Tag Archive: Preston


No Conference This Year

Alas, there will be no conference organised by PF North West this year. However, the ever excellent PaganCon will be going ahead in July at the Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Club. Details can be found on facebook .



Shamanism, Animism and Listening to the Land (The Conference)

Shamanism, Animism, and Listening to the Land is the theme for this years conference (coming up in a couple of months on the 19th October 2013 in the Harrington Building at UCLan in Preston)

We decided that this year would be “The Shamanic One” after watching the amount of shamanic practitioners in the north west grow and grow. It has been organized with Gordon MacLellan and Linda Sever, to whom we are very grateful. Some of the speakers you may not have heard of, but they offer a wealth of insight into our connection to the land, to the Otherworld, to the spirits of place, and to the divine. We have been lucky to get some foremost speakers on the Shamanism, including Northern European Shamanism, and the leading scholar Graham Harvey, as well as to offer talks/workshops on Druidry, Heathenry, magic and Witchcraft.

As usual we will have stalls, kids play area, cafe, and ritual, and this year we have listened to attendees and allowed more time to socialise and take refreshments. Tickets are available now at £15 members, £17 non members, or on the door on the day £18 members and £20 non members. Membership of the Pagan Federation is available on the day with discounted conference entry.

Gordon MacLellan is a well loved figure in British Paganism. Gordon will give an overview of what he thinks Shamanism is in the widest sense, and how it leads its people into a close bond with the land they live in. He will also let us into his personal story; talking about how he became a Shaman, the relationships with his shamanic “family”, the things they say and do, and how his spirituality feeds into his everyday work.

Graham Harvey is one of Britain’s foremost scholars of Paganism, and, while maintaining scholarly objectivity, has been a key figure in creating a body of research based scholarly literature that presents Pagan religion as a valid and vital part of modern spirituality. He is President of the British Association for the Study of Religion, and a Reader in Religious Studies at the Open University. He has published an astonishing amount of books, many that are really useful for pagan practitioners, ie Shamanism, A Reader and The Paganism Reader that gather many key texts in one place. At the conference he will share his fascinating insights into Animism. He has a huge body of work and love of hedgehogs and Terry Pratchett novels – so he’s sure to be a really interesting speaker.

Linda Sever is well known in the North West as a popular speaker at conferences, camps and events, and is the co-ordinator of the long running Wood Spirit camp. She is former documentary film maker at the BBC, now lecturing in film production at UCLan, and a respected Heathen. Her book on the Sacred Landscapes of Lancashire is highly rated by scholars and practitioners alike.

Jenny Blain is an anthropologist and writer, with a strong interest in shamanism and seidr. She is also a university lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University, author of Sacred Site, Contested Rites/Rights, (J Blain and R J Wallis, 2007, Sussex Academic Press), exploring Pagan interactions with heritage landscapes, and co editor of Researching Paganisms, an academic book pioneering Pagan Studies. Her book on Seidr is a key text on Seid magic and the North European Pagan traditions and she writes a blog over at http://landscapeself.blogspot.com/.

Lorna Smithers is a poet and philosophy postgraduate living in Penwortham in Lancashire. Her practice as a Bard involves communing with the land, spirits of place and local and personal deities, and sharing inspiration in her communities locally and on-line. Her poem ‘Proud of Preston,’ an address to the city by Belisama, the goddess of the Ribble, won the Preston Guild Poetry Competition in 2012. Her work has been published in ‘The Dawntreader’, ‘Myths Inscribed’ and ‘Heroic Fantasy Quarterly’. She performs regularly in and around Preston as part of 4Poets.

Runic John is back by popular demand to do another workshop with his trusty drum. To really get a feel for Runic John it is probably best just to read some of his eloquent interviews to get a feeling of how his spirituality involves the natural world and shamanic trance and magic.




Susan Cross works with heritage and countryside sites in the UK and Ireland, helping people to share their stories and significances. She is also a poet, who sees herself as an animist mystic and endeavours to make that a more conscious , clear and brighter part of her life, She co –edited “The Wanton Green” with Gordon MacLellan, a book of contemporary Pagan writing on place, published by Mandrake Press. You can get a better idea of why Gordon invited her to co-edit, and why the PF is delighted to have her as speaker at the conference if you look at some of her writings.


http://susancrosstelltale.com/about/ http://enfolding.org/book-review-the-wanton-green

Tasha Chapman is the founder of Shared Earth, the North West’s main centre for courses, conferences and seminars on Witchcraft and Wicca. Shared Earth organises the very popular Pagan Con, an open ritual group and Pagan study days, and is well linked into the local community, having had the first ever Pagan Float in the Preston Guild last year. Tasha is a very experienced and knowledgeable speaker, she is a Wiccan High Priestess, and the founder of the Wood Spirit Camp.

Rufus Harrington was initiated into Alexandrian Wicca in his teens, where he discovered Enochian magic, and then spent years studying the original works of John Dee in the British library, and replicated the rituals. He is a consultant cognitive behavioural psychotherapist, which he sees as a calling due to his commitment to helping people as a priest and healer. He is also initiated into Gardnerian Wicca and worked in various magical orders and groups, but is always typecast as a ceremonial magician since he performs and explains the intricacies of ceremonial magic so well. Today is no exception, as he explores how ceremonial magic of all kinds is based in the magician’s connection to the living universe, and how the different systems provide maps and keys by which to link the human consciousness with the divine, and return in one piece. Rufus is a former vice president of the Pagan Federation, and a trustee of the Doreen Valiente Foundation. He has never found time to do a website, let alone write a blog or book, but he can be seen in other people’s clips over on Youtube.



