49 Degrees: Canadian Pagan Perspectives

Canadian Paganism has a style all its own. Have a look at events, issues, celebrations, people, trends and events north of the border from the eyes of a Canadian Wiccan and Witch.

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Sable Aradia

Sable Aradia

Sable Aradia (Diane Morrison) has been a traditional witch most of her life, and she is a licensed Wiccan minister and a Third Degree initiate in the Star Sapphire and Pagans for Peace traditions. Author of "The Witch's Eight Paths of Power" (Red Wheel/Weiser 2014) and contributor to "Pagan Consent Culture" and "The Pagan Leadership Anthology," she also writes "Between the Shadows" at Patheos' Pagan channel and contributes to Gods & Radicals. Sable is just breaking out as a speculative fiction writer under her legal name, and a new serial, the Wyrd West Chronicles, will be released on the Spring Equinox this year. Like most writers, she does a lot of other things to help pay the bills, including music, Etsy crafts, and working part time at a bookstore. She lives in Vernon, BC, Canada with her two life partners and her furbabies in a cabin on the edge of the woods.

Just a quick note to tell my loyal readers that the Canadian music anthology alluded to in my article on the Sun Wheel Pagan Festival is a go! It will be a fundraising effort for the Canadian National Pagan Conference and all artists have agreed to contribute their works entirely free of royalties; all profits support the Conference! Musicians who have agreed to participate so far include: The Dragon Ritual Drummers, The Ancient Gods, Raven's Call, Dano Hammer, Vanessa Cardui, Brendan Myers, Jamie Field (formerly of Parnassus before it was Chalice and Blade,) Tamarra James and me. We're still waiting to hear back from a few other artists and more information will be made available as it unfolds.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for keeping up posted! It will most likely end up on my Christmas list. I enjoy Canadiana, so what could be better than Pag

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Sun Wheel Pagan Arts Festival 2013

On the July 1st long weekend, I celebrated Canada Day by driving 10 hours to Drayton Valley, Alberta, to pitch a tent in a mosquito-infested field.  I left late, of course; I never seem to get out on time.  I didn't want to be late because even though the Sun Wheel Pagan Arts Festival didn't officially begin until the following day, on the Friday evening there was a firewalk scheduled and I had never done such a thing.  I came with my husband Erin and my young boyfriend Chad McLeary, also scheduled to perform on the stage.  I was quite honoured to be part of such a prestigious line-up; the roster included Vanessa Cardui, current bardic champion of the Kingdom of AnTir, an up-and-coming artist who also does medieval music like me; my friends from the Edmonton Pagan Choir and Chalice and Blade; the legendary Sharon Knight; and the indomitable Heather Dale.

But I shouldn't have worried.  Pagan Standard Time being what it is, things were running about the two hours late that I had left the house by, so I had just enough time to set up camp before hurrying off to the ritual.

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  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    Thanks for sharing your experiences! It's nice to see some of our neighbo(u)rs to the north here. I'll definitely check out the Ca
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Pleased that you enjoyed it, Jamie! And it looks like things are coming together, I am happy to say. I will write about it as t

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Raven's Call at Sunwheel 2012

In the wake of my article on Canadian Pagan music, I had an opportunity to interview Thom of emerging Canadian Celtic folk rock band Raven’s Call, who was happy to share with me the details of what was going on with his band!  For the full interview, check out my podcast as of June 10, 2013, at http://paganpathfinders.webs.com.

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Gaia Gathering: The Canadian National Pagan Conference


Dominique SmithThis weekend, which is a holiday long weekend north of the 49th Parallel, Pagans from all over the vast expanse of the Canadian landscape will be meeting in Gatineau, Quebec (which is just across the river from our capital city Ottawa) to discourse on what it is to be Canadian and Pagan, exchange ideas, study workshops, exchange chants, review scholarly works in our field, and of course, socialize.  It's called the Gaia Gathering (the Canadian National Pagan Conference,) and I believe this to be the most exciting thing currently going on in the Canadian Pagan community.  I made an epic journey to the 2010 conference in Montreal to present at a couple of panels, as well as one of their first workshops, and it was a life-changing experience.  This year, I am unable to attend but I was able to interview "Winnipagan" Dominique Smith, the current Chairperson, via Facebook about this outstanding event:

Question: So from your perspective, what is Gaia Gathering all about?

