The Hail and Horn Gathering is a festival that serves as a meeting place for the growing number of Heathens in Ontario and Quebec as well as throughout Canada. It takes place the Canada Day long weekend, from June 28 to July 1, 2013. In 2012, Raven’s Knoll established a one-of-a-kind place of worship, the Vé, built as sacred ground to house the god-poles raised by the folk year after year. In 2012, Odin was first to be raised within the sacred enclosure, honoured by gathered folk under the banners of their many groups. In 2013, the folk will honour Frigg in a ceremony led by gyðja Brynn Hultquist, with a god-pole carved by Herne.
The event is coordinated by Austin Lawrence, goði at Raven’s Knoll, and Erik Lacharity of Rúnatýr Kindred, as well as many volunteers. The gathering serves as a way for all Heathens and the Heathen-curious to experience fellowship and worship together in the manner of the ancestors. People who attend the Hail and Horn Gathering participant in a tripartite ritual that begins the Friday afternoon and ends with the departure of the folk on Monday. First is the Blót, where a new god-pole will be raised in the Vé. This is followed the next day by the ritual of a sacral communal meal called Húsel, consisting of a tasty medieval menu, which then leads into a formal toasting ceremony called Symbel. The Hail and Horn Symbel is in the style of “High Symbel” which is reconstructed from research on ancient Anglo-Saxon tradition. In High Symbel only the old gods of the North are venerated and an emphasis is placed on interaction between groups. The three rituals are a source of great communal joy that raise the might of participants and bring gods and folk together.
There will also be friendly competition and entertainment. A Skaldic Fire is held where attendees can test their showmanship, storytelling and wits. The object of the art of skaldry is to outperform your competition by reciting old mythic epics or modern tales, poems or song of heroic stature. At Symbel great words are spoken demonstrating the virtue of the orators. In 2012, two silver arm rings were gifted; one to the best display of skaldry, by Gypsy Birch, and one the honour of Frank Schornagel of Clearwater Kindred in Alberta. Last year the arm rings were crafted by Jeff Helmes and this year the crafting will be done by Andy Biggers of Wayfarers’ Kindred.
One can also expect a lot of friendly conversation and even a workshop or two, including one on lore related to spinning and weaving by Juniper Jeni and another on naalbinding by Shane Hultquist. Feats of physical strength and agility are also an attraction as Heathens of all walks vie to test their mettle. Toss at kubb or play at tafl, whatever is your fancy. Guests can bring fireworks to combine to create a show to impress each other in a display to honour of our fair country, as well as our kin and kith.
The cost of registration for this camping event is $120 per adult (18 and older) for preregistration received before Sunday June 23, 2013. Regular registration is $140 per adult. Registration for youth (aged 7 to 17) is $60. Children under 6 years of age are free. To have an electrical hook-up for the weekend add $36, for a berth in the shared space cabin add $45 per person. Preregistration is required to reserve a place in the cabin. All registrations include the husél feast dinner. Friends who are regular campers at Raven’s Knoll and are not registered for Hail and Horn may join the feast for a $30 fee. All prices include taxes. There is also a “Draupnir Benefit” for groups; for every group (kindred, hearth, banner, etc.) that includes eight paying adults, the registration fee for the ninth paying adult is waived. Please download the registration form and send it to Raven’s Knoll to register. Registration at the door is also available.
Hail the Landvettir! Hail the Ancestors! Hail the Gods!