Workshops & Classes 2019

14 subject workshops/talks
2 ECT information sessions
2 roundtable/open discussions

Subject Workshops/Talks


Vikings in the Irish Sea Region (presented by Annie Cúglas Humphrey)
Thursday, 8/22 – 9:00am-10:00am
When Norse speakers arrived in what is now Ireland and the United Kingdom in the ninth and tenth centuries, they came to stay. The Norse settled, intermarried, and integrated with local Gaelic, Briton, Pictish, and Anglo-Saxon culture, while also maintaining their identity with the use of language and prestige artefacts. Relics of these fusion societies persist to the modern day. Explore ‘diaspora theory’, bilingualism, and what we can learn today about medieval cultural interactions.

Going on a Trip?: What the Hippies and Freaks Can Teach us About Altered States of Consciousness (presented by Stephanie (Conrod) Janicedottir)
Thursday, 8/22 – 10:15am-11:15am
As the Northeast Heathen community grows and includes more varied forms of ritual, both public and private, including those of an ecstatic and esoteric nature, I feel that there is a need for a more prosaic conversation to explore and discuss the various forms of meditation and consciousness exploration that we engage in in our practice. I would also like to look at the counter culture of the 60s as a model of practice specifically the combination of music and art as a means to express and explore spirituality and a greater sense of self-awareness and how these concepts and techniques can be used to inform us individually and in a larger group setting/working.

Bleeding Control: Hemorrhage Training (presented by Jen Bath)
Thursday, 8/22 – 11:30am-12:30pm
Many heathens partake in activities that put them at higher risk for hemorrhage, such as shooting, archery, ax throwing, hunting, and hiking to name a few. This class will provide heathens with the necessary hands on training to address potentially life-threatening bleeding, and the education to identify the difference between a life-threatening versus non-life-threatening bleeding. Training stations will include a tourniquet trainer so participants will have visual verification when the tourniquet is applied correctly, and a hemorrhaging leg wound that will actively bleed until a proper dressing and direct pressure are applied. Those who attend the training will receive a certificate stating they are now trained in hemorrhage control.

Landscape and the Lore: Consideration of Geography and Setting in Mining Meaning from Myth (presented by Dave Iverson)
Thursday, 8/22 – 2:00pm-3:00pm
Our discussion focus will be on setting, often the most underrepresented element of story development in literary analysis, and its influence on symbolism/semiotics, major and minor. In more closely scrutinizing setting’s place, one can glean new understanding from mythological and religious sources even with which he/she is long familiar.

Offerings of the Tongue: Heathen Poetry for Modern Worship (presented by Audrey Baker)
Thursday, 8/22 – 3:15pm-4:15pm
This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to the different meters and rhyme schemes found in heathen lore and show how one can adapt these literary devices to suit their own needs. Participants will also have a chance to create their own poetry with writing prompts from lore to be used as offerings, devotions, or inspired art.

Men, Women, and Honor in the Sagas of Icelanders, or, Why Viking Penis Honor is for Losers (presented by Ann Gróa Sheffield)
Friday, 8/23 – 9:00am-10:00am
In Icelandic sagas, the kind of “honor” that is most readily apparent is one based on an aggressive concept of masculinity. Such “honor” is fragile: any slight or challenge must be answered, typically with bloodshed, or a man’s reputation is forever tarnished. In this paper, I argue that a fundamentally different concept of honor, one based on prosocial behavior and moderation, not only was exhibited by both men and women in saga-narratives but also is represented as ultimately more successful than the competing strategy based on violence. This difference is most evident in sagas that describe the fates of aging characters: belligerent, hypermasculine men inevitably lose status as their physical abilities decline, but men and women who have won respect for qualities such as generosity and good judgement remain honored members of their families and communities to the end of their days.

From Concept to Non-Profit (presented by Stephen Ausband)
Friday, 8/23 – 10:15am-11:15am
In this session we will discuss the development of a kindred from an organizational standpoint, beginning with initial concepts, development, direction and steps taken to become a recognized non-profit charitable religious organization, a “church” as defined by the IRS.

Reinventing Heathenism: Old Norse Religion in Modern Context (presented by Jósúa Hróðgeir Rood)
Friday, 8/23 – 11:30am-12:30pm
In this workshop, Josh Rood discusses the relationship that we, as modern people have with the medieval and Iron Age Material which we call “The Lore”. He highlights and draws attention to the theological challenges that modern communities and people face, and opens a discussion on how we can overcome some of those challenges. Offering insight on the context of “The Lore” and some of the tools which we can use to draw deeper into that Lore and give it new life today, this workshop hopes to enrich our relationship as modern people with the ancient heritage that we draw religious inspiration from.

Elf-locks, Lúfa, and Witchelzopf: A Personal Reflection on Matted Hair Traditions and Heathenry (presented by Austin ‘Auz’ Lawrence)
Friday, 8/23 – 3:15pm-4:15pm
In this presentation, Auz will describe some methods for locking hair, then present some ethnographic and historical examples of hair locking traditions grounded in spirituality: Hindu; Rastafari; and, Plains First Nations. Auz will discuss two historical examples of hair locking in areas of Germanic cultural influence: that relate to oaths and warrior culture; and, to belief in elves (alfar, fairies).