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I don’t think that there’s anyone in the Northern Hemisphere who doesn’t feel spring fever, and this year I’m feeling it more than most.  Maybe it’s because it’s so cold this year.  The buds are just starting to unfurl on the trees in my yard and the violets have just now bloomed, with the daffodils just passing.  This might be Canada, but that’s still pretty cold for us.  But possibly because of the cold, Beltane celebrations are on the horizon and it seems that everyone is planning to do something.  For me, the festival season begins at Beltane and it keeps me pretty busy until almost Samhain.  I go to a lot of them because I own a metaphysical store and it’s a good excuse to travel and vend.  With my writing and music beginning to take off, I suppose that will give me yet another (practical) reason to attend.  But mostly, I just go because I like gathering with other Pagans and celebrating our faiths.

I’m always torn what to do with myself because I’m often double-booked.  I was relieved when this year, the organizers of the Spring Festival of Awareness in Naramata, determined that presenters would have to decide whether they would attend that festival or the Wise Woman Festival in September – not both.  This freed me up to attend one of my favourite events, the Beltaine Faire in Edmonton (April 27th.)  This event was modeled after a similar, rather famous Beltane in the Park event in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which has been going on for some twenty years.  The beauty of these celebrations is that many different groups in the local community get together to put on the event.  In Edmonton, the Knights of the Northern Realm, a local medieval re-enactment group who combat with real swords, join forces with a couple of large local Wiccan organizations, a shamanic group and some local Druids, to make a fun-filled day of vendors, dancing, drumming, a traditional processional, Morris dancing, a maypole, the crowning of a May Queen and a Beltane ritual.  I love it because it’s relaxed and friendly, and I’ll be going there with my store and my guitar to perform and to vend.  This year, it will conclude with an evening Faerie Masquerade Ball!

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Because I released a new CD in these past two weeks since my last blog entry here, I have had music on the brain, and it occurs to me that Canada has a few talented Pagan musicians who deserve recognition.  Because we have a smaller population than the US, it’s harder for our musicians to make a living.  Let’s face it; it’s a niche market, and our market is smaller, so most Canadian Pagan musicians make US appearances too.  If you’re a Pagan music fan you might want to check these folks out.  Disclaimer – I have learned that music is very subjective and these are strictly my opinions.  But because I like these artists and I want you to check them out, I will provide as many links as I can to their music so you can listen for yourself, and maybe support also if you share my love.

The Ancient Gods

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25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (Canadian Wing)

A lot of people have been reading and circulating the recent articles that were written by my fellow Patheos.com blogger, Jason Mankey, about the “25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism”.  He wrote an “American Wing” article and a “European Wing” article, and I thought they were excellent, but the sum total of his mention of those of us north of the 49th Parallel was “sorry, Canada!”  Well, naturally that got my dander up a little.  It gives the impression that what goes on up here is an appendix to the greater American scene.  But in the founding of modern Paganism, in many cases it was the other way around.  Here’s my list of 25 Canadians who helped mold the modern Pagan world; without whom, nothing would be as it is.  If you ranked them along with the members of the other two lists to create a list of “The 25 Most Influential People in the Birth of Modern Paganism (All-Time Champions,)” some wouldn’t make the cut . . . but many of them would.  Just as Mankey did, I’ll list them in alphabetical order, since prioritizing is very difficult.  Mankey said that the American list was harder than the European one because everyone was “second generation”; I find that my list consists of either proto-Pagan contributors, or people who are doing very interesting things right now; perhaps a third generation, still active.

Runners-up:

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Howdy, Hobbes -- yup, you are certainly in that article. Cool! Any list like this (or the one in the article "True North: Pagan Co
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Interestingly, they are interconnected! I began working on an article about Paganism North of the parallel not long after Brendan
  • Hobbes
    Hobbes says #
    And by recent, I mean in the most recent issue of Witches & Pagans.
  • Hobbes
    Hobbes says #
    I was recently named one of Canada's best Pagan storytellers, I've helped organize a bunch of Pagan events, and I annoy all the be
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Oh Hobbes, like I could forget you! But you know, we don't know you out West at all. Come out and do something in our neck of t

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