2017 Program

The Witches’ Sabbat at Raven’s Knoll 2017

Tricksters & the Fool’s Journey

May 26- 28 2017

Welcome to the Witches’ Sabbat at Raven’s Knoll! We’re fond of saying that WS is an intensive rather than a festival. You may hear us joke that “this is a witchy boot camp of doom – no fun!”. Instead of cutting loose and celebrating with friends, we roll up our sleeves, dig in, and do the work. While we actually do have plenty of fun, the primary focus of this weekend is the serious practice and study witchcraft and spirit work. Our purpose is clear: to go out into the woods, to dance with the spirits, to please the gods, to honour our ancestors.

 

Tricksters & the Fool’s Journey

The Tricksters are sometimes the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. And are sometimes the medicine that looks sugary-sweet, but actually tastes of menthol and death. The Trickster are the brunt of many jokes, the punchline, the comedic relief of mythology and folk lore. Their cleverness, their slyness, their foibles, exploits, and blunders … shaped Creation, breathed life into the world, stole the fires of Mt. Olympus, and hung the sun in the sky.
And their pettiness, their jealousy. Their blind, furious rage … is the kind that eats the moon, tears down the firmaments of the Earth, and raises an army hell bent on the destruction of all things. It’s all fun and games, until Odin looses an eye.
The Fools Journey is the errant journey, the uncalled for and unbidden journey that brings by its very nature a transformation of self. This transformation is not gained through deep study and thought, but through active participation with the world around you. You learn as much through the seeming miss-steps taken as following the “right-path.” It is the way to know wisdom by experiencing what it is not.
The theme Tricksters and The Fool Journey means the ability to step outside the bounds of society, challenge the rules and learn from the consequences of those experiences. Often these trials don’t turn out the way we expect ,or even make total sense to us as we go through them. But they leave us fundamentally changed for better or worse.

Wander near the river, will you sink or swim?
Tested by the rapids, water surrounds, off in the distance a lonely howl.
Truth, truth, lies and games, will you be alive to play again?
Blood, bone, cartilage and skin,
Twist, turn, shuffle and dive, into the depths last breathes aside.
Emerge from the hollow darkness bare, did you learn your lessons there?

 

About the Herb

Long before forests and jungles acted as the emerald gown of Mother Earth, the landscape was covered by fungi. While most green things were only a few feet tall, giant pillar shaped mushrooms towered over the landscape. Some stood as high as 20+ feet above the young Earth. Beneath the ancient soil, a network of thread-like mycelium stretched out for miles upon upon miles. Before the dinosaurs, before mammals, it was mushrooms and insects who ruled the Earth.
The archaeological record of early man, and of our first great civilizations, show that the “humble” mushroom held an important place. During the Paleolithic Period, Europeans carved images of mushrooms into rocky outcroppings, Africans painted mushrooms on rocks in what is now the Sahara Dessert, peoples of the Americas also carved and painted mushrooms on canyon walls. Ancient Siberians depicted dancing women, wearing mushroom shaped jewellery and head gear. Images of mushrooms were created by the first peoples of Australia and New Zealand. The Pharaohs of Egypt held mushrooms so sacred that they banned their consumption by commoners. The Aztecs called mushrooms teonanácatl, which means “flesh of the gods”.
One can find folk tales about mushrooms from Ireland, to Iceland, to South America, to Japan, and beyond. One can find stories that involve mushrooms from the beginning of recorded history to the Adventures of Alice in Wonderland.
Throughout all of human history, and from one corner of the Earth to the other, mushrooms can be found where people meet the divine and journey into the realms of the unseen. The humble toadstool has been our companion and guide throughout the history of human spirituality. How each culture finds the threads, that when strummed just right, a humble shaman, priest, spirit worker, or witch, can feel or even affect the weave of the multi-verse.
For WS we will be working with Mushrooms in a variety of ways. They will be served with the potluck & stone soup feast. They will be used as offerings during rituals. We will have a workshop all about mushrooms. Just to name a few ways that mushrooms will be part of our work.
We do need to point out that illegal mushrooms are NOT permitted. Raven’s Knoll must follow the laws of the land. We cannot allow anyone to threaten the Knoll by doing things that might bring the authorities down upon us. Anyone caught with illegal mushrooms will be confined to their campsite until they are sober enough to leave the property, without refund.

 

 

Points of Interest

 

The Standing Stone: The standing stone near the road is one of the many sacred sites at Raven’s Knoll. It is a multi-denominational shrine, dedicated to the honoured dead and the ancestors. The hand-prints, marked in red ochre, were made by all the volunteers who got together to raise the stone in the early years of RK.

The Houses: The large shelters, set up on either side of the grove, are where the workshops will take place. The roofs will give us shelter in the event of rain, and shade from the sun. There will be room to sit at the picnic tables, but we recommend bringing a comfy lawn chair to sit in during workshops. Pillows or blankets make hard seats more cozy as well. Your butt will thank you!

Kitchen Tables: Here is where you can bring your stone soup contributions on Saturday morning. At WS, we encourage a strong ethic of communal sharing, so any snacks or drinks left on the tables during the weekend are fair game. On these tables you will also find a sharing box, here you can find such things as sunscreen, bug spray, a spare flashlight etc. These items are free to use, so long as you return them. If you have a contribution for the sharing box (either for good or for the weekend), we really appreciate it!

Temple: The temple can be found near the Standing Stone. It is a place for quiet meditation, prayer, offerings, personal purification, and so forth. Many practitioners have made deals with the spirits and entities, or tradition based oaths, that they do certain things, at certain times. The temple is a place where you can do so. We ask that you be respectful of the items placed upon the altar and in the temple, you may use them but do not remove them. There will be offerings dishes on the altars, as well as incense and candles, which you are free to use.
It is also a safe space where you can step into if you feel overwhelmed and want to take a break in a place where you will not be approached. If someone is in the temple, leave them to their work. The staff may enter the temple while you are in it, but only if we absolutely must.
Keyhole Fire-pit: The hearth fire is the traditional centre of a household, and our fire is the centre of our home base. Whenever the fire is lit, it will be tended by a dedicated firekeeper. You are welcome to use this fire to heat water or cook. Please do not put anything in the fire without asking the firekeeper first! Please do not light the fire yourself, the wood is purchased in advance, and we do not want to run out.
The fire will keep going for those who do not wish to attend the evening rituals. Friends and family are welcome to join, but they must be understanding and accommodating of people decompressing after an intense ritual.
Please keep in mind that the firekeepers and staff have the right to put out the fire when they want to go to bed, because they are working this weekend and must rise long before the first events of the morning.

The Rookery: This the the 3-walled building near the washrooms. You’ll find tables, chairs, a couch or two, as well as the RK library. This will act as one of our workshop spaces for a couple of time slots. The Rookery is open to everyone, so expect to see people other than WS participants in the Rookery. Here you can also find plug-ins to charge you electronic devices, as well as a donation box to go towards the power bill.

The Shrine Trail: The Knoll is home to many sacred sites, created by a variety of people. Some site may reflect your path or tradition, while others may not. The Shrine Trail hosts most of these sacred sites, and can be found beyond the Main Drumming Fire Pit. It is a simple trail cut through the woods, with the odd shrine dotted along the path on both sides. For WS 2017 we will be visiting many of the sacred sites, as they fit into our theme, such as the Trickster Shrine. We ask that you treat every sacred site and the trail itself with reverence and respect. The Shrine Trail is a relatively new addition to RK, as such some of the Shrine are still a work in progress. Suggested offerings: Liquid offerings such as milk, beer, or wine. Trinkets, jewellery, ribbons, and charms. Oats, herbs, teas, flour, sugar, salt. Coins, sea shells, crystals, river rocks (etc).

