My Heathen Groups

Recently I’ve mentioned both the Vanic Conspiracy and Hrafnar, referring to each as I am a member of both. For folks who are used to hearing people only identify as a member of one Heathen Kindred, this may present some confusion. Allow me to expand a bit.

I am associated with a few interconnected Heathen groups here in the SF Bay Area:

  • Hrafnar is the group that trained me up in general Heathenry. Hrafnar is run by Diana Paxson, with Lorrie Wood, and hosted at Diana’s home, Greyhaven, in Berkeley. It is largely open to all interested parties, with the usual requirement of respectful behavior.
  • Connected to Hrafnar is the closed group Seidhjallr, which is where I learned Oracular Seidh and other trance mediumship skills. Seidhjallr isn’t a kindred, so much as a tighly-focused work group for Seidhworkers serving the local (and sometimes national or even international) Heathen and Pagan communities.
  • As my readers likely know by now, I run the Vanic Conspiracy, which is a study, ritual, and practice group focused on the Vanir. Most of our members identify as Heathen, and many identify as Vanatru, but much like Hrafnar, our meetings are open to any who are interested and respectful. Our meetings are also hosted in a private home, usually in Hayward.
  • There’s also Seidhjallr Sudhri, which is a Seidh group hived off of the main Seidhjallr group. We meet at my house, DawnTreader, in Sunnyvale. As with Seidhjallr prime, Sudhri is a closed group of Seidhworkers who serve the local community. The two Seidhjallr groups work together at festivals. We split into separate work groups for geographical and scheduling convenience.
  • There’s another, fledgling group we’re fondly calling South Bay Heathen Shenanigans, which is just ramping back up. I’m only able to be peripherally involved with Shenanigans right now, mostly for scheduling reasons. Shenanigans is also hosted in private homes.
  • Also of note, The Troth is a Heathen umbrella organization of which Hrafnar is an official affiliate kindred. I am not personally a registered Troth member, but I have enjoyed Trothmoot when it is hosted in my area, and tend to recommend The Troth to solitary Heathens who are looking for a liberal-to-moderate Heathen organization to join. They may not be consistently liberal enough for the Northern Pagan end of the Team Norse spectrum, however.
  • I am also involved in quite a number of chat lists and other online Heathen, Northern Pagan, and general Pagan social groups, which I find very useful for meeting people, comparing notes, and general fellowship. However, aside from Heathens United Against Racism, I don’t consider any of them relevant in this sense.

My understanding of how these groups interweave is that one is not limited to only one family or group of friends. As a child, I knew my Mom’s family was not my Dad’s family, and I came belatedly to my StepMom’s family, but they are all MY family whether any given cousin of mine is also THEIR family. Thus it is with Kindreds and other similar groups. I am at least friends-of-the-family with several groups, and while I do consider Hrafnar one of my homes in Heathenry, it is much like going to my Mom or Grandma’s house for a birthday party.

To that end, when the Redwood Vanatru Kindred is ready to be a more public-facing organization, it will be added to the top of my list, but I do not expect to cease considering anyone I now consider friends or family my kith and kin.

–Ember–

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About EmberVoices

Ember Cooke has been a member of Hrafnar and Seidhjallr for more than a decade, where she trained to be a Seidhkona, Galdrakona, and Gythia. She founded the Vanic Conspiracy and made ordination vows to the Vanir and her congregation in the summer of 2013. She has contributed to several publications on Heathen and Northern Pagan subjects and regularly presents rituals and workshops at festivals. Her personal practice is more diverse, as the Vanir have lead her into cross-training and service for the wider Pagan community. This has including medium and servitor training in American Umbanda, clergy training with the Fellowship of the Spiral Path, and jail ministry for local counties. She holds a BA with honors in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University. Ember has lived all her life in the south San Francisco Bay Area, and is intimately bound to the valley of her birth.
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