Our conference schedule is ready, registrations are rolling in, the ancestors are taking notice, and we invite you to join us for this community event. With just a short time to go before the conference, now's the time to register if you haven't done so already.
Registration is priced on a sliding scale from $75 to $25 USD in an attempt to make this event as accessible as possible. Not familiar with sliding scales? Here is some information to help you choose the right payment level. Thanks to Vyviane at Land Sea Sky Travel for calling our attention to this resource.
SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED
Scholarship applications were open through Sunday, 3rd October at midnight PST. We will notify all applicants by Sunday, 10th October. Thanks for applying.
CAN'T MAKE THE CONFERENCE?
No problem. All workshops will be recorded, and video recordings will be made available to registered users through the end of November, 2021, so you are welcome to register even if you cannot attend on the day.
Saturday, 16th October, 2021 on Zoom
Please note that all times are Pacific Standard time for Portland, Oregon, US (UTC -7 hours). Check here to adjust to your time zone.
8:00am: Tech check
8:30am PST: Welcome, introducing our speakers, and devotional offerings
9:00am PST: Mortellus
Mortellus is the High Priestex of the Coven of Leaves in Western North Carolina, a Gardnerian coven operating an Outer Court training group who like to say that they are a bubbling cauldron of esoterica slithering their way through Western North Carolina. Additionally, Mortellus is a Mortician, Medium, Necromancer, and author of Do I Have to Wear Black? Rituals, Customs & Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagans. Currently, they reside on three acres that are hastily becoming overgrown again with their spouse, three-year-old twins, and one really, really ridiculous dog.
WORKSHOP: Dying Pagan
This workshop covers: preparing (and assisting a loved one in preparing) for death, legal issues, navigating family, support, death rituals of all stages, death process and rituals, behind the scenes of deathwork, and more - it really delves into nearly every topic.
11am PST: 15 minute break / social time
11:15am PST: Rue McDonald
McDonald (they) is a story weaver, researcher, learning facilitator and
songster. They are the founder of Queer Directions Learning Center,
connecting queer and allied learning facilitators and learners for
tending cultural wellness. Find them on Facebook and Instagram @queerdirections.
WORKSHOP: Broom Wisdom: Giving to Death as Decolonial Practice
In this workshop, Rue will share what they've learned through their land restoration work blended with Death Priestxing practice and animist relationship building with broom, a invasive plant species here on L'kwungen and WSANEC territory. Guided by ancestral story and death practices of their lineages, Rue explores how invasive plant removal can offer wisdom and insight about decolonizing environmental & social ecologies.
12:30pm PST Lunch break (there will be social space available during this time)
1:00pm PST: Sharon Arnold
(they/her/theirs) is a queer nonbinary writer and sometimes educator
who weaves social philosophy and cultural theory into essays on art,
artists, histories, and culture; including a reconnection to ancestral
practices rooted in a blend of Irish, Scottish, and American folk
traditions. Their interest is in the way these converging paths share
deeply interwoven expressions of knowledge which continue to shape our
contemporary lives; especially when nurtured in community,
conversations, and connectivity.
WORKSHOP: Beyond the Altar: The Politics of Restorative Ancestor Practices
Can we engage restorative ancestor practices in ways that lead to positive impact in our lives and communities? Many of us from multiple diasporic lineages are seeking to nurture a cultural connection through the histories and practices of Celtic polytheism. We may find we’re navigating these traditions from distant lands in ways that respectfully acknowledge and honor the lands where we now live. How do we begin to repair the severance from our relatives, our past, our cultures, and the land? What are the overlaps between the way ancestors, spirits, and Gods are inscribed into the landscapes of Celtic nations, and the ways they—and we—are present in our respective bioregions? This round-table discussion will include your participation in discussing questions such as these towards decolonizing and unsettling settler colonialism in our work as a spiritual, political, and reciprocal praxis.
2:15pm PST 15 minute break / social time
2:30pm PST: Izzy Swanson
WORKSHOP: In the Mossy Margins: The Role of the Psychopomp in Celtic Polytheism
The space of time that exists between the moment of death and the moment in which the soul reaches its final resting place can be vulnerable and unstable. It is the work of the psychopomp to guide the souls of the dead through these liminal spaces. In this presentation, we will the discuss various roles of the psychopomp. We will also explore the different ways in which we see those roles being carried out by the gods and other beings in the mythology and history of Celtic Cultures.
3:45pm PST 15 minute break / social time
4:00pm PST: Morpheus Ravenna
WORKSHOP: For the Living and the Dead: Creating death rituals for Celtic polytheist lifeways
When we lose someone in a spiritual community, we need grieving, funerary, and memorial rituals to help us process the death, support the dead person’s spirit, and appropriately honor their remains and their memory. What might Celtic polytheist death rituals look like? This talk will draw on historical, mythic, and folkloric narratives as well as archaeology to identify elements of ritual from the deep well of Celtic cultures which can inform our death rituals. I will also discuss ritual structure to highlight the core elements that are needed in each of the different types of death ritual. My hope is to offer a set of tools to help us envision contemporary death rituals inspired by Celtic polytheist lifeways.
5:15pm PST Closing prayers
5:30pm PST Conference concludes
Available as a pre-recorded video presentation:
Scott Richardson-Read (pre-recorded video presentation)
There is a saying in Scotland "you're only ever three feet from heaven" which I interpret to refer to the idea of the otherworld being ever present or maybe just how beautiful Scotland is. This leads to another fundamental WHY of Scottish folk magic. The focus on transitional times and place, liminal moments or basically change. There are places which are thin or nearer the liminal and at certain times these places become a door. These can be calendar dates like Samhuinn and Bealtainn or life changes stages like marriage, birth, death etc or even times of day like dawn and dusk. Scottish folk practitioners believe things come back or through and for this reason go out of their way to protect these places - these literal or figurative doors - from intrusion from the other than human community.... (read more of Scott's bio @ The Cailleach's Herbarium).
WORKSHOP: Death's Door - Exploring animistic features of death through Scottish folk belief
This short presentation will explore instances of early modern folk traditions around death through a lens of animism. This will be a discursive presentation attempting to weave threads together from folklore, oral history and ideas around the Sìth (sidhe), animism and the importance of a handling death in right relation. This discursive presentation will raise questions helping attendees to examine their own practice and world view and attempt to challenge some of the inherited christian thinking within polytheism and folk magic in general.
We warmly thank Irish artist Sean Fitzgerald for providing us with our conference logo. Find Sean on Instagram @seanfitzgeraldart)
Conference organizers: Talasyn (Portland, Oregon, US); Laurel (Kingston, Ontario, Canada); Corvin (Portland, Oregon, US).