Starwood Festival XXIII 22-27 July 2003 - Sherman, NY

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Rev. Tannin Schwartzstein

Contrary to popular legend, Tannin was not born in a log cabin in Springfield Illinois. She did, however, spend her entire childhood living on the Jersey Shore. From the age of 14 till the present, she has dedicated a significant part of her life in pursuit of various spiritual arts both privately and professionally. Tannin has studied diverse practices and paths such as Gi Gong, Shamanistic energy techniques, Gnostisism, Afro-Caribbean religions, and even a pinch of Ceremonial Magick. Currently, she is the proprietor of Bones and Flowers, a specialty occult shop in Worcester MA, as well as online ( . She has co-authored two books published through Llewelyyn World Wide (Urban Primitive, October 2002 and Welcoming Hera’s Blessing: Handfasting and Wedding Rituals, December 2003) with Raven Kaldera.

Broken Glass and Talking Bones: Spirits of the City. For countess ages all over the globe, there have been countless names for those who heard and worked with "the spirits". Whether they go my the name of Shaman, medicine man, Witch or Spiritist, many spiritualists of the 21st century often find themselves caught between the worlds without a guide book and adequate tool kit. In this workshop, Tannin Schwartzstein will discuss aspects of working with the spirits what share the world of city dwellers. Topics will include a discussion about interacting specific types of "spirits" (such as Ghosts, elementals, and animal "totems"), making and using "shamanistic" tools out of natural and artficial materials, and adapting classic spirit-working techniques to an Urban enviornment.

Brides, Brooms and Grooms-Oh My! Great! Your ordination papers have arrived fresh off the printer or out of the mailbox! You can now provide a very special service to your chosen spiritual community. Now what? Join Tannin for a Wedding Workshop for Independent Pagan Clergy . She will discuss performing wedding ceremonies as a secular service vs. as an HP (minister). "To Fee or not to Fee, that is the question!" She will also give some very helpful guidelines on how to plan a wedding / service ritual, and offer some personal insights on giving advice to couples and Polyamorous groups. She also will have a state to state guide available on registering your ordination papers ! (Note: Clergy of all faiths are welcome to attend, as are those interested in "alternative" weddings.)

Steel and Ink: Body Modification and Neo-Pagan pathworking. To some, the increasing popularity of body piercing and tatooing is merely an upswing in freakish passing fashion. To those who identify as "Modern Primitives", their body adornments are intensely personal, spiritual expressions. Come join Tannin Schwartzstein, a tattooed, pierced and proud "Urban Primitive" for a lively discussion of the symbolic, and social meanings of not only bearing the marks, but experiencing the sting of ink and steel. (Please note, this discussion may contain some graphic content and images. The presenter is NOT a medical proffesional, and can only give examples of personal and anecdotal experiences, NOT medical advice!)

Third Gender Spirits and The Craft. In Wicca and many other Neo-Pagan religious systems, Deity and spiritual energy is percieved as part of a bianary of Male and Female. This poses some difficulties for those in the Pagan demographic who identify as members of the Transgendered spectrum. Please join Drake Blackstone (AKA: Rev. Tannin Schwartzstein) for an intensive discussion on breaking the bianary of "the boys vs. girls" team in Sacred Space! As part of this discussion, he will discuss major Deities from all over the world whose legends do not place them squarely in the Male/Female Dichotomy ("Baphomet? No surprise there! But Odhinn???"). Last but not least, Drake will talk about the role of "bispirited" people in ritual and magickal practice. Whether you are a transperson, HP in need of advice or a practitioner looking to invoke the energy of the "opposite sex", this workshop addresses one of the most difficult and avoided subjects in the modern Craft movement. As part of this workshop, a circle will be cast, and sacred space established.

Elie Sheva

Elie Shava is a kibbutz member originally from Northern Galilee, Israel. She is a member of Am HaAretz, an Israeli/Hebrew tradition of Tribal Earth Spirituality. This is a Peaceful Warrior Tradition, based on the Tribal spirituality of the Ancient Hebrew Shepherd/warriors. Her academic background includes: archeology studies at the Tel Aviv University and MA in Conference Interpreting. Now retired from a career in the military, Elie is a Licenced Clinical Counselor. In the past twenty-five years has Elie lectured and written extensively in various countries, including the USA. Her articles on Hebrew Earth spirituality have appeared in Mezlim MAgazine and she has three books on Earth Spirituality written and published in Israel, "Ahavatz Aretz"- (Love of the Land), "Derech Ivrim Derech Aretz" (Way of the Hebrews,Way of the Land) and "Ahavat aretz ,Ahavat falcha" (Loving the Land, loving the Soil). Elie is currently working on re-writing these books and updating them for the USA audience.

