We are working on an up-to-date schedule of activities for Blue Ridge Beltane’s 2019 Workshops. In the meantime, check out what we offered in 2018!
Updated as of May 16, 2018! The volunteer members of the Blue Ridge Beltane Planning Committee have lined up some exciting workshops with incredible presenters for you in 2018. Check out the new schedule below! Make sure you join the Blue Ridge Beltane Facebook group for updates, information, and community conversations!
Every year, the Blue Ridge Beltane Workshop Coordinator carefully chooses a select group of workshops to be presented at the festival. The topics can range widely. Past topics have included herbs, pagan gardening, pagan parenting, divination in many forms, meditation, nature walks, bellydancing, Reiki energy work, wand making, crafts, chanting, drumming–and so many more, all with magical and spiritual intent.
2018 Blue Ridge Beltane Workshops
All workshops are 90 minutes, unless otherwise stated. Look for workshop descriptions and bios after the “Schedule-At-A-Glance”. Not all descriptions are in yet, so stay tuned and check this page weekly for updates.
Schedule is subject to change up until the festival opens.
THURSDAY, May 17 – pre-festival activities
-Introduction to Herbalism w/Raven Hawthorne
FRIDAY, May 18
-Community Fire Build w/Patch Kyaio
-Tarot My Toolbox w/Sylvia Sapp
-Walking in Harmony w/Amethyst Weeks
-Grounding and Energy Building Basics w/Aimee Zwart and Laura Szyikowski
-Council of All Beings w/Valerian
-BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: Community Drumming and Dancing before the Bel Fire
SATURDAY, May 19
-Movement as Ritual w/Lisa Adams
-Forbidden Needs and Desires – Non-Violent Communication Opens the Door w/Jasper Handley
-Household Magic w/Patti Wigington
-Working with the Runes w/Darrell Fishel
-Fermented Beverages Workshop w/Gretchen Burgess
-Drumming w/Patch Kyaio
-An Introduction to the Science of Crystal Magic w/Akamu Ipo’Honua
SUNDAY, May 20
-Mirror Mirror w/Peggy Zinc
Descriptions and Presenters
==THURSDAY, May 17, 2018==
Raven will introduce the basics of working with herbs magically. Join them in making an oil and an incense while learning how to use these tools in spell work, anointing, and protection. We will also go on a journey to meet our spirit allies.
Raven Hawthorne has been a practicing witch since 2002 and is now a Reclaiming witch. Raven, who identifies with and prefers to use the pronoun “they,” is a priest of The Morrigan and uses their magic for personal, community, and global revolution. They also work with the dark aspects of the Goddess including inner transformation. Raven is the proprietor of Raven Mysteries, a shop in Staunton where they teach and facilitate workshops. Among their many other talents, Raven is also a Reiki practitioner and uses Reiki for both human and Earth healing. Drumming and mathematics are some of the other hobbies that round out Raven’s interests.
==FRIDAY, May 18, 2018==
1pm: Community Fire Build
Come join our intrepid team of fire tenders for the construction of the Bel Fire that will keep our people warm, lit, and blessed throughout our Beltane celebrations! We will talk about the physical aspects of building and tending a community fire, as well as the spiritual and energetic aspects of keeping a sacred fire, all while we construct our beautiful fire build that will burn through the following days and nights.
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. He has been making noise since birth and practicing djembe for over 17 years. He has found his connection with the world through the drum. His influences range from Traditional African, Middle Eastern and Caribbean traditions to Jazz, Hip Hop, Folk 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 Overton Barry, Barney McClure, Mark Lewis, Norm Bellas, Karin Kajita, Easa Grayson, R. Tigre Cruz, Pash’n and more!
1pm: Tarot My Toolbox
Everyone knows that a Tarot deck can be used for divination, but did you know that it contains all the tools you need for an everyday magic-filled life? Whether your looking to set up a permanent altar or need something on the go, the Tarot includes everything you need. We will explore many applications for the cards, so be sure to bring a Tarot deck that you don’t mind being handled or an old deck ready to receive new life.
Sylvia Sapp is a long-standing member of the Blue Ridge Beltane community. Picture and bio coming soon!
1pm: Walking in Harmony
Amethyst Mary Belle Weeks
This workshop delves into our theme “Walking in Harmony.” Participants should come prepared to participate in discussion. We will unfold various reasons for developing this attitude as a personal attribute, and we will discover ways to remain in harmony without compromising our personal values. Bring along writing tools to take note of your thoughts as others speak.
