PVC Bows and Archery Dodge-ball

This is a guest post by Gypsy Birch about a project he is working on for Raven’s Knoll.

How It Started

A couple of months ago, sometime around mid-February, I was visiting Auz (Austin Lawrence) and the topic of archery came up. He mentioned to me that he and a few others had recently tried to make a bow out of PVC pipe. Due to circumstances, they had been unsuccessful. Personally, I found the idea of a bow constructed of PVC pipe to be rather ludicrous. A bow made from materials that weren’t naturally occurring? Of course, a moment of introspection had me realize my notion was flawed. My own hunting bow is made of composite materials, and my arrows are aluminum. I had no reason to feel so negatively about what I assumed would be a crude piece of work.

Undeterred by my hesitation, Auz had me sit and watch an online tutorial for making these bows. The video was straightforward with simple, easy-to-follow instructions. After seeing how plausible they would be to make, and how functional they really were, I decided that perhaps I would give these bows a shot. Auz still had his supplies from his recent attempt, and sent them home with me to get started. In retrospect, I believe that this had been his plan all along: get me interested in making PVC bows, and rather than risk that I not follow through, he put the supplies directly in my hands so that I had no excuse. The fact that I am writing this right now is testament to his successful efforts.

One of the ideas that Auz and I discussed was a game that would essentially be archery dodge-ball. Put simply, people in a field shooting padded arrows at each other. This was my primary driving force behind making an assortment of PVC bows. Make enough bows for two teams of players, get some foam safety arrows, and play some games. Masks would be purchased from an outside source. The entire concept, still in its infancy, was entirely dependent on my success or failure at making the bows, and I got started right away.

I struggled, at first, at not only making the bows, but understanding the entire process. I watched and re-watched the videos to make sure I had everything right, but my failing was patience. Waiting until the PVC was heated through to a properly pliable state took too long for my short attention span. Understanding that this was the issue, I decided to pair my bow making with watching old episodes of Star Trek. This proved to be a very wise idea.

Applying the heat gun to the PVC to soften it.

Applying the heat gun to the PVC to soften it.

Tillering a bow in the workshop.

Tillering a bow in the workshop.

After a few weeks of off-and-on attempts, I had created my first two bows. They were very simple, with slightly recurved limbs, and while they were functional, they were not nearly flattened enough to be of proper use, and I was using a crude rig of polypropylene rope as a bowstring. I showed my work to Auz, and his delight in seeing functional PVC bows was quite infectious. We set off to the hardware store and procured all the supplies needed to keep making more. For reference, a standard length of PVC pipe is 10′ long, and we cut ours in half to make two 5′ bows. In terms of diameter, 3/4” pipe was the way to go; I tried using some 1” pipe, but the amount of time needed to heat it entirely through was frustrating. Plus, that additional 1/4” made the bows significantly more powerful, beyond anything that I was looking to make for this project. One of the most important factors in making these bows was ensuring that they were not too powerful for shooting safety arrows.

Six bows on the right are ready-to-play, aside from needing handle wraps and some cosmetic works. Two smaller ones in the middle are for kids. The small compound (which, of course, I did not make), is a youth bow with low enough draw strength that I feel safe using it in archery games. Three large ones on the left were some of my first attempts, and while they work, the bowstring length and the flexibility of the pipe are far from ideal. Small one on the farthest left is not even close to flattened enough, and the small size of the limbs means that it is stupidly powerful.

Six bows on the right are ready-to-play, aside from needing handle wraps and some cosmetic works.
Two smaller ones in the middle are for kids. The small compound (which, of course, I did not make), is a youth bow with low enough draw strength that I feel safe using it in archery games. Three large ones on the left were some of my first attempts, and while they work, the bowstring length and the flexibility of the pipe are far from ideal. Small one on the farthest left is not even close to flattened enough, and the small size of the limbs means that it is stupidly powerful.

As I worked on this project, the weather had begun to turn towards the warmer side, even if only slightly. This allowed me to begin constructing the bows outside in the garage, providing me with the proper work space needed. I was becoming significantly more successful with creating higher-quality PVC bows, but the problem still remained that I did not have anything resembling a quality bowstring. So, back to the online tutorials. I looked at the two most common methods of making a bowstring, and was really hoping that I could pull off making a “Flemish twist” string. I can’t. Laziness is a factor in this inability.

Close look at the grip for the faux-wood bow. Same as the bowstrings, I am making the grips with no knots.

Close look at the grip for the faux-wood bow. Same as the bowstrings, I am making the grips with no knots.

I moved on to the other style, the “endless loop”. I was very hesitant to learn that nowhere on the bowstring is there a knot. Of course, this makes sense, because typically a knot will reduce a string’s strength significantly, and having weak points on a bowstring is a bad idea. It turns out that a combination of twists and wax keeps everything quite solidly in place. Beeswax, one of the suggested waxes, was not too hard to come by, but I also picked up a stick of actual bowstring wax to get started. For the actual string, I used 50-lb braided fishing line. As per some of the tutorials, this was a suggested alternative to professional bowstring material, and much easier for me to come by. The last item for this was some basic cotton string to hold it all together, not much bigger than basic thread.

This is my string-making rig. It sits across my lap while I watch movies and TV, casually making bowstrings. The dealy sitting on the plank is a beeswax candle. Random amusing note: This piece of wood used to be part of a ping-pong table, other parts of which were used to make the wheels on a the cart used to carry Nerthus at the Procession of Nerthus ritual.

This is my string-making rig. It sits across my lap while I watch movies and TV, casually making bowstrings. The dealy sitting on the plank is a beeswax candle.
Random amusing note: This piece of wood used to be part of a ping-pong table, other parts of which were used to make the wheels on a the cart used to carry Nerthus at the Procession of Nerthus ritual.

Suffice it to say, working with waxed, tightened strings can be very painful on the fingertips, especially when constant pressure is required.  I will say with some measure of pride that I think I might actually have a talent for making bowstrings, as this was the most immediately successful of all my undertakings related to this project.

A nicely wound string.

A nicely wound string.

Bows and bowstrings made and ready, the last step for me was the acquisition of arrows. I priced out LARP safety arrows online and spoke with the organizers of the local LARP, and while the options were not quite as expensive as I had feared, they were still pricey enough to make a large-scale purchase rather daunting.

Fortunately, just as online tutorials provided me with instruction on bow-making, I was able to find numerous sites that showed how to make safety arrows using regular arrows. Completely remove the arrow’s point, permanently secure a piece of flat metal (pennies were often recommended) across the end of the shaft, and use a combination of open-cell foam, soft-cell foam, and copious amounts of duct tape, hot glue, and superglue to seal it all together. In my case, I elected to use a screw and washer at the end of the arrow. The screws were able to thread into the shaft of the bow where a typical point would screw in, which gave the washer additional security beyond just glue.

The primary point of contention among the instruction sites was the material that the arrows should be made of. Some said only fibreglass or carbon fibre, some said only wood, and some said only aluminum. While each of the sites gave some reasoning as to why they felt their material of choice was the safest, my personal experience is that aluminum shafts would provide the most safety. Fibreglass will split over time and leave painful, invisible splinters. Wood arrows have too much potential to snap and create sharp points, especially if accidentally stepped on. With people running through the playing area, this would be a risk. I have personally (accidentally) shot an aluminum arrow at a cinder block from less than twenty feet away with my compound hunting bow. The result was that the end of the arrow shaft was nearly crumpled, having bent at an unfixable angle. No sharp exposed points and no splinters. For this reason, I settled on aluminum arrows.

Despite the cost-saving methods I had devised, I still had the issue of finding the core components of the arrows. For the price of a new aluminum arrow, it would have been just as worth buying the pre-made LARP arrows. My best bet was to find someone I knew who might have a few extra arrows sitting around. After contacting a few people, I managed to find someone willing to trade fifty used aluminum arrows for the price of one of my highly-coveted thrift shop finds, to which I agreed. The arrows had all their points removed (which was, in fact, ideal), and were missing a few fletchings, but they were straight and ready to be worked on. Once I got them in hand, I began to try my hand at the safety arrows.

