The third Midwest Wintermoot was held November 6-8 at Osage Hills State Park in Oklahoma. This yearly event put on by Bifrost Way kindred was eagerly anticipated after Lightning Across the Plains was cancelled this year. As the last festival of the season, it promised to be well attended by Midwestern and Midsouth Heathens.

The weather was almost perfect for the event, with highs around 60 and lows creeping down toward freezing. There was frost on the ground Sunday morning, which only further enhanced the fact that winter is indeed coming. As a Southerner, it was a bit cold for me, but I adjusted quickly. It was hard to complain when there were beautiful blue skies!

The accommodations were improved this year by the addition of a new bathhouse with accessible parking next to the cabins. The showers are individual rooms with a separate nook to place your clothes and shoes. The cabins are typical fare, rustic and cozy with bunk beds and heat/AC. We made the mistake on Friday night of turning the AC on instead of the heat, much to our freezing regret on Saturday morning! My only complaint about the accommodations is limited electrical plugs, so if you attend, remember to bring a power strip. We had one and it came in very handy.

Friday night kicked off with dinner and a Folk Sumble. The kitchen served spaghetti and meat sauce, along with salad. The sumble began after dinner. It was fairly informal, with only one passed round, and then the floor was open for gifts and other toasts. Even with that informal nature, it was still a very sacred atmosphere as words were spoken directly into the well.

Saturday morning brought a hearty breakfast and a blot to the landvættir, followed by workshops. Bifrost Way has been using Osage Hills State Park for many years, and it is very obvious that they have a deep and respectful relationship to the wights who live there. There is a special tree in behind the main hall that has a large hole in the trunk that was perfect for these offerings.

After the ritual, Skadi Snook lead a discussion on her new book, American Heathen. Workshops were given on modern poetry and glass bead making.

The highlight of the day was a game called Jomswikinger. The premise was simple – two players are each given a pillowcase full of hay, and are blindfolded. The start at opposite ends of a trunk, and call out each other’s names, Marco Polo style. They then attempt to hit one another with the bags, all while keeping one hand on the trunk. The game was hilarious, and it was interesting to see the strategies that developed over the course of the tournament.

The evening brought an ancestor and einherjar blot. It was a solemn and beautiful rite, capped off by an offering of a handcrafted wooden sword, hand crafted wooden boat, and apples to the fire.

That evening’s feast was a joy, with lots of conversation and merriment. After dinner, sumble began. I must say, this was indeed one of the most powerful sumbles I have ever attended. I watched friends cry and laugh together, remembering my friend Rod Landreth who passed away in July. The sumble was a truly religious and spiritual experience, and one that I am proud to have taken part.

Sunday morning dawned with breakfast and a Forsetti blot. Bifrost Way selects a god to focuss on each year, and this year was Forsetti. Again, a beautiful handcrafted weapon, this time an axe, was sacrificed to the fire.

Wintermoot was a great experience. I felt religiously rejuvenated after this experience, and I was not eager to return home. I appreciate everyone that I met that shared a piece of themselves with me this weekend.

Wintermoot will be held next year in the same location. Registration will be limited to 65 people and will begin in March. For more information, please visit Bifrost Way’s website.

 

Posted by Lauren

Lauren is one of the hosts of Heathen Talk and holds the title of SHMBO of Black Bear Kindred of Central Arkansas. She prides herself on being able to leverage Heathen Talk into getting hired at her dream job.

Website: http://www.accessibleheathenryproject.org

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