The Main Drumming Fire-pit: This is where Main Ritual will be held. It is a large sandy area surrounded by noise blocking berms, with a large fire-pit at the centre. This space is where larger rituals are held, where large Bardic competitions are held, and where the drumming and dancing happens during festivals. The actual fire-it itself is a sacred site, as deceased members of the community have had their ashes spread within it. Effigies are burned as sacrifices within this pit every year for Kornokopia Gathering.
We ask that you avoid bringing glass and and other breakable objects into the Pit, as most folks dance upon the sand barefoot, and we try to prevent broken glass mixing into the sands. We ask that you do not climb the berms, as it can speed up their erosion and it’s costly to hire the heavy machinery needed to build them back up again. We shouldn’t have to say it – but as it’s happened at other events we will – do not urinate on the berms.

 

The Spiral, the Witchring and the Stangs Within

Take a long walk up Yellow Brick road and you will find a cut path into a young pine forest. Near the entrance is a rotting hay bale, it is a common practice to give a small offering here before walking the spiral. Proof that you will be a gracious guest to the wild spirits who make this forest their home. The walk along the spiral path often takes longer than expected and it’s easy to lose your sense of direction. We do not recommend leaving the path and trying to cut through the trees, people have been known to wander longer than planned, and wind up coming out of the trees in a difference part of the land than they thought they would.

At the centre of the spiral you will find the witchring. Within the witchring stand the stangs created during previous Witches’ Sabbats. The Horned Lord stang boasts a fine stag skull with a wig made of sheep’s wool, horse hair and strips of goat skin, He wears a white tunic. The Ancestor stang features a beaver’s skull, a double fork, and a hand woven shawl. The Fetch and Fylgja stang has a young buck’s skull (hail Bob), a coyote mask, and is draped in layers of animal skins and fur. The Tree of Protection stang anchors the protection spell we cast over RK last year, it’s black painted forks are adorned with colourful protection charms.

Offerings are always welcome, either placed at the foot of a stang or hung upon it. Please do not burn anything in the witchring without permission. Only you can prevent forest fires!
Suggested offerings: Liquid offerings such as milk, beer, or wine. Trinkets, jewellery, ribbons, and charms. Oats, herbs, teas, flour, sugar, salt. Coins, sea shells, crystals, river rocks (etc).

 

Schedule for WS 2017

Details about each event, ritual, and workshop can be found following the schedule.

 

Friday, May 26

3pm – 5:30pm: Registration Open.
Come by the Standing Stone Grove, and see the people with the paperwork.

6pm – 8pm: Greeting & Opening Ritual.

Gather around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by WS Staff & Friends.

8 – 10pm: Dinner Break & Registration Open.
Come by the Standing Stone Grove, and see the people with the paperwork. Or join us as we build the fire for Bardic and eat your dinner.

10pm – 12am: Bardic Circle.

Gather around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Basil & Firekeepers.

12:30am – 2am: Night Ritual.

Gather around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by WS Staff.

 

Saturday, May 27

9am – 10am: Warming Fire and Stone Soup Prep.

Gather around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Firekeepers and Staff.

Bring along your contribution for the soup and help get it ready.

10am – 11 am: Workshops.

House Clowns

Gender Crossing as a Magickal Act.

Presenter: Jade Pichette

House Jokers

The Tricksters

Presenter: Helene Arts

11:30pm – 1pm: Workshops.

House Clowns

The Fool’s Journey

Presenter: Helene Arts

House Jokers

Let’s Talk About Loki

Pollen & Juniper presiding.

House Rookery

Hobby-Horse of the Spirits. Presenter: Linda Demissy

1pm – 3pm: Lunch Break and Cauldron Feast.

Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Janine, Firekeepers & Staff.

3pm – 4pm: All About Mushrooms.

Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Janine, Alex, Juniper and Sarah. This workshop is mandatory for attending Main Ritual.

4:30pm – 6pm: Main Ritual Briefing.

Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Juniper. This workshop is mandatory for attending Main Ritual.

6:30pm – 8pm: Workshops.

House Clowns

House Clowns will come together to meet a challenge related to Main Ritual.

House Jokers

House Jokers will come together to meet a challenge related to Main Ritual.

8pm – 9pm: Dinner Break.

9pm – 10pm: Preparations for Main Ritual.

Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Juniper, Staff & Friends.

Get your gear and offerings, put on your costumes and do your make up. Double check that you have everything, take one last bathroom break and gather around the Keyhole fire-pit for the processional.

10pm – ? O’clock: Main Ritual.

Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Juniper, Staff & Friends.

 

Sunday, May 28

9 – 10am: Morning Activities.

Keyhole Fire-pit

Warming Fire.

Lead by Firekeepers and Staff.

The Beach (riverside)

Stretch Class for Fools

Presenter: Katrina Scott

10am – 11am: Workshops.

House Clowns

Ti-Jean: Jester-Hero of New France

Presenter: Erik Lacarty

House Jokers

Urban Bio-regional Animism & Cities as Tricksters

Presenter: Gersande La Flèche

11:30am – 1pm: Workshops.

House Clowns

A History of the Tarot & Reading Vintage Decks

Presenter: Rasa Mudry

House Jokers

Dancing with the Gods in a Modern World (Without Getting Institutionalized)

Presenter: Jaxe Thomas

House Rookery

The Runes: A Fool’s Journey to Save the World ($15 fee)

Presenter: Rae Green

1pm-2pm: Lunch Break.

2pm – 3:30pm: Closing Ritual.

Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Juniper & Staff.

4pm – 5pm: Planning Meeting.

Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Juniper & Staff.

 

 

Friday Events

 

6pm – 8pm: Greeting & Opening Ritual.
Gather around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by WS Staff & Friends.
After an introduction to the event, we will gather ourselves for Opening Ritual. This ritual will involve a long walk to visit many of the sacred sites around the Knoll. Offerings will be made on the group’s behalf, you need to only bring yourself. Please note that there may be ritual nudity (the leaders, not you), and offerings made of meat or blood. A golf cart will be available to ferry people with mobility issues.

10pm – 12am: Bardic Circle.
Gather around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Basil & Firekeepers.
Witchcraft is an oral tradition, as such; we will tell stories (personal or fiction), share poems, sing songs and get to know each other. This is a bardic circle, not a competition. Feel free to share regardless of your level of bardic skills, reading from paper or electronic device is fine. During this time we will also introduce ourselves to the herb of the year: mushrooms. It is permitted to smoke legal herbal smoking blends such a mugwort or wormwood during the Bardic Circle. Children, friends and partners are welcome to join us.

12:30am – 2am: Night Ritual.
Gather around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by WS Staff.
Singing the Sabbat Stang Song, we will process to the Spiral to greet the spirits. Then, once we are within the witchring, we will meditate upon the stangs by flickering candlelight. Bring an offering for the stangs (Horned Lord, Ancestors, Animal Within, Tree of Protection). Please carry a flashlight with you for the walk. As this is a seated ritual at night, we recommend that you wear an extra layer, or bring a blanket, to keep off the cold. The fire at the Keyhole fire-pit will keep going during the Night Ritual for those who do not wish to attend the ritual. We will have a golf cart available to ferry people up to the ritual site.
Suggested offerings: Liquid offerings poured at the feet of the stangs, such as milk, beer, or wine. Trinkets, jewellery, ribbons, and charms that can be hung upon the stangs. Coins, sea shells, crystals, river rocks (etc) placed at their feet.