Amethyst was born a witch and has been practicing since age five when she discovered that she could fly (sixty-five years ago). After studying various religions throughout her life, she settled down to her own brand of doing what is right. She owns and formerly operated A Fairies’ Circle and founded Haven Universal Life Church. In the late 1990s, she was active with the Cauldron and CUUPS in Harrisonburg, VA. Amethyst has the authority to perform legal marriages in Virginia, and she is available for weddings and handfastings. She taught A Year and a Day classes privately and in small groups; however, she has limited taking new students to one per year. Since 2000, Amethyst has attended, been a vendor and presented workshops at Mountain Mysteries Beltane and Mabon, Blue Ridge Beltane, Spring and Fall Gatherings of the Tribes in Windsor, VA, Harvest Faire at the Mariner’s Museum in Hampton, VA, and Pagan Pride Days in Charlottesville, VA. She also vended at Stone Tower Glen, Gloucester, and Green Hills Renaissance Faires, as well as The Maple Festival in Highland County. Currently Amethyst has been making Tranquility products under the business name Lavender & Amethyst and reads tarot. As an Elder and HAG (Honorable Aged Goddess), Amethyst appreciates the love and care from the Pagan Community who keeps tabs on her and assists in set up and take down so she can continue presenting workshops and vending at festivals!
4pm: Grounding and Energy Building Basics
Aimee Zwart and Laura Szykowski
Join Laura and Aimee as we explore different ways to connect to the earth and the energy around us. Do you have trouble grounding, building, and controlling your own energy? Come have a seat with us as we practice and explore what works best for each of us.
Aimee “Thistle” Zwart Aimee is a lively, vivacious and outgoing witch, Priestess and songstress. She has spent many year in the local pagan community helping to cultivate growth, love and connections. She is a firm believer that every little thing we do to lift each other and ourselves is in truth huge.
Laura Szyikowski has been a member of the BRB tribe since 2013. She is a mental health clinician working in Virginia, and her passion is for teaching others to heal themselves by changing their energy flow. She is a tree-hugging, fire-dancing, spirit-drumming, earth-loving, peace-seeking human who welcomes unity, peace, and diversity.
4:15pm: Council of All Beings
Visit the Community Sovereignty Sanctuary located south of the fire circle – a place where we observe the mysteries of community, oneness with the Earth, and freedom while acknowledging the unknown and complex chains of racism, patriarchy, and classism – to hold space for a Council of All Beings. Communicate with other life-forms and don masks in circle to interpret their contributions to the council.
Our ancestors carried in their bones the ability to connect with and channel the wisdom and perspective of other animals, plants, fungi, the one-celled, and even beings from other planets and galaxies. By cutting into the other world, we invite beings to bring their concerns to a council and share what gifts they have to offer humans as we strive for balance. Working with the drum, we will journey within using the gifts each of us has been handed by our ancestors and listen for how the beings would like to be heard and seen. Using natural materials from the land, we will make masks to wear. We will take these masks off when we go to the inner circle to listen in silence as our human selves. Edge-walkers are welcome to hold the container by looking in.
6:30pm: BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: Community Drumming and Dancing before the Bel Fire
Join your tribe for an informal workshop and jam session before the Bel Fire. We’ll go over a few drumming techniques in brief. We’ll learn a few chants together. And then … we begin! Bring a chair, bring a drum or any other instruments you like, bring your voice, and blessed be!
==SATURDAY, May 19, 2018==
10am: Movement as Ritual
When we engage in acts of ritual, we use tools, invoke elements and deities, speak words, work with energy, and use our bodies through movement to perform ritual acts like casting a circle. The more senses we engage, the more powerful and embodied the ritual. Come learn about engaging in movement to embody ritual and prayer, move energy, and lend more power to your work. Dress comfortably and be ready to move.
Lisa Adams is a Spiritual Badass, Renegade Mystic, Priestess, Tantrika, Yogastrologer®, Warrior, Luminary, Catalyst. Lisa’s fierce dedication to self-growth fuels her passion to help others. She propels people along their journeys to craft extraordinary, sensual, spiritual lives. She believes that anyone can be a force of transformation in the world. Lisa was born to teach and Priestess the ancient, esoteric, and sensual arts. She has worked in holistic health for over 25 years, holds a bachelor’s degree in religion and women’s studies, and is an ordained minister. Since 1999, she has facilitated countless rituals and workshops, strongly believing that sacred ceremony is a key to healing.
10am: Forbidden Needs and Desires – Nonviolent Communication Opens the Door
We have all experienced the euphoria of a new relationship. Some refer to it as “new relationship energy” (NRE) or simply infatuation. Understanding what initially attracts us to our friends and partners will help us continue that good feeling into mature and lasting connections that keep on growing without getting stuck in blaming and gaming when our needs and desires are not met. This workshop will start with a brief overview of the basic practice of Nonviolent Communication (NVC). We shift our focus from the cultural habit of evaluation and judgment which disconnects us from empathy and connection, interjecting fear of anger, punishment, and reward. First, we will slow down by engaging in a process that starts with sensory observation. Then, we will express our feelings about what happened, what need or desire was activated, and conclude with a specific request that can be met, preferably here and now. Through small group practice exercises using the NVC template, we will open the door to communication about our needs, gaining the tools necessary to ask for what we need without triggering the fear that those desires are forbidden or unspeakable.
