The 2024 WinterStar Symposium
featuring workshops presented by:
Byron is a western NC native, teacher, folklorist and writer. She is a senior priestess and co-founder of Mother Grove Goddess Temple and the Coalition of Earth Religions/CERES, both in Ashville, NC. Her essays are featured in several anthologies and she writes a regular column for “Witches and Pagans” Magazine.
Warts, Waters and What Mountain Folk Know
Dive deep into the specific uses of water in Appalachian folk magic. From stump water and willowwater for cures to ditchwater for creativity and dish water for warts, the many uses of this powerful element have been passed down since the early days of immigration. Learn how they can broaden your own magical practice.
Laura is a sex educator, orgasm coach, and masturbation advocate. She studied with the legendary Betty Dodson and is certified to lead Bodysex workshops. Laura’s passion is to provide opportunities for women/vulva-havers to explore their sexuality, heal body shame, and maximize pleasure. She currently serves of the Board of Directors for Betty Dodson Foundation as well as manager for the website Bodysex.com.
Bodysex® (documentary film)
Bodysex® is a practice designed by Betty Dodson® that supports women to connect to their bodies and orgasm to heal shame, enhance pleasure, and encourage selflove. Betty was a pioneer in the field of sexuality. A feminist and activist in the 1970’s, Betty believed that orgasm equality was necessary for women to gain social equality with men. Bodysex® workshops grew out of Betty’s conscience-raising groups. She led workshops in her Manhattan apartment for over 50 years.
Betty Dodson®’s Bodysex® documentary filmed in 2011 gives a peek into a real workshop led by Betty with six other women. It includes group sharing of experiences plus rituals such as Genital Show and Tell and techniques such as Betty’s Rock and Roll Orgasm. Viewers of this documentary will gain an awareness of female sexuality from a feminist perspective, an understanding of the vulva and pleasure anatomy, and an appreciation for female masturbation and orgasm.
This screening is courtesy of The Betty Dodson Foundation, a 501c3 public charity dedicated to creating and disseminating sex information and education materials. More information is available at Bodysex.com.
Ian has been working, playing and teaching in the Neopagan movement since 1975. He is a founding member of the Chameleon Club and the Starwood Festival, a Senior Priest and former Archdruid of A.D.F., and an initiate of a branch of traditional Witchcraft. Well-known as a teacher and performer at festivals and gatherings, he is the author of several books on Pagan occultism topics, including “Sacred Fire, Holy Well”, “The Book of Summoning” and “The Portal Book”
A Fire In My Heart Ritual : A Meditative Virtual Ritual
Join us for a formal, focused psycho-spiritual exercise, based on the traditions of the Starwood fire-lighting. Combining trance, music and images, we invite you to seat yourself before your monitor and enter a unique mental space, that we hope will stay with you. Your understanding and enjoyment will be enhanced by attending the ‘briefing’ workshop on Saturday afternoon.
Panel Discussion moderated by Ian
Includes Charlene Suggs, Lilith Dorsey, Miguel Sague
Last Things; Alternative approaches to Death, Dying, and Funerals
Many of us have noticed that where we once did weddings and baby-blessings almost exclusively, we notice that now we are called on to lead memorials and funerals. This is producing some new thoughts, and new creativity as our community ages. Our panel brings a variety of expertise in the legal strictures, cultural inertias, and coming trends surrounding death and dying.
Lilith Dorsey and Jason Winslade PhD
Lilith Dorsey hails from many magickal traditions, including Afro-Caribbean, Celtic, and Indigenous American spirituality. Their traditional education focused on Plant Science, Anthropology, and Film at the University of R.I, New York University, and the University of London, and their magickal training includes numerous initiations in Santeria also known as Lucumi, Haitian Vodoun, and New Orleans Voodoo. Lilith Dorsey is also a Voodoo Priestess and in that capacity has been doing successful magick since 1991 for patrons, is editor/publisher of Oshun-African Magickal Quarterly, filmmaker of the experimental documentary Bodies of Water :Voodoo Identity and Tranceformation,’ and choreographer/performer for j azz legend Dr. John ’s “Night
Tripper” Voodoo Show. They have long been committed to providing accurate and respectful information about the African Traditional Religions and are proud to be a published Black author of such titles as 55 Ways to Connect to Goddess, The African-American Ritual Cookbook, Love Magic, Orishas, Goddesses and Voodoo Queens, Water Magic and the newly re-released Voodoo and African Traditional Religion.
