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Article Specs

VxAcct: 1

Article ID: 2379

Section: festivals

Age Group: Adult

Posted: June 2nd. 1999

Views: 13997

Heartland 1999

by Wren

Day Three: Saturday was a big workshop day. Mike Nichols gave a most interesting sound clip review of "Wicca's Wonder Years" as seen (or rather in this case 'heard') through Witchcraft-themed movies and television shows. Lord Orion (of Foxwood) and Lady Circe teamed up with "Guarding The Flame" and Elspeth talked about the "Dark Lady, Grandmother, Crone'. Silver had them literally rolling in the aisles in her "American Folk Magic" and "Prosperity" presentations. So many other workshops, so many wonderful voices of wisdom, so many really interested and engaged participants... we wish we could have attended them all.

The theme of Heartland-in this it's 14th year-was "Pass The Fire." Dedicated to preserving and passing along the wisdom gained by this generation onto the next, many of the workshops and rituals were focused on doing just that. It is heartening indeed to see the wisdom- gleaned from so many diverse paths and traditions- being documented, preserved and held in readiness for those who will come after us to carry on the Work. From the interest and dedication that we saw glowing in the eyes of the young people that we got a chance to talk with, the future will be good hands.

The main ritual up on the hill began at sunset. As the almost full moon rose over the trees, the honorary representatives of the Elders of the Craft ­with myself (Earth), Fritz (Air), J.D. Stevens (Water) and Lord Orion (Fire) in the quarters-passed the candles symbolizing the flames of the present over to the young people who are the promises of our future. Led by Nikki RedFeather, the circle admonished the youth to guard and preserve the lore and wisdom of their Elders well and we in turn promised to help and guide the next generation along their Path.

As we all joined and spiraled around the ritual cauldron for the final dance, we could feel the energy swell and soon all were warmed not only by the warmth of the flames, but also by the heat and passion of our love for the Craft and for each other.

After visiting a few campfires, we turned the night over to the young 'uns (of all ages) and slowly wound down the wooded pathway-guided by flickering candles and fairy lights - to bed...

Day Four: Sunday morning-more coffee, more coffee! Ahhh...

The last day of scheduled workshops and musical guests was warm and slightly overcast-a welcome relief from the hot weather of the last few days-and we strolled through the merchant area where we discovered a wide selection of pagan goods, clothing, wares and services.

Later in the afternoon, Fritz and I gave a workshop on networking the Internet pagan community with an eye to the future possibilities. We encouraged those who have knowledge to make it available in some way for the future generations. Not all of our past is found in old books or ancient text. Our 'past' also includes what people such as Silver and Elspeth and Lord Orion and Mike Nichols have learned in their teaching experiences and what the Heartland crew has learned about festival/event organization. Our community "Book of Shadows' is being written every day.

Many good pagan folks approached us and we talked about pagan events and happenings across the states. To all of you who spent a moment sharing your stories or stopped by to thank us for The Witches' Voice, please let us now thank YOU for what YOU do. Thank you for telling us what you like and what you don't. Thank you for supporting TWV. Thank you for the smiles and the hugs and the encouragement. Most of all, thank you for being out there in your own communities and working so very hard. You are writing letters, formulating campaigns, organizing groups, providing community services and networking and supporting each other. Each one of you is a 'highlight" for us... for all of us.

The evening rounded out with the musical venue of Loki E. Coyote, Eleven Drums and Uncle Dirtytoes. The clouds had continued to build up over the daylight hours and now the rains began to tickle the dusty leaves as they fell. We returned to our cabin to watch the lightning come in-we LOVE thunder and lightning!-and lo and behold was quite unexpectedly treated to a gift from the Muses.

Dana Davis (of Velvet Hammer and Butterfly Tree fame) dashed "accidentally" into our cabin on her way to another one. She just "happened' to be carrying her guitar. Well, can we get three musicians and a poet in the same room during a crackling thunderstorm and NOT have an impromptu bardic circle? Hardly!

So there we sat, as Fritz and Mike and Dana sang some of their favorites and I spouted out a poem or two in between the 'sets.' The rain pounded down upon the roof, the thunder crashed about the hills and the lone candle danced as the wind poked its fingers in through the cracks in the sill. But the warmth and safety of that circle made up of music and verse, love and light, was as powerful as any cast in ritual. It was a magickal moment that we shall treasure forever.

Mike and I chatted well into the early morning hours-talk about a 'missing time' experience!-about parapsychology, esoteric wisdom, Witchcraft history and teaching techniques and we exchanged many personal experiences along those lines. We probably would have gone on until daybreak if we hadn't been welcomed by a few 'refugees" at our door who had been 'mudded out' of their tents by the rainfall. We tucked them in and exhausted but happy fell into a peaceful slumber...

Last day: Monday morning, the sun returned and the roads were already drying out as we packed our bags. Leaving Heartland is always filled with conflicting emotions. We very much miss our kitties and want to get back to The Witches Voice, but we hate to say farewell to our friends, old and new.

As we sat on the cabin steps talking with Mike, we watched cars, vans and trucks wind down the road and we waved to all those who were already heading out. Funny how one gets to know almost every face ­if not every name-in such a short time. Funny and wonderfully intimate.

Intimate. I guess that is the word that best sums up the Heartland experience. Even though this year the unofficial attendance was about 1000, the feeling there is still mainly one of good friends just getting together to share stories and songs and good times.

We piled in the van-again with Silver and Mick and this time with Lord Orion-and after swearing Randall to eternal silence on the matter (We all know where you live, Randall!) swapped some "craft secrets" all the way to the airport. If you think that you'd like to know what we talked about that last 40 minutes, you'd just have to plan on attending Heartland next year. And bring the coffee...

Always In Your Service,



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).

  • Fritz, Wren & Lord Orion Foxwood
  • Darragh
  • Tawnney, Nighthawk & Friends
  • Wren & Scott
  • Dana Davis
  • Mike Nichols
  • J.D., Fred, Wren and Todd Altizer
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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