 

 

Saturday Events

 

9am – 10am: Warming Fire and Stone Soup Prep.
Gather around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Firekeepers and Staff.
Bring along your contribution for the soup and help get it ready, bring a knife and cutting board etc if you have it. There will be a list for people to write down their food restrictions. Gather around the fire as we build it up for cooking the stone soup, and shake off the chill of the night.

 

Gender-Crossing as a Magickal Act
Saturday, 10am – 11 am, House Clowns
Presenter: Jade Pichette
Jade Pichette, is a heathen Gythia living in Toronto, Canada interested in Norse Sorcery and traditional witchcraft. They are one of founders of Vindisir Kindred (London, Ontario) and they look to find ways to centre women in the Heathen traditions. Jade was raised a witch, but got into Heathenry in their early twenties after meeting Heathens and over the past few years they have been looking into integrating the two. Jade is a queer and trans activist, and does interfaith work with LGBTQ+ clergy members.
Workshop: There are no introductory books on paganism, heathenry, or witchcraft that touch on gender-crossing. This workshop will integrate the themes of gender crossing, queerness, guising, and gender-crossers as tricksters. For the queers, the freaks, the tricksters, the crossers of the divide. Gender constrains us and divides us. But, what of those gender-crossers who look to bring about a revolution of the society and a transformation of self?
This workshop will bring out pieces of folklore and myth of gender-crossing and how those apply to us today. We will discuss how we have utilized the crossing of gender to gain power by breaking taboo. In addition how tricksters have utilized gender-crossing historically and, examining how this relates to us today.
Drawing on personal experience and scholarship this workshop will centre queer, trans, and non-binary narratives of witchcraft and magickal traditions.

 

The Tricksters
Saturday, 10am – 11 am, House Jokers
Presenter: Helene Arts
Helene has been an avid esotericist and practising occultist from the tender age of 11, when she read her first book on Magick (Aleister Crowley) and tried out one of the rituals – never to be the same thereafter. A professional Astrologer, teacher, and author, she loves to draw out people’s innate fascination of all things dark and mysterious, and explore the power to be found within these realms. Helene walks the Left Hand Path, and much of her work in this area can be found on her website,
www.witchhollow.ca Helene Arts has lead numerous workshops at Kaleidoscope, WS, and other events. She is one of the host-organizers of International Left-Hand Path Conference 2017 recently held in Ottawa.
Workshop: The Trickster is an archetype has been with humanity for a very long time, across cultures and ages. In this workshop, we’ll start off with an overview of some of the more well-known Trickster figures, from Odin to Coyote to Pan to Bugs Bunny – and many more. We’ll look at what it is about the Trickster that fascinates us so, and what the Trickster speaks to that is in each one of us. We know that Trickster energies are powerful, unpredictable, and hard to resist – but are they dangerous? Can they be
helpful? Can we trust anything that comes from the Trickster realm? How can we connect with the Trickster on a magickal level, and, how can we do so safely? These, and other important considerations, will be explored in this workshop.
NOTE: Those who are planning on taking the workshop The Fool’s Journey are encouraged to take The Trickster workshop by way of background.

 

The Fool’s Journey
S
aturday, 11:30pm – 1pm, House Clowns
Presenter: Helene Arts
Helene has been an avid esotericist and practising occultist from the tender age of 11, when she read her first book on Magick (Aleister Crowley) and tried out one of the rituals – never to be the same thereafter. A professional Astrologer, teacher, and author, she loves to draw out people’s innate fascination of all things dark and mysterious, and explore the power to be found within these realms. Helene walks the Left Hand Path, and much of her work in this area can be found on her website,
www.witchhollow.ca Helene Arts has lead numerous workshops at Kaleidoscope, WS, and other events. She is one of the host-organizers of International Left-Hand Path Conference 2017 recently held in Ottawa.
Workshop: This workshop takes an unflinching look at the Fool’s Journey, the Trickster, and the Hero’s Journey. It will go into deep philosophical territory – bordering on existential angst. The purpose of this is to look at what is really there so that, moving forward, we will be more true with ourselves and each other. The Fool’s Journey is a way of interpreting the Tarot: a way of interpreting growth within the self and within the soul. Aleister Crowley used the Fool’s Journey to build the Major Arcana in the Thoth deck. As such, the Fool transforms itself between different dimensions of mundane and non-mundane experience, and becomes the whole of the Major Arcana. It is the story of realization.
While the Tarot can be a very powerful tool for Witches to understand more deeply what they need, and to accelerate their path, there is always something to bear in mind: In one way everything is in your control, in another way, nothing is. And here we see the Trickster aspect pulled in. What, really, is true? What, really, can we count on? We think we see, and then suddenly, we realize we do not.
This could lead us to scream out, as the Smashing Pumpkins song goes, “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage”. It is at this point that we then, finally, embark on The Hero’s Journey. The Hero sees life stretch out before herself, and declares: “I refuse to wait for death to enlighten me”. The Hero seizes life, searches deep within his personal abyss, and there finds her Black Flame – her immortality.
This workshop is a voyage through the Fool’s Journey, the inevitable encounter with the Trickster, and, finally the transformation into the Hero’s Journey – and how all these weave through one’s Witchcraft.

Let’s Talk About Loki
Saturday, 11:30 – 1PM, House Jokers
Presenter: Pollen and Juniper will preside. This is a discussion circle, as such everyone who wishes to speak is a presenter.
Workshop: An open forum discussion circle all about Loki. Misunderstood or a miscreant? Traitor or Trickster? Loki is an entity that can be described as controversial, to say the least. In some circles, His name is not to be spoken. In others, He is honoured along side His blood-brother Odin. While others view him as the occasional villain and occasional comic relief akin to His depictions in the Marvel universe. Even the ancient Scandinavians themselves held conflicting views on whether Loki was a god, a giant, or something else entirely. Suffice to say, the world, and the end of it, wouldn’t be same without Loki’s influence. We shall come together to discuss and dissect this Trickster god respectfully and honestly.
Bring your burning questions, your favourite stories of Him, your research, your curiosity, your concerns. Hear Juni’s story of how much Loki loves muffins. Ask the very person who carved the Loki pole for Raven’s Knoll what it’s like to shape His face. Share what you felt as we made offerings to Him during Opening Ritual. Bring to the table your personal gnosis and experiences of working with Loki (if you have any) knowing that in this space, you won’t be shouted down by fearful folks who treat Loki like nothing more than the Heathen Devil.