Jason is a scholar and writer in the fields of Performance Studies, Pop Culture and Media, and esoteric religious and occult studies. He has taught at the university level since 1997 and has published works in various academic journals, anthologies and blogs. He is an editor for Crossed Crow Books, a Chicago-based press focusing on Pagan and Witchcraft titles. He is also the founder and director of Ritual Rhythms Chicago, an organization that produces shows with live music, bellydance and burlesque. He currently performs as a percussionist with the Ritual Rhythms dance ensemble, and is singer and songwriter for his group Secrets of the Beehive. Over the years, he has performed with many groups and artists onstage at Starwood, including Mayan Ruins, Ginger Doss, Lin Sanders, and Maevyn Stone.
Pop Occulture at the Crossroads
Pop Occulture thrives at the crossroads of popular culture and the occult. Join Lilith and Jason as we discuss and delve into themes, issues and manifestations of the occult in popular media and culture. This workshop is an investigation into the tropes, tragedies, and transformations of the mysterious, weird, and occult world. There will also be a brief history of Occulture and an overview of some of the films (Witches of Eastwick, Gothic, and Eve's Bayou,) shows (Buffy, Supernatural, and Lovecraft Country,) and other interesting instances.
Phil is the author of High Magick (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2020), Brain Magick (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2011), and other titles. His articles on magick and popular culture have appeared in Green Egg Magazine, The Journal of Hypnotism, Hypnosis Today, Mondo 2000, High Times, Paradigm Shift, Reality Sandwich and other unique publications and web sites. Phil is a Consulting Hypnotist, Hypnosis Instructor, and Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Like love, happiness, and attraction, hypnosis is hard to define but easily recognized when experienced. In fact, hypnotic trance states are a natural part of everyday life and most people, when they experience it in a more formal setting, find the sensations familiar and relaxing. After more than 40 years as a professional hypnotist, Phil has developed an approach to hypnosis and hypnotic change work that is easily accessible and useful in a wide variety of ways. Want to learn some basics and maybe trance out for a little while? Join us for this exploration into untapped capabilities of the human mind!
Penny encourages play as a transformational process. A fixture at many festivals nation-wide, she shares her insights while seeking to expand the boundaries of "magical crafts".
Amulets, Tailsmens, Charms & Knots
There can be a lot of confusion associated with these terms. A concise explanation, brief yet comprehensive, will be explored alongwith various examples of each. For those of you that wish to create "charms" during this workshop= please have paper, pencil or pen, scissors and a piece of string two feet long. Together we will create something unique and magical.
Taliesin writes paranormal fantasy that verges on the dark side and is the author of The Sorceress Saga as well as the forthcoming Paranormal Acres Chronicles. He’s also a longtime Wiccan and Druid who has presented at the Starwood Festival, as well as writing for far too many websites and blogs over the past thirty years.
Creating Your Own reality… Literally!
Magical World-building in Modern Fantasy Fantasy has come a long way from Tolkien. Contemporary fantasy often takes place in the real world, where the fantastical collides with everyday reality and transports the reader to an Earth where Vampires, Werewolves, and Witches are real. But what about the real Witches and magic users who really DO exist? Where do they fit into your fantasy world? Where should an author separate fantasy and reality, and should the real affect the make-believe in the story? In this workshop, Taliesin will go over different world-building techniques and show how you can weave real-life spirituality into a tale of fantasy and mystery, and what to avoid to make sure your story doesn’t crash and burn like Smaug at Lake-town.
Jason read his first book on Witchcraft in the seventh grade, and at age 22 dedicated his life to the Craft. Today, Jason is a third degree Gardnerian High Priest and helps run two Witchcraft covens in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Ari. Jason is a popular speaker at Pagan and Witchcraft events across North American and Great Britain, and has been recognized by his peers as an authority on the Horned God, Wiccan history, and occult influences in rock and roll and heavy metal music. He is the channel manager at Patheos Pagan, the world’s most read Pagan blogging site, and writes there at Raise the Horns, and at the magazine “Witches and Pagans”.
Crafting the Best Rituals of Your Life
Books and blogs make it look so easy, but crafting great rituals is hard work. Effective rituals require more than pretty words and elaborate props, they depend on just the right energy, and ritual facilitators who know how to work with both other Witches and the higher powers they conjure up in their circles! You can create powerful, life-changing rituals, it’s just a matter of knowing all the tricks of the trade! Effective ritual takes a lot of work, but it can be done! Come find out how!