A montage of the arrows being constructed.

A montage of the arrows being constructed.

With the exception of my first attempts, the arrows were also made in the garage, on the same table that I make the bows. The arrows did not require standing still with a heat gun, for which I was very thankful, and I was able to make safety tips that I was personally comfortable getting struck with. I have taken the bows and arrows with me when visiting people, and I have personally been hit in the right butt-cheek with one of my arrows, and have struck others square in the belly. Regrettably, my poor aim is to blame for accidentally hitting the funny bone in my wife’s arm (the padding minimized the tingling sensation). I can land four padded arrows within a four-foot radius from thirty-five paces away, but I can’t hit between the shoulders from seven paces. Regardless, I was confident in the safety of my arrow design.

Now that most of the supplies were ready, it was time to decide on how the game was going to be played. While there are multiple variants that will be tried over time, the next section will detail the core game setup and rules that we will start playing with.

The Game

Of the utmost importance to all aspects of the game is safety. Any equipment that shows signs of excessive wear or any damage will be immediately removed from game-play. Players must be over 18 or have signed permission from their legal guardian.

Protective face equipment is to be worn at all times when playing. While every effort has been made to ensure the full safety of the bows and arrows, face-masks are required. Masks designed for Paintball or Airsoft games are acceptable. Some masks will be provided, but supply is limited. If participants are able to bring their own, it would allow for more players on the field.

The game variant we will start playing with will be more akin to dodge-ball than the individually-focused game of tag, with the playing area set up in an open field. Teams will be split evenly (ideally by skill level), and each team will be assigned half of a large, rectangular playing area. In the middle of this space, bisecting the rectangle and separating the teams, will be an area somewhere between ten to twenty feet across (dimensions to be determined). This space is considered a “No-Man’s Land” or “Neutral Zone” in which players are not allowed to enter (except in certain cases, as to be explained). The purpose of the space is to ensure that no arrows are fired from very close range.

The exception to entering the safe zone is to retrieve arrows. Any player entering this space is to leave their bow behind. These players are also not eligible targets for the opposing team.

Once the game starts, players will shoot safety arrows at their opponents. A hit anywhere on the body aside from the head counts as a hit and the player is “out”. Any out player must immediately leave the playing area. An arrow striking a player’s bow does not count as a hit. This also leads to the rule of not using heads or bows as a shield. Furthermore, players are not allowed to catch airborne arrows. If an arrow bounces up off the ground and makes contact with a player, it does not count as a hit.

When a player is out, they are allowed to remain around the outside border of their team’s playing area to retrieve arrows for the players still active.

While it is desired to have referees present at each game, this may not always be feasible. The Honour System will be in effect. Any player found to be cheating will have to leave the game.

That is the core game to start. Future variations may include players being armed with safety/boffo swords for close-quarters combat, or some players being in an unarmed “Monarch” role that their teammates must protect.

Aside from the bows and arrows themselves, the following is a list of equipment:


  • Mask


  • Thick shirt
  • Running shoes
  • Gloves
  • Arm guard (or form-fitting long sleeves)

Well, there it is. Archery dodgeball will be at Raven’s Knoll sometime this year. For those that are interested, I will be posting a series of photos detailing how I made the safety arrows.

I won’t be posting a step-by-step process of the bow-making; check out the Backyard Bowyer’s Youtube video for that. I followed his process for the making of basic PVC bows. His videos are very simple and straightforward with easy-to-follow instructions. He has a number of bow-making projects that I may someday feel experienced enough to try.

I also recommend this guy, Tim Piatek. He does PVC projects beyond just bows, and tends to lean a lot more towards the artistic side of bow-making and painting.


Raven’s Knoll Work Weekends 2015

Raven’s Knoll is a collective labour of love and a gift we give each other.  The Knoll is a physical place that provides a special place that is a home for a number of Pagan and Heathen. It only exists because of volunteer effort.  There are six work weekends schedule this year.

The Stewards (Auz and MA) and the Groundskeepers (Brendan the Handy, Lugh Sulian, Gypsy Birch) of Raven’s Knoll host Work Weekends where people volunteer to help contribute to the upkeep of Raven’s Knoll or assist with any number of Knoll projects.  Any skill level or aptitude is appreciated and welcome.

Camping on work weekends is free for the people volunteering.  If you have a friend or partner along, who does not volunteer they can feel free to camp at the regular rate.  They can still join in on the meal program and socialize around the fire at night, too.  All parents of teens and teens take note: we sign for high school co-op and volunteer hours. We are also pleased to act as references for teens, should you wish it.


Usual Schedule

Most people arrive on Friday evenings. Others may do a day trips rather than stay the whole weekend. It is recommended you stay for as long as you can on the weekend, in order to be able to socialize and learn from other volunteers.  It is amazing what fun and learning can be had on a “work” weekend!  There is almost always some ritual or activity to attend on the Saturday; be it a movie night in the Rookery, card games, mini-Bardic around the campfire, horseshoes, archery or axe throwing.  (Some volunteers may be asked to take on the planning of these events.)


5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Folk arrive and set-up their campsites

5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – Early arrivers and hosts get a few jobs prepared for Saturday (collecting tools and the like); Kitchen witches prep for Saturday meals

9:30 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Socializing around a communal campfire


8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. – Breakfast

9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. – Discussion of day’s tasks; division and assignment of work

9:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. – Working on tasks

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Lunch

1:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. – Update on tasks; re-assignment of tasks

1:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Working on tasks

4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Clean-up for Dinner; while some prepare a few jobs for Sunday

5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – Dinner

6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. – Free time; and most work weekends, a ritual or scheduled activity

8:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. – Socializing around a communal campfire


9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – Breakfast

10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. – Discussion of day’s tasks; division and assignment of work

10:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Working on tasks

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Lunch

2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. onwards – Working on tasks

3:30 p.m. onwards – Some people continue a few tasks and clean-up; others break camp and return home


Meal Program

We offer an optional meal program run by our volunteers for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sundays. The cost is $6 for breakfast, $6 for lunch, $10 for dinner, or $30 for the entire weekend, prices include HST. Children under 12 who are with a volunteer will eat free.

Unless there is an event at the same time, all meals will be at the Rookery. If you do not wish to join the meal plan, you are welcome to bring your own food and join us. We will be having some type of short blessing or toast before every meal. (Don’t forget that we need volunteers in the kitchen to clean, cook, deliver and prepare.)

On a typical menu you can expect the following.  The only major variation will be on the Saturday dinner, the option which will be announced in advance.

Coffee and tea are always freely available.  (Soda pop is available for purchase from the Y.A.G.)

Saturday Breakfast

Steel Cut Oatmeal

Corn Flakes


Orange Juice

Bananas and/or Banana Bread

Brown Sugar

Saturday Lunch

Crudité Vegetables (carrots, celery, sweet peppers, etc.)

Vegan Dip (like hummus)

Dairy-based Dip (like tzatziki)

Sandwich Bar (bread with gluten-free option, meat, cheese, condiments)

Iced Tea and/or Switchel

Saturday Dinner

Two crock pot options (meat or vegan) with starch accompaniment (with a gluten-free option)


Meat Chili or Vegan Chili with Cornbread

Jerk Chicken Gumbo or African Peas over Yellow Rice

BBQ Meatballs or Greens with Tofu over White Rice

Pirate Pork Coconut Curry or Chana Masala (chickpea curry) over White Rice

Beef Stew and Colcannon (mashed potatoes, onions, cabbage/kale)

Hot Sauce

Iced Tea and/or Switchel

Cookies and/or Squares (vegan, with gluten-free option)

Sunday Breakfast

Scrambled Eggs


Baked Beans (vegan version)

Toasted Bread (Brown Wheat and Gluten-Free)

Orange Juice

Sunday Lunch

Crudité Vegetables (carrots, celery, sweet peppers, etc.)

