2023 – Workshop Descriptions
|Back to the Garden Celebration
|Animal Communication II – Talking with Animals In Nature
|One of the unexpected, yet logical progressions of communication with our pets is communication with wild animals. Often this connection comes easily and unexpectedly but carries with it great responsibility. Wild animals have strong boundaries and etiquette that we need to recognize to keep the connections clear. Honor, respect, and appreciation for our wild partners in nature keeps our conversation viable.
|Animal Communication With Rescue Pets
|Animal Communication with Rescue Pets. Many of our pets are rescues; they come to us as strays, from disaster areas, hoarding situations, or other desperate situations. When they find that we can and want to communicate with them, doors open so that we can give them their best lives. Respect, patience, humor, and a willingness to let the ‘Dog train the human’ are key in communicating with our pets.
Animal communication often facilitates deeper understanding within us and gives clarity and strengthens our path in many unexpected ways.
|Appalachian Folk Magic
|An intro to traditional Appalachian folk magic from a long-time practitioner.
|Bring your birth data and some note paper and learn how to use Astrology to plan conception and also your future child’s Sun sign and gender. This technique can also be used as natural birth control in order to avoid conception.
|Back to the Garden Celebration
|Braucherei and Hexerei in the Urglaawe context
|Robert L. Schreiwer
|The heirloom healing Deitsch (Pennsylvania Dutch) practice of Braucherei (also called Powwow in English) and the related magical practice of Hexerei serve as tremendous folk resources for the Heathen denomination of Urglaawe. Long the front line of folk medicine for the Deitsch people, Braucherei is pre-Christian at its core and features overlays from Gnostic, Judeo-Christian, and Lenape traditions. The practitioner communities also retained a large volume of oral lore in the form of myths, “superstitions,” charms, etc. The Urglaawe movement arose from these living Heathen traditions as well as from the wider Deitsch folk religion. Urglaawe features the Heathen elements still living within the Deitsch culture, drawing much of its knowledge from Braucherei and Hexerei lore. The Urglaawe community is now working to make this knowledge more accessible to the wider Heathen/Pagan community inside and outside of Pennsylvania.
[Please note that, while this is related to the Reclaiming Hexerei presentation, it is not the same in content.]
|Using old-fashioned candies to create easy, effective magical workings.
|Celtic Cauldrons of the Soul
|The cauldron is a sacred symbol of wholeness, mystery, magic, rebirth, and transformation. The ancient Celts have many stories where cauldrons figure prominently, including the goddess Cerridwen’s Cauldron of Transformation and the god The Dagda’s Cauldron of Plenty. “The Cauldron of Poesy” is an Irish text from the Middle Ages that describes three cauldrons that reside within each person: The Cauldron of Warming (associated with physical health), The Cauldron of Motion (associated with emotions/activity in the world), and The Cauldron of Knowledge/Wisdom (associated with spiritual knowledge/advanced poetry). The text provides some insights into what each cauldron regulates, their positions, and how they engage with each other. The cauldrons were meant to help poets and bards hone their craft and grow spiritually. Today, people work with these cauldrons to engage with their body, mind, and spirit, checking to see how each cauldron is doing and whether it needs to be turned. Yes, the cauldrons can be on their side or even upside-down! In this experiential workshop, we will learn about the three cauldrons of the soul and do a guided imagery visualization to engage with each cauldron and see how our own inner cauldrons are doing.
|Channel Universal Love
|James Scott (Entertainment person)
|Many people think that spiritual healing is difficult. However, the truth is that Universal Love is accessible to anyone … at any time. Attend this workshop and discover how to raise your vibrational frequency, ascend to the highest of heights, and experience true bliss.
|Chants for Kid’s and their Adults
|It’s never too early to learn chants that can be used in ceremony and around the fire circle! This workshop will teach some simple popular chants to beginners of any age.
|Whose blood is in this soil? Integrating racial justice & reconciliation into your spirituality
|Carla Gates – Candaca Okun
|Perspective: We have earth-based spirituality. Our long ago Ancestors may have been Pagan, but in order to fully step into our power we must own everything that contributes to our context as well.
|Creativity and the Devine
|Life imitates art.