Jasper Handley has been active in communities for Paganism, polyamory, designer relationships, New Culture, NVC (nonviolent communication), and Human Awareness for about 15 years. He participated in Max and Elise Rivers’ NVC Workshop at New Culture Winter Camp in Hawaii in 2016 when something clicked. He realized as the oldest child, he had been trained to take care of himself. Upon reflection, a close friend confirmed this conclusion saying, “Yes, Jasper, it’s true, you rarely ask and you seem very uncomfortable making requests.” He assumed he was supposed to get those needs for touch, intimacy, deep listening, and sexuality met through subtle signaling and telepathy. Those tactics were not working. When he shifted his focus from his own feelings to those of his friends and partners, a door opened. The empathetic guess was his first NVC tool, and it’s still a favorite.
12:30pm: Working with the Runes
This workshop is for those who are curious, those who have a fascination with the Runes but may have had difficulty using them in the past, and those who are familiar with the Runes but want to hear someone else’s perspective. The Runes can be a catalyst for self-discovery, a way of discerning wyrd, and a veritable tool-chest of powerful foci for magical workings. In the class, we will discuss some of the lore, rune symbolism and meaning and various practical ways to apply the Elder Futhark Runes to your workings. If you have a rune set, bring it with you. Darrell will have 3 to 4 sets with him. Having a set at class is not required to attend as all should be able to share.
Darrell Fishel has taught various classes and workshops over the past 5 years with a focus on practical runeworking and other related themes. He is a Wiccan Priest and student/lover of Germanic neopaganism (Heathenry), Druidry, Greenlief and Reiki healing methods, drumming with spiritual intent, rune working for divination/magic and the crafting of magical implements.
12:30pm: Household Magic
This is a fun and interactive workshop in which we discuss using non-magical items in magical workings. Anything you can find in your kitchen junk drawer is fair game, and attendees often work in teams employing outside-the-box critical thinking to determine how they can use completely random items in a hands-on session.
Patti Wigington is the author of two books on witchcraft: The Good Witch’s Daily Spell Book and Wicca Practical Magic. She has hosted the About.com/ThoughtCo’s Pagan website since 2007. She’s been Pagan for 30 years, and she works as a priestess and educator in her local Pagan community.
2:30pm: Fermented Beverages Workshop and Mead Tasting
Get ready to taste some magic! The mead tasting competition has taken place for at least eight years running at Blue Ridge Beltane. Come learn tips and techniques for creating your own mead and ales at the main pavilion so you can enter the competition next year. This year, we will kick off the competition with some spell work. We will make “The Mead of Thor’s Swagger” to channel our true power. Then, workshop attendees will taste the fabulous mead of our community. Please bring TWO CUPS, one for you and one for a friend.
Get a great review of the basics of hand drumming as well as some practice techniques and fun rhythms! 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.
See Patch Kyaio’s previous bio under Community Fire Build.
4pm: An Introduction to the Science of Crystal Magic
Akamu Ipo’Honua AKA Adam
Many healers and pagans use rocks and minerals in their practices. This workshop takes an introductory look at the science behind rocks and minerals. An interactive discussion on the Earth processes that determine coloration, shape, durability, and size of some of our favorite stones. By broadening our understanding of how science and magic coexist, we can better utilize and harmonize with the crystalline energies surrounding us.
Adam is a Radford University science alumnus who has been attending Blue Ridge Beltane since 2011. He uses his degree in geology and his background in carpentry to create art, which he sells at festivals throughout Virginia and surrounding states. Adam is an eclectic pagan who wholeheartedly embraces all the spiritual inclusion this festival offers every year. He can be found helping in a number of places around the festival: helping with infrastructure, tending the sacred Bel fire, helping as Inner Sanctum guardian, dancing the fire, presenting workshops, beating drums, selling his art at Vendor Village, spinning fire, and managing the Wellspring Cafe. He strongly supports “free hug day” and the cultivation of a safe and welcoming place to be one’s authentic self. He is always happy to answer questions or lend a hand.
==SUNDAY, May 20, 2018==
10am: Mirror Mirror
Reflections have an important role in our lives. Self-reflection gives us a time to look inside to our beliefs and gauge if there are changes that need to be made. The reflection we see in the mirror tells us when we have just a small bit of broccoli caught in our teeth. In our cars, mirrors show us when changing a lane is safe. In our Magickal practice, many see mirrors only as a vehicle for scrying. This workshop will explore different ways of using Mirror Magick beyond scrying and develop techniques for including Mirror Magick into our daily practice.
Peggy Thompson graduated with a degree in Anthropology and Criminology in 2008. While attending college, she was one of the founding members of Cleveland State Pagans where she worked to increase the visibility of Pagans on campus and to dispel harmful myths. Peggy has coordinated public events and teaches at conferences and festivals to share her knowledge of Paganism and Organizational strategies. Currently, Peggy is the High Priestess of her own small group in Lakewood OH. She also sits on the boards of Rising Sun Outreach Ministry, and PEGS. Through these organizations she works to encourage other leaders and strengthen Pagan Communities. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via her Facebook page under peg.e.thompson.
If you are interested in presenting a workshop at the festival, please contact us with the form below.
Please make sure to include your legal name (and your magical name, if applicable), your contact information, and a description and title of your workshop idea in order to be considered to be a workshop presenter.