Vegan Dip (like hummus)

Dairy-based Dip (like tzatziki)

Grilled Burgers (buns with gluten-free option, beef burger, vegan burger, American cheese, condiments)

Iced Tea and/or Switchel


What to Bring

  • “Ditty bag” a mesh bag containing bowl, plate, cup, utensils
  • Travel coffee mug
  • Travel water bottle
  • Towels (for shower and swimming)
  • Sunscreen, bug spray, toiletries, medicines
  • A hat and/or sunglasses
  • Protective work equipment, such as work gloves, boots, hearing and/or eye protection
  • Bedding
  • Tent (if not indoors)
  • Beverages
  • Musical instruments (if you play)
  • Special equipment related to the special activity of the weekend


Electricity for medical equipment

On work weekends, electricity if fee for medical devices, such as powering CPAP machines or recharging power chairs. Other electricity usage can be purchased at the regular Raven’s Knoll rates.


Indoor Accommodations

Indoor accommodation in the Nest (the dormitory-style cabin) or trailers is available, especially for early work weekends!  There are a limited number of spaces.  Please contact MA at ravensknoll@rogers.com to secure your spot. (Please be 100% sure you will be attending, before booking a space.) These spaces are sheltered, but are not heated. Pack accordingly.


Children, Non-Working Partners, Physical Ability, Pets

Children are welcome to attend. Depending on the ages and numbers, a child wrangler may be available from among the volunteers. (Children under 12 who are only attending with volunteers eat for free on the meal program.) For those with small children or babes in arms, as well as those with physical limitations, we will happily find work that is suitable for your needs. Pets are also welcome, but they must be on-leash. In addition, please be sure your pet has shade, water and food, and is not left to bark.



Coordination is done through the Raven’s Knoll Work Weekends Facebook page. Scheduled work weekends are listed as “events” on that page.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact MA or Auz on Facebook or write us an e-mail (ravensknoll@rogers.com).


LebowskiCampFest – “Art is Strongly Vaginal”

My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal

Which bothers some men. 

The word itself makes some men uncomfortable.

- Maude


We have heard the Word, and it is “Abide.” The Raven’s Knoll congregation of the Church of the Latter-Day Dude and the Lost Dominion Screening Collective are holding our second annual tent revival to learn from, and apply, the teachings of the Dude. This fest is a camp out where we commune with the wisdom of the movie the Big Lebowski.

The theme this year is “Art is Strongly Vaginal.”

Date: August 7 to 9, 2015

Dress: Your best attempt at costumes from the movie, bathrobes, what have you.

Cost: $45 for an adult, includes camping. Kids only pay the regular Raven’s Knoll camping rate. (Pre-registration opens in May.)

Listed below you will find our draft program for this year’s event.  As you can see it is highly participative. It’s a complicated program.  Lotta ins.  Lotta outs.  And a lotta strands to keep in your head, man.  Lotta strands in an old Achiever’s — And, below the program, is the menu for the Ralph’s Place (the on-site) chip truck.  Open for your convenience, so you will not have to cook for yourself the entire camping weekend.


Friday, August 7, 2015

6:00 p.m.

Throwing of the Ringer

Hosts: Rev. Shane and Gypsy the Apostate

Location: Raven Stage

“Take the Ringer. I’ll drive.”


8:00 p.m.

Jackie Treehorn Presents:

A Johnson Sketching Contest


Telestrations Tournament

Hosts: Rev. Auz and Gypsy the Apostate

Location: Rookery

“Wave of the future, Dude. 100% Electronic.”


9:30 p.m.

Nighttime Bowling

Hosts: Rev. Shane and Gypsy the Apostate

Location: Raven Stage

“Let’s go bowling.”

Night bowl

11:00 p.m.

Whale Song Contemplation

Host: Rev. Courtney

Location: Beach

“I am the Walrus.”


Saturday, August 8, 2015 

10:00 a.m.

Yoga Challenge

Hosts: Rev. Earthsong, Rev. Brynn and Rev. Dood

Location: Rookery Grove

“Hey, careful man. There’s a beverage here.”

Yoga Challenge

12:30 p.m.

Cowboy Bowling

with Bluegrass DJ

Host: Gypsy the Apostate, with DJ Doc Abider

Location: Horseshoe Pits

“Got a whole cowboy thing goin’.”


2:00 p.m.

Maudeist Aerial Painting

Host: Rev. Auz

Location: Rookery Grove

“My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal.”

Original Art Maude Painting

(To purchase this great print, visit the artist.)

3:30 p.m.

Greek Chorus Interpretive Dance

with Dudesong Readings

Host: Rev. Wolfsong and Rev. Auz

Location: Raven Stage

“Dude, I finally got the venue I wanted.”

Marty Dancing

5:00 p.m.

Costume Contest

Host: Gypsy the Apostate

Location: Dude Shrine

“You don’t go out and make a living dressed like that.”

Dude Shrine

7:00 p.m.

Sacramental White Russian Mixing Contest

Host: Gypsy the Apostate

Location: Rookery

“Another Caucasian, Gary.”


8:30 p.m.

Baby! LoveYour Body!” (Short Film)

The Big Lebowski” (Feature Film)

Hosts: Church of the Lost Dominion Screening Collective

Location: Raven Stage

“A way out West there was a fella. Fella I want to tell you about. Fella by the name of Jeff Lebowski.”

The Big Lebowski Movie Poster

10:30 p.m.

An Achiever Trivia Contest

Host: Rev. Brynn and Rev. Dood

Location: Raven Stage

“Is this your homework, Larry?!”

Larry's Homework

Sunday, August 9, 2015

12:00 p.m.

Mass Dudeist Ordination

Hosts: Rev. Auz and Rev. Shane

Location: Dude Shrine

“Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”


1:00 p.m.

Scattering of the Cremains

Host: Rev. Brynn

Location: Beach

“In your wisdom, you took him Lord.”


Ralph’s Place 


Friday: 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Sunday: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.



Coffee & Tea

“Make sure to stay and finish it. It is your right.”

A Selection of Non-oat Sodas

“To wet your whistle when tellin’ tall tales.”

Non-alcoholic White Russian

“For the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers.”


Instant Oatmeal


Waffles (Regular, Lingonberry, Honey, Chocolate)

The Big Johnson Breakfast

“When you need that extra big sausage for a day of logjammin’.”


Fries or Rings


Bunny Chow

“Wonderful woman. Very free-spirited. We’re all very fond of her.”

(“Bunny Chow” is a South African curry in a bread bowl. No bunnies are harmed.)

Stranger Cowboy Chili

“Too thick for a moustache to strain.”

Vaginal Strawberries and Cream

“Luscious, moist, red fruit makes some men uncomfortable. Strawberry.”

(Please note that Ralph’s does not accept post-dated cheques. All cream is fresh.)

Van & Kettle 2015

Van & Kettle is a weekend event at Raven’s Knoll for the present-day exploration of Victorian traveler caravans, cooking, and culture.

Date: June 12 to 14, 2015

Cost: $45 per adult (tax incl.), regular camping fees for children. (Price includes samples provided by the cooking workshop. Pre-registration will open in May.)

Dress: Comfortable camping clothes, Tinkers rags, Gentleman’s and Lady’s hunting tweed, Steampunk garb, &etc. (Canes, bustles and top hats are acceptable recommended.)

The main crowd will be camping around the Keystone Firepit, where all of the workshops will be held.

What follows is the draft planned agenda, which may change somewhat depending on who shows up at camp that weekend.  We Travelers are a flexible bunch of folk.  For more information or to contribute to any of these activities, check out the Facebook group.

