Friday, May 18th:
For those on-site earlier in the afternoon, we will be making preparations around the Key Hole Fire Pit in anticipation of any last-minute set-up.
7:00PM – Meet & Greet
Folk will gather around the Keyhole fire pit to reconnect, introduce ourselves and establish frith. Key figures will be identified to allow people to know who to approach if they need assistance with spiritual, emotional, academic or other guidance.
8:00PM – Opening of the Vé
We will establish the sacred space that will become Her grove for the weekend. Meet by the Standing Stone, the Vé will be established at the birch tree stump ring adjacent to the Stone.
8:30PM – communing at the Keyhole fire pit; bonfire
Saturday, May 19th:
10:30AM – Breadman and Sacred Stuffing
Folk will gather at the Keyhole Fire pit for an activity to connect the energies of the folk with the crafting of the sacrificial Breadman. Each participant will be given a slip of paper upon which to write their thoughts to the following:
“Every year the folk gather to honour Her Holy Mother Nerthus in gratitude and offering for the fertility of the upcoming year. What “growth” do you endeavour to work on for this coming celebration that will allow you the freedom to “live”?”
Each person will be given a moment with the Sacrificial Breadman to imbue their thoughts and energy into his essence to carry their intentions to Her Holy Mother.
Cart Detailing & Apple cutting
As Her Holy Mother should arrive and be transported in style befitting a Goddess, the folk (and the children!) are invited to decorate the cart with flowers, shells, stones and other adornments. Folk may also assist in the preparation of the general offerings that people can take at any time during the Procession, itself, and throughout the weekend. There will be bowls and baskets available for each task.
11:30AM – Holy Mother Nerthus Redux: A look back at her ancient cult and how she came to us today, with Erik Lacharity
Take a trip down memory lane with Erik and other OPs (Original Processioners) as the layers in the well are peeled back to reveal the roots of the Procession of Nerthus in our time. From the ancient annals of Tacitus to the annual solemnities at Raven’s Knoll, the presence of the Holy Mother remains tremendously palpable. In this discussion, we will pour through the tidbits of information used to resurrect her cultus, but most importantly we will recount Her mythos as we have come to know her. How is it we have come to relate to Nerthus? Why does her cultus matter? What can we do to ensure our worship of the Primus of the Gods continues long after we are stardust? These are the topics we will discuss together in hopes that we will learn from each other and the gifts we have already received from Her.
1:00PM – Bardic Magic, with Chuck Chuck
What is Bardic to me? How is it part of my path and why the flow of energies between audience and performer are so important. Will discuss some of the techniques and reasons for why I perform as I do, and the importance of finding the correct path for yourself.
2:00PM – Folk may wish to begin any necessary change of clothing, assembling any hearth banners, drums/noisemakers and/or heirlooms.
2:30PM – Folk will commence the walk to the Sacred Well at the top of the land of Raven’s Knoll. The Processional will start from the area of the barn.
3:00PM – Her Holy Mother will be evoked into her idol and ritualistic aspects of the Procession will commence. The Procession will be lead out by our Herald.
The Procession will take a route through to the Gnome Home, the Rainbow Tree and end at the Standing Stone, with the opportunity for folk to make offerings at each location.
The ritual will commence within the Sacred Grove, Her Vé.
4:30PM – At the conclusion of the ritual, the folk will be invited to take their time to reconnect, either in solitude or with the community. As the ritual affects everyone differently, there is no pressure to participate in activity or conversation. There will be a couple of Kubb pitches set up for the weekend that folk who are a little more “amped up” can burn off some of their energetic buzz before the supper hour.
5/6:00PM – Folk are welcome to commune around the Keystone fire pit to converse.
7:00PM – The Healing power of chocolate, with Nicole Aethelfled Butler
There are many cultures around the world that have a deep connection with food and spiritualty. The Mayans and the Aztecs had a profound bond with the Cacao tree. In the case of the hunters that association meant Life and death.
Today we know that cocoa has triple the antioxidants of green tea, helps reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, and improves insulin sensitivity.
