Category Archives: Events

The Dark Year

By | Events, Herbalism, Storytelling | 30 Comments

This has not been my year. This has not been many people’s year. At first I tried to sugar coat it, telling myself that maybe things would get better… but they only got worse and then worse and then even worse. It all started with an outbreak of contagious walking pneumonia in my small town of six hundred people. There is only one bank, one pharmacy, one cafe and we all touched the same doors, the same bank machine… Walking pneumonia slowly takes your breath and energy away lasting from one to two months. You wheeze like an asthmatic, nap all the time, and can barely lift a finger. Everyone caught it, everyone. I had it for the full months of May and June and it turned into a sinus infection I couldn’t shake. I couldn’t plant my garden, I couldn’t clean my house, I couldn’t work my job. I would end up on the ground gasping for breath. After multiple doctor visits I finally shook it at the beginning of July. My garden was late getting planted and a lot of potted plants died while they waited for me, but many more made it into the ground to my…

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Curses & Blessings at the Witches’ Sabbat

By | Events, Festivals & Sabbats, Witchcraft & Magic | 7 Comments

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, witches came from miles around to meet in the woods and learn from each other about cursing and warding magic. I remember walking a dense spiral path formed by trees and earth alone, the mossy ground slimy under my feet and covered in mushrooms and the tiniest of toads. I caught the toads and they baptized my hands with their poison. There was a clearing with four stangs in each corner adorned with skulls and antlers, their feet covered in offerings.  It was a place full of genius loci and magical potency, but I spent most of my time on a forest path sitting at the door of the sacred mound of gnome home, offering smoke as well as blood via mosquitoes to the nisse. I remember cooking in large iron cauldrons over a hot fire under the hot sun and needing to jump in the river to cool off. I remember people feeding me bannock dripping with honey and my fingers bloody from eating a rare cow heart cooked over the flames, the women shouting “Khaleesi!” Words fell out of my mouth and sang a song of henbane; its history, folklore, magical…

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Scandinavian Midsummer Festival

By | Events, Festivals & Sabbats | 3 Comments

The local Scandinavian Midsummer Festival is in its 19th year. We attempted to go last year, but it didn’t work out and so were determined to make it this summer solstice. We woke up early with the baby boy and off we went to the Scandinavian Cultural Centre to make it in time for the brunch. We ate, we roamed around through the tents dedicated to each country, we browsed the artisans’ wares, we ate some more, we drank a goodly amount of beer, we watched the young couples warm up for the wife-carrying contest, we listened to music and we watched lovely ladies walk by with handmade flower crowns. I wished to make a flower crown of my own, but the table was filled with ravenous flower-hungry women and I did not wish for an elbow in the eye. The food was nothing to write home about, there were only pale ales on tap, there were only a few artisans of note, and there was a lot of non-Scandinavian-ness going on, but overall we had a wonderful midsummer’s day. We even ran into my old wonderful Finnish landlord who I miss. Old because he’s no longer our landlord and…

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Forest Spirit Fest

By | Animism, Cooking, Ethnobotany, Events, Festivals & Sabbats, Herbalism | 44 Comments

he Shaman, the Poisoner, and I arrived at Raven’s Nest when the sun was at its height in the blue sky. As we set up our tents and the axe throwing targets, we quickly discovered how the camp site got its name; ravens circled with loud croaks and the flapping of their great black wings. The Poisoner croaked back, having a conversation with a particularly large grandfather raven. It was a pleasant discovery for all in attendance at the festival as Tynehead Park is in the middle of a booming, ever-expanding city.  Unlike crows, ravens do not like cities or people, preferring wild places. The park is likely one of the last hideouts for all the wild creatures that once spilled out over the land where rows of suburban houses and box stores now rule. We also learned many of the park’s serpent names are not coincidence either – there are plenty of snakes to be found! Tynehead is most well known for its Serpentine River full of salmon. The salmon have attracted black bears, coyotes, ravens, eagles, and all manner of smaller creatures creating a wonderful biodiversity which the city folk don’t seem to appreciate as they keep trying…

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A Month of Magical Mischief

A Month of Magical Mischief

By | Events, Festivals & Sabbats, Storytelling, Witchcraft & Magic | 16 Comments

 have been gone for so long, in the woods, in the mountains, by waters fast and deep. It is all a blur now. Faces smiling and laughing and talking. Bodies swaying to drums by fire and star light. Our hair and clothes smelling of fire and smoke, earth and cedar. For once I am almost lost for words. My storyteller’s tongue was tied for days after while my mind and heart caught up with all that happened in the past month. Where have I been? It is spring, summer is a comin’ in and winter’s gone away-o. Where else do we untamed ones go when the sun shines and the earth is blanketed in green once more? Where have all the witches gone? Over hill and under stone. You shall not find them inside a house, but if you are quiet as a mouse and walk softly on the forest floor, you will find them at the otherworld’s door by grove, sea, and crossroad, places of power, working their magic at the appointed hour. No, you shall not find them inside a home; in the wilds is where they roam. eltuinn is always a big event in my local community….

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