 

Hobby-Horse of The Spirits
Saturday, 11:30pm – 1pm, House Rookery
Presenter: Linda Demissy
Linda has led workshops at Kaleidoscope Gathering and Keeper’s Crossing on leading spirit suppers with Frigga’s Handmaidens.
She’s been doing spirit suppers since 2010 in Lokabrenna Kindred, using a god-seat to create a focused divine presence, sometimes with possession, all with the goal of reclaiming lost lore about forgotten goddesses and fostering relationships with them. By training with a spiritualist medium, working for over 15 years as a professional hypnotist, and learning the trance techniques of Northern Tradition Paganism, she has created a ritual format that supports but doesn’t require possession to be successful in courting deities. It’s still a work in progress, but her kindred has had time to work out most of the bugs so it can be shared.
Workshop: So you’re about to get possessed by a god. Fool! Sure, it feels great at the time, but what about when Odin drinks three bottles of whisky and leaves your liver in shock? What a hangover! And… was it really Odin? Ah, maybe you should’ve done more devotional work first to distinguish him from a Trickster spirit. Did you wear his Haunted Costume or use any tools of the Horse to sweeten the ride? There are tricks to successful possession, most of which you need to practice before stepping onto the High Seat. Only a great fool would approach this work unprepared, and you, sir or madam, are clearly not a great fool — since you about to buy my anti-Trickster possession cologne for the low-low price of…
Dealing with spirits requires discernment. There will always be spirits willing to be who you want them to be in order to get Free Beer. Tricksters and imposters are a constant concern in spirit work, because you don’t want to waste your time on lairs. Spirits lie. They’ll flatter the hell out of you, or try to scare you, appeal to your ego, fears and desires. There are lots of con artists and Nigerian scams. Among the more popular cons are: “You are the Chosen One!”, “You are my one true love,” and “You are really a goddess, and when you die you will rule alongside me.” Be vigilant, don’t open your door, because the vampire has to be invited in.

 

1pm – 3pm: Lunch Break and Cauldron Feast.
Gather at the Keystone Fire-pit. Lead by Janine & Staff.
Bring any potluck items to compliment the soups, salads, and stirfrys. Grab your dishes and cutlery, dig in an eat! Food will be coming off the fire throughout this entire 2 hour period, so eat slowly and sample little bits of everything. Food will be announced and labelled so you know what is within your dietary restrictions. This is a great opportunity to socialize with your fellow practitioners and talk shop. Children, friends and partners are welcome to join us, especially if they have a contribution for the potluck.

 

3pm – 4pm: All About Mushrooms.
Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Janine, Alex, Juniper and Sarah.
This session will cover the characteristics, lore, and hazards of mushrooms, our official herb for 2017. Learn how to identify them, and grow them. We’ll discuss how mushrooms will be used during main ritual, and what options will be open to participants who choose to work with them. For safety reasons, this workshop is mandatory for those attending the main ritual.

 

4:30pm – 6pm: Main Ritual Briefing.
Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Juniper & Staff.
This will be a detailed discussion on what participants can expect during Main Ritual. The session is mandatory for those attending the ritual.

 

6:30pm – 8pm: Mysterious Workshops.

 

8pm – 9pm: Dinner Break.
If there are any left over from the Cauldron Feast, this is a good time time to eat them!

 

9pm – 10pm: Preparations for Main Ritual.
Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Juniper, Staff & Friends.
Get your gear and offerings, put on your costumes and do your make up. Double check that you have everything, take one last bathroom break and gather around the Keyhole fire-pit for the processional. We will have a golf cart available to ferry people up to the ritual site.

 

10pm – ? O’clock: Main Ritual.
Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Juniper, Staff & Friends.
You are cordially invited to attend the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party! Joining us will be many Trickster gods, spirits, and ancestors. To better blend in, we advise you to wear a costume of some sort. Dress as as a Trickster, Joker, Clown, or Fool from mythology, folk lore, literature, or popular culture. Or personify any traits related to these entities.
After the Tea Party, there will be free time to visit our special guest and oracle, the Caterpillar. You will also be able to visit some of the shrines on the Shrine Trail: the Elvii Shrine, the Bardic Shrine, the Juton Ve, and the Trickster shrine. You will also be free to work with the Trickster stang, to drum, dance, make offerings, and trance. Guising, mumming, ritual drama, mimicry, and cosplay are all very much welcome. You may also be presented with certain Trickster related challenges and blessings along the way. These challenges and blessing may involve smoke, oils, glitter, paint, and more, so expect to get dirty and plan your costume accordingly.
This is a ritual but it is also a party, feel free to bring alcoholic drinks (not in glass containers), and smoking a variety of herbs will be permitted in certain areas. Bring your drum, kazoo, or rattle if you have one, or borrow one from the WS gear.
Suggested offerings: Liquid offerings such as milk, beer, or wine. Trinkets, jewellery, ribbons, and charms. Oats, herbs, teas, flour, sugar, salt. Coins, sea shells, crystals, river rocks (etc).

 

 

Sunday Events

9am – 10am: Warming Fire.
Gather around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Firekeepers and Staff.
Gather around the fire as we build it up, and shake off the chill of the night.

 

Stretch Class for Fools
Sunday, 9am – 10am, The Beach (riverside)
Presenter: Katrina Scott
Katrina is a certified yoga teacher and has taught outside in parks before, she is excited about using this year’s theme in her approach. She is also a massage therapist, reiki practitioner, and has guided many people through meditations.
Workshop: A yoga workshop that includes some silly, foolish fun. Including stretching, breath work and meditation. After a long Saturday of workshops and Main Ritual, it might be nice to offer something for the body, to stretch and let go, to allow the spiritual work to deepen. The flow of this workshop would aid to help the participants embody the trickster and go through the fools journey. Allowing one to embody the aspects of the theme may guide them to new view points on the subject. Following this we will use shaking to let go of any excess energy, and allow us to go to a more still place for a short guided breath work, then meditation in savasana.
It is suggested that you bring a yoga mat, or a towel, to lay on the ground but it is not necessary either.

 

Ti-Jean: Jester-Hero of New France
Sunday, 10am – 11am, House Clowns
Presenter: ErikLacharity
Erik has presented workshops at two previous Witches’ Sabbats. His experience giving workshops in general at pagan events, as well as organizing and leading rituals goes back ten years. He leads and organizes events for his Heathen kindred, Runatyr and is a co-organizer of Hail and Horn Gathering. He is also an avid researcher and preserver of French-Canadian folk-life, folktales and the mysteries of French -Canadian traditional witchcraft.
Workshop: With the expansion of the French Empire beginning in the early 17th century, wayward travellers made their way into strange and unfamiliar territory. It became apparent to this ardent and weary folk that with all the trials and tribulations they endured… a bit of comic relief was in order.
In this workshop you will learn the cultural milieu which gave rise to the cultural “jester-hero” of the French, Ti-Jean. Hear how he slew monsters and fooled priests, witches and fairies all while poking fun at his opponents.
Once the personage of Ti-Jean will be fully revealed to the audience, the workshop will explore the role this fabulous trickster played in the lives of each successive generation in New France and how we can breathe new life into his mythos today. The presenter will detail how Ti-Jean is on the verge of extinction in this century and offer solutions to preserve his legacy for all generations to come…
Ti-Jean is the penultimate trickster figure among the French speaking communities, worldwide. Born among the French, his tales took on the local character of every land folks settled. His tales always involve trickery, jerster-ing and at times valuable lessons for the listeners. That said, sometimes his actions are purely for his own pleasure and without a moral lesson, leaving the listener “hanging” and confused by the end… like “WTF was that all about?” or “After that… I can’t even.”
The mythic jester-hero Ti-Jean is largely unfamiliar to Anglophone Canadians. For those Canadians of French heritage or interested in learning the myths of F-C people, this workshop will give them the “start-up” mythic capital they will need to get going and keep this tradition alive.

