gatekeepers (9:30pm – 11:30pm) with Æsc Adams & Nicki Aethelflaed Butler (White Dog Hearth)
The “wide-seeing witch” of the Völuspá will lead the folk on a journey to Asgard, and thence to the foot of the World-Tree itself. There Syn and Heimdall strive against an ancient foe, assisted by the folk. Boundaries must be held, and the fate of the Nine Worlds hangs in the balance. (The ritual will not be taking place in the Vé.)
Esoteric Rite, Aftercare (11:30pm – 12:30pm) with Myst Jeffrey (Raven’s Knoll), Sophia Butler (White Dog Hearth) & Chris Heilmann (Raven’s Knoll)
Folk attending the esoteric rite will have a subdued fire at which to come back to the mundane of Midgard and discuss their experiences with one another before joining again with the rest of the gathering.
SUNNA’S DAY (July 2, 2017)
Preparation of the Húsel: Serving (10:00-11:00; 1:00-5:00) with Chantal Layoun (Rúnatýr Kindred) & Raz (Raven’s Knoll)
This series of activities will be pragmatic planning sessions and distribution of tasks amongst the volunteers that will help prepare, serve and facilitate clean-up of the húsel. And, of course, the actual work that needs to be done to cook the feast and ready the servery!
Preparation of the Húsel: Hall Preparation (before 5:00pm)
Everyone is expected to set up their “feast gear” in the mead-hall tents prior to the feast. You may hang your banner or other decorations from the rafters near your seat, place blankets or cushions on the benches, as well as set up your plates, cutlery and drinking vessels where you will be sitting. (The more historically accurate your table setting, the better.) Remember, the húsel meal starts with a ritual hand washing, so everyone will need to get up again to file into the “hall”. But, you will have this towel with you for the duration of the feast, so there is not need to bring a napkin.
The Viking Chest Game with (10:00-11:00) with Auz Lawrence and Friends (Raven’s Knoll)
Heimdall is known for his incredibly acute senses. He is the far-seeing, sharp-hearing, White Ram. In this game both your wits and your sense will be tested. Come prepared to get and give wallops while blindfolded, whilst being the guardian of an important object.
Heralding and Horn Blowing (11:00am – 12:00am) with Jade Pichette (Vindisir Kindred) and Juniper Helmes
HAIL! HAIL! HAIL! The call is heard from across the land. We will learn of the calls to our ancestors, to prepare for the times of strive, to be able to call the warriors to battle … or maybe you just want to be heard across the campground. This workshop will touch on the history of heralds and criers, but will focus primarily on personal experience as the Herald of the Procession of Nerthus as part of Well & Tree Gathering. Learn how to become a herald yourself. Guests will also demonstrate how to blow a blowing- or calling-horn. Everyone gets a chance to try being loud! Please note this workshop will be loud, and it is recommended that you bring throat lozenges.
Narrative Necromancy and the Helgrindr: Deciphering the “Door of the Dead” in Saga Literature and Folk Magical Practice (1:00pm – 2:00pm) with Ristandi (Rune Gild)
In the ancient landscapes of the North, Death was an intimate part of daily life. With the necessary slaughter of animals for food, the natural passing of venerable elders, the ravages of plague and disease, and the ever-present threat of death by feud or murder, individuals confronted Death on a disturbingly regular basis. It is no wonder that the folk beliefs and magical practices of our spiritual forbears should be intimately connected with the Dead and their worlds. Necromantic practice permeates the Germanic imagination – we find it referenced in a wide variety of expressive cultural forms and examples – in myth, in saga literature, in the archaeological record and in oral accounts of folk belief and ritual practice. This workshop focuses on a prominent but largely unacknowledged theme in traditional Germanic necromantic lore – the Helgrindr: (the “gate” or “door” of the dead) and explores the ways in which it might influence contemporary ritual work involving the Mighty Dead.
Preparation of the Húsel: Foraging for the Nine Worlds Stew (2:00-3:00) with Chris Heilmann (Raven’s Knoll)
In this workshop folk will be led by Chris Heilmann on a walk of Raven’s Knoll to find the final last ingredients for the Nine Worlds Stew, the sacred húsel dish for vegetarian kith and kin. Lore regarding herbs and worts will be shared and discussed.
Kulning: Ancient Swedish Herd Calling (3:00pm – 4:00pm) with Eydis Eldrhjarta (Ferðamenn Midgard Kindred)
Recognized by its haunting and shrill sound, Kulning is an ages old technique that was used to communicate over long distances. Once commonly used during the summer and spring months to bring the cows into pasture, it’s slowly beginning to fade into the culture of old. In this workshop, we will be exploring the history and technique, along with its place in modern culture.