Leaders of the Hebrew Warrior-Shepherd Tribes: Shofets, then and now: The ancient Hebrew Warrior/Shepherd tribes had leaders, elected by acclaim, the Shofet. A Shofet was a Seer and mediator, who counseled and mediated for the tribes in times of peace, and led their battles in times of war. The Shofets were far from flawless, yet had the trust of the tribes and we will discuss some of the better known among them such as Samson, and Deborah. We will also discuss what they teach us about the role of the Shofet in today's modern Amcha, the Hebrew Earth spirituality

How Amcha read the book:
In this workshop we continue discussing the Path of Amcha, the Hebrew Earth spirituality -this time, we focus on how we relate to the Bible.
"We are not a people of the book!" is a common cry among the contemporary Pagan practitioners, who are often 'refugees' from toxic forms of extreme religions. How does Amcha, the NeoTribal Hebrew Earth Path, address the issue of honoring the mytho poetic history of our people (which is, of course, in a book!) yet refrain from fundamentalist thinking?

Amcha values: Guidelines for the Noble Warrior-in Peace and War: This workshop discusses the value system of the Hebrew Earth Spirituality; past and present. What is the value and function of honor, hospitality, courage, and all the other values that Amcha considers part of its Warrior and Earth spirituality?


Sikiru Adepoju comes from a musical family in Nigeria and while still in his teens joined the band of one of the pioneers of Afro-beat, Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey. In 1985, he came to America to play with O.J. Ekemode's Nigerian All-Stars and one year later met Babatunde Olatunji. He became an integral part of Olatunji's Drums of Passion and through Olatunji met Mickey Hart. Since then Sikiru has frequently been a guest percussionist during Hart and Bill Kreutzmanns's Rhythm Devil segments of Grateful Dead concerts. He has collaborated with Muruga Booker and Olatunji on the CD Cosmic Rhythm Vibrations, and plays talking drum with Mickey Hart's group Bembe Orishas, which toured in 2002. Sikiru also leads his own group, The Honeymakers.

The Language of the Drums
Sikiru leads this workshop originally created by Babatunde Olatunji, teaching us how the drum is the center of African culture, as its sounds and rhythms communicate, stimulate, and pace the variety of activities of traditional life. In an exhilarating community atmosphere, we learn the consonants of the Yoruba language, and how to reproduce these sounds with drums and chants that accompany the sounds and rhythms. This workshop is appropriate for anyone at any level of drumming experience. Sikiru covers techniques for producing the proper tones of the drum, playing original and authentic rhythms, and learning the essential attitudes that will bring your drum to life. These lessons will expand the student's playing abilities on hand drums such as the Ashiko and Djembe, and on Sikiru's speciality, the talking drum.

Chas Smith

Chas Smith holds a Master's Degree in Music and teaches at Cleveland State University, where his class "Roots of Rock: Evolution of Rock Music” course is the largest class offered (over 300 per semester), and he's the author of the book From Woodstock to the Moon: The Cultural Evolution of Rock Music. His studies focus on American roots music, composition, ethnomusic and electronic music, and he's been an avid proponent of alternative ideas in music therapy. He's also the dynamic front man, directing and playing keyboards and bass for Einstein's Secret Orchestra, and has programmed ESO Radio at WCSB 89.3 FM ( in Cleveland since 1987.

Space Trance 4: The fourth installment of the Space Trance series the connections and current theories between science and spirituality in a workshop that's half lecture on science, music, community and spirituality and their connections to each other, and half music performance/guided meditation. Here, we ask, and hopefully answer, some fundamental questions. Why do we have music? Could there be a connection to the awareness of the Universe as well as to each other? Where is it written in us that we must have music in our lives? In our memories - our brains? Our DNA? Or maybe even as deep as our quantum subatomic structure - the stuff we (and everything in the Universe) are made of. Music is a curious thing. We wouldn't die without it, like water and air and food, but yet there has never been an study of any human culture that did not have music. Not even one. Why? OK, now shift gears to the hot topics in science and physics today: like quantum uncertainty and super strings. We came from and are made of the ash of stellar alchemy… so we are in a very real sense a way for the Universe to know itself; and what's the connection? What's the phone line made of? What's the shimmy shimmy shake of Lifeforce? Well, if current thinking in quantum physics proves itself to be true (always differentiate scientifically proven stuff from theory stuff) then the answer has a lot to do with vibration or, if you will… Music - our guide to paths of deeper understanding of our connection to e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. From music we came, To music we shall return.

Community Improv Orchestra: Come one and all and join in this community improvisation master class workshop, with founding member and music director of Einstein's Secret Orchestra, Chas Smith, as well as current members of the Orchestra… and YOU!!! Explore the connections between community and music, as well as improvisation techniques and musical ideas. How to listen to others while finding your place in the music, how to "think" musically, and bringing it all together in a joyous sound is the strong focus of this workshop. Bring musical instruments of any sort and become a part of the only orchestra that meets only once a year, or just come and listen and dance to the music. Here… we pass on the "secret"… and you… become a member of the Orchestra. Dance with your body… play with your mind.

Rev. Ivan Stang

Rev. Ivan Stang co-sub-founded The SubGenius Foundation in 1980, and has authored 4 books about The Church of the SubGenius and fringe beliefs, including The Book of the SubGenius and Revelation X. Since 1985 he has produced the syndicated “Hour of Slack” radio show, and has preached the word of J.R. “Bob” Dobbs at hundreds of stage shows. The Church of the SubGenius carved out a niche for itself on the Internet, where Stang now resides.

