Florida Pagan Gathering Samhain 2013 was held November 6th through  November 10th at its beautiful new home at Camp La Llanada in Lake Wales, Florida. The organizers of FPG, Temple of Earth Gathering Inc.,  had chosen this location to host Beltaine 2014 but quickly pushed forward with the move due to the government shutdown’s effect on the former location within the Ocala National Forest. Guests and staff of the event were so pleased and grateful for the hard work of the board of directors of Temple of Earth Gathering for making the transition so swift and smooth. One long time guest of The Gathering, the venerable Lady Solar Bear, remarked on how good it felt to be in a place where children came to learn about their heritage.

Not only was the location new to the event, ,so were musical guests Tuatha De. Based out of Tennessee, this amazing family of musicians has been hot on the pagan festival circuit this year. Their music was energetic and moving and we wish them all continued success in the coming years. Also on hand was Mama Gina, whose lovely tunes seemed be heard almost everywhere in the camp, drifting down the vendor’s row and through the tents in the forested area.

Many informative and riveting workshops were scheduled, including headliners Amber K, Azrael Arynn K, Ivo Dominguez, Jr., Stephanie Woodfield, Rev. Kirk S. Thomas, Grey Ghosthawk and Gypsey Teague. I would like to thank the headliners on behalf of all of the guests and staff for taking the time to travel and share with us. It was great to hear their high praise of FPG in return.

Outside of the headliner’s workshops were so many activities it was hard to choose what to do next!  Daily activities were available for little ones at The Kid’s Realm, in a welcoming and spacious playground area. Celtic style games were held during the day and entertainment was available every evening with activities that included a laser sound and light costume ball, a bardic circle and a welcoming meet and greet. Drumming and dancing was hosted every night around a beautiful sacred fire, thanks to the Shiny Happy People Drum Tribe. The mild weather may have also led to nightly ‘shenanigans’ among the many themed camps at the event. The morning included coffee and laughter over the waking up and discovering another camp’s ‘totem’ in a compromising position within your own camp. It was all in good fun and culminated in the ‘arrest’ of the offending pirates and the eventual exchange of goods.

The gathering was host to several beautiful and moving events including a ten year handfasting, a Dia De Los Muertos parade and a main ritual hosted by Hearthfire Coven & Friends, La Danse Macabre. It’s such an amazing feeling to be part of something everyone was participating in and not just simply spectating. The community of Florida Pagan Gathering, whether staff, guest, vendor, musician or headliner should be so proud to have been a part of such a moving and successful event. Thanks to everyone involved.

Florida Pagan Gathering 2014 Beltaine – Back to Our Roots will be held April 30th through May 4th, 2014 at Camp La Llanada in Lake Wales, Florida. For more information, please visit http://www.flapagan.org/.

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