2012 Area Festivals and Conventions

It may still be cold outside, but festival season is almost here.  We’ve compiled a list of area Pagan, Heathen, and polytheist festivals to help you plan your attendance.

March 16-18 – Paganicon
Paganicon is 3 day convention held at the Doubletree Park Place in St. Louis Park, MN.  Christopher Penczak and S.J. Tucker are the  Guests of Honor.   Multiple tracks of programming, workshops, and rituals .  New this year is an All Snakes’ Day Ball.

Christopher Penczak is a Witch, teacher, writer and healing practitioner.  He is the founder of the Temple of Witchcraft tradition and system of magickal training based upon the material of his books and classes.  Christopher has penned over fifteen books on spirituality, witchcraft, healing and magick and has won multiple awards, most notably from the Coalition of Visionary Resources. He continues to write books and articles while holding a full time teaching and healing practice in New Hampshire, where he lives with his partners, science fiction/fantasy/RPG author Stephen Kenson and psychic Adam Sartwell.

S.J. Tucker’s style is classified, at times, as “Celtic Blues”, while her instrumental and vocal talents earn comparisons to Joni Mitchell, Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams, and Jeff Buckley. Not confined to one type of song or another, SJ spans opera, chant, and rockergrrl, employing deft guitar hands and the bluesy, powerful voice of a 300lb gospel singer–finely contained in a petite frame which earned her first band the name ‘Skinny White Chick’ by accident.  An incredibly prolific writer, SJ Tucker has composed over 130 original songs and independently produced six full-length studio albums. SJ Tucker started on the road with her first album in 2004, and she is taking the nation by storm — on her own power — state by state.

The All Snakes’ Day Ball on Saturday night is a brand new offering at Paganicon this year.  It is free to Paganicon attendees, others can attend for a small fee.  Guests are invited to dance with the Fae and revel with the Serpents, at a masquerade in the Faerie Court.  Prizes will be bestowed onto the most sublime magical personas… (i.e. best costumes!)  S.J. Tucker, Murphey’s Midnight Rounders, and DJ Silverwolf Williams are providing the entertainment.  Cash bar which includes mead is available.


April 5-8 – Spring Earth Conclave: A Dragon Salon
Dragon Salon: an exploration of Dragon connections, conducted in Art and Conversation in beautiful Southwest Wisconsin  held April 5th through 8th, 2012.

Come be Deep & Philosophical, and Witty & Humorous, & Well-Fed & Silly, and occasionally Well-Dressed, as we go deeper into the dragon realms. We will move with the Dragons, decorate ourselves for the Dragons and tell tales, stories and poems about/from the Dragon Realms.

We will also explore the following questions, and more. What do we know of the Dragons? What do they have to tell us and what do we have to tell them? What will our meeting with the Dragons teach us about ourselves and each other? How do we manifest dragon energy in the multiverse? How do our cultural filters affect what we know about the Dragon Folk?


May 24-28 – Heartland Spiritual Alliance – Dawning of a New Day
Heartland Pagan Festival is a 5 day camping festival held at Camp Gaea near McLouth, Kansas.  Guests of Honor are Selena Fox, Christopher Penczak, Kerr Cuhulain, Barbara Criswell, and Judy and Nels Linde.  Musical performers are Murphey’s Midnight Rounders, Wendy Rule, Flannigan’s Right Hook, Big Bad Gina, and Brian Henke.

Selena Fox  is one of America’s best known Pagan elders, networkers, and civil liberties activists. She is founder of Circle Network, Lady Liberty League, and the Pagan Academic Network. Over the years, Selena and her work have been covered by regional, national, and global media, including Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, CNN’s Larry King Live, NBC’s Today Show, and various radio networks (NPR, BBC, ABC, CBC). She has spoken at a variety of international and multicultural conferences.

Christopher Penczak is a Witch, teacher, writer and healing practitioner. His practice draws upon the foundation of both modern and traditional Witchcraft blended with the wisdom of mystical traditions from across the globe as a practitioner and teacher of shamanism, tarot, Reiki healing, herbalism, astrology and Qabalah. He is the founder of the Temple of Witchcraft tradition and system of magickal training based upon the material of his books and classes.

