Two weeks ago I spent three days at Heartland, a Midwest Pagan festival. I went with my friend and her 7-year-old daughter. We came a day late and left a day early due to our work schedules. I’m so glad that I went.
I had never been to a Pagan gathering this big. I heard estimates anywhere between 300 and 500 people. Usually it’s double that, but I think that rainy weather kept people away. Friday and Saturday had mostly nice weather, but Saturday night there was a torrential downpour. Our tent flooded, so the three of us ended up in the car. We left earlier than we had planned on Sunday, but threats of bad weather and cars getting stuck hurried our departure. My friend drove like a pro as the Gods guided our car safely out of the mud and onto the gravel. Our way home presented us with some flooded roads, so we did have to reroute once or twice. We safely returned home at a decent hour, ready to see our families.
I was able to attend a number of workshops during our time at Heartland, with varying degrees of interest. I attended two wonderful workshops by T. Thorn Coyle, one about leadership and one about finding and pursuing your desires. These were both extremely motivating, and I have to admit that I walked away with some of her books. Now I just have to find time to work through them.
There was a fascinating workshop put on by S. J. Tucker about using music in magical workings. She mentioned some of the physics behind music as well as how it can be used in one’s practice. It was a highly charged group.
A married couple, a Christian man and a Wiccan woman, held a discussion about relationships between people of different faiths. My husband is agnostic, so this didn’t totally fit me. However, they talked about all kinds of relationships, so I did get some good ideas about how to interact with my Catholic family.
Another woman held a discussion about getting to know your shadow self. I found this very pertinent because I have been feeling the push to do shadow work again. I need to make the time for it. I have the time, but I need to use it more wisely.
My friend held a beautiful and informative workshop about Nerthus, the Heathen Earth Mother. She wrote a short ritual for it that you can find here. It was very moving, and the weather was kind enough to let us hold the ritual outside. We were only a small group, but that allowed for more information and a great discussion at the end.
There were a few workshops that I found a little disappointing. Overall, though, there was a lot of good and motivating information. There were many interesting people to meet, though my shyness kept me from being as social as I would have liked. Hopefully I will gain some confidence this year and be able to form some solid friendships at future gatherings.
There was an incredible bonfire the first night, though I didn’t have the courage to dance around it. I danced later to the bands that they had, finally letting myself move how I wanted. There was a ritual Saturday that had to be held in the pavilion because of the weather, but that didn’t seem to take away from it. It gave me some food for though about what my groups can incorporate in our future rituals.
I have plans to go to a number of other events this year, which really excites me. The next big event that I will attend is the Kemetic Orthodox celebration of Wep Ronpet from July 31st – August 4th. It will be a much smaller group of people, around 35-40. I can’t wait to finally do something kemetic-focused with other people!