Old Style Vans


9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

‘Round the Yag: In the old language, “yag” means fire. And, in the old language, stories were passed on through the spoken word, not the written one. We will gather in the flickering firelight and entertain each other with songs and stories about ourselves, about our friends, and about the great and wonderful world in which we live (significant exaggeration is acceptable). This will not be a judged event, but rather a gathering in which we come together and grow as a community through the storytelling tradition. If you are a musician, bring your instrument, because even if you do not intend to present as part of the event, other presenters may welcome your assistance.

If you wish to tell a story but are not familiar with any tales that you feel are appropriate, here is a suitable resource: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/roma/gft/

10:00 p.m.

Tarot Card Reading: When travelling the road, being prepared was always an important part of life. Having guidance in what might be encountered, be it spiritual or physical, was a welcome tool for survival. Just as was done in the past, today you can come and visit a soothsayer, an oracular prognosticator of the feasibly imminent, and have your cards read. Please note that terrifying readings are not grounds for a weekend fee refund.

The Fool


9:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Caravan Lore: A brief introduction and discussion of the English lore regarding Traveler caravans. (Feel free to read ahead like a toff by taking a look at the book “The English Gypsy Caravan.”)

The classic wooden caravan was first created in the first half of the 1800s in Britain for “showmen” (what we call today “carnies”), they later became used by itinerant trades people, through them to Scottish and Irish travellers (many of whom were “tinkers”), and then was popularized amongst the Roma of the United Kingdom (i.e., Romanichel, Kale, etc.) just after the turn of the 1900s. The Victorian public began to call all these people “gypsies,” even though not all of them were ethnically so. The name stuck for the ‘vans they used and their related lifestyles and cultures. They stopped being used in reverse order, the first to stop using the English gypsy caravan were the showmen and the last to stop using them were the ethnic Roma (by the 1960s). – Professor Aldridge Von Belgrave II, esq.

10:15 a.m. to Tea (6:00 p.m.)

Hands on Caravan Construction and Painting: We will tour around the various caravan builds and renovations that are on site at Raven’s Knoll.  There will also be the opportunity to work on each other’s caravan projects or one of the Knoll projects, regardless of if they are in the preliminary design phase or not.  Some of us are rank amateurs and some are more experienced. No worries, pal. We will learn from each other.

Vardo Painting

1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Bartitsu, Fisticuffs, and Tomfoolery: Physical culture has always been important, and at this self-defence workshop we will be playing at the mixed martial art practiced by Sherlock Holmes, “bartitsu.”  Bartitsu is a combination of French savate, Irish and Indian stick fighting, jujitsu, and English traditional wrestling and boxing.  No prior experience is required.  Most of the workshop will likely focus upon cane- and stick-fighting techniques.  (We may throw in a velocipede defence for good measure.)


4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Divination Using Bits and Bobs: Cunning women were known to travel the highways and byways of the hedged countryside.  With them they carried their casting collections with which they would read the ways.  Consult and chat with the local witch to learn of her practice and your fate.  (The witch likes a good stout ale and dried wormwood.)

4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Traveler Cooking: Cooking in a small caravan or over an open hearth is no easy task, particularly considering the limited crockery and fuel available.  At this workshop, help people out as they explain and cook a few recipes to share at the evening potluck dinner.  Possibilities include:

  • Victorian Temperate Beverages: Non-alcoholic drinks incorporating fruits and vinegars;
  • Jigs Dinner: a one-pot boiled dinner of beef, carrots, potatoes and cabbage;
  • Damper and Bannocks: two traditional breads cooked at the hearthside; and
  • Steamed Pudding: steamed sweet cake-like dessert (and maybe a savoury one, too).


8:00 p.m. until later

Whist Tournament: Whist is a wonderfully witty English trick-taking card game which was widely played in the 19th century. Although the rules are extremely simple, there is enormous scope for scientific play. None of us are experts and we will learn and play the game together.


9:00 p.m. until the wee hours

Sipping Bevvys by the Blaze and Gabbing (all)


10:30 a.m.

Wildcrafter’s Walk: The land of Raven’s Knoll has many natural resources, and knowing the qualities of each new landscape was necessary for Travelers. Walk with us as we tour through the fields and forests searching for the native flora and fauna that would help keep us healthy, wealthy, and wise.

12:00 p.m.

Fair Trade, Trade Fair: In the Traveler tradition, meet-ups involve trade.  Bring your secondhand ‘rags,’ bit’n’bobs, object d’art, &etc. to swap with other campers.  Tables will be available to set up outside of your ‘van or other spaces around the Keystone Firepit.  Remember, everyone is from the Traveler clan, so fair trade rules apply. No sharp dealings!  No cash allowed.  Leftovers can be taken home or donated to a local charity through Raven’s Knoll.

VK Poster 2015 B


VK Poster 2015 A

LebowskiCampFest 2014 Report

(In 2015 LebowskiCampFest will take place on the weekend of August 8th and 9th. In honour of Maude and her entourage the theme for the event will be Art is Strongly Vaginal. To learn about the program, please check out this other blog post.)

Brothers and sisters! We have heard the Word, and it is “Abide.” The Raven’s Knoll congregation of the Church of the Latter-Day Dude held a tent revival to learn from, and apply, the teachings of the Dude. The first LebowskiCampFest was held from August 9 to 10, 2014 at Raven’s Knoll campground near Eganville, Ontario, Canada. This fest is a camp out where we commune with the wisdom of the movie the Big Lebowski on the weekend of August 9 and 10, 2014.

The Pagan community in Canada are really laid back and recognize a good ethos when they see it. Around these parts, over the years, the theology of Discordianism has been popular, as has the Church of the Sub-Genius. But now that we have heard the word of the Church of the Latter Day Dude, the evolution of introspective hilarity and slack has reached its logical theological zenith. Although, LebowskiCampFest was established as a weekend for volunteer staff to chill after KG, it was indeed created by a bunch of event organizers. Thus, like a Dude getting wrapped up in events beyond his control, we could not help but organize lots of awesome stuff to do.

An article describing the amazing event was published in the Dudespaper, we really encourage you to check it out.

In 2015 LebowskiCampFest will take place on the weekend of August 8th and 9th. In honour of Maude and her entourage the theme for the event will be Art is Strongly Vaginal. To learn about the program, please check out this other blog post.


It should be vaginal.

Bone Dance: Theme for the Kaleidoscope Gathering 2015

The theme for the Kaleidoscope Gathering in 2015 is “Bone Dance.” It is a theme that touches parts of the spiritual traditions and philosophies of a number of paths that cross at Raven’s Knoll, in the Pagan community. It is not a simple theme, and it may be challenging to explore in all its aspects. We invite everyone to dance your thoughts around this theme, within the bone box of your skull, before next year.  Provided here are a few concepts and ideas to get you started.

‘T ain’t no sin to take off your skin, and dance around in your bones

The Bone Dance is about freedom from social categories.  To dance in your bones is to exalt in existing beyond gender or class categories, beyond your body type, or your physical abilities.  Ironically, in the dead skeleton our common living humanity is unmasked in its most potent form. That knowledge and joy in pure camaraderie is the music of our common dance.

Activities related to this element of the theme could include discussions of gender, race or oppression in Pagan societies or our modern spiritual paths. It might involve how archaeologists and osteologists actually read social categories back into human remains. Body positive, expressive movement or dance activities could be appropriate.

Roll the bones

From the Ancient Levant to Ancient Greece to the Mongol steppes, the “knucklebones” of sheep, their astragalus, have been used both as games of chance and to determine the will of the gods. Like the dice that they evolved into, they fall in unique ways.  The tumble and dance of these bones, the foot of the sacrifice, the life we offered to the gods and ate ourselves, is a staccato tune that voices a message.  A message in which we can see our fortunes rise or fall. The dance of these bones can foretell or change our future, but we cannot. Our roll is merely to accept it.

