Workshops 2020

Descriptions and Presenters

Fire Safety

With Soul Fire

Fire art

Got the fire bug? We will cover how to safely handle and store fuel, wet and extinguish props, and communicate with each other while props are lit. All experience levels are welcome. This workshop is mandatory to flow with fire or be a supporting safety for fire artists at Blue Ridge Beltane. Attendees will only be permitted to participate in evening fire spinning activities after completing this workshop and receiving a unique wristband. Some fire performances may be restricted for ritual purposes, but open jams are available each evening.


Akashic Bridges

With Katherine Rahman 

Akashic Bridge devices

At our workshop, we will demonstrate a variety of types of quantum devices that we call “Akashic Bridges.” We will also offer demonstrations throughout the day for participants to experiment and see where their journey with the devices may take them. Devices will be available to order for purchase. 


Ancestral Healing

With Lyz Frey

Lyz Frey

As Blue Ridge Beltane, we are a community with deep roots in these mountains. But the magic of these mountains dates back hundreds of years, and lies within the lore of our ancestors, the Appalachian Granny Witch. In this workshop, we will discuss the history of ancestral healing and the Granny Witch. Then we will take those traditions and discuss many of the healing herbs and recipes still available to us and how we can bring ancestral medicine into our modern homes.

Lyz Frey has been a practitioner of every day heathenism since finding and embracing her past lives through her ancestors.  She has spent over a decade in the art of healing as a registered nurse, and is now a full time herbalist and part of the modern tradition of Appalachian Granny Witches in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia. She is owner of Valkyrie Springs Farm and Forage with her husband Arthur, where they sustainably grow and wild harvest medicinal and culinary herbs.


Bear Spirit Mountain – Morning Hike

with Arthur Frey

Majestic Knoll, aka Bear Spirit Mountain

Background: Majestic Knoll is the big pyramid knoll that you see in the near distance from Buffalo Gap Campground. Ongoing studies show that what we now call Majestic Knoll was once called Bear Spirit or Adonvdo Yona by the local Cherokee Tribes. Further investigation leads us to believe that this site was in use as far as 13,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene Era by the Clovis culture as a pilgrimage site. On the mountain, more than a dozen burial mounds have been found, along with carved animal glyphs and most excitingly, two solstice stones.

Description: We will have a moderate hike to the summit for a ceremony/ritual to honor the sun at this historically mystical site. Our ceremony leader will be (the appropriately named) Sunny Adler. Following the ceremony, we will spend as much time is needed for individuals to welcome the day as they see fit. People may file out back down the mountain as they wish, but the hike leader will follow down, after all, to make sure there are no stragglers or people needing assistance.

Notes: There will be no ground fires allowed or anything else that will leave a scar on this site. This is a moderately difficult hike that is unfortunately not suitable for people with severe mobility issues. If you have a question about this, please speak with Arthur in person at some point before the event. No one will be left behind in either direction.

Arthur Frey

Arthur (aka Beast) is an avid outdoorsman, bushcrafter and hunter, who fell in love with nature and natural movement at an early age, and felt it naturally transform into what he now calls “Everyday Heathenism”.  After a few decades of working as a professional software developer, he was called again to the wild where he now resides in the shadow of this wonderful place.


Here There Be Drums!

with Patch Kyaio

Patch Kyaio

Description: In this workshop, we will be going over the basics of hand drumming as well as some practice techniques. We will also be playing around with some concepts including polyrhythm, timing, and more! Come join us in our creation of our songs and rhythms as we grow together as a community. The skill level of the workshop will be determined by the skill level and knowledge-hunger of the class, not to exceed any one person’s ability.

Presenter: Patch, of course!
Length: Long Enough, but never Too Long
Needs: Bring a drum!

Patch Kyaio is a dynamic and engaging percussionist, whose spiritual and musical passions have come together to form a personal path that is as loud as it is enlightening. A self-professed membranophonologist, he has been making noise since birth and practicing percussion with a focus on djembe for over 19 years, finding his connection with the world through the drum. His influences range from Traditional African, Middle Eastern and Caribbean traditions to Jazz, Hip Hop, Folk, Metal and everywhere in between. With an indomitable spirit and an infectious smile, Patch weaves rhythm into every aspect of his life and teachings. His work has included education and performance for colleges, public and private schools, music festivals, spiritual festivals and fundraisers. He has performed with a wide array of musicians, including Easa Grayson, R. Tigre Cruz, Ginger Doss, Tuatha Dea, Overton Barry, Barney McClure, Mark Lewis, Norm Bellas, Karin Kajita, Pash’n and more!


Elemental Personalities

with Josh Ethier

Josh Ethier

We live in a world surrounded by the elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. These forces permeate our spiritual and physical worlds. ‘Elemental Personalities’ is designed to help us identify our relationships with the elements, bringing awareness to our balances and imbalances. Through the utilization of our Myers-Briggs scores, and our own understanding of these elements, we will begin the work of bringing these relationships into harmony. Workshop involves practical work and meditation circle.