Wendy is a Professional Artist, Festival Organizer, Sign Writer & Painter, Master of Ceremonial Hairwraps, Storyteller and a Solitary Eclectic Spiritualist. She has an art studio/workshop in NE Ohio where she loves tending to her magical garden. Funny and entertaining, she will inspire you to sketch journal regularly and manifest your dreams! Look for her silly signs and random art installations at festivals and events.
wendyraphael.com and facebook.com/studioraphael/
Pop Up Sketch Journal Pages
Let's create our own Pop.Up art! You'll need your journal, scissors, exacto knife, glue/ stick, coloring pencils, paper, and some imagination. Learn the basics of pop up designs and bring your journals to life and add motion!
Ravenoir is a degreed Fine Arts Instructor who has been professionally teaching for over twenty years. His visions in Fine arts were rekindled after attending a Starwood Festival 24 years ago. He specializes in realistic drawing, painting, collage and Traditional Origami after spending some time studying in Japan.
The Zen in Zentangle Paradox
Leave your emotions and feelings for a moment and find Zen through a process of repeating simple lines and geometric shapes to create a paradoxical piece of art. One of the definitions of a paradox is “a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities.” We will utilize our fine motor skills on paper or with your computer graphics program to take our minds on a brief journey of creativity and zenness with a Zentangle Paradox design. Bring your sharpened mind and pencils or sharpie and or a ruler or straightedge and paper. Colored mediums are optional and exciting adding depth and dimension to your creation as well. Write me at email@example.com if you have questions before the workshop.
Miguel Sague Jr.
Miguel is an artist, musician, and spiritual guide for the Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle. He was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, in a region associated with the historic Indigenous town of El Caney, one of the most important centers of Indigenous tradition in the country.
Sacred Foods, The Sun God Descends To Earth
In every traditional culture there exists a fundamental relationship between the people and a special food that represents what we call the "staff of life". This food usually provides the people with the caloric basis of their diet. By extension this food represents all food nourishment in general. All cultures arrive at the conclusion that the nourishment supplied to them by these foods are the gift of the sun. Through this connection the people arrive at the conclusion that eating sacred plants is their connection with the sun.
(aka: Aion 131, Hermeticusnath)
A Seattle author, artist and teacher whose extensive global travels and esoteric studies lead to numerous published books and several waiting to get done. Involved in many esoteric traditions such as The Craft, Paganism, Magick, Shinto and Tantra and now Neo-Animism.
He has presented several rites and workshops at Winterstar and Starwood especially on Werewolf Magick (a Awooo!) and also on The Great God Pan with great joy and now is finishing the draft for his new book, Feral Magick about, of course, Neo-Animist and Spirit Animals. Ot was the Great Wolf Spirit, my mentor and guide, who led me into Werewolf Magick and now, the Heo-Animistic world of all the Spirit Animals! For more information about this feral madman and his works, blog and so on, including all the past presentations from Starwood, go to: werewolfmagick.com
Entering the Hidden Realm of The Feral Nature Spirits
Presentation and Collective Astral Journey into the World of the Spirit Animals
The primal origin of all religions was Animism, or so modern Anthropologists note. This was (and is) a belief or awareness that all things in nature are alive and that the vast weave of Gaia manifests as a primal web of life that is wondrous, magickal and ever-changing. By accepting and perceiving that all Nature is full of life-giving energies and spirits, then we can accept the reality of our ability to have powerful personal relationships with these spirits as many ancient and modern peoples did and many ancient and modern cultures still do.
Many of you who find this of interest likely have relationships with Spirit Animals much as the Witched did (and do) attract and bond with familiars. This presentation and workshop focuses on understanding, and then together ritually work for, loving and conscious relationships with our spirit animals. It is only our blindness and our pervasive modern culture that separates us from the open embrace of the spirits of Nature and especially the spirit animals that wish us to remember and join them.
Sera explores perception, consciousness, and spirit through various artforms: Sculpture, Dance and Electronic Music production. Sera enjoys sharing discoveries of hidden and forgotten strengths of the body and mind, seeking ancestral wisdom through art making and sharing. Sera has taught over 20 years of dance classes, each beginning and ending in guided meditation, opening pathways of information between mind and body.
Guided Meditation for Generating Healing
We will start with a few prompts for group discussion, a little writing (bring a pen and paper), and then we'll get comfortable for a guided meditation. You will be invited to turn off your screen for the remainder of the workshop as we embark on a journey ending with music for a refreshing trance-nap.