Art, like many forms of magic, is the direct manifestation of our ideas and beliefs into the world. This class focuses on the connection between the divine and art, how to allow your creative process and your spiritual path to deepen one another, and what our responsibilities are to the creative self.
|Energy Works I – Grounding and Shielding
|In my experience, Grounding and Shielding are skills that every energy worker should know. Grounding is a technique where we form an energetic link with Mother Earth, Herself, to help us cleanse, purify, and strengthen our personal energies. Shielding is a technique for keeping external energies out of our own energy. When working with energy, keeping your own energy as clear of external “contamination” as possible is critical, especially when doing energy work with/for/on others. Yet for as “simple” as these concepts may sound, I have met a number of energy workers who struggle with one or both of these techniques. This workshop offers tips, guidance, and practical exercises for beginners and experts alike.
|Energy Works II – The Basics and Ethics
|This workshop offers a general overview of what we mean when we talk about “energy work”. We will also learn how to sense, move, and manipulate energy. Once you have an understanding on working with your own energy, we will step into sensing, moving, and manipulating the energy of others. We will also discuss the very important issue of ethics when doing energy work with/for/on, other people. Otherwise, the work we intend to do will not simply fail, but potentially have harmful effects, regardless of our best intentions.
|Energy Works III – Putting Energy to Work
|In this intermediate-level class, we get into the nitty-gritty of actually “doing stuff” with energy. This workshop is for those who have either taken my first two classes, and/or already have a solid understanding of the techniques those classes cover. We will not only discuss some of the applications for more advanced energy work, but also techniques for doing them. The topics we will try to touch on are: building wards; empowering spells and rituals; cleansing and programming crystals; tapping outside energy sources; and energy constructs. There is one topic we will not get into, as that is reserved for its own workshop…
|Energy Works IV – Energy Healing
|This advanced workshop is all about the use of energy for healing work. Many energy workers are drawn to healing, but there are very real risks when this type of work is not done properly. Once we all have a shared understanding of those risks, we will learn and practice some of the techniques discussed.
|Simple isometric stretches for the nervous system.
|Fitheachas: Poetic Seer-Trance OR Augury with Raven and Wren
|Mo (Moine Michelle or Michelle LaFrance
|In Scotland, a ritual-form named the “frith” augered the condition and placement of things lost, the outcome of ventures, and acquired messages about people, animals, and the land. A “fitheachas” was specific type of this ritual work, which called upon the knowledge of the raven (or the wren) to warn, guide, and inform a seeker. The old Irish scéal (stories, sagas) also tell us of three trance-informed poetic abilities cultivated by the Druids: Imbás forosnai (illuminating wisdom), Dichetal Do Chennaib (speaking from the head/ spontaneous incantation), and Teinm Laida (“cracking the marrow”—a form of spell song).
In this workshop, we will discuss these rituals, the sgéul/scéal that offer insights into these states and how these stories guide today’s mystics in opening to the wealth of messages of the unseen worlds, gods and not gods. We will discuss what we may do to cultivate and explore these states safely and toward deeper wisdom. Using modern poetic techniques, we will then create a chant to shield and protect us and call upon and journey with our Raven or Wren allies to share their messages with us.
|From Discomfort to Transformation: Trauma-Informed Spirituality
|This workshop will help participants create space for sustainable healing and radical change through trauma-informed spirituality. Together, we will discuss the danger of “spiritual bypassing” and the necessity of acknowledging trauma – especially that of marginalized communities. The discussion will center stories from the presenter’s experiences as a queer and disabled person. Participants will leave with steps on how to incorporate deeper healing and transformation in their personal and community practices.
|FUNky Drumming Games, tricks and tips for more fun!
Spice up your drum jams with some back and forth call- response techniques using 1, 2, 3 or 4 measure call and response or call and repeat. Learn how to tease your drum and the drum circle with the power of space, hand claps and “break downs” and how less can be more Some practice tips for dexterity and timing will also be shared.
|Fused Glass and Jewelery Making
|Tina Van Pelt
|Fused Glass and Jewelery Making for Kids
|Tina Van Pelt
|Grief & Trauma Healing Circle
|With everything that this community has been through in the last few years…. Grief & Trauma have haunted so many of us. I am honored to hold space for anyone who is struggling with a Loss or a Trauma that is heavy on your heart. Every Trauma also carries some element of loss, as well, so we can address those, as well.