Rev. Stang will explain everything that J.R. "Bob" Dobbs didn't already explain in The Book of the SubGenius and Revelation X. That's a lot of ground to cover, so Stang will have to talk fast. A tape recorder that can later be slowed down in playback might come in handy.

Evan Stuckless

Evan Stuckless is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, student and teacher with 15 years of experience performing traditional roots music from around the world. Having performed afropop to zydeco, bluegrass to middle eastern music. For 10 years, he has been learning culture-specific traditional rhythms and incorporating them with third-shift improv energy on stage and in life. His numerous Starwood appearances include performances with the African band Djoliba, Blue Eustice, and the World/Groove band BuddhaHood, among others.

West African Drum and Dance (with: Wendy Rover)
Join us and explore the songs, rhythms and traditional dances of Guinea, West Africa. Drums, movement and song are a means of communing with The Ancestors and with the Hidden in Ourselves. Evan Stuckless will teach the drum parts during the first half of this double workshop. Wendy will teach the songs and dances in the second half. We will be working on Jahleh-don, KuKu and more. All levels of dance experience welcome, or just come to watch and sing. Wear comfortable clothing and bring water to drink. Get ready for your Solo.

Tom Swiss

Tom Swiss describes his spiritual path as "Zen Pagan Taoist Atheist Discordian", which usually baffles questioners enough to leave him alone. He is a karate student and teacher, holding the rank of sandan (third degree black belt); also a poet, a musician, a Reiki master, an amateur philosopher, a professional computer geek, and a student of Shiatsu and Asian Bodywork at the Baltimore School of Massage.

Zen Paganism: Since its beginnings 2,500 years ago, Buddhism has existed with, borrowed from, and lent to poly- and pan-theistic paths including Hinduism, Taoism, Shinto, and Bon. We will discuss the basic tenets of Buddhism (mostly from a Zen perspective) and how they might be integrated with Neo-Pagan practice, and do a few mindfulness meditation exercises.

Self-defense as a Spiritual Practice: You are a manifestation of the divine, a child of the God and Goddess. That makes you a being worth defending; yet our culture's confused attitudes about violence, plus the self-esteem issues faced by many people in the pagan community, often obscure the fact that self-defense is also defense of the divine principle within all of us. In this workshop we will try to cut through the fog and discuss attitudes and skills to preserve not just your body but your divine nature. Targeted for those without previous martial arts or self-defense training; but experienced students are also welcome. We will practice verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and a few simple self-defense techniques.

The Sword that Gives Life: A discussion of the concepts of the "peaceful warrior" and "the sword that gives life", and of the martial arts as a path to spiritual development. Intended for the novice to the master practitioner of both Eastern and Western arts - or even the curious without experience. Please come and share your thoughts.

The Troth

The Troth is dedicated to exploring, practicing and promoting the pre-Christian religion of the Germanic peoples, who include the English, Norse, Icelanders, Swedes and Germans, among others. This religion is known by various names, including Ásatrú, Heathenry, the Elder Troth, and others.
Although there are many variations in beliefs and practices within this faith, and many ways of describing and classifying these differences, we all share a defining personal loyalty to, or "Troth" with, the gods and goddesses of the Northlands, such as Odin, Thor, Frigga, and many others; a deep respect for our Germanic religious, cultural and historical heritage; and a strong determination to practice the moral principles followed by our noble predecessors, including Courage, Truth, Honor, Loyalty, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self-reliance, and Steadfastness. From:

The Heathen Sumbel
The sumbel is one of the most basic Heathen rituals. Its purpose is to help build the community, and participants take turn honoring the god/desses, the heroes and ancestors, and one another. Come honor the gods and goddesses, build connections, and learn about organizations and resources for modern Heathens worldwide. Most importantly, join us as we share our reverence for the community.

Hail Holy Earth: Nerthus Procession and Ritual
Traditional cultures all over the world honor the Earth Goddess. All are invited to join in this welcome and procession, based on the traditions of Northern Europe, in which we bring Brushwood's own image of the goddess Nerthus from her island in the pond, carry her triumphantly through the campground to bless us with peace and fellowship, and install her on the shore so that all can honor Her during the festival. Join the parade and bring the Goddess to Starwood with drumming and song. Bring drums, flowers, offerings and colored scarves to wave. (Nerthus statue & cart carved by Bob Stine.) Children are especially welcome.

On Behalf of the Troth:
Patricia Lafayllve

Asatru herself for over six years, she has been a member of the Troth for three. Currently serving as the Steward for the State of Connecticut, Patricia has hosted numerous workshops covering basic Heathen concepts including blót, sumbel, and seidhr. She is part of a working seidhr group, Björnsál, and has also coordinated "Lore Night," a gathering of local Asatru to discuss the extant lore and archeology that form the basis of this reconstructed religion. Patricia has been active in the pagan community for over ten years.

Victorria Johnson
Victorria has been a member of The Troth for two years and is the Steward for the State of New York. She is a member of the spae/seidhr group, Björnsál, and is also a rune student of Freya Aswynn’s. She has been a member of the larger pagan community in NYC for the past six years and is also currently a member of the Temple of the Spiral Path.

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last updated 6/22/03