When I was a child and a teenager I was bullied in school, I was used as a doormat, I experienced abuse and trauma. I started to avoid people and situations, I had low self-esteem and low self-confidence. I could not express my thoughts and feelings freely and I was angry. At that time I had autism and my life from a psychological point of view was a big emotional mess. Later in life, I experienced more negative thoughts, feelings and emotions related to some psychological issues. I had phobias, depression, anxiety and panic attacks. At some point I said to myself - I have to let go of all these negative, thoughts, feelings and emotions. I did not want to look for outside help - doctors, psychologists, mental workers, etc. I explored myself and I dealt with my issues without outside help. During this time I investigated the invisible world of subtle energies, chakras and auras. I discovered things that sound impossible to science, psychology and traditional medicine. I used a lot of techniques and exercises from this type of alternative medicine to heal myself and my world. I have combined the holistic system with the psychological approach to create a practical and down-to-earth program to help people. A program that works fast and I continue to explore, improve and polish my knowledge.
From Within to Without Meditation
This meditation will empower your inner self to connect with the higher intelligence that governs our very existence on Earth. Powerful techniques are combined to lift our consciousness to the higher realm and merge with our spirit or higher self.
Charlene is a self-taught death care educator and networker. Since the late 1990s, she has been presenting workshops and interactive events about natural burial and legal alternatives to conventional ways of burial and memorials. Her ongoing work emphasizes meaningful and less costly deaths that contribute to the health of our Planet and our own well-being.
Real Death: Law, Custom and Choices
In a culture dominated by expensive and impersonal end-of-life ceremonies, many seek a holistic body of funeral rites and practices that honor our dead and comfort the living in ways that reflect Earth-based spirituality. We can empower ourselves in caring for our beloved dead (and our finances!) by educating ourselves about our legal/consumer rights and the workings of the funeral industry. We will learn how our death choices affect the earth and share some newer concepts including natural burial, home deaths and death midwifery.
Koshek has the goal of helping intuitive people discover states of consciousness that reaffirm and strengthen their intuitive capacity. He first gave his talk on “The Seven Levels of Intuition” twenty years ago at the International Centre of the Theosophical Society and has since developed his concepts and now is releasing a book of the same name. A researcher of both eastern and western occult and spiritual traditions as well as the empirical scientific method, Koshek has a unique and practical approach to the esoteric wisdom. Avoiding the fuzzy woo woo that leaves the inquirer in a foggy haze, Koshek gives his audiences clear and tangible encounters in a practical no nonsense approach that audiences can take with them to experience on their own. Koshek has given talks and lectures at the International Centre of the Theosophical Society in Adyar, India as well as various Theosophical Society branches, Masonic lodges and Rosicrucian associations. Koshek comes from Brahmanic tradition and studied Vedic chanting at a young age while being immersed in stories of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Intuition in the Yoga Sutras
A secret code in an ancient sanskrit text will unlock your power of intuition. Do you want a method that will prove to you once and for all that intuition is real? The Yoga Sutras, 2000-year-old text written by the Indian sage Patanjali, is considered the foremost authority on yoga philosophy. Written in outline form in what are called sutras (strings or threads), these pearls of wisdom were meant to be expounded upon through one’s deep contemplation to reveal the lakshanas (inner and occult meanings) that lay hidden in the work. After 20 years of sitting under gurus and meditating deeply on the sutras, I discovered a secret code that opened up the doors of perception like a box of candies. And now I want to open those doors for you and allow you to experience something as real as the air you breathe and your own hands and feet. Come join me as I show you the magical world of Pragya. Defined in the sutras as an inner knowledge that is higher than any knowledge obtained by reason and inference, Pantanjali shows just how to acquire this siddhi (occult power) and then goes into how to develop your Pragya and make it your strong ally. I will reveal each of the sutras pertaining to this with easy exercises along the way as we go on an amazing experiential journey of discovery.
Tamara Von Forslun(The Witch of Oz)
Tamara was dubbed by Raymond Buckland "The Witch of Oz", in the early 80s, and has been involved in studying and teaching Traditional and Modern Witchcraft since 1970, for over 50 years/ she has been considered one of the world's respected Pagan and Witch Elders and comes from a long line of Traditional hereditary witchcraft from Cornwall, and created Australia's first legal Neo-Pagan 'Church of Wicca". Is Arch priestess in Australia of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC); Traditional Initiated Witch of the Coven of Draconis (Black Forest Witches in Germany); An Alexandrian HPs; High Priestess and Matriarch of the Tribe of the Crow and Clans of Boskednan International; Ordained Priestess of the Fellowship of isis by Lady Olivia and Lord Lawrence Durdan-Robertson; Accepted Elder of the Grey Council of Wizards and Sages; International Award-winning author and lecturer, teacher, Naturopath and Herbalist; Traditional Witchcraft Ritualist; Oracle High priestess, Wedding and Funerary Celebrant. She is the author of a dozen books on Witchcraft and an array of related subjects.