Kerr Cuhulain is the pen name of Canadian occult author and Detective Constable Charles Ennis. A former child abuse investigator, he is the author of several articles on child abuse investigation that appeared in Law & Order Magazine. A former Air Force officer, Cuhulain was a police officer for over 20 years, and a Wiccan for over thirty. Ennis was the first Wiccan police officer to go public about his beliefs 28 years ago. He is now the Preceptor General of Officers of Avalon, a non-profit benevolent association for Pagan and Wiccan law enforcement, firefighting and emergency medical personnel and their families.

Barbara Criswell  started Aquarius, a new age and metaphysical store in Kansas City, to give people a place to find tools important to them in their spiritual journey and called it “A Store for Conscious Living”. After 21 years it still serves the needs of the customers and has grown as they have.

Nels Linde, along with his wife, Judy, combines fifty years experience in magic, ritual, and community building. Founding President and Action chair of the Upper Midwest Pagan Alliance. They organized the Veterans’ Pentacle Rights Ritual, in St. Paul, Mn. February 2007. Judy was ritual director for Harmony Tribe for eight years, and together they have contributed to large group community rituals at Sacred Harvest Festival for ten years. Nels is co-founder of the UW Stout Hand Drumming Club, and co-editor of the PNC-Minnesota Bureau. Nels and Judy host the Sacred Fire Circle in Paradise. They are initiates in the Blue Star Tradition.

Murphey’s Midnight Rounders is an Acoustic/Country group with their feet firmly planted in Folk music. Their original material runs the gamut of human emotion while their vocal harmonies have an impact that is fresh and inspiring.  Brad Murphey has distinguished himself as a versatile songwriter, arranger and guitarist.  Along with Murphey is Teresa Frank on vocals and, at times, second guitar.
Rounding out the group is Bonnie Hanna-Powers.

Wendy Rule is wild, passionate and empowering as she weaves together music, mythology and ritual to take her audience on an otherworldly journey of depth and passion. Drawing on her deep love of Nature and lifelong fascination with the worlds of Fairy Tale and Magic, Wendy’s songs combine irresistible melodies with rich aural textures and a rare personal honesty.

Flannigan’s Right Hook  plays music they love, not just rock, not just Trad Irish, not just anything really. They really love to do it all.  Flannigan’s Right Hook is a Celtic/Rock band consisting of Cameron Russell on lead vocals, guitar and harmonica, Shane Borth on fiddle, mandolin and vocals and Michael Cochran on drums and vocals. Up-beat energetic music and tight harmonies have given them a unique sound and their blend of almost every style of music makes them accessible to many different music-lovers.

Big Bad Gina! is described as fun and funky Goddess folk fusion with a soulful, jazzy flair. From chant to reggae, jazz to rap, to folkin’ rockin’ and danceable disco, Big Bad Gina spans a myriad of genres and styles with knee buckling 3 part harmony and multi-instrumentalism. Big Bad Gina is the 2010 winner of “Best New Band” and nominated for Best Party Band in the Northwest Arkansas Music Awards.  Their first CD release, “Amazon Warrior Princess” features 10 original tracks with songs written by each of the three band members and the title track is the 2009 Goddess Festival winning theme song.

Brian Henke composes and performs his music like a painter putting images on canvas, a kind of sonic shaman, drawing his inspiration from the magic of the world around him. An avid hiker, he often brings his guitar along to create a spontaneous response to his outdoor settings. Mother Earth, (Terra) as artist has given an immense living gallery from the humbling spectacle of her natural wonders to the simple, beauty of a treetop against a blue sky.


June 14-17 –  Northern Folk Gathering
A Heathen cabin camping festival held at Norway Point Group Camp at St. Croix State park in Hinckley, MN.  Guest of Honor is Kari Tauring.  Blot, Summits, workshops, and musical performances round out this family friendly event.  New this year is a Lady of the Hall summit.

The site features cabins which sleep 8 people. Great for kindreds and larger families. But perfect for people who may be coming with just one or two other people and want a chance to meet and speak with new folks in a relaxed setting.  This year the gathering begins on Thursday June 14th. The gates open at 3:00pm to the attendees and with a blot to Thor and a hearty pot of goat stew, with plenty of home baked bread, at 6:00pm CST.   Like last year, a Chieftains, Godfolk, and Valkyrie summits will be held. New this year is a Lady of the Hall summit, led by Jennifer Stinson of Jotuns Bane Kindred.