NOTE: Please bring your Myers-Briggs score with you — this can be your “homework” till festival. We can guess based where you would fall based off of your own understanding, though things will move smoother with a little prep. Provided are links to free sources:

You CAN take the test from Myers Briggs Test Official Online (but this will set you back about $50). Bio coming soon!

Josh is from Richmond, VA. He attended an arts conservatory in New York, and now works as a Creative Director for Ravenchase Adventures escape rooms in RVA. Since last Beltane Josh has begun training for leadership and teaching within his home coven. Having felt drawn to teaching he is excited to see this goal come to fruition with the ‘Elemental Personalities’ workshop. Josh would like to thank the Blue Ridge Beltane community for giving him a summer home, community connection, and so much more. Among all of this, he is a dog dad. Josh is always open to a good chat and a cup of tea, or if you need to we swarmed with puppy pictures- he’s got you.


Gender? What’s Up With That?

With Laura Szyikowski and Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson (left) and Laura Szyikowski

Gender! What’s up with that? Come have a discussion about all things gender, including trans issues, clothing problems, parenting dilemmas, and how we can support each other as we feel this powerful social construct which holds weighted and unrealistic expectations.  This group will end with a circle dance for unity. All humans are welcome.

Laura is an earth-loving, Buddhist, tree-hugging hippie. She works as a counselor in her muggle life, and she is a resource for meditation, emotional management, and earth-healing activism. She hopes to support our community with this offering of a safe space to ask questions and discuss how gender and gender bias is affecting us all.

Jennifer Hudson, MT-BC is the owner and creator of Love Notes Music Therapy. She has been a seeker and explorer of all things spiritual since the age of 16 and aspires to follow The Way of Love in all of her personal and professional endeavors. Her life’s calling is using music and sound to offer opportunity for awakening, authentic connection, deepening Self-love, and full spectrum self-expression. When she’s not working as a music therapist she loves forest bathing, meditation, yoga, communing with nature, being in sacred ceremony, and drumming to the moon! www.lovenotesmusictherapy.com


Grandparenting Nonpagan Grandbabies

with Lyn Johnson

blue ridge mountains art

Our children do not always follow our paths, and that’s fine. Part of our job as parents to is to support them. The fun starts when we become grandparents.

In this workshop, we’ll discuss/explain the steps to learning to grandparent and stay true to your beliefs:

  • Not just accepting but embracing the path your child (their parent) has chosen
  • Setting boundaries early with your children and their partners if necessary
  • Dispelling misconceptions about your religious beliefs
  • Disallowing prejudices and stereotypes; encouraging religious tolerance
  • Incorporating a love of those things important to you that you can share with the littles, be it potion making (brownies anyone?), respect for nature and her beauty, or a loving, welcoming spirit

Come prepare for the life-changing event that is grandparenting!

Lyn is the grandmother of four amazingly talented, intelligent, beautiful littles age 6 and under. Their mom attended festivals as a child, however, she has chosen thus far to raise the littles as mainstream religious followers.  The oldest has already discovered that witches don’t ride brooms, they drive pick-ups, bake cookies and love her to the moon and back.


How to Change the World: Civic Engagement for Passionate Pagans

with Cori Johnson

Cori Johnson

We are movers and shakers who honor our sacred duty to future generations, but how can we be sure that we are making a difference?

In this workshop we will take a nuanced look behind the curtain of the mundane world’s inner workings; explore ways to contribute your personal gifts and talents to the betterment of your city, county or community; learn how to communicate effectively with elected leaders and work within the present to manifest a better future.

Come with an open heart and expect the unexpected!

Cori is a hereditary witch who has been exploring her gifts through eclectic paganism for the past seven years. She lives with her husband and three kids in central Virginia, where she has dedicated her career to working with community and political leaders for positive change. 


Intro to Service Work in Other Regions

With Tony Bradley

Tony Bradley

This workshop is an introduction into service work in other regions. We will talk specifically about the Highlands of Guatemala, the Mayan culture and current programs for service work ranging from stove building to reforestation. You will also be exposed to Mayan spiritual traditions ranging from their clothing and food to language and ceremony.

The workshop will also cover how these programs were developed and maintained as well as there very low cultural impact on the community they serve. We will cover the pros and cons of service work as well as some basic does and don’ts of living and working within a foreign culture.

Information will be available for the Highland Support Project, which provides service trips to Guatemala year round.

Tony Bradley has been a part of the Pagan Community since before the first Beltane at Camp Albermarle. A retired Firefighter, Tony has spent a number of years at the helm of Zero Gravity Video and has been embedded in remote locations documenting subjects ranging from Human Trafficking to Illegal International Adoption. Tony now lives in Manakin Sabot, Virginia.


Magickal Properties of Color: Your Personal Colors

With Jim Welch

blue ridge mountains art

Every color is important. We all have favorite colors and others, not so much. There are also colors that relate to us because of our name and date of birth. These are our personal colors. They are ours and cannot be changed. We’ll determine what those colors are and how they relate to us on a personal level. Grab a pen and join us for a fun set of activities to learn how color influences our lives. 

Bio coming soon!


