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Article Specs

VxAcct: 1

Article ID: 2378

Section: festivals

Age Group: Adult

Posted: June 2nd. 1999

Views: 21296

Heartland 1999

by Wren

Looking through the small square window of a 737 airplane, the landscape of Kansas and Missouri (as viewed from thousands of feet in the clouds) really does look like a patchwork quilt spread out upon the curve of Mother Earth. As Fritz and I settled back into our seats for the trip home to Florida, we passed the time exchanging our own little favorite moments of the past five days. It turned out that we were not done listing them all when we landed in Tampa. We are still not done. There are that many...

Day One: Thursday we disembarked our plane in St. Louis and were greeted by Randall's smiling face and intense bear hugs. As we stood waiting for the luggage to spew forth from the abyss (always an anxious moment!), we learned that we would be sharing the shuttle ride back to the Heartland compound with Silver RavenWolf and her husband, Mick as well as Lady Circe of the Sisterhood and Brotherhood of Wicca. Since we had never met face to face with any of these folks before, we quickly snatched up suitcases (luckily for the other passengers, they were ours!) and with much anticipation trotted off to another terminal.

We liked Silver and Mick right away. We liked them even more when everyone found out that Silver and Lady Circe had been talking on the plane for several hours... each one without realizing who the other was. That got the day started off with a chuckle or two all right! We didn't stop chuckling for the rest of our stay.

Heartland is like coming home for us. Our friends- and yes, I dare say our family-meets there once a year to celebrate our pagan faiths, engage in educational workshops and swap networking information, updates and the latest news from just about everywhere. We share laughs, tears, hugs, fireside music, long talks into the night (Thanks again, Mike. The circles under my eyes make me look wiser. And thanks to you, I just may be.) and many, many bottles of mead.

We settled into our cabin and were thrilled to discover that we would be sharing that space with Mike Nichols. We had corresponded via email with Mike for two years (Although Fritz and Mike talk in this obscure 60's musical reference dialect to which I just nod and go, "Uh-huh... ") and, of course, we already honored him as THE Pagan Holidays reference godling.

Mike had not done any public events for the last ten years and so we felt especially blessed to have the opportunity to see him at Heartland. Often upon meeting one of your heroes, the reality can sometimes be a disappointment. NOT the case here. Mike Nichols is not only a truly great teacher and ceaseless spring of pagan information and lore, he is a wonderful and warm being of incredible spirit. The welcoming round of applause that Mike received during the introductions at the opening ritual is listed as the "most likely to produce tears of joy" highlight in my personal memories booklet.

And then there was Dana and Ginger and Linda and Amanda and J.D. and Terry and Angel and Clarity and Doc... And so many other old friends to hug and kiss and pull close to our hearts once again...

As we snuggled into our blankets that evening, the sounds of drums drifted over the hill. I am sure that we were smiling as we dreamed.

Day Two: Friday after a hearty breakfast (and lots and lots of coffee with Silver and Mick), Fritz and I wandered about taking in bits of the various workshops and talking with folks about networking projects and pagan related issues. We met with Eddie Ortiz, one of the Midwest Regional Directors for the Witches' Anti-Discrimination League (WADL) and Elspeth of Haven for updates on their current and future plans. There is a LOT going on all over the country!

The coffeepot exerts a magnetic pull on many festival veterans and at her hotplated feet is where Fritz and I spent many an hour chatting and networking with those who also worship the Lady Caffinea. Here is where we discovered one of the true "secrets" of the Craft.

Did you know that Silver RavenWolf cracks up over the sound that alligators make when they are "lookin' for love"? Makes her laugh every time she hears it. Try it the next time you see her. It goes sorta like:"Humph... Humph... Humph" in a real low and guttural tone. And if that doesn't get a smile, ask her about the 'horse' story... but if you do, you'd best be prepared to also run very, very fast! (She has four teens at home. She's in very good shape.) Silver is delightful, witty, down to earth and-at least after she finally forgives me for this little personal revelation- a new friend.

The night officially concluded with the concerts by Woven Dreams, the Bard Darragh Nagle and Velvet Hammer.

The night unofficially went on until daybreak with drumming circles, fireside dances, story telling and mead sampling under the stars. We wished it could go on forever...

Click HERE for Part II of this review

Heartland Photo Credits: All photos were captured digitally from a wonderful Sony camera graciously made available to us from Patrick Chambers a Selene Rati) camera. The beautiful images on this 2 page Heartland review happened because of them. Bless you Patrick and Selene for lending us this magical tool for the weekend. The Beautiful People on THIS page (to the best of our recollection - corrections appreciated): Listed from Top to bottom (and left to right in Photos).

  • Wren & Sun (Woven Dreams)
  • Merlin, J.D. Stevens, Wren & Sun
  • Eddie Ortiz and Wren
  • Ginger, Fritz, Wren & Linda (front)
  • Fritz & Doc
Websites of the Speakers performing at Heartland '99:

Websites of the Musicians performing at Heartland '99:

The Heartland Spirital Alliance HOME page: Click HERE.

Heatland is held at Camp Gaea:
The site itself has had an interesting history. Now under the loving hands of Earth Rising, Inc., this powerful magical land has been everything from a Native American site to a nudist gathering place to a Baptist summer camp. The hilly terrain-while quite a challenge to the merchants camped on the summit and we "old folks" who thanked the Goddess for the bench provided halfway up!-was an initiation in itself as one climbed the newly formed stairway to the sky embraced ritual area and flower garden meditation site. (Our warm thanks go out to Clarity for sharing the history of the site with us and to Jo-Michael for his heartfelt and beautiful story of Flora and the birth of the garden.) Information and pictures are available at the Gaea Retreat Center website at: If you have the chance to visit this magickal place, you won't be disappointed.



Location: Tampa, Florida

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