Urban Bio-regional Animism & Cities as Tricksters
Sunday, 10am – 11am, House Jokers
Presenter: Gersande La Flèche
Gersande has lead and taught workshops to both children and adults on a variety of topics, including introductory courses to web design and video game design, how to create safer spaces, how to reduce rape culture and sexism in video games, interactive design and performance art, as well as workshops on technology and sustainability. Gersande comes from a tradition of radical queer anarchists, as well as European and Indigenous storytellers who yearn to reinvent, reclaim, and redesign public space.
Workshop: “Megacities,” or densely developed and populated urban regions are some of the world’s most enduring societal structures, as far as we can tell from current historical approaches. In the West, civilizations have frequently risen and fallen around cities.
The discussion will address on topics such as bioregional animism in urban space, problematize and situate the tensions between the “natural” and the “artificial,” and, also, address the sustainability, legitimacy (magical, animistic, historical and otherwise) of modern cities.
Note that this will be a discussion about animists and witches who work and live in urban, city centres, and as such will only touch upon suburban geographies and realities as they relate to urban ones. As the discussion will touch upon sustainability, we will also probably talk about class, colonization, gentrification, and pollution.
Cities are tricksy. Cities are complicated and multifaceted—and can be forces for good and evil in the world. Their cultural, economic, and historical meanings are fluid and often change depending on who you are and how you experience them. Many of us long to escape the clutches of the city—or, often, the environmental and capitalist realities that accompany living within them. But maybe we could learn to re-imagine our place within the belly of the beast. In bioregional animism, a core ideal is often of a responsibility to the land—how can we create that same responsibility towards cities and the lands they sprawl on in a way that is magical, enchanting, and sustainable? How can we see the city as a Trickster, a sacred being worthy, valid in and of itself, with its own relationship to the earth, waters, and humans?

 

A History of the Tarot & Reading Vintage Decks
Sunday, 11:30am – 1pm, House Clowns
Presenter: Rasa Mudry
Tarot has been a passion of Rasa’s for nearly twenty years, she began doing readings professionally around 2005. Around the same time, she started teaching workshops about Tarot, other kinds of divination, and Witchcraft. She has done readings at shops, events, festivals, private parties, and more. She has worked at a Pagan shop in Edmonton, and taught workshops in Edmonton, Uruguay, and Montreal, in a variety of venues, including Witch shops, open circles, Pagan festivals and conferences, and in her home. Divination is one of the most important parts of her spiritual practice, and collecting Tarot is one of her vices…. she may have “a few” decks.
Her religious identity leans between between Reclaiming Tradition and Kitchen Witch.She likes sanctifying the mundane, cultivating peace, deepening her receptivity, and making magick with everyday things. These days, she spends most of her time teaching English as a second language, but the Tarot will always be her first love.
Workshop: This workshop will touch on Tarot history, with a hands-on focus on a couple of different methods for reading pre-Rider Waite Smith decks, which typically have “unillustrated” pip cards.
This will include some information about how the Tarot has changed over time, specifically in its first 500 years, when it was still seen primarily as a game, rather than an esoteric device.
Rasa will bring a few reproductions of historical decks for show and tell, and talk about the differences between some Marseilles patterns, some earlier and later Italian decks, and some quirky not-quite-tarots like Minchiate and Besançon.
The older Tarots express that trickster energy by looking simple on the surface, but holding a lot of potential underneath. Tarot was originally probably just a card game, but it ended up doing a lot of guising, adding a lot of layers, and becoming something entirely new, over and over again! That’s kind of subversively tricksy, no?
Most introductory Tarot books focus on either memorizing keywords or correspondences for specific cards, interpreting imagery, or the Tarot as a holy book of the Western Esoteric traditions. We will focus on none of those in this workshop, instead showing some other ways of understanding cards and relating them to each other. We will go over some reading methods, as many people find reading pip decks more challenging than reading cards with full scenes on them.
Many people claim that Marseilles and similar decks are “hard to read”, because they’re used to reading cards where the pictures tell a visual story, and they get intimidated when they see a card with just 3 cups and some leaves, or 9 crossing wands. Rasa would like to show you how rich and talkative the ‘simple’ cards in historical decks can be.
People who have suitable Tarot decks (Marseilles decks, modern pip decks, or other reproductions of pre-RWS Tarot) could bring them, others can borrow Rasa’s to use in the workshop.

 

Dancing with the Gods in a Modern World (Without Getting Institutionalized)
Sunday, 11:30am – 1pm, House Jokers
Presenter: Jaxe Thomas
Jaxe has been a member of the Heathen & Pagan community longer than she cares to mention. The majority of her contributions have been helping out in those small ways that can easily go unnoticed. From carrying trays of food, to making ritual garb, to tending altars, to lending emotional support to tired priests and nervous gythias, to advocating for community members with special needs … Jaxe is often found nearby when needed, but rarely in the spotlight. Jaxe currently holds the distinct honour of being the only femme/female to have carved a god-pole at Raven’s Knoll. She is the brave carver of the Loki pole. As one of the Knoll’s Shrine Keepers, Jaxe shares a sacred duty with few others. Tending the Juton Ve deligently and with great care, ensuring that these entities are kept pleased and feed properly, so that the community may work with them with greater ease. Humble to a fault, she refused to write her own bio, and now must suffer the praise of others instead.
Workshop: Every day we are reminded that we live in a modern world. A world filled with science, academics and reason; but one also stained with a rejection of the unknown, unseen and intangible. So, where does that leave your modern day prophets, seerers and dreamers? How does one pass on the messages received from the unseen to a society that has been programmed to believe that spirit workers are mentally ill, attention seekers, or liars?
We know from archaeological findings all over the world that the prophets, dreamers, shamans, volva, ect… were once highly revered with in their cultures and communities. Even to this day in many cultures globally; the dreamers, healers, fliers, messengers are still revered, sought out and listened to. Respected as one who is deeply spiritual or god touched. So what happened to us in western cultures?
Why has it become such a dirty secret that you dance with the Gods?
In this workshop we will share ways to come to terms with being a spirit worker in western, modern culture. We will talk about being able to accept yourself and your path. How to deprogram the cultural code that says you are crazy, or dirty, or wrong. How not to let others gaslight you or make you feel less than. We will discuss useful outlets that are considered more acceptable by the “mainstream”, even if only as forms of self expression. We will also look at ways to express the Mysteries in more modern rebellious acts.
In ancient days, seerer and spirit workers were the King Makers who knew how to whisper the right words into the right ears. How might this be practised in a modern society of subculture and social media? How does modern blogger reflect the folk lore-ish trope of the reclusive outsider, trusted with the communities’ secrets? Is the mystic turned social justice activist the modern equivalent of the cunning woman plying her trade in defiance of a ever tightening grasp of the church?
In this day and age, must the respected sage turn into a sly, or rebellious, trickster to spread the messages they receive from the unseen?
Join us as we seek answers to these questions. This workshop will be an opportunity to share personal stories and opinions, backed by academic research and serious self reflection.