Games of chance, particularly those involving dice, are related to this part of the theme.  Also too fortune telling using bones, shells, and associated objects comes directly to mind.  Discussions on the nature or meaning or ethics of sacrificing animals for religious or life sustaining purposes is in keeping with the theme of Bone Dance.  Viewpoints or understandings of fate that involve acceptance rather than a desire to change are to be considered.

Memento mori

The Bone Dance reminds us that we all must die. The Black Death brought to Europe new folk philosophies. The grateful dead danced with the living to remind everyone, woman or man, serf or lord, of the vanity of materialism and the transient nature of all goods and pursuits.  In the certain knowledge of death, and the uncertain knowledge of what lies beyond, cultivating detachment and other virtues rises to the fore. In memento mori, understandings of what was meant by the relationship between life and death are expressed in the artistic or symbolic reminders of spiritual teachings.

Discussions on this movement of the Bone Dance could relate to how spiritualities resolve the issue of death or how religions change due to catastrophic social upheavals.  Specific figures such as the Grim Reaper or the Grateful Dead or Kali or Santa Muerte have arisen as objects of special devotion.  Art dedicated to that which is beyond life describes the bone dance so people can see it.  Many religious philosophies, like Roman stoicism or the zen of the samurai class or Odin’s cult, can exist in the place of momento mori.

Buried in the sky

Within the flesh, below conscious thought, moves the bones. When the living body dies, it becomes a corpse and rots to carrion.  Carrion is consumed by the vulture, by the eagle, by the raven.  Upon wings the memory of life flies into the sky, circling high above, joining the circling wind that envelopes the Earth.  In many traditions, the white bones stripped of all else represent pure, egoless consciousness.  The still bones only exist for a time, before they too join the rest of the body to circle and dance through imagining that is beyond the individual one, to the One that is greater.

Examining eastern religious philosophies such as Tibetan Buddhism or Hinduismism can deepen an understanding of the theme of the Bone Dance. Scientific understandings, whether biological or psychological, of how we individuate as people from the rest of the world, human or animal, are possible ways to engage with the theme. A common shamanic initiation and transformative dream or vision is having ones’ flesh stripped away to the bone.  Thus, initiation and religious transformation into a new mode of being are a way to explore the bone dance.

Rattle the bones

As is known, the Danse Macabre, no matter what any of us may do or think, unites us all. Music too unites humanity over time and space, from the bone flute of the Neanderthal to playing the rib bones to beating a Sámi drum with a reindeer bone hammer.  Any such dance needs music to set things in motion. Within our ribs is the beating heart, over bone white tooth our breath sends sound to swirling.

Concerts, workshops and performances using bone instruments would be fascinating. Music made using simple and ancient techniques strip music to its core, as a body is striped to the bone.

Plate of bones

All living things are fed through cycles of death and rebirth, whether nurtured by a dying star or the sister creature beside them. One day we eat and another we are eaten. Whether cloaked in skin, fur, feather or scale, whether in joy or despair, love or hate, wonderment or fear, the form of life clings to the bones. Before the final transformation, the bones remain.  Remaining a moment longer to rattle and to remind us of the gift of life. Many hunter gatherer traditions form a direct relationship with the spirit of the animals and plants that they hunt and gather.  Giving thanks for their gift of life, using their bones to commune with them and respectfully beseeching their assistance in staying alive.

Many religious traditions use dance and use bones to connect with the spirits.  In particular, shamanic traditions are ones that dance the bones. Art, workshops and rituals exploring these traditions are within the theme. Discussion of the craft and science that describes how different life forms are connected to one another or how parts of ecosystems support one another are of interest. How to make ritual tools that connect to the spirits or the gods using the natural products of dead fauna or flora is part of the bone dance. How religions teach of the importance of life in the midst of the knowledge of mortality is a wisdom to pass on to others, too.

Psychopomps, powers of the beyond and ancestors

Our own flesh and bone is given to us through our ancestors’ experience and their very DNA. We are their continuity; we share their flesh and their bone. In both a physical and metaphorical sense, they are we, the dead live. The interactions of ancestors and spirits with the living are the purview of the shaman, the witch, the priest, the elder. The veil, the river, the rainbow, the earth, time … whatever separates the living from the dead, can be spanned.  Spanned with mind and thought, but in many traditions, also by a designated god or a spirit guide. These psychopomps protect and provide traditions for us to interact with our ancestors, the mighty and belovéd dead.

Gods and Goddesses are often associated with the ancestors or spirits of the dead, take Baron Samedi and the Gede or Lady Freya and the Disir as examples. Workshops and rituals of gods and goddesses that span the space between living and dead, or those entities that receive and protect the ancestors are part of this theme.  Obviously too, the act of ancestor worship, or how the living are received themselves as ancestors or transformed again into the living after their death are part of the bone dance. The techniques and application of graveyard or burial mound practices, magickal bone-work, and ‘tapping the bone’ rituals are all recollections that could be shared and explored.

Enjoying the clouds and the rains

Death arrives for us all.  But death happens throughout life, too.  We are always dying, yet our cells constantly renew.  Sometimes in life we exist beyond ourselves, beyond time, beyond thought.  It is at these times when we die to ourselves to become immortal.  This experience of living in the bottomless beyond may be found in sleep and dream, in sex and ecstasy, in contemplation and mind, in plant or brew, in drum and dance. In the bone dance, nothing matters, but it all does.

Techniques for exploring dissolution of the self and the creation of spiritual understandings of transcendence are within the theme.  As are explorations of the biology of longevity and aging, how they occur, and how we respond to them medically, socially and spiritually.

We have come to Be Danced

(by Jewel Mathieson)

We have come to Be Danced
Not the pretty dance
Not the pretty pretty, pick me, pick me dance
But the claw our way back into the Belly
Of the Sacred, Sensual Animal dance
The unhinged, unplugged, cat is out of its box Dance
The holding the precious moment in the palms
Of our hands and feet Dance

We have come to Be Danced
Not the jiffy booby, shake your booty for him dance
But the wring the sadness from our skin dance
The Blow the chip off our shoulder Dance.
The slap the apology from our posture Dance

We have come to Be Danced
Not the monkey see, monkey do dance
One two Dance like you
One two three, Dance like me Dance
but the grave robber, tomb stalker
Tearing scabs and scars open Dance
The rub the Rhythm Raw against our Soul Dance

We have come to Be Danced
Not the nice, invisible, self-conscious shuffle
But the matted hair flying, Voodoo Mama
Shaman Shakin’ Ancient Bones Dance
The strip us from our casings, Return our Wings
Sharpen our Claws and Tongues Dance
The Shed Dead Cells and slip into
The Luminous Skin of Love Dance.

We have Come to Be Danced
Not the hold our breath wallow in the shallow end of the floor dance
But the Meeting of the Trinity, the Body Breath and Beat Dance
The Shout Hallelujah from the top of our Thighs Dance
The Mother may I?
Yes you may take 10 giant Leaps Dance
The olly olly oxen free free free Dance
The everyone can come to our Heaven Dance

We have come to Be Danced
Where the Kingdom’s Collide
In the Cathedral of Flesh
To Burn Back into the Light
To unravel, to Play, to Fly, to Pray
To root in skin sanctuary
We have come to Be Danced

We Have Come.

2015 Events

There are many gatherings and events that take place at Raven’s Knoll. The Knoll is a home for the Pagans and Heathens, and allied spiritual folk. It is volunteers that put on these events. Remember, you can organize your own event at the Knoll.

Beltaine Work Weekend – May 2 and 3, 2015

The first work weekend at Raven’s Knoll features a May Pole Dance and Beltaine ritual, as well as a Walpurgisnacht ritual and bonfire … as well as sweat and work to open the campground. No cost! (Also, May 2 is Gypsy and Juniper’s Handfasting.)

