Lebanon Valley College Celebrates with Nature-based Religions Oct. 30

Lebanon Valley College Nature-based Banquet, Oct. 30

A unique opportunity to learn about Wiccan, Druid, and Heathen traditions through a demonstration ritual, music, and food may be had during a banquet is scheduled for Sun., Oct. 30, 5 p.m. in the newly renovated Mund College Center at Lebanon Valley College.

The program will open with a demonstration of ritual marking the opening of the year for many nature-based religions. Most often referred to as Samhain (a Gaelic word pronounced SOW-en), Hallows’ Eve, or Halloween, the demonstration ritual will take place at an altar within a circle, with the intent of honoring an ancestor who has “passed beyond the Veil.”

As part of the demonstration, participants will learn the significance of items placed upon the altar, the process by which a ritual circle is “drawn,” and the significance of the ceremony. Harp music to accompany the demonstration will be provided by Celtic harpist Cathleen Sauber. Other features of the ceremony will include a crystal bowl intonation by Sofeya Puffins and drumming by Sofeya Puffins and Dream Hawk.

Billed as “A Celebration of Life Beyond the Veil through the Eyes of Many Paths,” a variety of nature-based religious traditions have been incorporated into the mock ritual, including the Pennsylvania Dutch Pow Wow tradition native to this area. Following the demonstration, guests will have an opportunity to pose questions to a panel of representatives of local Wiccan, Druid and Heathen groups from central Pennsylvania.

During the question and answer session, tables will be dismissed to a fall banquet buffet set with fall-themed appetizers, entrees, and side dishes such as Harvest Soup, Smoked Pork Loin, Sweet Roots and Parsnips, and “Fried Toads.” Dessert will include the opcion of Samhain Baked Apples or Chocolate Zucchini Cake.

“There’s something about sharing good food, music, and entertainment that breaks down barriers,” said Rev. Paul Fullmer, college chaplain and event key organizer. “We come to appreciate a variety of cultures in a very special way at the banquets, and have a great time doing so!”

“It is important to expose students and the community to the diversity of cultures that they may experience in their personal or professional lives,” Fullmer states. “This particular banquet will provide an excellent opportunity for students and the local community to learn about the practice and values of religions which are often significantly misunderstood, and wrongly ridiculed as a result.”

The college regularly offers banquets focusing on diverse religious and cultural experience twice a year, once each academic semester. Recent banquets featured the food, music and traditions of Sukkoth, Baisakhi, Mawlid al Nabi, and Rama Navami.

As a member of exceptional Celtic music groups such as AnamCara and the Ryeland Harp Ring of Robesonia, Cathleen Sauber has shared her talents at venues throughout central Pennsylvania, including Ten Thousand Villages and the Stoudtburg Village Garden Tour.

This Harrisburg-based husband and wife team Sofeya Puffins and Dream Hawk have been facilitators and vendors in venues throughout the United States, including the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, Wisteria, Four Quarters, the Spoutwood Farm Fairy Festival, and the New York Faerie Festival. Sofeya Puffins is a singer, song writer, bardic storyteller, and stained glass artist. In addition to drumming, Dream Hawk studies the arts of fire spinning and web design.

Tickets: $12 general admission; $30 family with children. LVC are eligible for meal exchange. Space limited. Reservations: Office of Spiritual Life at (717) 867-6135 by Tues., Oct. 25.

Program info: Office of Spiritual Life, (717) 867-6135, or John Hopewell, executive chef, (717) 867-6116 for information on foods served in relation to the celebration.

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