30 Days of Heathenry – Day 3 “Gatherings”

A personal photo from Pagan Pride Day KC 2019

Question:

Have you attended any sort of Heathen gathering? Why or why not? (And if “yes”, write a little about it. If “no”, what would you like to attend/what would you be looking for in a gathering if you were able?)

I am very lucky in that I have been able to attend a few Heathen gatherings in the past few years, although the Covid-19 Global pandemic has really hurt this in 2020. When my girlfriend and I first stepped into this adventure, we joined up with a kindred that was advertising on Facebook. We attended a few Blóts before most of the group had a falling out with the guy that called himself the “King” of the group. There was some shady stuff going on, but you basically had a case of a dude that wanted to be in charge of something without doing any work whatsoever to actually build respect. It sucked and it hurt because in a Kindred you are trying to become a family more-or-less.

I ran a few Blóts at my house, which honestly I should not have been doing considering I was less than a year into heathenism at the point, but when the main guys all decide to bail the day before a feat or something, somebody has to step up. It was around this time, I was able to attend Pagan pride Day in Kansas City. We went in treating it as a craft faire, which it honestly is, not realizing that we were ultimately going to be shopping around for a new Kindred at the same time. We ran into a new group that seemed to “really have their crap together” as I told them, and we started the process of making ourselves well-known to them.

Personal picture from Pagan Pride Day KC 2019

With this new group, we have been able to attend a handful of feast days and celebrations which has been amazing. They are cool people and we hope we can officially join at some point. Having this community set-up is something I missed during my exile from church decades ago, so having it back, but not in the rotten world of organized religion is great. No matter where you are, I’d definitely recommend looking to see if you have a local Pagan Pride Day around. Ours is really solid.

Another great way to attend a “Pagan gathering” is to follow Pagan music and hope some of the bands come to your area. Last year, I was blessed to be able to attend a handful of such shows including The Pagan Rebellion Tour and Tyr, the latter not being Pagan themselves, but the crowd seemed to be full of dudes wearing Mjolnir necklaces LOL.

Don’t get discouraged if you run into a bad kindred like we did – network, look for other Pagans nearby, hell – make your own! all it takes is a few people to make a gathering, and the fun you will have is immeasurable.

30 Days of Heathenry – Day 1

30 Days of Heathenry – Day 2

A Look at Stonehenge: Spirit and Science of Place

Photo by Samuel Wölfl on Pexels.com

Maybe one day I’ll get to visit Stonehenge, I’ve always wanted to ever since getting into books about mysterious phenomenon when I was a kid – you know those large In Serach of knockoff coffee table books from the 80’s and 90’s full of articles on Bigfoot, aliens, The Bermuda Triangle, and of course Stonehenge. I lived for stuff like that – of course these books were largely silly on how they talked about the popular Neolithic stone circle (It’s obviously aliens Ya’ll!) For right now, though, going to Stonehenge is not really in the cards – So I was VERY excited to do the next best thing this summer in Kansas City – a new traveling museum exhibition full of artifacts from the chalky hills of The Salisbury Plain.

This exhibit was held at a large train station / exhibition hall in Downtown Kansas City called Union Station – at any given time, about 2-3 times a year, they host traveling exhibits such as Pompeii, Titanic, or King Tut that draw large crowds. I actually brought members of the previous Kindred I was a member of in as a group at a discounted price, this was awesome, as paying basically half-price made everyone very happy.

‘Mysterious’, ‘awe-inspiring’, ‘magical’, ‘sacred’ and ‘eternal’ are some of the words used to describe Stonehenge. Scholars and visitors alike have puzzled over this unique prehistoric monument for centuries. After years of excavation and thanks to ground-breaking advances in science and archaeology we are closer than ever to understanding Stonehenge.

Stonehenge: Spirit and Science of Place looks to over 400 original artifacts and the latest cutting-edge scientific research to answer questions about this iconic, mysterious World Heritage Site. The exhibition tracks the development of Stonehenge as a special place in the landscape, and explains the origins of the monument while illuminating the lives of the people behind it.

Visitors will leave the exhibition with new revelations into what Stonehenge meant to the people who built it … and what it means to the world today.

The exhibition is a cooperation with the UCL Institute of Archaeology, Wiltshire Museum, the Salisbury Museum, English Heritage and The National Trust and was curated by Prof. Mike Parker Pearson and Dr. Beatrijs de Groot from the UCL, London.

– From the exhibit’s webpage

Upon Entering the exhibition area, visitors were greeted with a brief introduction video laying out what we were about to see. Large “stone columns” lifted up and we were ushered into the huge multimedia exhibit hall consisting of videos from the contributing scientists that curated the exhibit, artifacts including rocks and bone fragments (just to mention a few), and items such as mannequins that showed what the people that built Stonehenge could have looked like. One particular highlight of mine was a film in which an actress portrayed one of the builders discussing her reasons for helping, and spiritual significance she felt in the process. This video was VERY powerful, and really set the tone of the exhibit – a look at the people behind Stonehenge Vs The stones themselves.

It was interesting to note that the main theory presented by the curators was that the Stones were a place of worship, and aided with ancestor worship as well as being a calendar and burial ground. I was surprised that this was seen as a “new take” on what the stones were, and makes me want to really read some other scholarship on the site to see what the consensus generally is.

Here are some photos of the exhibit:

Perhaps, my only quibble with the exhibit was that the possible spiritual significance of the site was not elaborated much on, which was one of the things I was fairly interested to see their take on. Granted, with no records left behind, anything is pure speculation. I’m just glad they didn’t talk about aliens the whole time!

Museum Partner has a number of other traveling exhibitions that might be of interest to fellow Heathens – 3 of which are Viking related and another Celtic. Let us all hope / Pray that one of them come to Kansas City (for me because I’m selfish!) or a place you live near!