Well and Tree Gathering – May 16 to 18, 2015

Of Earth, of Well, of Birch, of Bog. We feel the interconnection between ourselves and the Earth Mother. Come together to celebrate in this open-to-any, Land-Water centered gathering to pay tribute to the impending planting season, the fertility of life and field, and to participate in the annual Procession of Her Holy Mother Nerthus.  A Feast of the Folk will solidify the nature of hospitality, frith and peace without arms. Bring your hearth & kindred banners! Bring your noise makers!

Firemonger’s Workshop Weekend – May 22 to 24, 2015

This is a hands-on weekend for people interested in the art and skill of managing Pagan festival fires. This is a workshop for people who seriously want to burn things. The event also features a potluck cooked over the fire.

Witches’ Sabbat – May 29 to 31, 2015

The purpose of the Sabbat is to provide a forum where practitioners and other interested persons can come together to learn and share information relating to non-Wiccan witchcraft and its associated practices. The weekend consists of rituals, discussions, workshops, a potluck with stone soup feast, and much more. Together we build a relationship with the land, create a stang for the main ritual, tell stories, hang out around the fire pit, and most importantly: learn, share and grow as Witches. This year the theme is “I Shall Go Into a Hare: The Fylgja, the Fetch and the Animal Within” and the featured herb is mugwort.

Siling Labuyo Arnis Proficiency Seminar (SLAPS) – May 29 to 31, 2015

Come to experience this amazing Filipino martial arts, taught by Badger Jones and friends. Hands on instruction will be provided covering single stick, knife, staff and spear, as well as empty hands techniques. There will be test cutting with live blades, and the ever-popular dirty tricks workshop. Attendees will be able to buy into the work weekend food program.

Three Rivers Festival – June 6 and 7, 2015

This festival is the annual gathering of the Eastern Ontario members of Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship. Everyone is welcome. This year will be hosted by Dancing Lights Grove. The theme is “Gift of the Gods, Skills of the Folk”, which honours Lugh, the Master of All Skills. The main ritual will be in his honour, where attendees will raise a shrine to him.

Van and Kettle Gathering – June 13 and 14, 2015

This event is a present-day the exploration of Victorian traveler caravans, cooking and culture. Plans being hatched include working on building and painting ‘vans, period outdoor cooking, tarot card reading, and bartitsu.

Hail and Horn Gathering – June 26 to June 29, 2015

This is the fourth year for this Heathen and Ásatrú spiritual event. This year will see a blót to the god Freya and the raising of a god-pole in her honour, a húsel feast of traditional foods, and a formal high sumbel, as well as workshops and games.

Feast of Sekhmet – July 11 to 12, 2015

The Feast of Sekhmet is an annual festival for the satiation of the Goddess Sekhmet. This year will be recognized by her name Lady of Intoxications. The one who revelry to the world enhanced by fine drink. Honour will also be paid to her sister Bast, who provides music and dance next to Sekhmet’s intoxication. Together attendees will honour Sekhmet and Bast, by feasting and reveling with them.

AnticiFest – July 25 to July 28, 2015

Can’t wait for Fest? No one can. That is why scads of people arrive early to holiday before the wondrous event that is the Kaleidoscope Gathering. Good times are anticipated. Regular camping rates apply. But … your stay may be anything but regular.

Kaleidoscope Gathering – July 29 to August 3, 2015

The Kaleidoscope Gathering is Canada’s largest Pagan festival, which has been going for 26 years. The theme this year is “Bone Dance.” Our own flesh and bone is given to us through our ancestors’ experience and their very DNA, we are fed through cycles of death and rebirth. Within the flesh, below conscious thought, moves the bones.  Whether cloaked in skin, fur, feather or scale, whether in joy or despair, love or hate, wonderment or fear, the form of life clings to the bones. We can gain knowledge beyond these cloaks by dancing our minds to the bones; find spirits, find depth, find wisdom. In the bone dance, nothing matters, but it all does. (Only attendees of the festival may camp at Raven’s Knoll at this time.)

LebowskiCampFest – August 8 and 9, 2015

We have heard the Word, and it is “Abide.” The Raven’s Knoll congregation of the Church of the Latter-Day Dude and the Lost Dominion Screening Collective are holding a tent revival to learn from, and apply, the teachings of the Dude. This fest is a camp out where we commune with the wisdom of the movie the Big Lebowski. The theme this year is “Art is Strongly Vaginal.”

Pagans Unplugged – September 5 to 7, 2015

This is a simple camping excursion for Pagans, without being plugged in to phones, computers, and worries. There is no programming, just hanging out with friends doing regular stuff at the Knoll … swimming, bonfires, stars, hammocks, archery, wandering … Stay for as long or as little as you like. (It is not a music event, but do free to make music.)

KornuKopia Gathering – September 19 to 20, 2015

This gathering is for Pagans, Heathens and their friends to celebrate the last bounty of the Summer and the Turning of the Wheel of the Year into Fall, honouring the Gods in mirth and reverence. The festival features the burning of the Wicker Man in sacrifice to the Goddess on behalf of the folk, workshops by community members, chanting and singing around the campfire, and a communal Fall Fruits Feast.

There are other possible events coming or being planned for 2015, from private coven activities, to LARPs, to SCA events, so stay tuned. The campground is open for regular camping or to hold your event, from the start of May until the end of September, unless otherwise noted.

Here are the events that are planned, but are still settling on a date:

Siling Labuyo Arnis Proficiency Seminar (SLAPS) – Fall T.B.A.

Come to experience this amazing Filipino martial arts, taught by Badger Jones and friends. Hands on instruction will be provided covering single stick, knife, staff and spear, as well as empty hands techniques. There will be test cutting with live blades, and the ever-popular dirty tricks workshop. Attendees will be able to buy into the work weekend food program.

Rites of Raven’s Knoll Anthology: A Devotional to Pagan Land

Together we have built a place of magick and spirituality: Raven’s Knoll campground.

Originally purchased due to the need to have a permanent place for Kaleidoscope Gathering, these 100+ acres have become much more. A place to dance, to drum, to sing. A place to be free. A place to venerate gods, spirits and ancestors. It is home now to half a dozen events and a growing number of sacred sites.

In the homesteading community they have a saying: “You will be disappointed at how little you can accomplish the first three years on your land, but astounded at what can be achieved in the first five.” Raven’s Knoll is now celebrating it’s fifth year. In honor of this milestone, and the countless hours of work it took to get this far, we are putting together an anthology of the rites and sacred sites we have created together.

Submission Guidelines

  • Maximum word count is 3,000
  • Submission deadline is December 15st, 2014. Pagan Standard Time does not apply.
  • Both prose and poetry will be welcome, as well as ritual scripts, meditations and prayers. No fiction please.
  • We are seeking your personal spiritual experiences of Raven’s Knoll, with a focus on rituals and sacred sites.

A few examples are: the tale of your experiences at a ritual; the script for a ritual that you performed; a devotional poem or prayer for the land; a special/spiritual experience’ sharing about a particular sacred site that has meaning to you; or something you have learned from the land.  These are merely examples, if you have an idea and are not sure if it will suit, feel free to contact Juniper.

  • Include with your submission your name (can be a craft name), as well as a short bio. The bio should be roughly 250 words, but it can be less.  You may plug your website, blog or business in your bio but please keep it professional. The word count for your bio counts towards the word count for your overall submission.
  • Anyone can make a submission, and we sincerely hope that all submissions will make it into the book. However, we do reserve the right to refuse a submission for any reason. Depending on the number and length of submissions, we may have to pick and choose, as the larger the book the more costly it becomes. Obviously, we want everyone to be able to afford the book! If we have enough interest, perhaps we will do another one a few years down the road.
  • We will be doing some basic editing for formatting, spelling, and grammar. We will not be re-writing your words. The utmost respect will be given to your voice. After the initial proofread we will be sending your submission back to you with suggestions to improve quality, such as little fixes to grammar or expanding upon something that is interesting or inspiring.  Make your changes and send it back to us. Once you receive your proofread version, please send back your changes within two to three weeks if possible.
  • Written submissions should be in .doc, .odt, or .txt format.
  • Please avoid heavily formatting your submission. We will have to format everything according to the needs of the book and publishing formats anyways.
  • Submissions must be in English. A few words or lines in French are permitted.
  • Before sending us your submission, please run it through a spell check and have a friend proofread it. This will save us a great deal of time!