Kari Tauring  is a Völva (Old Norse for staff carrier), sharing her ethnic heritage through performances and workshops.  Her artistry combines twenty plus years of scholarship and practice of runes, Norse lore, stav (stick rhythm), poetry, songs, dances, and the healing and spiritual arts. Kari has summoned the Heathen (pre-Christian) origins of her ancestry into her Immigrant Era heritage bringing Northern European spiritual and artistic expression to a new level.  Kari balances Northern European traditions with her North American ancestors to create a healed and unified heritage. Teaching through performance, workshops, recording and writing, Kari has gained an International audience.


June 17-24 – Earth House Midsummer Gather:  Guardians of the Earth
Earth House Midsummer Gather is an 8 day camping festival which raises funds for Sacred Paths Center in St. Paul and to build a Pagan resource center.  The festival takes place at Eagle Cave campground near Blue River, Wisconsin.   Honored Guests include Estelle Daniels, Robin “Catgut” McDowell, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Three Poppet Opera.

Honor the spirits within Nature, both physical and metaphysical. There will be music, a brew judging contest, instructive workshops, an assortment of rituals, morning coffee at Ricks Café, cool stuff from friendly merchants, fun & frivolity, drumming, dancing, storytelling of tales both true and tall, and a general good time.

Estelle Daniels is the author of Astrologickal Magick and co-author of Pocket Guide to Wicca and Essential Wicca.  A noted astrologer, she travels around the Midwest going to festivals.  She lives in Minneapolis and gives talks to groups, covens, and classes and generally hangs out with whoever will listen.

Robin “Catgut” McDowell is a violinist, fire spinner, Roller Derby Queen, occasional gypsy and beloved daughter of the Gather, Robin is now honored as the adult performer she has become. We welcome her back, looking forward to her music.

Chris Kirkpatrick knows all the right chords to strike for both the young listener, the <ahem!> more mature audience, and all the folks between.

Three Poppet Opera is the brainchild of Otter and her variously-talented cohorts (and enablers). Pulling strings since 2006, this marionette troupe has amused children of all ages with entertainment from multiple cultures.


June 17-24 Pagan Spirit Gathering:  Tribe and Spirit Through the Ages
The Pagan Spirit Gathering  is a 7 day camping festival held at Stonehouse Park in north-central Illinois.  It is one of America’s oldest and largest Nature Spirituality festivals.  Featured guests this year are Margot Adler, Crystal Blanton, Patrick McCollum, and Falcon River.  Musical performers are Ruth Barrett, Damh the Bard, Tuatha Dea, Dragon Ritual Drummers, and Spiral Rhythm.

 Margot Adler has been a Pagan and a Priestess of Wicca for just about 40 years. The author of “Drawing Down the Moon”, the classic study of contemporary Paganism and Goddess spirituality, she has also written Heretic’s Heart, a Journey Through Spirit and Revolution.  In her mundane life she is a correspondent for National Public Radio and is heard regularly on NPR’s news shows “All Things Considered”, “Morning Edition” and “Weekend Edition”. This past year she has been covering Occupy Wall Street and working on a non-fiction book about why vampires have such traction in our current culture.

Crystal Blanton is a Wiccan High Priestess, member of the Northern California Local Council of Covenant of the Goddess and a published author living in the Bay Area. She has worked in Social Services for 15 years, specializing in addiction and counseling.  Her books Bridging the Gap; Working Within the Dynamics of Pagan Groups and Society and Shades of Faith; Minority Voices in Paganism anthology are currently available through Immanion Press.  Blanton is also the editor for PNC- Bay Area.

Patrick McCollum teaches workshops on Witchcraft, Magic, Herb Lore, and Pagan history.  As the first government recognized Pagan Chaplain in the United States, Patrick serves on the Executive Council of the American Correctional Chaplains Association and was a key member of the Pentacle Quest Team.   Working with Lady Liberty League he specializes in resolving religious discrimination issues.  In 2010, Patrick was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Award at the Capitol in Washington, DC by the Hindu American Foundation, and was named as a World Inner Peace Ambassador by Buddhists in Thailand.  Patrick was named the King of Peace by Lama Gangchen of The World Peace Foundation, and honored with the title Venerable.

Falcon River is an ordained Dianic Priestess teaching practical energetic and magical skills for daily life. She is a custom leather and woodworker who loves to fashion archery equipment, magical tools and furnishings for pagan households and is a Level II instructor with the National Association for the Development of Archery and the National Archery Association. She is on the core faculty for The Spiral Door Women’s Mystery School of Magic and Ritual Arts.

