Workshops & Classes 2018

We’re excited to announce that this year our Keynote Speaker will be Patricia Lafayllve, presenting “East Coast Thing: A History” in honor of the 20th anniversary of our event.

In addition, we have twelve other amazing workshop offerings from our community members.


Urd, Verdandi, Skuld: ECT Over 20 Years (presented by the Elders Committee)
Thursday, 8/23 – 11:30am-12:30pm
Dave Carron, Greg Fink, and Joe Marek will be presenting this course as a perspective from the elders about ECT’s past and future.


Intro to Spindle Spinning (presented by Jo McKee-Spinks)
Thursday, 8/23 – 2:00pm-3:00pm
In this class you will learn how to take prepared fiber, sheeps wool, and make it into a yarn. We will discuss why this was an important skill for our ancestors to have, as well as some lore surrounding spinning. I will show you the basics of spindle spinning; how to draft the fiber, add twist, wind the cop, and how to ply thread to make a finished yarn.

Materials for this class will be provided, but will be available to purchase.


Heathen Motherhood in Theory and Practice (presented by Annie Cúglas Humphrey)
Thursday, 8/23 – 3:15pm-4:15pm
Historically, definitions of womanhood centred around motherhood. Gender essentialism is thankfully eroding in today’s inclusive heathenry, yet the assumptions of motherhood persist even in the most progressive communities. Heathen women who are in- or sub-fertile, non-binary people and transgender women, and women who choose not to bear children frequently suffer from indirect but pervasive pressure to become mothers. Those who become pregnant or adopt then encounter the ‘mommy track’ of heathenry, where their identity becomes sidelined by the functions of motherhood. Heathen women become mothers instead of their former selves, while heathen men become fathers in addition to their prior roles. Many female saga figures, like Auðr djúpúðga and Freydís Eiríksdóttir, and goddesses, like Skaði and Freyja, are mothers; yet they function with few ‘domestic’ attributes. Meanwhile, heathenry is not alone in facing issues about maternal identity, as much modern secular scholarship concerns motherhood and its implications. As inclusive heathens interested in bettering everyone’s access to the gods, we must consider how heathen mothers, and women who are not mothers, are best served by the community.


FUTHARK: An Introduction to the 1st Six (presented by Mike Smith)
Thursday, 8/23 – 4:30pm-5:30pm
In this workshop, presented by Mike Smith (Úlfar aff Jera Þjóð), an introduction into the first six runes of the Elder/Younger Futhark will be presented. Question and answers will follow, time permitting.


Ascending the Steps of Hliðskjálf: The Early Cult of Óðinn and What We Can Learn from It (presented by Jósúa Hróðgeir Rood)
Friday, 8/24 – 10:15am-11:15am
Odin is commonly portrayed as the Sovereign ruler of gods and men. This portrayal has shaped how modern Asatruar relate to him. But it is natural to ask how Odin developed into the ruling, “Allfather” that we are presented with. Josh Rood will shed light on this process, arguing when, where and how Odin first began to be associated with sovereignty, what roles his cult may have played for those who worshiped him, and offering us a glimpse of Odin prior to his becoming “Allfather”. The presentation will end with a discussion of how Asatruar can apply this information to our own relationship with not only Odin, but the ancient Heathenism from which the inspiration for our own living religion is derived.


Mountain Mysteries: Germanic Folk Magic in Latter-day Appalachia (presented by Ristandi)
Friday, 8/24 – 11:30am-12:30am
This workshop explores what modern Heathens can and should know about contemporary traditions of Appalachian folk magical practice. While these traditions have long thought to be largely if not exclusively comprised of survivals of Irish and Scottish folk belief, in this workshop we follow the scholarship of Gerald Milnes and others who have done much to explore the specifically Germanic roots of this thriving and robust body of belief and practice. Includes a partial screening of Milnes’ documentary “Signs, Cures, and Witchery.”


Ve Keepers’ Round Table/Panel: Discussing Creation and Maintenance of Sacred Space (presented by Denise Bowen)
Friday, 8/24 – 2:00pm-3:00pm
Participating ECT Ve Keepers will share their thoughts and feelings on sacred space, their ves in particular, and ves in general. Some topics covered may be: liminal spaces and items, public vs private sacred space, the role of ves in our community, service to the community and Gods, and facilitating public rituals. There will be time for questions from attendees.