The Meaning of Symbel (4:00pm – 5:00pm) with Erik Lacharity (Rúnatýr Kindred)
Symbel is a holy ritual of Heathenry, the depths of which can sometimes be hard for people coming from other religious traditions to fully comprehend. This is a vital ceremony of modern Heathenry with deep and ancient roots in many places in the Northlands. This workshop leads participants through some of the meaning and lore of symbel and will help familiarize the participants prior to the event.
Húsel and Skaldry (5:00pm – 9:00pm) with Auz Lawrence & Maryanne Pearce as Hlafweard & Hlǣfdīge, with Baz Gardiner as Skald of the Hall & Raz Jungleberry as Warden of the Feast (Raven’s Knoll), & Chantal Layoun (Rúnatýr Kindred) & many others
As our ancient Heathen ancestors did, we will be partaking in a sacred feast known to the Anglo-Saxons as húsel. The same foodstuffs which we will offered at the Vé are cooked by our own hands using the recipes and techniques of the ancestors. Our communal efforts at the raising of the god-poles to Heimdall and Syn, the blót, bind gods and folk together through this ritual meal in their honour. It is in the hall at the feasting board that frið is shared with every bite, growing in joviality well into the throws of symbel.
This year, at the feast, while we eat and between courses, skalds will entertain us with their performances.
High Symbel (9:00pm – 12:00pm) with Erik Lacharity as Thyle (Rúnatýr Kindred) & Annie Langlois as Byrele (Thornhaven Grove)
Raise the horn! Symbel is a communal ritual drinking within a hall. At this gathering we hold a ‘High Symbel’, meaning only the gods of the historic Germanic and Scandinavian peoples will be honoured. (It is our custom that Loki may be honoured at Symbel.) Our Symbel is based upon well-documented research by Stephen Pollington in his work, the ‘Meadhall’. The format is modeled on that of Anglo-Saxon sources as opposed to the popular American Sumbel. This Symbel features a non-circular setting devoid of a simple three round structure. Each participant may choose to speak over the horn by signalling the Byrele (Annie, the Horn Bearer) if and when they are so moved to do so. The Thyle (Erik, the Hall Keeper) will keep the pace flowing and enforce any rules of etiquette, if such a need arises.
Presentation of the Arm Rings (Immediately after Symbel) with the Doughty
One of the important traditions at Hail and Horn is that of gifting arm rings. Each year a portion of each attendee’s entry fee is reserved for the crafting of beautiful silver arm-rings to be given, to two deserving recipients. Recipients of rings in previous years decide who should honoured in the current year. This year the rings will be presented at the end of Symbel.
MANI’S DAY (July 3, 2017)
Redemoot (10:00am – 12:00pm) with the Witan (Erik Lacharity, Auz Lawrence, Chantal Layoun, Maryanne Pearce)
At this activity we assess how the sixth annual Hail and Horn Gathering went, and we determine which god or goddess will be honoured in the next year.
Farewell Blessing (12:00pm – 12:30pm) with Erik Lachrity (Rúnatýr Kindred) & Auz Lawrence (Raven’s Knoll)
At the end of the morning, a formal farewell blessing is offered to everyone who attends. (Because a fair wind in your sails or a healthy horse are better than a storm rocked barge or a broken down wagon on the moors.)
Æsc Adams, a follower of Anglo-Saxon fyrnsidu, is a heathen author, and co-creator of the gritty Legacy of Ash fantasy cycle. Æsc works for the federal government in his spare time. He lives near Kingston with his family and a pack of wild dogs. Æsc & Nicki, along with their children, are collectively known as ‘White Dog Hearth’.
Annie Langlois has been part of the Ottawa-Gatineau pagan community for almost 20 years, first as a Dianic Wiccan (under the wing of the late Lucie Dufresne), then as an eclectic and part of a few groups, to finally settle down at Thornhaven, an Ottawa area Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) group, where she is an active part of the priesthood. She is known to also lurk around a few other groups as well, as she’s a fairly social critter. She cultivates close relationships with gods and goddesses from both Celtic and Norse pantheons but is interested in several mythologies. When she is not Pagan-ing, Annie is a biologist and educator with a national wildlife conservation organization. She also enjoys studying and trying to speak semi-decently in hard-to-learn languages, cursing loudly at her sewing machine as it won’t do exactly what she wants, travelling as much as she can and hanging out outside with her dog Basile.
Auz Lawrence is one of the Stewards of Raven’s Knoll. Auz (short for “Austin”) directly assists with running a number of events at Raven’s Knoll, including: the Hail and Horn Gathering; the Kaleidoscope Gathering (Canada’s largest Pagan festival); and, the KornuKopia Gathering (a pan-Pagan harvest festival). Auz is an Ásatrúar who is an oathed goði since 2008, and is the keeper of the Raven’s Knoll Aesir Vé. Auz is interested in martial arts, historical cooking, brewing and all things Old Norse. Auz is also a former Stag King of the Kaleidoscope Gathering. Auz is married to Maryanne Pearce (a.k.a. M-A), with children Joven and Kadri, as well as a revolving menagerie of pets.