Learn the history of chocolate and how the ancient Mayans and Aztecs used the Cacao tree for healing and spiritual journeying. Experience the power of cacao while we go on a chocolate meditation journey of our own.
Wear comfortable clothing and bring your water bottle. I will provide fair trade organic chocolate. There may be light stretching involved.
8:30PMish – Commune at the Keyhole fire pit
9:00PMish – BARDIC BARDIC BARDIC!!
Sunday, May 20th:
Nerthus Seyeir: An Experiment with Pit Cooking (with Auz and friends)
Pit cooking is done the world over, from the Maori hangi, to the Hawaiian umu, to the New England clam-bake, to the Bedouin wedding feast, to the Neolithic ‘food-troughs’ of Orkney. There is also mounting archeological evidence from the Viking Age that the sacrifices at large events, such as Thing or offerings to the gods at Ve, were often cooked with the method that is called in the Old Norse sagas “seyeir.” The method involves heating stones, placing them in a pit with food and covering it with turves and earth. The ancient nature of this method of cooking is only out-paced by open-fire roasting, rock-searing, and ember-baking. We are going to experiment with this method of cooking directly in the womb of Mother Earth. Since this is a continued experiment, this second year, we are going to focus on cooking tubers, but we will add a little meat. In future years we may get more historically accurate.
Let’s learn…By the folk, for the folk!
11:35:25AM: Finding Home in the Ocean, with Auz
In this workshop we will be making a “husnotra”, a simple navigation device used in Viking Age Scandinavia. This tool will allow you to find your way to Raven’s Knoll at the time of the procession of Nerthus no matter where you are in the Northern hemisphere. (It is specific to person, date, and place.) We will also be looking at some actual “Viking Sun-Stones”; larger versions of which would be used in conjunction with the “husnotra” for navigation. If you want to make your own, please bring: a stick of approximate one ell in length; sunglasses; and, a knife that can mark the wood.
1:30PM – Gardening for Nerthus, with Juniper & Gypsy
This is the first weekend when it is safe to begin your gardens, let’s take advantage of that! Together we will put in a small flower bed in honor of Holy Mother Nerthus near the Sacred Well. Materials (soil, flowers, etc) will be provided. Gather at the reg hut.
4:00PM – Introduction to Social Magic, with Wyldcard
This will be a brief introduction to how I use different elements of my own practice in social situations. In my own practice, I use my own correspondences, but the method can easily be adapted to any path. I’ll discuss theory, then ethics, and if everyone is agreeable, there will be some practical demonstrations.
5:00PM(ish) DINNER TIME – folk can assist in the collection of the feast from under the earth! Volunteers may choose to help set up the tables/washing station for ease of transition into the meal itself, and for after-clean-up
7:00PM – Ylfe: Beating the Bounds, with Aesc Adams
Part story, part thesis, part how-to manual regarding elves (ylfe). You will find no Little People here, no frolicking forest faeries – these enigmatic elves can be more “spite” than “sprite”. Primarily referencing Anglo-Saxon sources and worldview, we will also touch on Scandinavian alfar. Join us for an informal and “infotaining” session of storytelling and discussion on establishing and maintaining an accord with these notoriously fey powers.”
8:00PM – Commune at the Keyhole fire pit; bonfire
Monday, May 21st:
10:30AM-ish Procession of Nerthus back to the Sacred Well
11/11:15AM-ish Dismantling the Vé
12:00PM – The folk will be invited to share their experiences and have the opportunity to put forth suggestions for next year’s Well and Tree Gathering.
4:00PM – Conclusion of the gathering.
*There will be self-serve tea/coffee service each morning for cash payment
**Well & Tree Gathering is a signatory of Declaration 127: www.declaration127.com
***PIT FEAST: $12/adult, $5 < 18yrs
By the folk, for the folk…
Mother Nerthus, rides through the countryside
Mother Nerthus, hear our call
Mother Nerthus, glorious and powerful
Mother Nerthus, bring us joy
Mother Nerthus, regal and triumphant
Mother Nerthus, hear our call
Mother Nerthus, primal mother goddess
Mother Nerthus, bring us joy
(Lyrics and melody by Kate Lumsden)