Speakers

Steve Ausband
Stephen Ausband is a founding member of Gollinkambi Kindred, which is located in southwest Virginia, and public relations assistant for The Troth. He grew up in Virginia where his father, a professor of English, read bed time stories to him in Old and Middle English and taught him about Norse, Greek and Roman mythology at a young age. He has always had an interest in travel, language, culture and comparative religion.
Ned Bates
Ned Bates has a BA in Literature and Anthropology, an MFA in Creative Writing, and is a public school teacher and writer. He has made a life’s study of the places where objective and imaginative worlds meet, and is especially fascinated by the collision of modern and ancient worlds and the resulting plurality and syncretism of world-views. He is a heathen who seeks to balance reconstruction, pragmatism and poetry. He has presented at East Coast Thing, Trothmoot, and The Polytheist Leadership Conference, and erratically blogs as the Heretical Heathen: http://hereticalheathen.blogspot.com.
Annie Cúglas Humphrey
Annie Cúglas Humphrey is a lecturer of ancient, medieval, and world history at Brookdale and Rowan Colleges. She has previously presented at the Scandinavian Festival, American Swedish Historical Museum, Philadelphia and Central New York Pagan Pride Days, Trothmoot, and the past seven East Coast Things. Annie serves as the Goði of Kindred of Mann and the State Steward of the Troth for New Jersey.
Burt Johns
Burt Johns was born/raised in a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch household without a Christian affiliation. He has been the Gothi of Mannaheim Kindred since its inception (2002). Under his leadership, Mannaheim and its volunteers average 40 events per each year to include liturgical services, craft days, speakers/teachers, “pub moots”, “community service days”, and team building events (camping).
Rev. Caryn MacLuan
Rev. Caryn MacLuan is a retired Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer who has been a pagan/heathen/magic practitioner for over 40 years. She is a leader and 2nd level priest in Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) and has been a leader in CedarLight Grove for 16 years. She also is a member of Gladsheim Kindred and the Troth. She holds a graduate certificate in herbal studies, teaches hands on healing and workshops on various Indo-European studies.
Ristandi
Ristandi has been working with the Northern Mysteries for well over two decades. He holds a Ph.D. in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA, with a particular specialization in the study of Vernacular Religion, Folk Belief, and Ritual. He is a member of the Ameri-can Academy of Religion and co-chair of its Folklore and Religion seminar. Ristandi is also a Master in the Rune-Gild (which he joined in 1993) and currently serves as a member of its standing High Rede. Over the years, he has presented on various as-pects of Germanic magic and religion at events like Pantheacon, the Feast of Aegir, Starwood, Rites of Spring, Trothmoot, and Summer’s Wane. This is his 8th East Coast Thing.
Josh Rood
Josh Rood has an MA in Old Norse Religion through the University of Iceland, where he currently researches. His expertise is on religious continuity and change in southern Scandinavia prior to and during the Viking Age. He has given lectures and seminars on ritual practice in heathen Scandinavia, and on modern day Asatru. He is also the executive editor of Odroerir: The Heathen Journal. He has written articles for CNN, performed interviews for radio, television, web media, and academic research. He’s been an active member of the Northeast Heathen Community for 12 years, a member of the ECT Planning Committee for the past 6 years, and he has run blóts both in Iceland and here in the United States. This is his third year as the Chairperson for the Ritual Committee for ECT.
Jay Stratton
Jay Stratton is a long-time heathen and retired foreign language teacher, as well as an amateur farmer. His book Pomona’s Lost Children (dedicated to Idunna) is a memoir and cookbook detailing the history and botanical and heathen lore of a dozen old-fashioned fruits like quince, elderberry, medlar, gooseberry, etc. He grew up in the Swedish area of western New York and much of the lore and many of the recipes in this book have a heavy Scandinavian influence.
Eirik Westcoat
Eirik is a longtime attendee of the East Coast Thing and a multiyear winner of its Skaldic Competition who has been writing poetry in traditional heathen meters for many years. His recently-released first book, Viking Poetry for Heathen Rites, is a collection of poems for use in ritual, written in those traditional meters. He has an MA/MPhil from the Viking and Medieval Norse Studies program at the Universities of Iceland and Oslo, with a thesis titled “A Vision of the Skald: Seeking the Ideal in the Probable Works of Snorri Sturluson.” He has also presented papers at the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies on topics in Old Norse Literature. Other interests of his include the Runes and the Grail mythos from a heathen perspective. He is a member of the Hearth of Yggdrasil Kindred and the Rune-Gild.
Paul “Gage” Mercurio
Paul has been an urban planner for over a decade, focusing on large-scale roadway reconstruction projects. He holds degrees in Landscape Architecture, Geography, and Geology. Previously Paul has presented at NYC Pagan Pride, and hosts monthly lore chats in Manhattan. He is a member of the Elm & Hearth Kindred in Brooklyn, and is the Regional Steward of the Troth for the NYC Metro-Area.