Panelists: Ve Committee members


Migratory Legends of the Supernatural and Contemporary Practice (presented by Gregory Darwin)
Friday, 8/24 – 3:15pm-4:15pm
This workshop explores oral folk narratives of the legend genre, especially the so-called ‘migratory legends’ found throughout the Norse and Gaelic cultural and linguistic spheres. These legends are characterized by an emphasis on the otherworldly and the dramatic, and populated by beings familiar to readers of the Icelandic sagas, such as trolls, witches, elves, and the dead. Scholarly attention to the legend genre emphasizes the strong connection between these stories and popular belief, and the ways in which legends provide instruction for appropriate conduct with both human and non-human society. We will begin by discussing the circumstances of collecting and recording folklore in continental Scandinavia, Iceland, Scotland, and Ireland, before discussing several individual migratory legends of the supernatural, and turning to an open discussion of their relevance to contemporary heathens: how they can help reconstruct older world-views, and how they might influence our own contemporary practice.


What to Do with Loki?: Tricksters, Polytheism, and the Rise of a Controversial Modern Cult (presented by Ned Bates)
Friday, 8/24 – 4:30pm-5:30pm
Perceptions of the figure of Loki are as diverse and contradictory as the nature of this personage himself. Even as scholars have tried to grapple with the meaning and function of Loki among ancient heathens, modern heathenry has has struggled to define a place for him in contemporary thought and practice. This class will take place in two parts. A presentation of pertinent issues and evidence surrounding Loki will be presented first, establishing a context for a following open discussion about Loki’s nature and role in modern practice. We will not settle “the problem of Loki” as DeVries termed it many years ago, but hopefully we can broaden, or at least complicate, everyone’s perspective on Laufey’s (in)famous son.


The Potion With the Poison, the Brew That is True (presented by Ann “Gróa” Sheffield)
Saturday, 8/25 – 10:15am-11:15am
With few exceptions, drinks with ‘magical’ properties – draughts of forgetfulness and memory-enhancement, poisoned drinks, ‘love potions’ – in Old Norse literature are produced and deployed by female characters. Even in situations that are more ambiguous, a woman’s involvement is often stated or implied. Scholarly analysis of the role of such magically potent liquids, however, has generally emphasised the myth of the mead of poetry, its connection with the god Óðinn, and its significance to the (primarily male) skalds who so often refer to it. In this presentation, I will focus instead on literary representations of women as brewers and bestowers of drinks of power in Eddic poetry, the Sagas of Icelanders, the fornaldarsögur, and other medieval Scandinavian texts and draw some tentative conclusions about women’s connection with “drinks of power.”


Rhythm, Music, and Dance in Ritual (presented by Mike Smith)
Saturday, 8/25 – 11:30am-12:30am
This discussion and presentation will be about dance and rhythm of a ritual context in past and modern Ásatrú. Examples in archeology and literature will be examined and discussed.


Blot Mechanics and ECT Main Blot Workshop (presented by Jósúa Hróðgeir Rood)
Saturday, 8/25 – 3:15pm-4:15pm
This is a two-part workshop. First, Josh will discuss some aspects of blot, with the intent of helping people with designing and running blots. Second, Josh will give a brief overview of the Main Ritual for this year’s ECT. ECT is a coming together of various groups with our own way of doing things, so we hope that by presenting a basic description of the event, participants can know what to expect, and can understand the implications behind the ritual actions, and symbols. Our goal is to allow for everyone participating to feel comfortable and enjoy the ritual to its fullest.

*Note: The workshop is mandatory for those who are playing a designated role in the main blot, and a meeting will follow the workshop.


East Coast Thing: A History (presented by Patricia Lafayllve)
Saturday, 8/25 – 4:30pm-5:30pm
This year celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the East Coast Thing. Patricia Lafayllve discusses the Thing, its creation, and its modern form using anecdotes, interviews, and other experiences from both short-and long-term attendees. We will take a look at East Coast Thing, see where it comes from, and take a look at the many threads that make up its story.


Information about the speakers is available here.