 

Runes – A Fool’s Journey to Save the World.
Sunday, 11:30am – 1pm, House Rookery
Presenter: Rae Green
Rae is a fixture of the Raven’s Knoll community, you can often find her at Work Weekends and events pitching in however she can. Steady and practical, an event organizer or ritual leader knows to lean on her when a less-glamorous but important job needs to be done. Having studied paganism for years, and being a mom raising her kids in the pagan community, her knowledge base is well rounded. She routinely presents to large groups as part of her job as a child passenger safety technician. When asked about herself she will say; “I am an entrepreneurial mom of 4, and a constant work in progress”.
Workshop: Loki is a lovely trickster, and the rune stories are heavily related to him. In this workshop we will consider how Loki influenced the quest for the runes and talk about how he may influence our use of them. We will discuss the myths and stories surrounding the runes, as well as the journey that was required for Odin to obtain their knowledge. We will examine how Odin’s hero’s journey relates to the fool’s journey; could the Hanged Man card in the major arcana be depicting Odin upon Yggdrasil? Once he discovers the runes, does Odin become the Magician or the Emperor? We will also compare the runes to other auguries like the tarot.
This workshop includes crafting an individual set of runes. We will discuss traditional materials, as well as newer more modern options. Crafting bases in wood, glass and clay will be provided. Carving a rune set takes many hours to do properly, as such we will be painting, drawing, or wood burning our runes.
Costs: $20 Fee to cover wood, clay or glass rune bases, as well as decorations for same. Pay cash to the presenter before the workshop begins.

 

2pm – 3:30pm: Closing Ritual.
Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Juniper & Staff.
We will close the Temple and farewell the Keystone Fire-pit. Then we will process back to the Main Drumming Fire-pit to collect the stang and carry it to place it in it’s permanent home within the Witchring in the Spiral. This is a last chance to visit the stangs in the Spiral, give them any leftover offerings that you may have, and say your farewells. We will also say farewell to the Trickster Shrine. We will have a golf cart available to ferry people up to the ritual site.

 

4pm – 5pm: Planning Meeting.
Gather Around the Keyhole fire-pit. Lead by Juniper & Staff.
Here we vote for next year’s theme! Say our sad goodbyes to each other, and dream about what the future of WS may hold.

 

Staff 

Please utilize the staff, they are eager to serve you! WS staff take ideas, hopes, supplies, and ritual gear, then turn these things into an event. The work they do includes minding fires, tracking down spare blankets, finding lost items, showing people around, seeing to your safety, cleaning and maintenance, overseeing workshops, running rituals (to name just a few of their duties). If you have a question, a need, or concern, they are your go to people. Remember that WS staff are volunteers, not employees, these kind of folks have gifted us with their time and labour.

Juniper will ruin any preconceived notions you may have about her. She will also be the first person to point out that her socks don’t match. She has been practising witchcraft and paganism, in one form or another, for around 20 years. She’s blogged, done podcasting, written stuff that has been published. She’s volunteered at many festivals and events, lead a bunch of rituals, and teaches workshops. Juniper is the lead organizer of WS, meaning she’s the “big picture” person who ensures that all the little details come together into a cohesive event. Please forgive her if she seems a little distracted, this job takes a lot of brain power.
Role: Organizer, Priestess.

Gypsy is Raven’s Knoll security staff, and helps run security for many of the smaller events at the Knoll. He is also on the Flying Monkeys team during the Kaleidoscope Gathering. He enjoys baking, gardening, and making spicy sauces. He likes pasta too, kind of. And spinach. Pop Tarts.
Role: Gypsy heads up the Circle Guardians (aka Flying Monkeys, aka security).

Alli aka Pegacorn, aka the Viking Healer. Predominantly a heathen with a splash of other varieties Pegacorn comes to the beck and calls of those in need. You can occasionally spot the Pegacorn at various gatherings such as KG and KKG, usually working as a medic as she is a nurse by profession. Pegacorn is big into kitchen witchery, gardening and making people smile. The 2016 Huntress of KG will keep a watchful eye and ensure that everyone stays healthy.
Role: Designated MEDIC for WS, Priestess, Overseer of House Rookery.

Janine (Heron) has been on the spiritual road from an early age and was a Solitary practitioner until 23. She explored deeper in to her native heritage and began a journey on the red road (mino bimadiziwin). 10 years of traditional ceremony and connecting with reconstructing or reclaiming traditional people from turtle island. With her Fiance Giibwanisi. she has journeyed traditional territory across the western and central “Canada”. Learning songs, ceremony and language she continues to work with community who respect, cultivate, and practise ancestral knowledge, lore and reconstruction. She also loves unicorns, coffee, & shiny things.
Role: Priestess, Stone Soup & Potluck Coordinator.

Melissa is an Ottawa based Pagan and Kitchen Witch with a passion for nature and getting her hands dirty. When not gardening, cooking or looking for new recipes, she can be found researching folk and herb lore. She is a regular volunteer at local pagan festivals and is beginning to dip her toe at teaching workshops on various topics. She enjoys camping and can regularly be found exploring the local hiking trails in an active attempt to not get lost. Her main areas of study include historical witchcraft, green witchcraft and Celtic based Paganism.
Role: Priestess, Overseer of House Clowns, Registration Coordinator.

Pollen is a long time fan of all that goes bump in the night. She began her relationship with the bumpy ones as a youth and has continued to dance with them ever since. During the summer you can find her at the Knoll visiting with the spirits and helping out over the weekends. In the fall she is found teaching at Ottawa Pagan Schola and attending Algonquin College. She is an avid practitioner of the Craft and chooses to live a magickal life. Do not be surprised to hear her exclaim just how much she loves being a witch. After all, being a witch is pretty cool.
Role: Priestess, Overseer of House Jokers.

Jimmy has been a RK staff since 2014, working as game warden, medic, and a general labourer. Hobbies include such noble pursuits as hunting, marksmanship, swinging an axe and taking moonlit walks. The best items to use if you wish to summon Jimmy would be tobacco, a box of .30-30, and red meat. An all around typical Ontario outdoorsman.
Role: Circle Guardian.

Matt & Sheena and their Hoard of Pagan Babies. Matt was raised in a covertly magical household and is currently an ADF Druid. Sheena has been studying magic since 12 and currently defines “her path” as complicated. They met at Raven’s Knoll 7 years ago, fell in love and are now out numbered by their offspring. They also have been heavily involved in the creation of the Nemeton at Raven’s Knoll. They may not make sense because of sleep deprecation but their hearts are in the right place and generally have a clue what is going on.
Role: Event Parents (the adultier adults) & General Helpers, Priest/ess

Kai has the distinct honour of being married to Melissa. He is a dedicated volunteer at Raven’s Knoll. Kai works as KG as a Troll, that means he cleans toilets, changes garbages and generally does the gross grunt jobs no one else wants to do. Affable and laid back, you’ll find Kai by the fire-pit tending our fires while pretending that the showers don’t need to be cleaned.
Role: Firekeeper, Maintenance.

Raz was forged between the broken beats of the rave scene, and the thrashes of mosh pits, and has since sought her path through the studies of war and education. She has mastered potion-making with various spirits made of juniper, sugar cane, potato, agave and rye. Ask her about how she has tamed dragons, charmed snakes, and about her faithful animal companions. In other word, Raz is a bartender of epic proportions. She was recently adopted by various event staff at the Knoll and shortly after, put to work.
Role: Firekeeper, Maintenance, Circle Guardian in training.

Basil, aka Beef Castle Basil, aka Mayor of Bogside, has served as staff at a number of events held at the Knoll, including the hot and difficult job of cook at the YAG during KG. He is a well known Bard who may or may not have won a few Bardic Competitions. Basil’s path is one of song, story and beats. When he isn’t getting involved in shenanigans, turning ancient myths into modern rap songs, or hosting parties on Bogside, he can be found being a surprisingly responsible and reliable member of the Knoll community.
Role: Circle Guardian.