Suggested Structure for Submission

Optional: Evocative preface (ex. quote, paragraph narrative, poem stanza)

Optional: History and reason for ritual

Optional: Academic sources & inspiration

Optional: Importance of the sacred place (if you are sharing about a ritual held at the Standing Stone, what does this site mean to you or the community)

Required: The Meat: Your story, meditation, poem, narrative description, ritual script, etc.

Optional: Personal experience or reflection on importance

Required: Your Bio

Cover Contest

We will be holding a photo and art contest for the front and back covers of the book. You do not need to design the covers themselves, just submit artwork or a photo for that purpose. The editor(s) will choose the images that would work best for book covers and then we will hold a poll in the Facebook group so everyone can vote on the final winners.

  • No faces, but people may be in the shot so long as you have their express permission.
  • Images must be of good quality and high resolution.
  • Images submissions should be in .jpg or .jpeg or .png

How to Submit

Attach your submission to an email with the title of “Knoll Anthology Submission (Your Name Here)” and send it to juniper@walkingthehedge.net

Further Details

  • We will be publishing the book on Lulu, meaning that it will be available online, even on Amazon, so quality and content matters.  We want to represent our community well.
  • We hope to have the book available for purchase before Kaleidoscope Gathering of 2015. Please respect the deadlines.
  • Authors/submitters will be given a free e-book or PDF copy of the book. We hope to also give them a free physical copy but this all depends upon budgeting concerns.
  • We will strive to keep the cost as low as possible, enough to cover the publishing costs and perhaps make a small amount for funding maintenance and improvements at the Knoll.
  • E-book and physical copies will be available. The physical copy will likely be trade paperback.
  • You will retain copyrights to your submissions.
  • We will be accepting suggestions for a title. The current working title is Rites of Raven’s Knoll – A Devotional of Pagan Land

Executive Editor: Juniper Jeni

Supporting Editors: Austin Lawrence & Gypsy Birch

KornuKopia Gathering 2014

The KornuKopia Gathering is a festival for Pagans, Heathens and their friends to celebrate the last bounty of the Summer and the Turning of the Wheel of the Year into Fall, honouring the Gods in mirth and reverence. This is the fifth time this Harvest celebration will be taking place. The festival features the ceremonial burning of a massive sculpted offering, to honour the harvests of the year and give thanks for blessings already on their way.  This year it takes place September 19 to 21.

Burning of the Wickerman, 2014

Burning of the Wickerman, 2014


Cost (including taxes) to attend is $75 per adult for the weekend, $30 per child (7-15), and sproglings are free (6 and under). A day pass for adults is $30 and for children is $15. Hydro is an optional extra, for an added $12 per night. Cabin accommodation is available for an extra $15 per night, but should be booked early, as space is limited. To make your registration happen faster, please print out and complete the KornuKopia 2014 Registration Form..

Check out the group event on Facebook or join up with the Facebook page.


The gathering this year is centred upon the Burning of the Wickerman and on the communal thanksgiving potluck Feast of the Folk.  If you would like to offer a workshop, please write to see Auz or MA on the weekend and we will add it to the program.


Friday, September 19

All Day Registration & Set Up Camping
5 to 6 Supper (Y.A.G.)
8:30 p.m. Welcome Ritual (Standing Stone)
9 p.m. Chat, Sing, and Socialize (Hearth Fire)

Saturday, September 20
All Day Personal Offerings for “The Burning” (Drum Fire)
10 to 11 2nd Breakfast (Y.A.G.)
5 to 6 Supper (Y.A.G.)
9 a.m. Fishing: Harvest the River (meet at Dock)
10 a.m. Mind’s Eye Walk (Rookery)
11 a.m. Earth Oven Baking (Mud Oven)
1 p.m. The Land is Listening: Working with Land Spirits (Rookery)
2 p.m. Kombat Kyusho (Raven Stage)
3 p.m. Leather Crafting for Beginners (Rookery)
4 p.m. Open Game Table & Kubb (Long Hall Tent)
8:30 p.m. The Burning [Main Ritual] (Birch Grove & Drum Fire)
10 p.m. Drum, Dance, and Celebrate (Drum Fire)

Sunday, September 21
10 to 11 Y.A.G. 2nd Breakfast
10 a.m. The Power of Pie (Rookery)
11 a.m. Bows and Axes (Archery Field)
12 p.m. Thresholds and Borderlands (Rookery)
1 p.m. Seasonal Alchemy (Meet @ Rookery)
2 p.m. ‘Blue Ribbon’ Table (Raven Stage)
3 p.m. Prepare for the Feast
4 p.m. Feast of the Folk [Farewell Ritual] (Rookery or Diagonal Alley)

Workshop and Ritual Descriptions

“The Burning” (Main Ritual) (with MA, Auz, Jock MacGregor, the Folk) – We celebrate the turning of the Wheel of the Year into Fall; as the leaves turn their colours, as the sky darkens to nigh, as the Summer licks the vaults of heaven as a final flame. Each year at the KornuKopia Gathering our main ritual has featured the ceremonial burning of a communal offering; last year was the first time we offered the Wickerman.  The folk put personal offerings into the wicker effigy as thanks for blessings already on their way, to express the gratitude of each individual personal harvest. And our designated Champion speaks to the Goddess on behalf of the Folk at the ritual. This year, again, we burn … we burn … we burn … for we give thanks for blessings already on their way.

Bows and Axes (with Gypsy Birch and Friends) – Depending on the weather, we will have a scheduled time to shoot arrows and fling axes. Feel free to attend if you are a beginner with no equipment or an expert with your own equipment. We can show you how! (There is a material fee of $5 should you loose or brake an arrow.)

‘Blue Ribbon’ Table (with Auz, Brenda and Chris) – A tradition of our grandmothers has long been to lay away the fruits of the land and our labours away in the Fall for the lean times of the Winter.  Make your favourite preserve, jam, pickle or food fermentation, and share it with others at our KornuKopian table. The most appreciated will win the blue ribbon!

Earth Oven Baking (with Auz and friends) – The earth oven is the most ancient method of baking loaves, the sacred bread of our Neolithic ancestors.  This basic foodstuff has nourished body and soul for millennia.  At this multi-stage workshop, we will mix and ferment dough and fire it in the Raven-decorated mud oven.  Get your hands messy!

Folk Feast (with the Folk) – For millennium the main form of spiritual communion of our ancestors has been the sharing of a meal. At the Feast of the Folk we end the KornuKopia Gathering by sharing a meal with one another, with the ancestors, and the gods, in honour of the Fall season and all it brings. Please bring an item to share at this potluck feast, as well as your own ‘feast gear’ (dishes, cutlery, etc.).

Leather Crafting for Beginners (with Alli) – This workshop will explain different types of leather with which to craft, their characteristics and what they are usually used to produce.  Information on how to spot a good hide when buying for a project, how to use leather and lay out projects will be presented.  There will be a chance to try out tooling and sewing of leather.  (If you have your own set of tools, feel free to bring them.  A free information packet will be available for the first 10 people.)

Fishing: Harvest the River (with Gypsy) – Come fish with Gypsy on the Bonnechere River as we attempt to respectfully harvest local animals for the Feast of the Folk. Gypsy knows this river well and can teach anyone how to angle. Some gear is available to borrow, so complete newcomers are welcome.

