Teo Bishop is pretty unique in the Pagan world. If you know of him, you probably know more about his spiritual ponderings and quest, than about who he is! He is a blogger, bard, and contemplative Pagan, the author of Bishop In The Grove, a regular contributor to HuffPost Religion, and Columnist at The Wild Hunt. He is also one excellent musician and song writer.
I talked by phone to Teo Bishop in Los Angeles about his upcoming appearance beginning next Monday at Sacred Harvest Festival, Aug 5-11th.
Have you ever been to Minnesota before?
Teo; I have been to the Twin Cities once before on a promotional tour. I think the theater was in St. Paul. This is the first time I’ve been during the “warm” part of the year!
And you are out in Los Angeles now?
Teo; Yes. Most of the time when not at home in Colorado I am doing some kind of work in the music industry. Music is my primary work. Mainly I write songs for artists. You could think of it as applying my bardic skills in the pop music world.
In addition to songwriting, do you plan on resuming a musical performance career?
Teo; I’m not really focused on performance right now. I spent the majority of time between 2008 and 2011 working to cultivate a career as a performer and recording artist. My focus right now is on songwriting, and more behind the scenes work.
It is an exciting time, though, because the last few weeks have been exceptionally creative. In the past eight days I have written eight new songs. It’s a vibrant time, and I’m excited to take that creativity and bring it to Sacred Harvest Festival!
You recently announce leaving the Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF). Was that difficult? Are you still a Druid?
Teo; I still very much feel like I am on a Druidic path. I don’t think you can ever truly disassociate yourself from traditions you have been a part of, and ADF has been very influential on me. So leaving ADF was a difficult decision to make, yes. But I decided to leave because it just felt, in all of my parts, like the right thing for me to do at this point in my own spiritual evolution.
My leaving made a splash only because I am fairly public with aspects of my spirituality and my process. I’ve also been in a role of leadership within ADF, and I feel very happy about how things have been progressing in my absence, particularly with the Solitary Druid Fellowship.
I think it’s important to understand that this is not some big dramatic event, but that my own process has led me to leave. I’m not on a crusade against ADF. There are many wonderful people in ADF who have genuinely been kind to me — both before and after this decision.
Are you headed down a different path now?
Teo: I’m not sure exactly what path I’m on at the moment. I feel like my “ordinary”, non-religious life has a great number of spiritual teachings to offer me. I am still tremendously influenced by the teachings of ADF Druidry, in the same way that before that, before being a Pagan, I was influenced by Episcopalian Christianity. It is all part of a continuum for me. The creative work I am doing — the work that happens apart from any one spiritual path or tradition — feels like the best thing to focus on at this point.
This is your first appearance as a guest at a Pagan event, what are you looking forward to?
Teo: I’m looking forward to meeting so many people that I’ve only engaged with online. I think it’s important for internet-entered Pagans to get out there, in the dirt, and get to know each other. I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to offering up my experiences and insights into the creative process to the community. I’d like to find ways to conceive of our creativity and our spirituality as synonymous aspects of our lives.
You are offering both a kids workshop and a ritual, is this new for you?
Teo: Actually, I have done some work with kids outside of a festival context. My mom is a teacher and I have worked with kids to help them develop their creativity and use their own creative voice. This is comfortable territory for me, and I think the young people at the festival will have a lot to offer.
I’m also excited about leading ritual. I’ll be incorporating some aspects of ADF Druidry, as well as seeking to use movement and voice as a catalyst within the ritual to enliven us and revitalize our own sense of creativity. We’ll make a good noise!!
I think the festival will be a really great time. Everyone involved has been extremely kind, generous and hospitable with me, and I’m looking forward to giving the “Tribe” a big old hug when I get out there!
Teo Bishop is a featured National Guest at Sacred Harvest Festival located at Harmony Park in S. Minnesota near Albert Lea , Aug. 5-11th. Teo is offering several workshops, a ritual, and a performance – Workshop Schedule
Discount advance registration for Sacred Harvest Festival ends Thursday Aug 1st, Gate Registration is also available at event.
Nels Linde is a Council Member of Harmony Tribe which sponsors Sacred Harvest Festival.