Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Photos from Krampuslauf Philadelphia 2015: Parade of Spirits

Most of our photos came from the preparation period because it was difficult to take photos while marching, but there were other people taking photographs of the parade along the marching route. Hopefully we will be able to share more in the future. Featured in our photos are Mike Hicks in his debut in the role of Belsnickel. Robert L. Schreiwer reprised his 2013 role as Gedreier Eckhart, the leader of the Wild Hunt from Deitsch lore. Andria Carpentier marched as a spirit in the Hunt and assisted others with makeup. Corrine Johnson delighted the crowd with her stunning handmade Yule Cat (from Icelandic lore) costume. Joe Barrett and other folks formed a group of Yule Lads. 

Channel 17 has some great pics posted, particularly from the fire performers!

Once again, Krampuslauf Philadelphia: Parade of Spirits has exceeded our expectations. This wondrous, grassroots, community- and participant-driven event continues to grow and to flourish in the City of Brotherly Love.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Krampuslauf Philadelphia: Parade of Spirits


Philadelphia, PA: The fifth annual Krampuslauf Philadelphia: Parade of Spirits is set to take place on Saturday, December 12, 2015, at Liberty Lands Park in Philadelphia. Gathering time begins at 3:00 with the parade setting off just before sunset. 

Krampuslauf Philadelphia began as a grassroots event in 2011. Founder Amber Dorko-Stopper states, “My original purpose in creating Krampuslauf Philadelphia was to experiment with grassroots folkloric festivals within the community. I started out without a community to do it in, and so everything I hoped Krampuslauf would be -- having never been to a "real" one in Austria or Germany -- was based around what I would want to see and participate in with my then three year-old children.” 

As such, Krampuslauf Philadelphia is a very family-friendly event. The rhythm of the event is echoes numerous cultures. Says Dorko-Stopper, “Also, because my children are both children of color -- my son was born in South Korea, my daughter is African-American -- I gave a lot of thought to ancestral heritages and what I could do to evoke "monsters" of all cultures in one event, as it became clearer to me that anywhere that winter was cold, there was, in almost every nation, a "monster" of winter, who often had horns, and often had bells. The undercurrent of universal language was there and I appreciated being able to tap into it without guilt or fear. It was amazing to suddenly be getting letters from Austrians, telling me how our Krampuslauf looked more like Austria's had in years past -- less like the Krampus events held there today, and how our homemade ethic and spirit of working together without boundaries was appreciated.”

Dorko-Stopper has also welcomed the presence of the Pagan community. The Heathen Contingent for Krampuslauf Philadelphia every year presents themes or characters that align with the multicultural presentation of the event. German, Austrian, Pennsylvania German, Manx, Scottish, and Irish characters have a regular presence at the event. 

Tucker Collins, an organizer and leader of the event, says, ”My favorite part of the event is being able to observe the way people come together, and what they bring of themselves to that event. Getting to see how people choose to express themselves through their costuming. Some people attend wholly in character, some come with serious demeanors and others with jest. I love seeing the broadening of cultures represented there, and the increasing personalization of the event for its participants. You don't have to know where you are going or what you want to do when you choose to start, and creativity can flow from there.  It probably is interesting to people that see us passing, but the procession is something we do for ourselves as a community.

In order to help to increase the participation and this expression of self in the event, Dorko-Stopper and Collins arrange for periodic opportunities throughout the year for the community to learn to make their own masks or decorations for the event.

From the Heathen perspective, the Parade of Spirits is a depiction of the Wild Hunt. Dorks-Stopper is widely known by the moniker of Frau Perchta, a most appropriate title given her role in the organization of the event. This year, the parade will again be led by Gedreier Eckhart (Loyal Eckhart), the man of Pennsylvania German and German lore who was sent ahead to alert humanity of the Wild Hunt’s impending arrival. 

The community is encouraged to don shadow side costumes and to join the Parade of Spirits! Oh, and bring a noisemaker!



Krampuslauf Philadelphia 2015: Parade of Spirits begins and ends in Liberty Lands Park in Philly. Gathering time can start as early as 3:00, but most folks come closer to 4:00. The parade begins at just about sundown (4:35 PM). Folks are encouraged to be in costumes that reflect the time of the year and to bring noisemakers. We still need volunteers to help with traffic. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

GoFundMe for Heathen Presence at World Parliament of Religions

This year, for the first time, there will be a Heathen presence at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Salt Lake City, UT (October 15-19). This is a significant opportunity for Heathen leaders to engage and to network with leaders of other religions. This event will increase the visibility of Heathenry in the public eye and set a precedent for inclusion in future endeavors.