Traditional Witchcraft Spirit Work and the Otherworld
The ecstatic experience of leaving one's body physically (the word ecstatic, etymologically, referring to being outside oneself) is a common spiritual practice in animist cultures around the world. I will be talking about the traditional methods of traveling to the Otherworld. Working with and melting with the Fae and the Spirits of their realm.
Meetings with Spirits While many folkloric accounts of witches recount specific charms and remedies that were likely passed down locally, many other witches procured their charms from the direct teachings of spirits. Sometimes these spirits are termed “familiars.” Still others take the form of spirits of the dead or great spirits or deities who preside over the activities of witches in the spirit world. Whatever form they take, direct initiation by these spirits, which is an ongoing process of learning and becoming, is pivotal in folk craft. Many traditional witches will tell you that they were able to perceive spirits from a very early age, which can be disturbing to parents and loved ones. It’s important to note that perception of the spirit world is different than regular perception. It isn’t the perception of something that is in physical proximity, and it isn't like a hallucination.
The concept of deity in folk witchcraft is complex. In the lore, there are spiritual figures who are identified as the patrons of witches, but they are numerous and can differ considerably: Diana, Holda, Freya, Aradia, Herodias, Habondia, Tana, Hecate, Selene, Baba Yaga, the King and Queen of Elphane, the Man in Black, Jani cot, the Bucca, Old Hornie, Lucifer, and yes, even the Devil. The lore suggests that these are entities who, for whatever reason, see fit to teach and to lead witches. In my craft, I often refer to them simply as the Old Ones, for lack of a better term.
Why does folk witchcraft, in stark contrast to mid-century writing about witchcraft, include the Devil at all? First of all, the Devil of folklore is a distinct figure that has very little in common with the Devil of the bible. This is not the enemy of all things good, but the fiddler, the trickster, the man at the crossroads who offers a deal. The lore from which these images spring has nothing to do with the bible. This is a snippet from the workshop.
A long-time veteran of starwood and instructor on playing djembe drums and making and repairing them.
Djembe Drumming Essentials " Playing in the Free Flow State."
The class will focus on the 2 keys in reaching effective electrifying drumming. 1. Breaking down the structure and sound of the beat. 2. Learning the three pillars of "the guinee rumba style" african rhythm.
Alfred is a 25-year veteran of spiritual counseling, coaching, and training. He is ordained as a metaphysical minister by the University of Metaphysics with a Doctorate of Metaphysical Science, a traditionally trained 3rd-degree high priest, and one of the First Arch Priest of Wyte Rayvn Church. He co-founded the 15-year-old Wite Rayvn Tradition, an inclusive, progressive spiritual tradition. He is currently enrolled at Grand Canyon University, where he completed a Master of Science in Psychology, with a concentration in Life Coaching, in July 2019. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Psychology at Grand Canyon University. His passion is to facilitate people to manifest their highest potential. He also has a Reiki Master and creator of the healing system Celtic Transformational Healing. He has assisted individuals in embracing the Warrior of Spirit within and has helped many people over the last ten years. Alfred hosts the weekly radio show Charge of the Millennial Warrior on WCAS-DB, The Cauldron. Alfred is the author of Warriors of the Millennium, Shadow Relationships and How to Avoid Them, Manifesting True Desires: Learning from Arianrhod and the Tree of Life, I AM Healer, Storyteller, and Warrior Priest: Learning From Arianrhod, Creating Guided Meditations for Yourself and Others, and Hawk Sightings.
Poseidon The God you THINK you know
Much is written about Poseidon, and much of it is conjecture that is based on Classical Greek Mythology. There is much more about him that is less known. He is part of the triple Gods of Zeus, Hades and of course Poseidon. He with his two brothers are visible in all aspects of one's life. What does the story of Poseidon really mean? What does Poseidon mean to me today?
And Performances by:
Phat Man Dee
Muruga Booker's Cosmic Boogie
More to come!
Changes and/or additions
will be posted here.