The Land is Listening: Working with Land Spirits (with Angela Grey) – Many different Pagan paths emphasize the importance of developing a relationship with local landscapes. But why is this important? How does one go about it? And how can this kind of work deepen and strengthen your personal practice? Join us for one witch’s perspective on working with landscapes, and the spirits that reside within them. Discussion to follow.

Thresholds and Borderlands (with Juniper) – In many traditions and cultures we find various beliefs about that which lies between this world and next. We call this by many names, the Veil and the Hedge are but two. There are also rich folk traditions of the places between found on this here earth; sea and sky meet, between the wild and our own backdoor. Join us as we explore the places that are neither here nor there.

Mind’s Eye Walk (with Drew Thomson) – Come and join me and go explore some of the much beloved places of the Knoll in a whole new way. Mediation followed by a short walk to a few places where you can test, explore, experience the Knoll without the use of sight, only relying on touch, hearing and maybe even taste. A chance to further your own awareness of the energy around you and how you can interact with it with different senses. Then after, if time allowing, a short reading from the Oracle Deck will be done to see what more can be learned after the experience. Note: Blindfolds will be used if you are more comfortable bringing your own. please feel free.

Seasonal Alchemy (with Brynn Hultquist) – What do sulphur, mercury and salt have in common? They are the three essentials in Alchemy. Come explore this ancient esoteric art referencing spagyrics (plant alchemy), spirituality and the Cosmos for the purposes of ritual spellwork, physical healing and spiritual growth. We’ll discuss basic spagyric tinctures and the nature of “solve et coagula”…and it’s relation to “the burning of things!”…and the ritualistic uses of spagyric products. Of interest will be discussion on *intent* for the purpose of obtaining and experiencing the Whole as a sum of its Parts (aka, enlightenment, healing and increased vitality, creativity’n’stuff…and the “Why”).

Kombat Kyusho (with Gregory) – Kyusho Jitsu is the martial arts application of the eastern Asian medicine system. Kyusho Jitsu uses body mechanics, the theory of chi, and energy meridians to attack and disable an opponent’s nervous system, no matter their size. This workshop is suitable for participants over age 14 and will not involve strenuous contact.

The Power of Pie (with Big Momma and Little D.) – The harvest season is upon us. The changing leaves, the fresh crispness to the air and farmers fields bursting at the seams with delicious FOOD! leaves. For Jax harvest foods include so many recipes, but none as humble as The Pie. In this demonstration we will be putting together, from scratch, four different seasonal pies using Canadian settler recipes from 1850-1917. So come on out and learn to grind the flour, prep your fillings, and love the lard!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I vend?

Yes, and there is no extra charge. See the Kaleidoscope Gathering vendors’ page for more information, basically the same rules apply. The most important thing to know is that you need proof of insurance.

 Can I bring my pet?

It is possible, but only so long as it is preapproved by Maryanne Pearce. Contact her early to find out.

 Why is the KornuKopia Gathering so amazing?

Three reasons: 1) Because awesome people attend; 2) Because we burn large sculptures; 3) Because we get to celebrate the Harvest season together as a community at Raven’s Knoll.

How long is a day pass?

A day pass is for 12 hours, but does not include an overnight stay or the setting up of a tent, trailer or similar temporary accommodation.

Will the YAG be open?

Yes.  For some limited late breakfast and dinner hours.  Please see the schedule above.

Preliminary Workshops and Rituals 2014

The theme for this year’s gathering is “Field and Forest.” Since the early Middle Ages “field and forest” has been used as a poetic phrase that evokes the spirit and bounty of the natural world. In the modern age, we invoke these spirits and their bounty into our lives to celebrate High Summer and the Lammas-tide, to glory in our connection to the boundless circle of life. To learn more about the theme, or for suggestions on workshop ideas, check out a previous Quork post.

The Kaleidoscope Gathering is entirely put on by volunteers; in fact it is the experience Festers bring themselves that makes the gathering.  As the former organizer, Lady Pamela Fletcher, always said: Everyone has something to share and everyone has something to learn.

Below you will see some of the amazing workshops and rituals that are being planned.  There is still time to submit a workshop!  Get busy and submit your ideas, remind your friends …. The Programming Pirates will be accepting submissions until July 4, 2014.  To submit a workshop or two, use the Submit a Workshop page on the KG web site.

Preliminary Draft Workshops and Rituals:

Achieving Tarantism using the Dargason – Doug Hendry/Fiddlehead Soup

Archery – Helmut

Aromatic Kinesiology – Kimi Bois

Bardic Competition – Jock MacGregor & Friends

Blends of Old – Kimi Bois

Cairn Walk Ritual – Ethan Kinkaid and Cormac (Fraser Sinclair)

Children’s Bardic Workshop – Hobbes

Clinical Aromatherapy – Kimi Bois

Communicating with the Devas – RP

Field and Forest : The Wine and Cheese Event – Ron Lyen

Field and Forest: A Guided Meditation – Jeff Wilson-Williams

Firing the Panty Cannon! – Kestral Pyr

Forest Therapy – Drew Thomson

Gardnerian and Alexandrian Witchcraft – Robert Huneault

Intro to Bellydance Egyptian-Style – Zena Nesrallah

Introduction to Permaculture for Pagans – Christopher Kelly-Bisson

Introduction to Reiki Level 1 – Keenan Viau

Kaleidoscope Gathering 101 – Eagle Eyes

Land Beyond the Naked Eye  – RisingPhoenix

Main Ritual: Field and Forest – To be announced

Make Your Own Boffo Weapon  – Hobbes

Making the Most of Ritual – Juniper Jeni

Men`s Ritual – Stephane Lebeau

Men’s Warrior Circle – Hobbes

Mixed Warrior Circle – Hobbes

Open Drum Circle – Kevin McLaughlin

Paganism 101 – Eagle Eyes

Paganism and Jesus: Closer than you think!  – Lukayo Faye Estrella and Jacky with a Y

Pick Up Sticks: An Arnis Workshop – Ron Lyen

Poly 101 – Nadia and Stephen

Poly ABCs:  Agreements, Boundaries, & Contracts – Nadia & Stephen

PolyMIRs: Metamour Interactions & Relationships – Nadia & Stephen

Quest for Ravens Knoll 2014 (LARP) – Andrew “AJ” Jennings

Roleplaying Game with Jeff – Jeff Wilson-Williams

Running of the Woodwose Ritual -The Woodwose

Sharing the Dance: Bonding Between Generations – Fiddlehead Soup/Doug Hendry

So You are Pagan or Heathen.  So Now What – Doug Thew, Juniper Jeni, Eagle Eyes

So you Wanna do Some Energy work, eh?! – Myst

Tantric Yoga Energy Work: Portals and Channels (Part 2) – Bex vanKoot

Tantric Yoga Energy Work: Six Chakras (Part 1) – Bex vanKoot

Techno Gods Ritual – Kaitlyn and Ethan Kincaid

The Elder’s Tea  – Alex del Busso  and Christine O’Connor

The International Witches Guide to Magic in NZ – Polly Lind

The Land is Listening: Working with Land Spirits – Angela Grey

The Stag King Ritual – Greg Currie (current Stag King) & former Stag Kings

The Togetherness of the Dance – Doug Hendry

The Trials of Artemis – Kim Ross & Rachel Creamer (current Huntress)

Third Gender Ritual – Lokabrenna Kindred and Friends

This is not the Workshop You’re Looking For – Shane Hultquist

To Be or Not to Be in a Coven or Kindred – JS (Jean Sebastien Daunais)

Totem in My Life – RisingPhoenix

Vikings vs. The Panty Cannon – Kestral Pyr

Women’s Ritual – Tracy Thillmann

Working with Animal Parts – Juniper Jeni

Writing and Performing Effective Rituals – Angela Grey