Heathen Body, Heathen Mind: Towards an Embodied Approach to Heathen Ritual, Old and New (presented by Ristandi)
Friday, 8/23 – 4:30pm-5:30pm
Ór Ymis holdi var jörð um sköpuð – “Of Ymir’s flesh the Earth was made” (Vafthruthnismal)

“Religions operate on and consist of, make and are made by bodies.” (David Morgan)

Descriptions of Germanic ritual in Eddic Poetry, Saga Literature, collected Folklore and oral tradition abound with references to body parts, bodily senses, bodily fluids, and bodily experiences. In our sacred stories, bodies and their senses are everywhere. Inspired in part by rich conversations at last year’s ECT, this presentation explores important theoretical trends in Anthropology, Folklore, and Religious Studies that focus on the centrality of physical bodies in the ways we make meaning through religious practice. We’ll explore ways in which Embodied approaches shed new light on Heathen religious ritual (communal and individual) –both in the historical record, and in contemporary practice. Ultimately, we’ll arrive at a specific set of perspectives and perceptions that offer modern Heathens practical tools for understanding, recreating, and re-imagining their own religious practices (and those of their spiritual forebears) in light of the body and its senses.

The Lore and You (presented by Annie Cúglas Humphrey & Ann Gróa Sheffield)
Saturday, 8/24 – 9:00am-10:00am
Are you interested in reading the primary documents that make up the foundation of heathen scholarship, but feel intimidated by the process? No fear! If you have an internet connection you can access the same information as academics. This workshop will introduce you to the critical reading of medieval narratives. (Modern) English language sources for Icelandic texts will be emphasized, but information about Anglo-Saxon texts and learning Old Norse and Old English will be included as well.

What Your DNA Says and What It Doesn’t (presented by Stephen Ausband)
Saturday, 8/24 – 10:15am-11:15am
In this session we will review what popular home DNA tests are, how they work, and what they can and can not say about an individual’s ancestry. This will include a review of DNA, genes, how genetic markers are inherited, test limitations and review blood type, We will also discuss Y chromosome mutations as they relate to historical human migratory patterns.

Of Ættir and Álfar: A Re-interpretation of Elves (presented by Austin ‘Auz’ Lawrence)
Saturday, 8/24 – 11:30am-12:30pm
In this presentation, Auz makes a case for re-interpreting álfar as beings of equivalency to humans, not as either ‘supernatural’ or ‘ancestors’. His argument is based primarily on a structural analysis of cosmological references in the Prose Edda, a kinship analysis of likely álfar figures in the myths, and, ethnographic comparison of historical Old Norse and Sámi cultures. The theological implications include advancing the development of a sound theoretical groundwork for gandr-sorcery, and ‘racism-proofing’ Heathen world-views, amongst others.

The Solar Year Among Dievturi (Latvian/Baltic Reconstructionist Pagans) (presented by Andris Rūtiņš)
Saturday, 8/24 – 2:00pm-3:00pm
Dievturi, Latvian (Baltic) reconstructionst Pagans, base their practice on traditions still common among Latvians today augmented by rites documented in ethnographic, folkloric and historical sources. The calendar is built around the eight-spoked solar agricultural cycle and anchored by the two solstices. At summer solstice the sun is above the horizon for 18 hours in Latvia; at winter solstice, there are only 6 hours of sunlight. Solstices are liminal, when the veils between the parallel worlds of the living, the dead, and the spirits are thinnest and most readily traversed. Latvians hold onto their place in the universe with sympathetic magic, most often invoking the sun with fire, song, and dance. Winter celebrations are characterized by guising, in which masked mummers enact the eternal dance between dark and light while offering a vehicle for the shades to walk the earth again and bless it. Dievturi also celebrate birth, marriage and death.

ECT Information Sessions

Vés: Get to Know Them! (presented by Denise Bowen, et al.)
Friday, 8/23 – 2:00pm-3:00pm
The ECT Vé Committee presents a series of 10 minute introductions to some of the less well known Gods and Goddesses represented in our vé stead. This workshop is for people of all age groups.

ECT Main Blot Workshop (presented by Jósúa Hróðgeir Rood)
Saturday, 8/24 – 4:30pm-5:30pm
As in past years, this will just be to give everyone a heads up of what to expect in the rituals, and allow for people to volunteer to help, and to go over their roles. People have appreciated the opportunity to hear what is taking place in detail, and it allows us to not have to go over things at the actual ritual.

Roundtables/Open Discussions

“Auz’s Memes for Heathen Scenes” (presented by Austin ‘Auz’ Lawrence)
Thursday, 8/22 – 4:30pm-5:30pm
After Auz analyzed Stephen McNallen’s racist YouTube rhetoric as part of his doctoral research, he was reminded how important memes are in both reflecting and leading opinion in our social media world. He realized there were not enough inclusive Heathen memes. (Are there ever?!) So he started to write them himself and now he is addicted to the production of the dank jokes. Some of the memes are just for fun, some have obscure references, some are educational. This, not-exactly-a-workshop, will be mainly a slide show of a selection of the memes, where Auz and the audience will discuss the references in the memes and chat about any of the issues they raise regarding Heathen culture or religious belief. Bring your beverage of choice. Feel free to play around on your phone.

Roundtable: Communities, Groups, and Solitaries (facilitated by Ned Bates & Annie Cúglas Humphrey)
Saturday, 8/24 – 3:15pm-4:15pm

Information about the speakers is available here.