Kari Tauring is hitting the Heathen summer festivals and gatherings and is reporting back on her experiences in this series. The first festival is Trothmoot 2011, a gathering Heathens from across the country. The festival is held at different locations each year. This year it was at Osage Hills State Park close to Pawhuska, Oklahoma June 2nd – 5th.
Trothmoot is the annual gathering of members of the Troth, a national/international organization supporting Heathenry through active national supports, clergy programs, kindred affiliations, an extensive lore program, and the publication, Idunna. The gathering is hosted by different member kindreds around the United States. 2010 was my first experience at Trothmoot, hosted in Hinkley, Minnesota by Volkshof Kindred. I provided musical entertainment and workshops in Volva Stav and children’s Norse Myth and Pageantry.
I was very honored to be invited back again for 2011, hosted near Tulsa, Oklahoma by Bifrost Way Kindred. Each kindred who hosts gives the moot the flavor of their own region. It’s a chance for them to show off their state, their regional culture, and the best hospitality they can offer. Once again, this was done in an exceptional way. Guest friendliness is a key virtue in Heathenry.
Trothmoot is different than other pagan or heathen gatherings as the main purpose is to hold the face to face annual business meeting for the organization. There are reports from officers, a summation of the year’s work, and oathing in of new stewards and officers. The focus of Trothmoot is the organization and building personal relationships with Heathens from all over the United States who share the common goal of strengthening the community, sharing experiences, and increasing membership. The moot is open to all Heathens, not limited to members only. In fact, anyone may come in good will to learn about Heathenry and the organization of the Troth.
The entire event was quite exceptional. Around 50 or so participants with around 6 children were in attendance. My Volva Stav workshop was well attended and the children’s workshop concentrated on Nordic Roots Dance. There were several formal blots (rituals dedicated to specific deities) and a Grand Symbel (a three round, sharing of the horn among the whole folk). It was a thrill for me to perform some songs and get the whole hall dancing in a ring and serpent dance. Everyone was so joyful. We sang a Faroese verse as we danced and the hall was filled with frith (deep peacefulness and good will).
Trothmoot 2012 will be in Pennsylvania this year and I am sure will take on the flavor of the Deutsch heritage of the hosting kindred. I expect the Troth will continue in its mission and hold its annual moot for many years to come.
The growth of Heathenry in the US
Regional Heathen events are growing. While national organization can accomplish many great things and is essential to the promotion of Heathenry on a federal level, the strength of regional kindreds is the ground swell keeping this folkway alive and growing.
I believe it is because Heathenry begins with ancestor honoring that it is growing so quickly in the United States. Genealogy and cultural heritage have become the new hobbies of so many Americans who are aching for their own identity and deep cultural root. The pre-Christian spiritual traditions of Northern Europe are a natural expression of the discovery of those roots. Regional attention helps the Northern European folksoul to relate to and honor the original land spirits, immigrant cultural enclaves, and develop close personal kinships to other Heathens in the states and regions in which they live.
Next Kari’s Thingtide Travels – Northern Folk Gathering