As we have every year, we will be building an altar to honor The Mighty Dead, and send them our love. This can be members of the FSG community (please message me if you would like someone honored from our tribe), Elders who shaped your Path and you admired, any family, friends, teachers or creatures who have crossed beyond the veil. Bring pictures or any mementos you see fit.
This is both a remembrance and a chance for healing advice. We will make a Circle and send them intentions. We will have call-outs to those we think of spontaneously. If anyone is having challenges or triggers regarding a loss, we will have time for those, as well. Both Pagan and Mundane support will be discussed.
This class may be intense for kids – use your discretion…..
|Healing Our Relationship with the Rest of Nature
|We often want to do ceremonies to “heal the planet”, or a river, mountain, or species. Can we apply paganism/shamanism to help repair the damage to the living world? What repairs are required to our relationship with the rest of the living world?
|Robert L. Schreiwer and
|In this presentation, we will describe the use of the Pennsylvania Dutch runes within the healing context of current Hexerei practice. This description will include the twelve “elements” and the proactive and reactive nature of runic energies and which excess energies have an association with which types of ailments or afflictions. Please note that this information is presented for educational, historical interest, and historical perspective interests; Hexerei practice, while traditional, should never replace the supervision or advice of a licensed medical practitioner.
(It is recommended you attend Introduction to the Pennsylvania dutch runic system before taking this workshop)
|Sharon Igoe von Behren
|A workshop to offer ideas on alternatives to using a funeral home for viewings after a death has occurred. Information session and demonstration of a possible body preparation for home viewings.
|Honey on the Stones: Sovereignty, Sex and Myth
|The counterbalance to living in a culture of death is to embrace the totality of life and enrich the life force through conscious and intentional action. This workshop is for women and men and will explore the Sacred Sexual as a healing modality for both ecosystem and human community. We will examine techniques for utilizing the life force as it courses through human bodies to enact change in the world around us—sexual activity (partnered or otherwise) as a means of raising energy. Discussion will include the hieros gamos and sovereignty in the modern world, the so-called Great Rite, and the terrible question of power. This is an intensely adult workshop covering several aspects of sexual activity (including technique) in the service of Earth healing and of magic.
|How to Raise a Stone; Physically and Ceremonially
|Raising Stones is the hallmark of Stone Circle Council; our members have been doing it in one way or another for over 20 years. We delve into the spiritual wisdom of ancient peoples the world over and discover the benefits of coming together as a community to accomplish a truly monumental task.
|Introduction to the Pennsylvania Dutch runic system
|Robert L. Schreiwer and
|While not as well established or as commonly visible as the Elder Futhark or other old runic alphabets, runes have long been present within the Pennsylvania Dutch culture, serving as the basis for some hex signs and other symbols. Braucherei and Hexerei practitioners have retained elements of runic lore, and, although Urglaawer believe that the runic alphabet that we have inherited is not ancient in its origin, it has proved to be very effective as a meditation and divination tools, among other things. In this presentation, we will share the background of the runs as it came to us from a small cluster of Hexerei practitioners and will present the runic system as it is used by Urglaawer today.
|Intro to Palmestry
|Stacey Smith (SIren)
|Intro to Palmestry… the Basics
A very intro level glimpse into Palm Reading and Palmestry. You’ll learn where to look and what to look for so you can have a solid understanding and can determine if this is something you want to know more about.
|Intro to playing the Middle-Eastern Doumbek (goblet) Hand Drum
|We will learn the three basic hits – Dum, Tek and Ka. Then we will put those together to make ayyoub, chiftitelli and maqsoum rhythms (maybe even masmoudi, beledi, and saidi rhythms too). If we are feeling ambitious we can even try some 9/8 rhythms; Karsilama; “Gypsy Nine”! Bring your frame drum, dumbek or any drum, I will have only a few to share. Rhythm notation sheets will be handed out.
|Magical Musical Composition and Songwriting
|Brian Henke (Entertainment)
|Many of you are accomplished witches. You can cast a spell either that you picked from a book, the internet or that you made up yourself. Wjat we composers/songwriters/singers and musicians do is magic too. Whether we know it or not. It’s al about vibrations and Intent. Whatever musical abilities you have or do not have (or don’t THINK ou have) if you wannt to know more about making magic with music than this is the workshop for you!
