Workshops & Classes 2017

Returning to Yggdrasil’s Roots: Cosmology, Reconstruction, and the “World Tree” – Ned Bates

The nine worlds in the tree are well known among modern heathens and dutifully listed and diagrammed in every Asatru 101 book. But did our ancestors conceive of Yggdrasil in the same way as we do? A close reading of the lore and contemporary research in archaeology and literature reveal significant differences between ancient cosmologies and modern interpretations of them. In this presentation we will take a fresh and more informed look at Yggdrasil and heathen cosmology to try to bring ourselves closer to our ancestors’ understandings of their world.


New Wounds, Old Weapons – Stephen Ausband

In this session we will review modern case reports and descriptions of injuries sustained by patients from swords, spears, axes and hammers and discuss the potential ramifications and treatment of such injuries both in an historical and modern context.


The Blood Eagle: It didn’t happen that way – Stephen Ausband

The “blood eagle” was a supposed form of torture and execution, often described in lurid detail. It is, however, physiologically impossible that the “blood eagle” would result in the manner of death as is often described. In this session we will briefly review several historical sources of this procedure then attempt to replicate the process as described on preserved fetal pig specimens while discussing relevant anatomy and physiology.   

Hafa þat Feoh and Heald þat Feoh: Poetics and Power in Old and New World Germanic Charming Traditions – Ristandi


Mead from an Eagle – Eirik Westcoat


Urban Nature – Paul “Gage” Mercurio

In 2014, the UN documented that over half the people on this planet live in urban areas.  Our world-affirming faith focuses on nature and connecting with the landvaettir. Yet for most of us, we do not live in untouched natural areas. How can we connect with the built environment in addition to the natural one? What analogs to natural features can be found in urban environments? What does community mean when does not know one’s neighbors? And what do the terms “urban” or “natural” even mean? Utilizing concepts from environmental psychology, economic geography and landscape architecture, we will train ourselves to see natural connections is some of the most built up places. The ultimate aspiration of this workshop is to have people feel as connected with nature in Times Square as in the Adirondacks. Paul Gage Mercurio 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.


Vikings in Context: The World in 1000 -Annie Cúglas Humphrey  

The Norse emerged from their Scandinavian homeland to raid, trade with, and settle Europe, Byzantium, Greenland, and beyond. But what was the wider world that they encountered? What trade routes were already flourishing, and how did the Vikings contribute to world trade? How did a silver Buddha end up in the Swedish trading town of Birka? This is an introduction to the civilizations that were contemporary with the Viking Age, from Song Dynasty China to the Abbasid Caliphate to Paleo-Eskimo Dorset culture, and how the Norse interacted with and perceived these foreign peoples. 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.


Successful Characteristics of Long-lived Kindreds: a facilitated discussion – Burt Johns, et al.

Group organizations are aligned in many different ways. Successful / long lived kindreds share certain key characteristics. What are these characteristics? What do you think has contributed to your Kindreds success? What advice would you like to pass on to other people who might either be new to Heathenry or who are thinking about starting a Kindred? 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).


Heathen Ritual Mechanics – Josh Rood


The Future of Heathenry: Passing the Torch – Rev. Caryn MacLuan

How are we working to ensure the continuation of heathen worship and practice in the next and following generations? We will look at some of the ways this was done in ancient times, how the things that were taught were involved with small rites of passage through different ages and any patterns that emerge and then discuss what we can do in home, kindred, and festival settings.


Pomona’s Lost Children: A Book of Antique Fruits – Jay Stratton

This cookbook and farm memoir profiles a dozen antique fruits and is dedicated to idunna. Quince, currant, gooseberry, pawpaw… recipes and lore 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 of western New York and much of the lore and many of the recipes in this book have a heavy Scandinavian influence.