Olivia began her relationship with witchcraft 11 years ago. She attended her first Kaleidescope Gathering in 2014, fell in love with Raven’s Knoll, and has attended every Witches’ Sabbat since. Her loves include bones, bees, gardening, and hedgewitchery. You can usually find her sitting by the various waters of Ravens Knoll. She is absolutely thrilled to be a part of this year’s staff!
Role: Worker Bee (helper, elder care, apprentice), Priestess.

 

FAQs

Ancestors of the Land: Raven’s Knoll is located upon unceded Algonquin land, this landscape properly belongs to the Pikwakanagan First Nation. The name “Pikwàkanagàn” comes from the Algonquin, meaning “[beautiful] hilly country [covered] in evergreens”. This landscape also has a history of French Canadian trappers, as well as British, Polish and German settlers. Raven’s Knoll itself has been witness to a great deal of history; from the First Nations, to white settlers and traders, and farmers. At some point it became a campground, then an abandoned campground used as a managed forest and tree farm for growing telephone poles. Then a bunch of pagans came along and started building sacred sites and cleaning up the land. As you walk upon the Knoll, and give offerings to the spirits and ancestors of the land here, we ask that you keep this history in mind. Walk softly, be respectful, leave your campsite in as good or better condition as you found it.

Bed Time: We go to bed before sunrise at WS. It’s an intensive, not a festival. We have very full days, punctuated with intense rituals and workings. Some years include the use of entheogenic herbs. It’s important, for everyone’s safety, to be well rested and not hung over. We ask that you respect your fellow attendees and be quiet if you choose to stay up after the fire has been put out. Even better if you move well away from the Standing Stone Grove. WS is not a party event, it is a working event.

Charging Phones & Devices: A table can be found in the Rookery to charge your phones and laptops. To cover Ontario‘s outrageous hydro costs, we ask that you put $0.50 for a cellphone charge and $2.00 for laptops/tablets into the comments box that is located in the Rookery by the entrance. You are on the honour system. We are not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Etiquette: At the Witches’ Sabbat at Raven’s Knoll, all paths and traditions are automatically valid and we welcome all comers. Everyone who attends an event like this is very serious, eager and earnest about their Craft. Within the context of this event, we can assume everyone has good intentions, and is well meaning, even if they may be misinformed or lack the appropriate vocabulary. Respectful education and using “I” statements instead of using “YOU” statements is the proper etiquette at WS.
This is not the correct space for debating the validity of another person’s practice. Feel free to share what works for you, without disparaging how others may do things. Discussion and the comparing of other traditions and cultures is encouraged. However please be mindful of cultural appropriation, stereotyping, and power imbalances. Always be respectful and mind your manners. If someone claims to be a reincarnated Space Elf from planet Zubu, simply smile and back away slowly.
All identities are to be respected, WS strives to be inclusive to all. Please use the pronouns, names, titles, and other descriptors to identify a person that they ask you to use. Bigotry, harassment and prejudice of any sort will not be tolerated.
If any person makes you feel uncomfortable, please speak to a staff member so that we can assist you. If someone tells you that you are making them uncomfortable, please apologize and allow them to remove themselves from the situation.

Fires: Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility. Absolutely no campfires or open flames in the pine forests. Please be very careful with lanterns and gas stoves. No charcoal BBQs or naptha stoves permitted. If you smoke, always dispose of your butts safely—one smouldering butt can cause a forest fire! We keep the fire in the Keyhole Pit running most of the time, it may be used for cooking and such. Please check with the Firekeeper before placing anything in the fire – we mean anything! Always maintain an open Firekeeper pathway from the stack of firewood to the pit. Obey the Firekeeper, if they ask you to do something, to move etc, please comply immediately.

First Aid & Medical Emergencies: We have staff who are first aid trained and certified to provide first response for moderate to serious injuries and other medical emergencies. For minor cuts and scrapes, please bring your own first aid kit. If you are experiencing or witness a medical emergency, any staff member will know how to summon the medics. Our medics CANNOT provide any prescription or over-the counter medications, including painkillers or antihistamines like Bendryl. If you are likely to need medications, make sure you have them. Alli is our medic this year.

Circle Guardians (aka Flying Monkeys): They are here to help everyone have an enjoyable weekend by ensuring a safe and secure environment. Do not hesitate to approach them with any problems or concerns you may have—from walking you to your campsite in the dark to serious issues. And please, if a member of security asks you to do something—or to stop doing something—be respectful and comply. They are only doing it for your safety and/or that of your fellow attendees. Gypsy Birch is head of the Circle Guardians for WS.
Food & Stone Soup Potluck: The squirrels are assholes. They will attempt to steal your food, even toothpaste and shampoo. This is black bear country, keep everything remotely edible stored in your car, tent, and in a properly sealed cooler or tub.
You can place any snacks that you are willing to share on the “kitchen tables” located in the Standing Stone Grove. The fire in the keyhole pit can be used for cooking, just check in with the firekeeper first. Fire safe pots and pan can be borrowed from the kitchen tables (except the cauldrons). There may be a propane BBQ available to use if you do not have one, just as the staff about it. The fry truck (YAG) is not open during WS.
During the lunch break on Saturday we will have a potluck and enjoy stone soup. Bring your soup contributions in the morning for the pot, and your potluck additions during the lunch break. We encourage everyone to help with the preparation of this meal.

Garbage and Recycling: Please do not toss any garage or compost into the bush! It attracts wildlife, such as skunks, raccoons, porcupine and even bears.

Ice: Ice can be purchased at $3/bag. Please speak to Maryanne or Kadri, the RK land steward and administrator extraordinaire.

I Need Help: If you require the immediate assistance of a staff member use the magic words: “I NEED to speak to you”. When asked “if we might have a minute” or “are we free right now”, staff assumes that whatever it is can wait until we are actually free. So use the magic word “NEED” and we will drop everything and give you our full attention. Please do not abuse this.

Partners and Families: This is an intensive for adults. Children under the age of 18 are NOT permitted to attend any workshops or rituals, with the exception of babes in arms. They may attend the Bardic Fire, meals, social times around the fire, and breaks. Partners and friends who have not paid to attend WS, must obey the same rules as children under 18.
We recommend that you keep the lines of communication open with your partners and camping friends. We wouldn’t want them to worry that our rituals devolve into drug fueled sex orgies that they are missing out on!

Pets: Dogs may join us for all events except Main Ritual and the Night Ritual. Dogs must be on leash at all times. Dog doo bags go into garbage cans only please.
The Yellow Dog Project allows people to know when a dog needs its personal space respected. These dogs wear yellow—usually a yellow ribbon or glow stick attached to their leash or collar. When you spot a yellow dog, do not try to pet or touch the dog. Do not bring your own dog over to greet it. Do not feed him any treats or scraps, as he may have dietary concerns. In fact, it’s best to simply ignore a yellow dog. If you see a yellow dog running loose, do not attempt to catch it. Take its description and location to registration (we have dog and owner information on file). Remember yellow dogs are GOOD dogs who just need a little space or who have health issues.