|Magical self Care
|In the realm of Magic, Hollywood Witches, wow, they always have a babysitter, always have their robe steamed all the wrinkles out and arrive to ritual in a sleek car with lots of other attendees all wearing the same thing, with perfect hair and makeup. We know real life isn’t Hollywood, we’re going to discuss how we can feel like we have the time and energy to go big without stealing tomorrow’s spoons/energy. 40% of US residents have at least one chronic condition, we need strategies for making time for ourselves, our Magic and whatever ways we can include our own needs in the day to day. Copies of Blackthorn’s Botanical Wellness and her other books will be available for purchase.
|Meet and Greet
This is your chance to meet the coordinator, presenters, dedicated volunteers, and other attendees, all who make the Free Spirit Gathering possible.
Take the chance to ask the Coordinator about the festival.. Discover firsthand the passion and dedication that have brought this gathering to life.
Interact with the talented presenters who will be leading transformative workshops throughout the event. Learn from experts in meditation, yoga, energy healing, and conscious living.
Connect with the enthusiastic volunteers who are the heart and soul of the Free Spirit Gathering. They will be there to assist you, answer your questions, and ensure your experience is unforgettable.
And meet other attendees from a variety of paths, and reconnect with old friends!
|Meet Your Spirit Animal
|James Scott (Entertainment person)
|Ever wonder what your true spirit animal is? Attend this workshop and take a shamanic journey where you’ll not only discover your spirit animal … you’ll meet and speak with them!
|Morning Chi-cong routine
|Music and Nature
|Brian Henke (Entertainment)
|Using music to describe nature.
The nature of your heart, nature of the Earth and the Cosmos too.
Musical ability not necessary.
Bring your instruments, voices, drums and lets tune in together.
|Music, Magic, Love, Nature and Everything
|Brian Henke (Entertainment)
|Music, magic, love nature are all connected to everything. You don’t need to be a musician to make music. You don’t need to be a master musician to express and celebrate love and nature with music and you do not need to be a musician to make magic with music. Music IS magic! Bring your drumss, voices, and instruments of all kinds and we’ll make music and magic togetther.
This focused class will examine the variety of options available to practitioners in the realm of Protection magic. We’ll examine effective tools for maintaining a protective circle around your home, working with the phases of the moon, using your coffee / tea time to meditate on mending holes in your defenses and how to create a candle spells for life’s unplanned events. Copies of Protection Magic will be available for purchase for autographs.
|Queer Identity in Heathenry
|Using the Lore, folk practice, and the historical record, this workshop will explore examples of queer identities in Heathenry. This will be followed by a moderated discussion on how a person with a queer identity might be able to find their way in Heathenry while also being bombarded with toxic masculinity through Viking stereotypes.
|Hexerei is an integral part of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture, yet it is misunderstood even by many people within the culture because what Hexerei is has been defined for generations by its enemies. The Guild of Urglaawe Practitioners of Braucherei and Hexerei has undertaken the project of reclaiming Hexerei based on the practice’s own understandings and functions. In this discussion, we will talk about how the social stigma on Hexerei was used in efforts to destroy the Pennsylvania Dutch culture during the interwar period, and will present Hexerei’s view of itself and how it relates to Braucherei.
|Recover Your Past Life
|James Scott (Entertainment person)
|Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve lived before? Is déjà vu something you regularly experience? Attend this workshop and travel back in time to discover who you were in a past life!
|Recovery Support Meeting at FSG
|We are a group of free spirits recovering from various addictions. We share our experience, strength and hope with each other in the context of our spirituality and our chosen path of recovery. We gather in this circle to share about how our spiritual path and our recovery work in our lives. Festivals can be times of stress and challenges as well as a lot of fun. Come join your fellow free spirits who are in recovery and share your experience, strength, and hope!
|Respect and Reverence for Nature’s Beauty and Power
|Adam M. Davis
You are invited to join us in exploring nature’s magic during a walk through the landscape. As we travel, we will have opportunities to greet and connect with various aspects of nature. We will have opportunities to use diverse techniques to explore the local ecosystem and to give thanks and praise to nature entities and energies. While we will focus on showing appreciation, various kinds of personal transformation could also occur.
|Rhythm Church / Sacred Sounds
|Explore the rhythmic sounds of idiophones, scrapers, clickers, clackers, bells, gongs and chimes! Finding rhythms out of sound making instruments that model nature and finding unity as we evolve into movement and music!
