World peace and the state of the planet on the agenda for return of popular Witches & Pagans Festival

By Ellen Manning

26th Jan 2024 | Local News

The Festival of Witches & Pagans returns on May 11 and 12 (image by Stage Dive Photography)
The Festival of Witches & Pagans returns on May 11 and 12 (image by Stage Dive Photography)

World peace will be top of the agenda when thousands of witches and druids from across the country gather for an annual festival in May.

The Festival of Witches & Pagans, which takes place in the Midlands twice a year, returns on May 11 and 12 with a full programme of events aimed at experienced witches and pagans as well as people who want to learn more about their way of life. 

This year's May festival will include a range of workshops and events and each day will feature a main ritual - one for world peace and the other for Mother Earth to save and protect the Earth.

Organisers of the festival have even made contact with people in war zones including Gaza and Ukraine, who will be able to watch or take part in the peace ritual virtually as it is live streamed via social media.

As well as these, there will be the return of the annual Witches' Ball along with a Viking battle, feast nights, family activities, and more.

Julie Aspinall, from the Coventry-based Coven of Gaia - which first launched the festival in 2021 - said: "People like to think of witches and pagans as different, but we share the concerns of many communities around the world when it comes to various conflicts, which is why we will be doing what we can to call for an end to them and bring peace to the many people affected. 

Each day will feature a main ritual - one for world peace and the other for Mother Earth to save and protect the Earth (image by Stage Dive Photography)

"Mother Earth is right at the centre of much of what we believe, and again like so many people we're concerned about the state of the world we live in so will be asking for Mother Earth to save and protect the planet.

"Members of the festival council have reached out to groups in war zones across the world informing them of the ritual, and some will be tuning in to experience it virtually.

"As well as those main rituals, we have another busy programme across the weekend that's aimed at bringing together witches and pagans from across the UK, as well as providing a safe space for anyone who might be curious or interested or drawn to our way of life.

"Since we started the festival in 2021 we've welcomed all sorts of people who have embraced our ways, as well as those who have just enjoyed the atmosphere and learning about witchcraft and paganism, and that was always the aim."

Although not a registered charity, the Festival for Pagans and Witches operates as a not for profit organisation, with any money made put back into the running of the next festival and to go towards plans to create a safe space for members of the pagan community who struggle with mental health challenges, discrimination due to faith and bullying.

Since it was started, thousands of people have attended the event, which is held in Fillongley, near Coventry. Last year, their numbers included druids for the first time, and the festival is now organised with the help of other witches' covens from across the country. 

Activities during the weekend include rituals, workshops including spellcraft, wand making, crystals, flower crowns, pagan sign language and more, and festival-goers also enjoy yoga and meditation sessions and family-focused entertainment and workshops.

The Festival of Witches and Pagans is held at the Heart of England Conference Centre in Fillongley near Coventry.

The dates for the 2024 events are: May 11 and 12, and September 14 and 15.

For more information on the Festival For Pagans and Witches, visit https://www.covenofgaia.co.uk/ 

     

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