Basil Gardiner, AKA Beef Castle Basil, AKA Basil Bragi’sbro, has received critical acclaim such as “Hey, I know you do ‘The Rap’, but I don’t hate it and it isn’t awful”. He is known for mixing Norse overtones into freestyle rhyming verse. Lately, ya boy been on that grind and has been appointed ‘The Dopest Emcee that Bogside has Ever Seen — from the Battleaxe to the Battle Raps.’
Chantal Layoun is a longstanding member of the Ottawa-area Heathen community, the Lady of Erikhêm and a Steward of Rúnatýr Kindred. Her spiritual traditions are comprised equally of Heathen and First Nations traditions. She has worked in fast paced restaurant and service industries since her teenage years. With a get-er-done attitude and no messing around style, her feast-prep skills are renowned.
Christopher Heilmann is watercolour and woodblock print artist living in Old Ottawa South. His study in foraging overlaps with interests in self-reliance, cooking, and botanical illustration. Since the second year of HHG he has been involved in various roles from fire-keeper to sauerkraut maker, and had the honour of carving the god pole for Frey. Last year Chris introduced the Nine Worlds Soup as a solution to bridge the gap between traditional feast and contemporary diet.
The Doughty are those who have previously been gifted with Hail and Horn Gathering arm-rings.
Erik Lacharity is a Steward of Rúnatýr Kindred and is caretaker of the Vé at Erikhêm. He has been a Heathen for coming on a decade now and is by nature a Frankish Heathen with Thia Frankisk Aldsido. He is also the co-organizer of HHG since the beginning. His various interests include Heathenry, French-Canadian traditional witchcraft, the history of New France and Old France alike. He has always enjoyed facilitating the High Symbel for the benefit of the community.
Eydis Eldrhjarta has presented information about Pre-Christian Scandinavia for TVO, an upcoming documentary and much more. She has been involved in Viking re-enactment for four years. She has been classically trained as an actress and singer, along with being a trained blacksmith. Eydis leads and organizes events for her Heathen kindred, Ferðamenn Midgard. She is a passionate plant-lover, and spends much of her time researching the völur and culture of Pre-Christian Scandinavia
Gypsy Birch has been very involved in Raven’s Knoll’s Heathen community. He assisted in creating the Vé space, including finding and assembling the stones for the hörgr, stringing the boundary rope, and helping expand the space when the nine posts were replaced. He has had his hand on every God Pole as it was placed in the Vé, has assisted sorcerers during esoteric rituals, and is a recipient of one of the first Hail and Horn arm-rings for his service as a Skald. Gypsy will be serving the Hail and Horn Gathering this year as the head of the Raven’s Guard security team, as the Húskarl.
Jade Pichette is a Heathen Gythia living in Toronto, Canada. They are one of founders of Vindisir Kindred (London, Ontario), formerly Runatyr Kindred (Ottawa, Ontario), a main author of the Heathenry in Canada Wikipedia page, and is the lead organizer of the Canadian Pagan Declaration on Intolerance. Jade was raised a witch, but got into Heathenry in their early twenties and since have been often found running rituals at a number of gatherings at Raven’s Knoll and more.
Jean Sébastien Daunais (a.k.a. J-S) is a big French Canadian teddy bear with a thing for big feasts; being a professional butcher help a lot in those endevours. He is a member of the Vikings of the Metal Age Kindred
Jean-Sébastien Turgeon (a.k.a. J-S) has been an oathed member of Nine Mountains Kindred since 2014. An avid outdoorsman and hiker, he spend what little spare time he has left reading academic works to better his understanding of Heathenry and circumpolar Bear cults. He has been known to occasionally spend time at home with his wife and kids. He even dabbles in fire lighting and other bushcraft skills from time to time.
Jessica Kelly is a Heathen Gythia living in London, Canada. She is one of the founders of Vindisir Kindred (London, Ontario) as well as sits on the council of Tribal Hearth, a group which puts on two annual events Northern Lights Gathering and Hearthfire which focus on providing a space for those of polytheistic spiritualities to come together. Jessica believes deeply in the importance of sacred play and lives by the motto that serious does not equal somber. She live in London, ON with her husband Adam, and her daughters Kyla and Sonny. Also Jessica doesn’t trust anyone who won’t sing along to Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.
Linda Demissy hails from from Lokabrenna Kindred in Montreal. Linda is a Northern Tradition spirit-worker whose devotional seership aims at retrieving the stories of goddesses and making them available on her Lofnbard blog. She also teaches trancework professionally as a hypnotherapist over the internet.