Ruth Barrett is an internationally known fretted dulcimer recording artist, singer, and songwriter and award winning recording artist of original Goddess songs. She is best known for her original pagan folk music inspired by folklore, goddess mythology, celebration of nature, as well as for her arrangements of traditional Celtic and English folk music. Ruth has recorded eleven CDs and is an ordained Dianic High Priestess and author of the critically acclaimed Women’s Rites, Women’s Mysteries: Intuitive Ritual Creation.  At the National Women’s Music Festival, Ruth was presented with the 2011 Jane Schliessman Award for outstanding contributions to women’s music from Women in the Arts.

Damh the Bard  is the Pendragon of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids and a modern-day Bard whose spirituality, and love of folk tradition, is expressed through his music, storytelling and poetry. Drawing on the Bardic traditions his performances are both entertaining and educational, weaving a tapestry of myth, peace, and anthems that speak directly to the heart, but never without a good splash of humour. Damh is a musical storyteller who works within the world of myth that cannot be proved; where the Faerie really do dance on Midsummer’s Eve, where the trees talk, and the Hollow Hills take you into the realms of Annwn.

Tuatha Dea is pure primal energy with a Celtic twist. The band’s eclectic sound blends the tribal vibe of primitive drums with conventional and non conventional instruments such as guitar, bass, modern and Native American flutes as well as a myriad of vocal styles to create a truly unique sound.  Born of a family drum circle, the group delivers an authentic tribal and clannish feel that not only draws the audience into the music but into the moment and family as well.

Dragon Ritual Drummers The critically acclaimed European & North American Born 6 Member Band makes up the amazing and unique music of the #1 globally ranked Pagan drum troupe; The Dragon Ritual Drummers. Their music & performances are creative, intense and powerful. They bring the audience to their feet dancing as they are swept away in the intense beat of music from around the world and through the ages.

Spiral Rhythm was born when a group of friends translated the energy they felt all around many pagan community fires into a deep and abiding spiritual harmony. Over the years the faces have changed, members have come and gone, but all have left their indelible spiritual footprint on the group.  Every community fire, festival gathering and concert audience have helped us to achieve a unique a capella and percussive blend that is a multi-layered, deeply spiritual celebration of the Divine power all around us.


July 12-15 – Sacred Fire Circle In Paradise
Sacred Fire Circle in Paradise is a four day fully participatory event for adults above age 18. The event takes place in Wisconsin and has a cap on the number of attendees.  The event features all night drumming to engage the energy of Fire: a path back to one’s own heart memory and life purpose.

After a late evening nap, the Fire Circle begins at midnight and continues uninterrupted until dawn. Participants are asked to stay within the sacred space, contributing as they may and defining their experience. At dawn, breakfast will be available followed by quiet time until lunch. After lunch attendee may choose to attend workshops and the Circle is re-stocked. Dinner is served and following another quiet time drumming begins st midnight and lasts until dawn.

The Sacred Fire Circle is a six hour transformative ritual. Participants may randomly pause to feed and care for themselves and others, heal and support, offer rhythm or sound, but all remain within the sacred space. The aim is to remain fully engaged from midnight til dawn in building the energy which is the basis of this transformational ritual. Participants bring their own life path and their gift to the moment to the Sacred Fire Circle. The profound nature of transformation is individual. Once the mundane is stripped away, participants may experience trance states, commune with divinity within themselves, one another, and directly with deity. Others may recognize personal obstacles, and process, embrace, or expel them. Some may shammanicly journey or shape-shift. Nearly all experience pure joy, often for the first time. Whatever awaits you, the effects will be transformational, whether immediate or months in the future.


July 12-22 – Summerland Spirit Festival, Wisconsin and Cherry Hill Seminary Leadership Institute
Summerland Spirit Festival is a nine-day experiential spiritual retreat  nestled within several square miles of wild forest in Wisconsin.  This year the festival hosts a Leadership Institute Workshop by Cherry Hill Seminary.  Featured Guests are Macha NightMare and Brian Henke.

(July 12-14) Cherry Hill Seminary is holding a three-day leadership training workshop at Summerland Spirit Festival entitled “The Journey of Transformation.”  This is the first time that Cherry Hill Seminary is offering training in the Midwest, and it is also the first time that they are holding one of their trainings at a festival.  People can attend the Cherry Hill Training without attending Summerland Spirit Festival, and receive credit toward a degree or certificate from Cherry Hill.

