Pagan Event Reviews
Year: 2014 ...
Sacred Space Conference
Beltania Festival (Florence, Colorado)
Sacred Space 2014 Conference
Summerland Spirit Festival 2013
Year: 2013 ...
Sacred Space Conference
Sacred Space Conference 2013
Houston Pagan Conference 2013
Free Spirit Gathering 2013: Many Paths
2013 Midwest Witches "Steampunk" Ball
Year: 2012 ...
Between the Worlds: An Interfaith Esoteric Conference
Sirius Rising & Summerfest 2012
Starwood 32--Review by Oberon Zell
Why Celebrate International Pagan Coming Out Day?
Spring Mysteries Festival XXVII
Celebrating 20 Years: St. Louis Pagan Picnic Reaches a Milestone
Summer Solstice Ritual, SF Ocean Beach
Summerland Spirit Festival 2012
Toon Town’s Pagan Summer Fest: A Ten Year Long Dream
Mabon with Blackberry Circle
Salem, Oregon Celebrates Its First Pagan Pride Day (2012)
NorthWest Fall Equinox Festival (NWFEF) 2012 (Review)
Michigan Midwest Bazaar and Witches Ball
Year: 2011 ...
Starwood Festival 2011 (A Review by Oberon Zell)
Sacred Space Celebrates Twenty-one Years!
The New Orleans Witches' Ball
"New Fire in Deep Winter: Oimelc in Minnesota"
St. Louis Pagan Picnic
Celebration of the Divine Feminine and Religious Freedom
Summerland Spirit Festival 2011: The Initiation of a Community
2011 Midwest Witches Ball and Bazaar
Through the Looking Glass Midwest - Michigan's 2011 Witches Ball:
Year: 2010 ...
Sacred Space Conference
Review: Sirius Rising
Free Spirit Gathering
43rd Annual Gathering of the Tribes
Summerfest 2010 (Festival Review)
Midwest Witches' Ball 2010
Year: 2008 ...
The Sacred Space Conference and Winterfest Banquet
Toon Town's Pagan Summer Fest.
Sacred Harvest Festival 2008
The Land Institute Prairie Festival 2008
Sacred Harvest Festival 2008; The Fool's Journey, Breaking the Hermetic Seal
Year: 2007 ...
4th of July Pagan Religious Rights Rally and Ritual and Chesapeake Pagan Community Summer Gathering
Sirius Rising 2007: Making Connections
The 12th Annual Halloween Festival London UK
Louisville Pagan Pride Day
Central Vermont Lughnasadh Festival
2nd Annual Children's Camp
Year: 2006 ...
Harvest Home Gathering 2006 (picts added Oct. 18)
Southeast Women's Herbal Conference
Canadian National Pagan Conference
Toronto Pagan Conference
Sirius Rising 2006
Rally for Religious Freedom
Brazilian Mabon Celebration in Săo Paulo
Chesapeake Pagan Community Gathering: Dancing with Devas 2006
WitchFest Wales, 2006
Pagan Pride Day - Metro Detroit
Rochester Pagan Pride Day
The 2006 Between the Worlds Men's Gathering
Hellfire Caves Ritual
Beltaine 2006: A Pagan Odyssey
Year: 2005 ...
Tara Summer Solstice 2005
Starwood XXV: Feelin' the Love
Persephone's Masquerade: The 4th Annual OHF Spring Ball
Pictures from New Orleans
Sirius Rising 2005: Restoring the Balance
Harvest Home 2005: Magick, Imagination, and Love
Spirit's Haven in the Woods
Inner Mysteries Intensive with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone
People of Beauty, People of Peace: CPC Summer Gathering 2005
Mid-Atlantic Pagan Alliance’s Wicked Awesome Lugh Beach Party
WES Raises Funds for Katrina Victims
Adirondack Pagan Pride Day
The 2005 Between The Worlds Men's Gathering
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Hellfire Caves Ritual
Article Specs |
Article ID: 11312
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,509
Times Read: 4,685
RSS Views: 60,737
Posted: June 10th. 2007
Times Viewed: 4,685
Sponsored by: The Circle of Ankerwycke
Location: West Wycombe, Bucks
Event Date(s): November 10th 2006
On Friday, November 10th, 2006 the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, played host to over 70 Pagans who hired it for the evening. For the first time in 250 years, the amazing tunnels and caves echoed once again to the sound of chanting and the rhythmic beating of drums. Many of the revelers traveled from other parts of the country, some coming hundreds of miles for the event.
Owned by the Dashwood family since the 1750s, the notorious Hellfire Caves are reputed to be the venue for wild parties, sexual licentiousness and the practicing of black magic. Sir Francis Dashwood who owned the estate at the time was a prominent member of fashionable society and was elected to Parliament in 1741. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1762-3, retiring after just one year following an unpopular budget.
From 1765 until his death, Sir Francis was joint Postmaster General and during that time he met American Benjamin Franklin with whom he became friends. Franklin appears to have visited the caves in 1770. In addition, Sir Francis was a founder member of the Dilettante society, which came to play a prominent role in the study of classical art. He was also a well-known Freemason and Masonic symbols together with those of Paganism are in evidence throughout the estate. Tales abound of Witches and Nuns together with the most prominent people in society, holding wild parties and orgies.
The Staines based Circle of Ankerwycke hired the venue for the evening to hold a ritual and celebration. With almost a mile of passageways and a number of large caverns, the main event was held in the Banqueting Hall, some 300 feet below the mausoleum of the Dashwoods. The tunnels were lit by thousands of tea lights, as indeed was the hall itself and the event got underway to the sound of drums and the smell of incense.
Following a simple but moving ritual, feasting began in the usual fashion while we enjoyed the singing and guitar playing of Paul Mitchell, well known pagan folk singer. In turn belly dancing, juggling, drumming and the inevitable spiral dancing followed this. The whole being very reminiscent of a medieval ball with many of the revelers in costume and masked. The tables groaned with food and the wine flowed
Having the run of the caves system, many people wandered off to find the underground river Styx now traversed by a small bridge. Complete with stalactites, this looked amazing by candlelight.
A re-enactment took place of a hoodwinking ceremony when one of the revelers was led down a tunnel complete with hood over his head. Sworn to secrecy on his return we can only speculate on what happened but he received a beautiful hand illuminated charter after the event and said he was privileged to have had the experience. Another echo from the past was enjoyed when a number of replica gold coins were given out. These coins were identical to the many found in the caves over the years and it is believed they could have been used to pay the ferryman for those wishing to cross the river Styx to get to the inner sanctum. Those given the coins began a spiral dance to create the energy to take them to another time and place in their minds while the drums built up to a mind blowing crescendo.
As one leading participant said on a Pagan forum the next day, “If ever there was a prize for the coolest people doing the coolest thing in the coolest venue – we won it!”
Will we do it again? Watch this space.
Location: Cornwall, England
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