Raven’s Knoll: Raven’s Knoll is many things to many different people. However these three things are perhaps the most important to keep in mind. 1) The Knoll is a place of business; it has insurance, a business license, approval from the city council, a bank holds the mortgage, it must pass annual inspections from the Health and Safety Inspector as well as the Fire Marshal. The Knoll is a “home” to many, but this is not your buddy’s backyard. Follow the rules and don’t do stupid things that could cause the insurance premiums to go up. 2) The Knoll is a community project. Everything you see at the Knoll is the result of a communities’ volunteer labour, love and hard work. We do our best with the skills, knowledge and resources available to us. If something is a little wonky, or not as clean as you’d like it to be … please consider volunteering during a Work Weekend this summer. Your help would be greatly appreciated. 3) The Knoll is the festival grounds. A place of pilgrimage. It is sacred space. Every inch of the campground is a temple. Please treat it as such. The gods, spirits and ancestors are watching.

Skyclad (nudity): Raven’s Knoll is privileged to be part of the local community. As such, we strive to be good neighbours, including but not exclusively, to the children‘s camp next door. Therefore, you may be skyclad at your own campsite (except those campsites near the beach or visible to the public from land or water) and at the drumming fire, in the spiral, and at the pond, but clothing is required for common areas. Because the river is public space used by our neighbours, there is no skyclad or female topless bathing there. We thank everyone for their support and understanding. Mothers may breastfeed wherever they are most comfortable.

 

How Can I Help?

Every year, we have wonderful people asking how they can lend a hand during the event. This is fantastic and we are very grateful. Here is a short list of things that you can do to help WS run smoothly, they only take a few minutes, but are a big help. If you see that one of these thing needs to be done, please go for it.

* Tidy up the washrooms. Just ask a staff member for access to the cleaning supplies and they will get you set up. Wipe the counters, replace toilet paper, empty garbages into the big bins, wipe toilet seats, replace toilet paper rolls.
* Tidy up the kitchen tables. As we grab snacks and make soup, this area will get messy. Wash dishes, toss garbage, sort recycling, organize the space, wipe up spills. If you don’t know how to properly care for cast iron, leave the cauldrons alone! Before night falls, place any food items away in the blue tubs or coolers found under the tables.
* Tidy up workshop spaces, aka the Houses. Don’t mess with other people’s stuff, but you can remove garbage or recycling, wipe up spills, and help put away items after a workshop has finished.
* Offer to help the Potluck Soup Coordinators. Give them a break from slaving over cauldrons! Stir the pots, prep food, wash dishes, put food into serving bowls, whatever they need so that they can take a break. This is especially important on Saturday morning before the day’s workshops begin.
* Offer to give the Firekeepers a break. They might be choosy about who they allow to take over for a bit (for obvious safety reasons), but it doesn’t hurt to ask. They may need help splitting fire wood, or preparing kindling.
* Make tea or juice. At the kitchen tables, you’ll find all the fixings for making hot tea, iced tea, and juice. If you see that we are running low, go for it! Water taps are easily found.

* Do a “litter check”. Somehow small bits of garbage wind up on the ground around the Standing Stone Grove and our nearby camping areas. Do a quick walk around and pick up any that you find.
* If you see people carrying things, or loading a vehicle, offer to help.
* If you see someone setting up camp, or tearing down their site, offer to help.

* Help pack up after rituals. If you are the kind of person who finds it grounding to tidy up, then please stick around after a ritual and help us put away the gear and bring it back from the ritual site.

* Change the garabges and recycling. There’s the big bins at the edge of the Grove, if you see them getting full, the staff can tell you where to find replacement bags and where to put the full ones.
* Light candles. As the sun sinks and it starts to get dark, light the tea light lanterns on the tables of the Houses and Temple. Remember to put them out as everyone is going to bed. Replacement candles will be in one of the blue tubs, it will be labelled “Grove Gear”.

 

Rules & Safety

Please read these rules as they are meant to maintain the well-being and safety of everyone attending.

1. As Raven‘s Knoll has not yet succeeded in becoming a sovereign state, all laws of Canada and the Province of Ontario apply to everyone at WS.
2. Fees for leaving bags of garbage and recycling are: Garbage $2/bag, $1/bag for recycling, LCBO free.
3. No illegal substances, firearms or pyrotechnics (sparklers excepted) are allowed.
4. If you put the safety or well-being of others at risk, creating a hazard to the site or a situation that could have a hazardous outcome, you will be asked to leave.
5. RK is a safe space. Sexually aggressive or inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated.
6. No underage drinking of alcohol is permitted. The legal drinking age in Ontario is 19. (Years from past lives do not count toward legal drinking age.)
7. Children under the age of 18 are NOT permitted to attend workshops or rituals. This is an intensive for adults. They may attend the Bardic Fire, meals and breaks.
8. Parents are responsible for their under-18 children at all times. Parents who do not, in the opinion of the organizers, exercise good parental care of their children will be asked to leave. Children under 10 must be supervised at all times.
9. No child under age 12 may be left unattended near ANY body of water on the site. Children MUST be supervised by an adult at the beaches. The swimming area is not supervised so you swim at your own risk. No swimming in the Sacred Well. No swimming at night.
10. Don‘t dig or create any additional fire pits or scavenge fire wood from Raven‘s Knoll property.
11. No glass bottles around the Main Drumming Fire Pit. Remember that dancers may be barefoot.
12. You can use your personal canoes and kayaks, but no motorized boats are permitted during WS. All Ontario boating rules must be obeyed.
13. Rule 13 is not permitted under federal, provincial and universal law. Fnord.
14. Respect privacy. No video cameras, and do not photograph anyone, including people in the background, without their prior consent (even with a camera phone). This includes rituals and group shots. Videos and unwelcome photos will be erased, and offenders may be asked to leave.
15. Smoking is strictly forbidden in all cabins, buildings and the children‘s area(s). You can smoke anywhere else on the site as long as you dispose of your cigarette butts in a fire-safe and environmentally-friendly way. (Use the butt cans provided).
16. There is no bathing, washing of clothes or dishes, etc. in the river or pond. (And definitely not in the Sacred Well.) Do not clean your dishes in the bathrooms or you will find yourself on bathroom duty!
17. You may be skyclad at the common fire pit at night and in your own campsite area. Be aware the river is public. Boats may occasionally pass by and neighbours do use the river in view of our beach area. In keeping with community standards, we ask that you respect the norms of the host/muggle community of which we are privileged to be a part, and ask that everyone not be naked and women not be topless in the beach area. However, the pond is clothing optional. Nursing mothers may bare their breasts anywhere, of course.
18. Except at the discretion of WS Staff, please do not use electrically amplified musical instruments, radios, car stereos, etc.
19. Respect our neighbours – stay on Raven‘s Knoll land. Trespassing on neighbours‘ property will be considered a serious transgression of hospitality.
20. Respect yourself and others. Be respectful of all sacred sites.
21. This is a private gathering; the organizers and Stewards of the land have the right to enforce these rules. Anyone violating these rules shall be expelled without refund.

 

In a dream the trickster came as an a owl, a great barn owl, larger then any car, unto which it landed.
Wings, wind blowing me to the ground in fear, as I rose Kohoko looked down at me.
Kohoko hopped down the car, a piece of chalk in it’s talon it wrote to me, the scrape of chalk on the road, my fear swelled and it looked at me with it’s eyes of night, the universe moving in the inky landscape.
The words were scratch and backwards.
I found my heart and spoke; I do not understand, the chalk was placed in my hand.
I looked in my palm; it was a seed.
“You will” it breathed. I awoke from the dream.