Luna Story is a Heathen Gythia of Vindisir Kindred from the Forest City, London Ontario. She was raised by witches and began attending Pagan gatherings as an infant. Thereby, she had exposure to and experience with a wide variety of spiritual paths and practices before settling into her own. Luna is proud, steadfast, and optimistic. She is a fairy godmother by trade and loves her craft. She realizes the importance of interconnectedness and takes care in her relationships with others and the world around us.
Maryanne Pearce is one of the Stewards of Raven’s Knoll. She is usually known as MA (or Auntie M, if you are a dog or small child). MA directly assists with running a number of events at Raven’s Knoll, including: the Hail and Horn Gathering; the Kaleidoscope Gathering (Canada’s largest Pagan festival); and, the KornuKopia Gathering (a pan-Pagan harvest festival). MA’s spirituality draws from her mixed Celtic, Germanic, and Mohawk heritage; and, is deeply grounded in Mother Earth. She is on the Council of Elders for the Trials of Artemis, volunteers as the “Tax Lady” for all of the women’s shelters in Ottawa, and has worked extensively in animal rescue, as well as on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. MA is married to Auz Lawrence, with children Joven and Kadri, as well as a revolving menagerie of pets.
Myst Jeffrey follows an eclectic Pagan path, though a Witch at heart, she welcomes the opportunity to learn about all Pagan paths, as well as honouring her Native Ancestors and Guides. Myst has trained with, and is a member of “Feathers Academy of Clairvoyants and Holistic Therapies” (Norwich, U.K.). As a clairvoyant and psychic medium, she has helped with Spirit Rescue and those who have things that “go bump in the night”! Myst has also enjoyed sharing the techniques for grounding and protecting, working with our chakras, and using pendulums, as well as connecting with Spirit and our Spirit Guides, having presented this in the form of a workshop at KG 2012 and other events. As well, Myst has been instrumental in the development and promoting of “after-care” for esoteric rituals; demonstrating a genuine commitment to the spiritual well-being of those attending events at Raven’s Knoll.
Nicki Aethelflaed Butler is a kitchen witch, Anglo-Saxon cunning woman or heathen gythia depending on the time of day. She is a beekeeper, a certified chocolatier, and rules over an organic homestead near Kingston. Æsc & Nicki, along with their children, are collectively known as ‘White Dog Hearth’.
Raz Jungleberry – Human, Paladin Alignment: Chaotic Good; Weapon: Bat’leth; Background: Sage. Researcher of History, Ancestry, Astronomy, and Mixology Origin Story: She was forged between the broken beats of the rave scene, and the thrashes of mosh-pits, and has since sought her path through the studies of war and education. She has mastered potion-making with various spirits made of juniper, sugar cane, potato, agave and rye. Ask her about how she has tamed dragons, charmed snakes, and about her faithful animal companions.
Rick Piché is a childhood bear wrestler, who soon learned that animal kind and an exploration of nature was his life mission. Rick is a sometimes quiet guy from Sudbury with an intense depth that he turns towards working at the Pet Save Sudbury animal shelter, his wonderful wife Roxy, Hundrheim his hearth, and his chosen kin and kith. Rick is a gifted artist who usually works in the medium of leather, selling his wares at festival but is turning his hand to carving a duo of god-poles this year. A dedicated Knollteer, you can find him tending fires, and tending souls, most nights.
Ristandi has been working with the Northern Mysteries for over two decades. He holds a Ph.D. in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA, with a particular specialization in the study of Vernacular Religion, Folk Belief, and Ritual. He is a Master in the Rune-Gild (member since 1993) and serves as a member of its standing High Rede. His particular interests in the Germanic tradition include ancient and latter-day vernacular ritual, the Svartkonstbok/Galdrabaekur traditions of early modern practical magic, and traditional and experimental Germanic Necromancy. Ristandi has presented on various aspects of Germanic magic and religion at events like Pantheacon, the Feast of Aegir, Starwood, Rites of Spring, East Coast Thing, and Trothmoot. This is his first time at the Hail and Horn Gathering.
Sophia Butler is a barefoot Heathen with a deep love of books, animals, the outdoors, and her folk. An avid photographer and writer, and a member of White Dog hearth, she’s frequently encountered roaming the Knoll in the course of mysterious adventures. At this year’s Well & Tree Gathering she was recognized as an assistant Gythia, and was also instrumental in the construction of White Dog Hearth’s hearg.
Vindisir Kindred is a Heathen Kindred based primarily in London, Ontario and is led by three Gythias raised by witches Jessica Kelly, Luna Story, and Jade Pichette. They are fans of building community, sacred play, doing the work, inclusive Heathenry, and totally love skulls.