Nestled in the heart of Ohio beneath a canopy of red and gold lies Camp Graham, the home of the Earth Warriors Festival. Seven years ago, under the direction of event organizer and shop owner, Heather Killen, members of the local pagan community gathered to create sacred space for growth and networking amongst those who walk the path of a warrior or guardian. Since then the festival has grown from being a small outdoor event to being one of the premier festivals in the nation.
Warning: This post contains ideas and images that some readers may find offensive.
Talk about cultural poverty. Talk about premature canonization. Talk about unworthy traditions.
The so-called "Sacred Hunt" ritual has become a standard fixture at several Midwest pagan gatherings over the course of the last 10 years or so. Me, I hate this so-called "ritual." Personally, I would contend that, in fact, it is neither sacred, a hunt, nor even a ritual. I think it's time and high time that we drove a spear through its heart and let it die a well-deserved and long-overdue death.
Summerland Spirit Festival: Turtle Creek, Wisconsin, July 2014.
The Wild Hunt: post-industrial primitive. We've gathered in front of the hall: the hunters with our face paint and spears, along with the rest of the tribe. When the horns blow, we'll all process down to the Stones, where the Elders will call the Deer. We'll hunt, kill, and mourn him properly before we eat him and rejoice: the mysteries of life and death, the old, true ways.
A little girl whose name I don't know--she's maybe seven--comes up to me and asks very specific questions about the patterns of our face paint. Actually, she's already got it all figured out. The blue line across the nose and cheekbones means "hunter." The crossing line down the brow and ridge of the nose means "tribe." Right?