|Safe Hex: Magical Self-Defense
|Magical people – witches, magicians, spiritworkers and the like – are a bit like the flames of candles in a dark room. If we think of magical skill as being at the core of the ‘flame,’ magical folk shine very brightly. That brightness draws things to us. Some of those things are good – sometimes it’s other bright “lights,” or helpful spirits, or Gods. However, we also draw less helpful things. Learn tools and techniques for managing your personal energy, protecting yourself from the influence of others, and keeping your home and property safe.
|Rituals, at their very best, hold space for a transcendental experience to occur. If a religion is the macrocosm, ritual is the microcosm. Just as a religion holds the mystery in a particular way, so too do rituals. As with religions, the shape and style of rituals matter. Learn techniques, tools, and approaches for creating and facilitating ritual experiences that foster transcendental experiences for both individuals and groups.
|The Rights of Nature Movement
|A new movement to recognize nature as legal person is underway. It asserts that rivers have a right to flow free and not be dammed or poisoned, that grizzly bears have just as much right to habitat as we do, and more. Come learn about this exciting development that is so aligned with paganism and shamanism!
|The Winding Roads of the Hedge
|The idea of the “hedge” is often constructed as the dividing line between ordinary reality and Other World space, often overlooking this in-between as a space unto itself. This workshop builds upon queer Chicana author/activist Gloria Anzaldúa’s philosophy of “nepantla” to explore what it means to exist inside liminal spaces. Attendees will explore how and where hedge spaces exist in institutionalized systems as well as personal practice, the concept of the hedge as both mundane and mystical, how these spaces serve as refuge and incubators for transformation, and how those who operate within the hedge serve as bridge-builders.
|Vibrational Breathing: Working with Music on a Deeper level. (First in Series)
|Vibrational Breathing is a practice, similar to pranic breathing with derives focus and energy from music and sound.
Young Adult Workshops
|Scattered throughout the week, there will be talks with various department heads on the inner workings of how each department works and how it is run. Join us to learn how we keep our festival maintained and running smoothly.
|Intro to Palmistry
|Intro to Palmistry Is a very basic, down to nuts and bolts explanation of what is involved in Palmistry. An intro to the ideas, vocabulary and all the tools needed to begin a journey of your own Palmistry practice.
|Slip of the Tongue: Using Vulgarity
|Lean back, relax, and spend some time thinking about vulgarity. In this young adults class we’ll talk (and even use) about vulgar words and phrases, exploring when they are useful, and when they may be inappropriate.
|We will be making some crafts using various beading materials. Use your imagination to make a bracelet or charm to hang. The sky is the limit.
|Small Banner Workshop
|This workshop is to make small (roughly 17” x 20”) banners. They can be decorated with felt, foam, glitter, and anything else I can find. The banners will be ready to hang up. Blank banners in various colors along with the supplies needed will be provided. Feel free to bring anything you have that you would like to add to your banner. Come and share your creative ideas.
|Young Adults-Only Sweat
|A sweat conducted in the manner of Friends, with attenders guiding as the Spirit moves them. Giani will give some history and answer questions. Please bring any cup (plastic, metal, or ceramic) or water bottle from which to drink (we have water onsite) and one or two towels to sit on and wipe down afterwards. Permission slips must be Signed before you can participate.
|For thousands of years, Yogis (not the bear) and spiritual seekers have been using the Mala as a meditation aid. In this workshop, we will be making the necklace version of these ‘Tibetan prayed beads’ with a brief history lesson on its origins and the significance of the bead amount. Some sample meditation mantras will be available as handouts.
|Skin care for kids and teens – An Introduction to common plants for natural skin care This class will cover the importance of skin care and a few easy and inexpensive herbal recipes for general skin care with a few test remedies to try. We will explore the qualities of each plant and how to properly wildcraft them and prepare them for the recipes.
|Tarot & Oracle Card “Petting Zoo”
|We’ll start by centering and grounding with a short, guided meditation before we begin the hands-on exploration of several tarot & oracle decks of cards to see if any “speak” to you (this is the “petting” piece of the workshop). Then you’ll get to visit various tarot & oracle card deck stations where there will be information on basic layouts & oracle card reading techniques. You’ll get to spend time with the decks so you can try your hand at doing readings for yourself and/or each other.