Maintaining the Machine

With Mason Storm Prince

Mason Storm Prince

An engineer makes a machine out of individual components with varying functionality to achieve an ultimate outcome.  However, an engineer often consorts with a designer and a physicist for ascetics and feasibility. Rituals follow a similar rhythm; whereby, the individuals and tools act as the consort and components: each having a unique role and responsibility. In this workshop we will discuss how to incorporate a variety of individuals and/or tools into your rituals to ensure the machine is well crafted and lubricated for maximum performance. Join me in crafting our own machine; let’s sustain it together!

Mason Storm Prince resides in Rockville, MD and is from Waynesboro, VA. Mason has a B.A. in English, Creative Writing, and has an interest in dance, folklore, and sound poetry, while currently working in Grants Management for the US Federal Government. Mason enjoys long walks in the woods, blinis, and siphoning energy with care packages. Mason is a syncretic and has predominantly practiced transmutation since the age of 11. Mason prefers no tags and is accustomed to solitary practice, but has grown to enjoy group rituals and socialization.


Movement and Intention

with Covenant Babatunde

Covenant Babatunde

This workshop will focus on the basics of dance improvisation, particularly the three perspectives available to dancers and how perspective changes how we communicate internally with ourselves and externally with others. How are you speaking when you move your hand one way versus the other? And how does that connect you to your inner voice? Can your intentions be clearer with just one touch to the nose, instead of the cheek?

Bring your inexperience and your story, bring your joy and your pain. Dance is about exploring and realizing. Let’s connect with ourselves and with others.

Covenant Babatunde received a BA in Creative Writing and a minor in Musical Theatre at the University of Mary Washington (UMW). Covenant found dance during her time at UMW and became increasingly engaged. She was selected to represent UMW with adjudicated work at ACDA. And was awarded the Claudia Moore Read Dance Scholarship for her dedication and artistry. After graduation, she was recruited as a dancer and resident choreographer with Next Reflex Dance Collective (NRDC) in 2015 and took up the role of Company Manager in 2017. Her choreography often focused on the story and relationship that inevitably exist between two bodies on stage. She created several works including “Residue,” “Full Story,” and “It Pours,” presented at various locations such as DC, Fredericksburg, and Lorton. She received second place for the Virginia Dance Coalition’s 6th Emerging Choreographers Award with her piece, “/’pɔɪnt/ (n.) (v.)”, and debuted “Spoken Word” at the Collective’s Open Marley Night. Recently, she performed work as a guest artist in DC with Juanita Maria Dance Company. Her strong background in writing has greatly influenced her dances – with her focal point always being the creation of well-rounded characters and thought-provoking story. As best said by two of her favorite spoken word artist: “Turn off the music, listen to the quiet. Whisper: Thank you for stopping by.”


Religious Accommodations; AKA “How I Requested Religious Accommodations at Work and Lived to Tell The Tale”

with Lyn Johnson

Blue Ridge Mountains Art

If it hasn’t occurred already, at some point in your career there will be a conflict between your work life and a festival/event of religious importance. As our religions become more mainstream, the number of Pagans having to use official channels to practice their religion freely will continue to increase.

In this workshop, we’ll discuss/explain the steps to requesting religious accommodations in the workplace, including:

  • Exploring your organizations’ official religious accommodation policy
  • Making the request if there is no religious accommodation policy
  • What the law says
  • Using the values of corporate culture to your advantage

Knowledge is power!

Lyn has been a prisoner of corporate America for over two decades. Currently she works for a multinational managed care company, which dared to consider not approving her requested PTO (paid time off) for Blue Ridge Beltane 2020.


Rhythm Feel and Heal

with Patch Kyaio

Patch Kyaio

Description: Have you ever FELT the drums? Have you ever stared into a fire while your heart beats OUTSIDE your body from the cacophonous roar of the drums? Whether you have or haven’t, that will be the beginning of our journey. The FEELING of the drums. Playing, or listening, allowing yourself to be carried away by the energy of rhythm. We will be focusing on meditation, trance, and the healing power of the drum and its ability to help us in physical, emotional and spiritual ways as it walks our life journey with us, punctuating our NOW.

Presenter: Captain Patch of the Starship Djembe
Length: Time is not linear.
Needs: Bring a Drum if you want to drum. No drum? No worries, bring your feels.

Patch Kyaio is a dynamic and engaging percussionist, whose spiritual and musical passions have come together to form a personal path that is as loud as it is enlightening. A self-professed membranophonologist, he has been making noise since birth and practicing percussion with a focus on djembe for over 19 years, finding his connection with the world through the drum. His influences range from Traditional African, Middle Eastern and Caribbean traditions to Jazz, Hip Hop, Folk, Metal and everywhere in between. With an indomitable spirit and an infectious smile, Patch weaves rhythm into every aspect of his life and teachings. His work has included education and performance for colleges, public and private schools, music festivals, spiritual festivals and fundraisers. He has performed with a wide array of musicians, including Easa Grayson, R. Tigre Cruz, Ginger Doss, Tuatha Dea, Overton Barry, Barney McClure, Mark Lewis, Norm Bellas, Karin Kajita, Pash’n and more!