Timetable for the Conference

Doors open 9.30, Welcoming words at 10.00.

Morning Sessions- Main Hall

10.15 Gordon MacLellan – Living Landscapes.

11.15 – 11.45 Coffee

11.45 Graham Harvey – Animism.

12.45 – 2.00 Lunch

Afternoon Sessions – Main Hall

2.00 Jenny Blain – Northern European Shamanism

3.00 – 3.30 See the stalls, meet your Regional Co-ordinator at the PF desk etc.

3.30 Rufus Harrington – The sacred universe in ceremonial magic

4.30 – 5.00 Tea

5.00 Gordon MacLellan and Susan Cross – Pre ritual gathering and workshop

Workshops – rooms TBA, numbers limited per room.

2.00 Tasha Chapman – Witchcraft.

3.30 Lorna Smithers – Shamanism and Questing Inspiration in the Bardic Tradition.

Second strand

2.00 Linda Sever – Connecting to the Local Landscape.

3.30 Runic John – Seidr

6.00 pm Closing Ritual – Gordon MacLellan and Friends.

Stall holders, please contact Robin at jackdore51@yahoo.co.uk for a stall that costs £25 with entrance for 2 people.

For those paying by cheque please send to BM Brigantia, London, WC1N 3XX, with your phone number and address, until two weeks before the event as we cannot guarantee postal service within the last weeks.


North-West Annual Conference – 19th October

This year’s conference is going to be themed around Shamanism and is subtitled; Shamanism, Animism and listening to the land.
It will take place Saturday 19th October in Preston at 10 am.
Talks and workshops will be provided by Gordon MacLellan, Graham Harvey, Linda Sever, Tasha Chapman, Runic John, Jenny Blain,
, Susan Cross, Lorna Smithers and Rufus Harrington.

Expect a ritual workshop, stalls, café and kids play area.

The closing rite is described as winter stories and cold winds and will be performed by Gordon the Toad and friends.

The tickets will cost £15 for members and £17 for non members in advance, on the door they will be £17 for members and £20 for non members. (Proof of membership ie. your membership card will be asked to be provided on the door).
For full details, and internet payments, see the eventbrite site.

If you’re interested in having a stall at this event, they will be £25 for the stall and two stall holders (any extra helpers will be asked to pay for tickets). Further details from Robin Dore (email jackdore51@yahoo.co.uk).


The Pagan Float at the Preston Guild

On the 7th September this year Preston Guild had it’s Community Procession as it has done every twenty years since 1179. Shared Earth, a Preston-based pagan community group had the first ever Pagan float in the procession. The letter from the Guild Mayor to those who took part in the procession really does seem to cement pagans into the local community of the 21st century.


Dear Shared Earth,

To all participants in the Community Procession I would like to express my thanks for putting on such a wonderful show. Preston Guild is about showing what makes Preston great and that is exactly what you did, you highlighted our diversity of not only culture but of interests. All backgrounds and pastimes were represented by some 8,500 people and 80 vehicles.

The Guild is also about new beginnings and leaving a lasting impression on the people of Preston, I hope that the Community Procession has done just that. We have seen groups working together for the first time, helping to build new bonds that I hope can be built upon in the future. We have seen entire schools walk in the Procession leaving them with what I hope will be memories that will live on until 2032.

What I have seen during Guild week has been amazing, the level of participation and interaction by the People of Preston has been astounding. People have really entered into the Guild spirit and gotten involved when and where ever possible, the Community Procession is a perfect example of this with crowds estimated to be in the region of 35,000.

So once again please accept my thanks for helping make the Guild of 2012 such a huge success.

Kind Regards
The Guild Mayor of Preston”

On the whole Shared Earth had a great reception from people and there was great camaraderie between all the groups taking part.
Karen Higham, one of the organisers really appreciated the great help from other groups of pagans and is sure everyone involved had a great day. If you want to see what an amazing day it really was then check out the Youtube videos!

Also excitingly those involved are getting Guild medals in October so keep an eye on the Shared Earth facebook group as there will be a bit of a get together then to give them out. Making the float, getting everyone and everything organised was very hard work for the core group of people involved but well worth it. Shared Earth thank everyone who came on the day, rode on the float, made things, donated money and stapled things to the truck and especial thanks to Smalley Plant Hire for free loan of a truck.

Let’s hope that in 2032 there will be another Pagan float and even more involvement from a pagan community even more embedded within Preston and the North-West as a whole.

Written by Karen Higham and Mish Liddle


Preston Guild Festival

Every twenty years Preston Guild celebrates, it’s been doing it since 1179 and it’s the only Guild still celebrated in the UK. This year, 2012 is the first Guild in the 21st century, and what, for me at least, makes it really unique is that Shared Earth have a community float in the procession on the 7th September.

The Community Procession is an opportunity for the Community as a whole to participate in the Guild celebrations. In 1992 around 2,000 people representing 78 groups from schools, the voluntary sector, charities, communities, sports clubs, youth and uniformed groups took part. Eleven bands provided the music to accompany the 82 imaginatively decorated floats and walkers in elaborate costumes. This year, the Pagan Community will be represented!

Shared-Earth are asking for different moots to get involved in building their float but first and foremost they need a flat-bed truck. Without one this fantastic representation may not go ahead. So – do you have one or do you know someone who has? Could you persuade them to let it be in the Guild Community Procession on the 7th September this year?

If so get in touch with Shared Earth via their website or by emailing Karen Higham.

[Edit 25th January: Truck no longer needed as provided by local business! Please get in touch if you'd like to be a part of making the float though.]

Just think about what a wonderful opportunity this will be to show that the Pagans are a part of the north west community in the 21st century. Personally – I can’t wait!