Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lightning Across the Plains 17 Days Away!

On Sept 23-25, 2011 heathen kindreds, families, and individuals from across the Midwest, Minnesota to Texas, Utah to Indiana, will gather near Kansas City for one of the largest heathen gatherings in the world this year. You are invited...and it is less than a month away!  We're asking as many people as possible to register by September 15th, so that we can buy the correct amount of food and supplies for the event.

Heathenry is about community, gathering as a people, shaking a man or woman's hand, looking them in the eye, hearing their voice, telling stories, getting to know each other. It is letting your kids play together. Letting your spouses get to know each other. Its about laughing at dumb jokes, and telling stories from your life. Its about mingling Wyrd...and taking the measure of another person, and finding them of worth.

There were 240 heathens at 2010's LATP, 70 of which were children. Our registration packet contains a schedule for the 2011 event, and details on food, workshops, Symbels, the Blot, what you'll need to bring, and everything else you could possibly want to know about the event...

Your registration fee includes all camping fees and dinner on Friday and Saturday night. Individual Registrations are $40 and Family Registrations are $60. There's an "Early Option" where you can arrive a day early on September 22nd. The "Early Option" is an additional $10 for Indivduals and $20 for Families. You can register with PayPal, a credit card, or by check. All of the information about how to register is here...

Kari Tauring will be performing at the event, and presenting several workshops. Hauk Heimsdallsman will also be performing. There will be workshops on heathen topics, traditional crafts, and even a singles meet-and-greet. There are religious events throughout the event, several fainings, a Folk Symbel on Friday night, and a High Symbel on Saturday night. We'll also have Viking Games for the adults, such as a hammer-toss, a tug-of-war, and steal-the-wench.

We have events, classes, and fun scheduled for your children throughout the event, including hikes, sword and hammer fighting lessons, storytelling, a class on the runes, craft projects, and a huge foam-weapon battle, complete with a Valkyrie that will remove "the fallen" from the field, and take them to either Vahalla or Freyja's Hall, where they will encounter refreshments befitting brave (kid) warriors. We will also play the very popular game, "Kill the Troll," which the kids just seem to absolutely love. Every child in attendance receives a free foam-covered weapon as part of their registration.

At Lightning Across the Plains 2011, we will also hold the 2nd Regional Midwest Thing. Chieftain, Gothar, and Elders from tribes across the region will gather to discuss on-going and future efforts to advance and support the growth of our Folkway here in the Midwest. All kindreds in attendance are invited to participate in the Chieftain, Gothar, and Elders meeting...and every heathen in attendance is welcome to attend the public meeting at Thing.

Volkshof Kindred, the Franks, Tyr's Helm Tribe, Winterhof Kindred, Hammer-Tree Hearth, Mjolnir Kindred, Fimbul Winter Kindred, Hridgar Kindred, Bifrost Way Kindred, Golden Shield Kindred, Sigruna Kindred, Bifrost Bridge Kindred, Frith Home, Wolf Tree Kindred, Wolves' Wod Kindred, Third Raven Kindred, Sacred Oak, and Jotun's Bane Kindred were some of the kindreds, hearths, and families represented at LATP 2010. There were heathens there from across the Heartland. Minnesota to Texas. Utah to Indiana. While this is a regional event focused on the Midwest, all good heathens are welcome to attend.

Help us spread the word. Tell other heathens about the event. Drag them with you if you need to. Let's make this gathering something our children talk about in their old age.  

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Gather the Folk" by Johnny Whitebread

Gather the Folk beneath Sol’s warm smile,
Merry the sound of our kin,
The glade’s open arms a welcome embrace
As the travelers trickle in,
Mothers and Fathers with children in tow,
The tents raise their hues to the sky,
The fire’s warm smell welcomes and beckons
And the sense of belonging runs high…

Gather the Folk on first day of the Thing,
Fellowship running throughout,
Faces not seen for nigh on a year
And newcomers welcomed with shout,
In Frith gather folk, free from all fear,
No weapons intrude in this glade,
Mute now they lay outside the Ve,
Battle axe, bludgeon and blade…

Gather the Folk in colourful garb,
This sea of hue leaps to the eye,
All eager to show the prize of the loom
And illustrious usage of dye,
Mead flows aplenty and toasts fill the air,
Gather the Folk in good cheer,
Spirits run high, horns hoisted to sky
All Folkishness culminates here…

Gather the Folk on day two of this Thing,
The morning horn rouses from bed,
The Folk all greet Sol, as he stands proud and tall,
Then engage in the breaking of bread,
Comes then a Blot to the one-handed God,
The fearless, the valiant, Hail Tyr,
Then our Chieftain speaks words which welcome us all
And oath-swearing time is now here…

Gather the Folk on the field of play,
Physical prowess is put to the test,
Warriors wrestle and show off their strength,
Each striving to prove they’re the best,
Board games are played in this lush, verdant glade,
Testing the skills of their minds,
Kinship abounds as the horn makes the rounds
In this, the greatest of times…

Gather the Folk after midday repast
To honour those death kept away,
Somber and strong the words to the dead
As their memory is honoured today,
But all is not gloom, despair and loss,
These feelings are swift in their passing,
Now gather the Folk ‘neath the largest of oaks
To witness two lovers hand-fasting…

Gather the Folk to throw a huge feast,
To honour the two now as one,
A sumbel, with boasting and bragging of course
And many a song being sung,
The spirit of Gebo flows through the air,
The couple are showered with goods,
And the sound of this night floats to starlight
And rolls like a wave through the woods…

Gather the Folk on day three of the Thing,
Again with a tribute to Sol,
Then we honour the Folk Mother, gone to the Gods,
Whose memory touches us all,
The rest of the day is whiled away
With contests of saga and song,
Gather the Folk to hear these words spoke
As oral tradition lives on…

Gather the Folk as Sol slips away,
The close of the Thing drawing nigh,
Invoking their Gods to bless the next year
As the Gothi lifts Hammer on high,
The energy fills the breadth of the glade,
It spills out into the night
Filling each man, each woman, each child
With a sense of ancestry and might…

Gather the Folk to feast one more time,
Slow-roasted pork fills their plates,
The sumbel ensues and promises fly,
Some humble, some daring, all great,
The night slips away towards the new day,
All eventually slip to their tents,
Glowing inside and filled with a pride
For time Holy and very well spent…

Gather the Folk on the fourth day of the Thing
Reluctant to wend their own ways,
The fires are doused and down come the tents,
The coloured garb all packed away,
Handshakes, embraces, tearful farewells,
At last the glade stands clear
Save for the trees that majestically wait
When Folk gather once more next year…

-Written by Johnny Whitebread


Lightning Across the Plains
September 23-25, 2011