At the Witches’ Sabbat at Raven’s Knoll, we hold the belief that if you give folks the chance to dig in, get their hands dirty and try something new (or very old), they will rise to the challenge. Or purpose is clear: to go out into the woods, to dance with the spirits, to please the gods, to honour our ancestors.
Held on the last weekend in May, this intensive weekend (casually known as “WS”) consists of rituals, discussions, workshops, a potluck and stone soup feast, and much more. Together we build a relationship with the land, the gods, the spirits, and the ancestors. We create a stang for the main ritual, tell stories, walk moonlit trails, hang out around the fire pit, and most importantly: learn, share and grow as witches. There are many hands-on learning opportunities, so expect to be tired by the end of weekend!
An “intensive weekend” is slightly different from a typical festival or gathering, just as a witches’ sabbat (or sabbath) can be different from a typical neo-pagan ritual. Here, we focus on ritual, magickal working, spirit work and the sharing of knowledge. While there will be some free time to socialize and relax, it is not the purpose of this intensive weekend to party late into the night, to dress up in costumes (unless ritually appropriate), or to tell tall tales about dragons. This weekend is for the serious practice and study of witchcraft and to provide a thoughtful and thorough introduction to witchcraft for newcomers. The time is also meant to provide a place where experienced practitioners can seek what lies beyond “Witchcraft 101.”
Each year we focus on a main theme chosen by the participants from the year before. For our first event in 2013, the theme was “The Horned Lord: Master of the Arte Magickal”. For 2014 it was “The Ancestors: Ancient Flame on Modern Hearth”. In 2015 our theme was “I Shall Go Into a Hare: The Fylgja, the Fetch and the Animal Within”. For our fourth year (2016), the folks chose the theme “Curses! And Defense Against the Dark Arts”.
We also have a chosen herb or plant that we work with each year. In 2013 it was wormwood, for 2014 it was bog myrtle. For 2015, mugwort was chosen. In 2016, the herb was henbane.
At the WS, all paths and traditions are automatically valid and we welcome all comers. It should be pointed out that at WS we practice non-initiatory witchcraft and we do not hold to any specific tradition or style. Members of initiatory, lineaged, mystery traditions are very much welcome at this event. As are solitary witches, interested non-witches, and everything in between. Anyone who attends this event is considered an equal, each with something to share and something to learn. We encourage you to come as a student, teacher, priest/ess, spirit worker, witch, or seeker. The only requirement is that you be open-minded, thoughtful, and serious.
The Sabbat is held at Raven’s Knoll (casually known as “RK” or “the Knoll”), a Pagan owned and operated events campground near Ottawa, Ontario. There is river front access, numerous sacred sites that have been built by the community, simple but cozy camping space, a private swimming hole that is skyclad friendly, various fire pits, showers, flushing toilets, as well as some beautiful forest to wander in. You will be “roughing it” a bit, so please prepare for being in the woods, subjected to the weather, and spending much time wandering dirt paths cut through the trees. Everything is held outside, and though workshops may be under simple shelters, our rituals are held in nature regardless of weather conditions.
A Witches’ Sabbat is a gathering of witches at any time, for any reason. Today, the term Sabbat is typically used when one speaks of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. However, the term Witches’ Sabbat (or sabbath) actually came to us courtesy of the propaganda of the “witch hunters”, claiming that witches gathered in secret to worship the devil. We know better.
WS is an event that welcomes all people and our organization has signed on to the Canadian Pagan Declaration on Intolerance.
We are currently prepping for 2017. Please join our Facebook Group for updates.
Theme – Tricksters and the Fool’s Journey
Stang – As it is the trickster’s year, the stang will be a surprise
Herb – Mushrooms
Dates – May 26- 28 2017
Location – Raven’s Knoll Campground
Fee – $60 at the door, $55 for pre-payment online (online registration will open April 1st)