On July 14th Summerland Spirit Festival officially starts.

M.  Macha NightMare is the featured speaker and  lives in the shadow of Mount Tamalpais (the Sleeping Lady) in Marin County, California. For the past decade-plus she’s concentrated most of her efforts on two areas. One is the development of Cherry Hill Seminary to better prepare Pagans of all paths to serve their communities and to interface constructively with the public, and to explore our rich heritages with scholarly rigor. The other is the world of interfaith activities, where she make use of creative ritual whenever the opportunity arises.

Brian Henke is performing at Summerland this year.  Brian has received radio air play all over the world and has shared the bill or performed with acts as diverse as “Yes”,  “The Strawbs”, “Linda Ronstadt”, Steve Morse”, Yngvie Malmsteen”, “Dar Williams” ”The Kingston Trio”, ”Alison Brown, ”Adrian Belew”, ”Spiro Gyra”, “Andy McKee”, ”Stephen Bennett”, ”John Doan”, ”Beppe Gambetta”, “Doug Smith” and many, many others.  He is a winner of many acoustic and electric guitar awards, and has been a finalist in the prestigious National Fingerstyle Contest in Winfield, Kansas, the National Guitarmageddon regional finals in Boston, and in New Age Reporters Top 10 for 2006 and 2010.


August 6-12 – Sacred Harvest Festival
Sacred Harvest Festival is a seven day camping festival held at Harmony Park in Southern Minnesota.  The festival is a family friendly the creates a community or tribe experience for participants.  Featured guests this year are Andras Corban Arthen and Lady Yeshe Rabbit.  Musical performances by Ellie Bryan and Ailinn.

Andras Corban Arthen  was adopted in 1969 into the traditional pagan practices of a Gaelic-speaking family from the Highlands of Scotland. He has lectured publicly about the Pagan traditions throughout the U.S. and abroad since the 1970s, and has been featured in a number of books as well as news media. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and has been a featured speaker at the Parliaments held in Chicago in 1993, Barcelona in 2004, and Melbourne in 2009, and at the World Interreligious Encounter held in Monterrey, México in 2007.  Andras  sits on the board of directors of the European Congress of Ethnic Religions and is proud to have been singled out as “a bad role-model for the youth of America” by right-wing Christian zealot Pat Robertson on the 700 Club in 1996.

Lady Yeshe Rabbit is recognized in the S.F. Bay area for her work with CAYA Coven and within her community. Yeshe Rabbit has been an enthusiastic wanderer along the winding path of esoterica for over 20 years. Her interests include tarot, tantra, herbalism, shamanic practices, myth and storytelling, drumming, chanting, singing, and ecstatic ritual. She has been featured on NPR and is a regular teacher/presenter at local and national gatherings, including the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium, PantheaCon, the Berkeley Pagan Festival, and others.

Ellie Bryan  performs traditional folk music using a hand made instrument called a mouth bow. This instrument resembles a hunting bow and it consists of a stick with a string under tension. The bow is leaned against the jaw and the cavity of the mouth is used to create a resonance chamber.  Ellie sings traditional songs while playing the mouth bow, Appalachian mountain dulcimer, and banjo.

Ailinn is a poet-musician whose style embodies that touch of magic you can’t quite describe. Drawing upon traditional Celtic roots, Ailinn composes original folk tunes that reconnect listeners to the land, sea, and sky. Her music is a sincere expression of spirit that celebrates the sacred with frank honesty.  Performing both traditional Celtic folk tunes and original compositions, Ailinn uses a variety of instruments besides her voice including: acoustic guitar, mandolin, bodhran, as well as a variety of other hand drums.


September 8 – Twin Cities Pagan Pride
Pagan Pride is a free event, open to the public, that offers education about Paganism to the larger community.  Held in Minnehaha Falls Park the one day event features music, ritual events, and booths.

In keeping withPagan Pride International‘s guidelines, Twin Cities Pagan Pride has offered a fall event since 1998 that includes a ritual focusing on the harvest, a food and charity drive, along with other rituals, discussions, vendors, and entertainment.  We’re excited to announce that our 2012 event will again focus on public education in an outdoor site that has tons of walk through traffic.  Twin Cities pagan Pride is open September 8th, 2012 from 10am to 6pm.

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