The Parliament will feature the following Heathen presentations:

"Staving off Ragnarök: A Heathen Response to Climate Change" (Diana Paxson) on Saturday, October 17 at 10:00 AM


"Rebuilding the Altars: Reconstructing Indigenous Pagan Faiths for Today" (Diana Paxson, Robert L. Schreiwer, Erynn Laurie, Elisheva Nesher, Kirk Thomas, and Gwendolyn Reese) on Sunday, October 18 at 8:15 AM.

Additionally, there will be a Heathen information booth (#878) with pamphlets and books for distribution and sale. An Urglaawe altar will be present in a shared Pagan Faiths space somewhere in rooms A-G in sections 150 or 151 (clarifying information will be provided as it becomes available).

All of this costs money, so a GoFundMe effort has been set up to help to defray the participants' costs. If you are unable to donate money, please help by passing along the link.

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Urglaawe Regional Contacts

Distelfink Sippschaft
P.O. Box 2131
Bristol, PA 19007
(215) 499-1323

Lüsch-Müsselman Graabhof - Urglaawe
P.O. Box 213
Lehighton, PA 18236

Distelfink Sippschaft Schatzamt
P.O. Box 6179
Wyomissing, PA 19610

State/Province and Regional Contacts for Urglaawe:


Deedra Brown

Sara Gavagan


Kris Raikes - North Coastal/SFO/Santa Cruz


Shaun Shupe - Distelfink


Kate Cullifer - Central

Dan McGarrigan - Tampa area


Cody Dickerson


Patricia Niedrich


Amy Kincheloe


Noel Braucher


Rob Hewitt - Ewwerrick Freibesitz

Jessica Choyce
New Jersey

Michelle Jones - Distelfink - Statewide

Bob Biting - Naad's Freibesitz - Cape May

New York

Paul Mercurio

North Carolina

Kristin Neas - Durham

Douglas Helvie - New Bern


Erik Lacharity


Rachel Hayward


Robert L. Schreiwer - Distelfink

Lisa McCune-Noll - Western

Stevie Miller - Western

Utah (Northern)

Cody Dickerson

Staci Baisch - Blauroiger Freibesitz

Monday, January 5, 2015

We are Heathens... And We Are Most Certainly Not "Godless!"

When most Heathens and Pagans say "Heathen" today, we mean something far different from the standard dictionary definitions: godless; irreligious; a member of a people of a non-Abrahamic faith (meaning, not Jewish, Christian, or Muslim).

The first definition highly erroneous. We are anything but "godless." Instead, we are, on the whole, polytheistic, with a pantheon of very distinct, individual gods and goddesses. 

The second definition varies from person to person; however, most people who identify themselves as Heathen spend a considerable amount of their daily routine discussing, thinking and living their concept of the Heathen way.

The third definition is mostly accurate. While some Heathens do acknowledge the god of the Bible, the majority believe in, and focus on, the deities of our own pantheon and religious constructs... much the same as adherents of any faith do. 

So where did this Heathen identity come from? I will frame the discussion somewhat overly simply in order to make it easier to comprehend. During the conversion era, the cities and towns were converted first. The countryside, or the "heath," was converted later. Thus, Christianity was the religion of the city or town dwellers, and the "heathen religion" remained the identity of the rural population... that is, until their later conversion, which was often violent and involuntary.

In short, the origin of Heathen is simply "of the heath" or "of the countryside." In its origins, it does not mean godless, and it does not mean irreligious. We are slowly reassuming control of this identity in English and related languages.

Because "Heathen" is an English word, the "default" meaning for us relates to the pre-Christian religion of the Teutonic peoples (Germans, Scandinavians, Anglo-Saxons, and kindred tribes) and their modern expressions. These modern expressions feature many names, such as Urglaawe, Astaru, Forn Sed, Theodism, Vanatru, and others. These modern denominations share many features but are also divergent, and they also are diverse in their populations.

There are also other forms of Heathenry, including Celtic Heathenry and Slavic Heathenry, and they contain their own identities... and they, too, are anything but "godless."