Gaia Gathering - the Canadian National Pagan Conference
- Happy Thanksgiving!
I am this year's volunteer pr person for Gaia Gathering - thank you for
letting me join this list. I promise not to burden the list with Gaia
Gathering info, but to keep you informed on a monthly basis as to what is
happening and to encourage you to attend the Canadian National Pagan
Conference. I am happy to answer any questions OFFLIST at
gaiagathering@... . I apologize to those of you who will see this
more than once, if you subscribe to multiple lists. If you know of any
other lists that should receive this - please let me know, and feel free to
pass this information on to anyone who may be interested.
So, here we go:
*GAIA GATHERING � WHAT IS IT?*
Gaia Gathering is the National Canadian Pagan Conference, now in its third
It is a "peer-to-peer" Conference, rather than a festival or "camp". Pagans
from across Canada share their experiences, exchange information and learn
from and with each other. The Conference is based on the principle of
dialogue and discussion, rather than the "leaders and learners"
"Peer-to-peer" means a large portion of conference programming consists of
moderated panels and round tables of participants discussing subjects they
themselves suggest. Panelists from all across Canada volunteer to
participate together in areas of personal interest or expertise, and the
panel may or may not have a designated "facilitator" who has helped pull
that panel topic together. Topics, ideas, suggestions all mix together to
assist the Board in constructing the event that the participants want to
To join in the discussion, offer ideas and to get involved, subscribe to
The academic stream consists of post-graduate academics and grass roots
scholars presenting their thesis or research paper, followed by discussion
from the audience. These presenters must submit an abstract, which is
reviewed for consideration of participation. There is a designated volunteer
who manages the academic stream.
The music stream consists of a song-sharing circle (the Song-catchers)
sharing original pagan songs and chants written by Canadians. Composers can
give permission for their work to be recorded by the ad hoc Pagan Tavern
Cackle Choir � the annual recording session made up of conference
participants, who create a CD recording (the Field Recordings of the
Canadian Pagans series) as an ongoing fundraising project for Gaia
Gathering, with the purpose of capturing and sharing Canadian pagan music
from community to community.
The weekend begins and ends with an inclusive Ritual, performed by the host
city community, with any participants they wish to include, to represent the
diversity of the the local or national Pagan community. During the weekend,
there may also be other participatory events, such as film screenings, a
banquet, music performance, (both as a structured concert and informally
amongst participants in the hospitality areas), a vendors'/merchants' area,
informational displays, and much after-hours singing, drumming and
*How to register: go to www.gaiagathering.ca and download/print your
registration form, fill it out, attach payment and mail it in to the address
indicated. There are reduced prices for early registration. See the
registration form for full details.*
WHERE IS IT? AND WHEN?*
Gaia Gathering has been held on the May long weekend, in a different city
every year. 2005 � Our inaugural year, just a little west of center -
Edmonton started the tradition
2006 � To the east coast � Halifax was rich in music and dramatic ritual
2007 � To the heart of the continent - Winnipeg prepares to share its
2008 � To the west coast - Vancouver takes us from coast to coast.
2009 � Could it be your city?
The Conference website *(www.gaiagathering.ca)* has a wealth of information
about past years' panels, special guests and academic papers, providing a
resource base of what has been "done" and to provide inspiration for future
WHO RUNS THINGS?*
You, the Canadian Pagan, ultimately have the last word. The conference
theme and panel/discussion topics are based on your suggestions and
participation (a great topic with no one on the panel is still a great
topic, but won't be on the agenda).
Conference attendees become a voting members of Gaia Gathering (the
corporation) when they register and pay for the upcoming conference.
expires the day prior to the following year's conference start date. At the
AGM (Monday morning), those members in attendance decide the next host-city
and who will fill the empty position on the Board (which could be you, if
nominated, and voted in).
One director's seat becomes vacant each year, since the three elected
directors serve staggered terms of three years each. In addition, the
current and immediate-past host-city coordinators sit on the Board - for a
total of five people.
For more information and to see who's who, visit the website - *
* HOW ARE THINGS RUN?*
The Board and the host city work closely together to produce the conference.
Their responsibilities are distinct in some areas, and overlap in others.
This relationship is one of mutual respect and determined focus on their
sole purpose � to provide conference attendees with the best possible event
that can be crafted from the resources, skills and talents of all those who
wish to be involved. The Board may be assisted by volunteers who wish to
take on projects of national scope such as public relations, media
coordination, fundraising (local or national) or who will assume the
responsibility for program streams (ie: the academic/scholars stream, the
music stream, a bilingual stream, etc�)
The Board maintains the national character of the conference by soliciting
topics, opinions, participants and guest speakers from across the country
and promoting the conference nationally. The Board manages all financial
matters, and is ultimately responsible for the conference in a legal
context. They are accessible by email to anyone who wishes to contact them
The host city prepares a welcoming space and deals with logistics, local
promotion, the registration desk, fundraising, signage � all the nuts and
bolts of putting together the event itself. The Local Coordinator assembles
their own team of volunteers, drawing on the skills and experience of all
those willing to be involved, creating, in microcosm, "as inclusive and
respectful a gathering" at the local level that all the organizers and
participants want to manifest, in the macrocosm, at the National Conference.
This is the most important role of the host city Local Coordinator � to make
sure that as much of the local pagan community as possible is represented in
preparing for and attending the conference as hosts for this National event.
It is about building, repairing, and honoring the diverse relationships
within the local pagan communities that make up the national community.
In each host city so far, Gaia Gathering has created a bridge for the
integration of various aspects of the host city's pagan community, bringing
in solitary practitioners of all pagan paths, plus members of groups,
groves, circles, covens, and hofs. That same bridge of inclusion and mutual
respect then extends into every pagan community in Canada, with the
invitation to meet in a new city each year to share our journey and to focus
on what we have in common, and to put into perspective that which we hold as
To help plan the "next and future" conferences, the Board wants to hear from
Canadian Pagans regarding what you want to "confer about" at the next
After each conference, the Board wants to hear what you thought about "the
weekend that was". We NEED your constructive feedback on how to make it
better next time, giving the new host team in the new host city the benefit
of ALL our experience as Gaia Gathering attendees, volunteers, organizers
and Board members. Future plans to collect feedback include a form included
in the registration kit, and a designated "ombudsman" to collect both your
forms and oral concerns, with an assurance of confidential follow-up from
the Board or Local Coordinator, as is relevant to the concern.
All those who have attended a Gaia Gathering from the first year and going
forward are welcome to join the Alumni List at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GaiaGathering_ALUMNI to remain part of the
growing Gaia Gathering tribe, and to have a forum for those who have
experienced the conference to share it with other conference participants.
In Gaia's name we gather, She's called to you and me
As Pagans, as Canadians, the branches of her maple tree
(opening lines of the Gaia Gathering anthem)
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