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FPG—It Was a Blast!

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on November 10, 2009 | Comments (2)

I’m back from Florida and the Samhain Florida Pagan Gathering. It was great! The weather was perfect and the people were wonderful. The music group, Coyote Run, really rocked the place. It turns out that one of the members had been to a lecture I gave (on Linda Falorio and Fred Fowler’s Shadow Tarot) many years ago when I lived in Minnesota. Singer Kellianna was a down-to-earth delight with a powerful voice. Thanks to everyone who made FPG possible. I hope they’ll bring me back sooner than nine years.

The people at FPG put me up in a large and airy bunk room (the site is a 4H club campground). The land was grassy, gentle hills, with a large lake on one side. Every so often an alligator pops out of the lake, but none was to be seen while I was there. However, a pair of red-crowned cranes wandered the land and impudently walked up to people.

Along with myself and Kellianna, the third member of the bunk room was Jason Pitzl-Waters. Jason has been running The Wild Hunt blog, filled with the latest news of interest to Pagans, for half a decade, and may be the most popular Pagan-oriented independent blog on the net. You should check it out. He also has a podcast about Pagan music called “A Darker Shade of Pagan” that began as a newspaper column seven years ago.

Jason told me that these were the first workshops he’d ever given. I’ve seen lots of workshops by everyone from first-time presenters to experienced speakers, and I honestly think Jason was as good or better than most of them. He really has the skills to become an important voice in the festival community and beyond. He was well-prepared, controlled the audience, was interesting, spoke well, and covered unique topics. I hope to hear him give some more talks, soon.

The last two bunks were filled by Gavin Bone and Janet Farrar. Genial and friendly, I attended a great workshop given by Gavin on how to understand the runes. Unlike some speakers, he was clear and concise, and was willing to call a spade a spade when it came to false claims made by some people. I really like his style, approach, and sense of humor. I doubt if I can add much to the legend that is Janet Farrar. Incredibly knowledgeable, she has been writing on the Craft (originally with her late husband, Stewart Farrar) since 1971. I remember reading those books as a youngster, and they meant a lot to me at the time. The remain valuable today.  Getting to meet Janet and Gavin was both an honor and a privilege. I have to add that Janet, a very petite woman, is an absolutely brilliant storyteller, able to capture the attention of a noisy crowd not by being louder, but by being more expressive and interesting. Her elegant, slender hands emphasized words exactly when appropriate. Her tale of the Selikie Wife had everyone in tears. It was especially meaningful to me as I have a distant relative, through marriage (my grandfather’s) who photographed the movie The Secret of Roan Inish, which is about a selkie.

All in all, the people who attended had a great time. They came for a combination of fun and learning, and there was both in large quantities. And that doesn’t even begin to mention “battles” between the Vikings and Pirates who attended. I strongly encourage people to attend such festivals for the combination of fun, learning new things, places to shop, and participating in rituals.

Reader Comments

Written By Jason Pitzl-Waters
on November 10th, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

Thanks Don! I really enjoyed meeting you, and your presentations really taught me a lot about how to successfully engage a large crowd with humor and insight.

Written By Teresa Hines
on November 10th, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

Thanks Don, we loved having you there! I can’t believe it had been so long since we’d seen you. I guarantee it won’t be that long before we ask you back. 🙂 It was an absolute joy to see you again and your workshops were just as great as I remembered. Thank you for all you did and for your kind words. (I totally agree with you re: Jason. He did a great job.) Glad you made it home safely.

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