2021 Guests of Honor
Keridwyn Horsewitch is an animalist, trance worker, world traveler, and ritualist. Her immediate roots are in Welsh Family Tradition and Celtic Wicca on her father’s side and Unitarian Universalism and Lebanese Folk Magic on her mother’s. She is a Wiccan Priestess (Unicorn Tradition), and a practitioner of Traditional Witchcraft, Hoodoo and Rootwork, Medicinal and Magical Herbalism, Welsh Family Tradition, and Lebanese Folk Tradition. Keridwyn has been the artisan and owner of Devonshire Incense and Soap since 2004. https://incense.net
The eldest daughter of Dail and James “Hersh” Hershberger, Keridwyn grew up in a magical household. As a child, she was encouraged to explore a wide variety of global belief systems, philosophies, and working practices, with emphasis on the underlying cultural roots of each. From a young age, Keridwyn trained in many forms of energy work and divination, daily ritual practice, grounding and centering, and astral travel. For the past 21 years, it has been her immense honor to teach Herbalism, Incense Making, Animalism, Group Energy Work, Trance Channeling, and Foundational Witchcraft to practitioners all over the United States.
Originally from Austin, Texas, Keridwyn has a small farm in the Driftless area of Wisconsin, where she tends to bees, sheep, horses, and wildlife. Future projects include: Witchcraft Retreats in Europe and the United States, a Horsewitch Blog and Podcast, and a Thirteen Month Class on The Principals of Foundational Witchcraft.If you are looking for a true teacher in Witchcraft, Wicca, or the Spellcraft Arts, no one is more “ the real deal” than Keridwyn. Born into Family Tradition Witchcraft on both sides, her father was taught herbalism and folk magic by his Paternal Grandmother in the 1940s. Her Mother’s Farther (maternal grandfather) was brought into a Lithuanian Magical line and received his initiations in the early 1960’s. Keridwyn’s father was a high priest in four different traditions before she was ever born. He was a respected and sought-after High Priest for many decades. Her parents met for the first time at a Beltane Festival in which he was crowned the May King and she the May Queen. Keridwyn began going to rituals and pagan festivals as an infant. She showed an early aptitude and voracious appetite for Witchcraft at a very early age, and began training at the age of 6 in lucid dreaming, working with thought forms, meditation, divination, astral travel and temple work, trance, conducting group energies, grounding and centering as a way to concentrate personal power, demonic and angelic work, and past life regression. She has had training in astrology, Hebrew numerology, incense and oil making, magical and medicinal herbalism, candle making, Theban Runes, Latin, Hebrew, and Welsh language, alchemy, Hoodoo and Root Work. She has studied comparative religion; including: first nations ceremonies, Hindu, Muslim, Buddist, Jewish, Kung of the Kalahari, and greater African studies, Greek, Celtic, Nordic, Germanic, and Mongolian history and religion.
SOME OF KERIDWYN’S RELEVANT HISTORY:
• She began writing rituals at 10 years old.
• Formally sealed as a Priestess of the Goddess at the age of 11
• Began leading large-scale public group rituals at 16
• Began formally studying Wicca and the principals of formalized ritual at 17
• Studied New Orleans style Voodoo from age 17 to 22 and took initiations including a year “in whites”
• Studied Brazilian trance dance in Brazil for six months at the age of 19
• Received Initiation in her Family’s Welsh Craft Tradition in 1996.
• Received Initiation in her Family’s Lebanese Craft Tradition in 1997.
• Received initiation into the “Grove of the Unicorn” Tradition in 1998
• Began teaching Pagan and Neophyte classes in Texas, Georgia, New York, and Tennessee in 1999
• Became High Priestess in the Unicorn Tradition in 2001
• Continues to lead workshops and rituals all over the world, including: Indonesia, Egypt, England, and of course, many parts of the United States
She is the artisan and owner of Devonshire Incense and Soap since 2004. https://incense.net
Mariah Dawn Shepherd & the Covert Dragon
Hailing from Southwestern Indiana, these two eclectic singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, pioneers of their own proclaimed “sparkle folk rock”, bring a colorful moving blend of earth-friendly original music intent on harmonizing consciousness one note, in 432hz, at a time. With a rich background in steady touring throughout the North American continent in the last several years, many have come to enjoy both Mariah’s and the Covert Dragon’s friendly, fun and easy-going presence. As a rainbow of infinitely musical bliss, they playfully work from their five current album releases for the listening enjoyment and enrichment of their audiences. Refreshing as a crisp mountain stream, each performance is entirely novel unto itself and a one of a kind experience.
Mariah Dawn Shepherd & the Covert Dragon debuted this phase of their touring career at Earth House’s 2017 Midsummer Gather. We’re more-than-pleased to welcome them back for this, their third appearance with us.
Mariah’s distinctive voice has been compared to Joni Mitchell, her poetic songwriting similar to Donovan as well as Simon and Garfunkel, and sparkling guitar playing at times to Led Zeppelin topping it off with a charming and energetic stage presence.
Randy Widick’s (the Covert Dragon) dynamic and counterpoint guitar playing styles have been said to rival Jim Croce and John Renbourn, his bonny vocals and harmonies similar to Crosby, Stills, & Nash, and his quirky outgoing persona to joyfully enlighten the dank shadows. Ultimately, Mariah Dawn Shepherd & the Covert Dragon have their own thriving unique musical style and presence unlike any other. They will bring their definitive hits along with newfangled songs to their show at the 2020 Earth House Midsummer Gather!
Explore the awesomeness of their sparkly, folksy presentation on Bandcamp, Facebook, YouTube and their own Website!
Paula "MommaCat" Morhardt
Mother and Grandmother, Widow, Respected Elder, and Author, Paula "MamaCat" Morhardt, finds light in the darkness, peace in nature, and love all around her. She knows that her life's purpose as a daughter of the Goddess is to help others - all others.
A lifelong resident of Stockton, IL, and co- owner of Four Winds Sanctuary, also in Stockton, she has been locally active in community ministry and nature conservancy. While she finds her soul soothed by the peace and solitude of the sanctuary, she is also an experienced camper and dedicated organizer, and treasures her time with those who share her love of Mother Nature. While cherishing her solitude, she was never shy about sharing her thoughts with others, usually through the written word.
In November of 2017, her beloved husband LaVerne, co-owner of the Sanctuary, died and her mother Mary passed away the next day. Her world had crashed, and in her struggle to re-build her life, she found the way -- for her -- through her writing. Now her ministry reaches a much broader audience in her book, "Widow’s Walk: How My World Ended And What Happened After." (Available on Amazon.com) She is owned by her children and their children, the wildlife around her, and, of course, her cats.
Paula, born on the auspicious day of April 1, has always felt close to Nature. “I used to make small piles of rocks and decorate them, from the time I was very young. Little did I know, those were my first Altars!” She attended the Lutheran church in town up to her marriage in 1975, and actually taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School for a few years after being married, but felt something missing from her Spiritual Life.
“It didn’t seem real, and I hated being told what to do all the time. Being told how to approach the Divine felt wrong to me, but I didn’t know any other way.”
In 1988 an article in a Rockford, IL newspaper on Circle Sanctuary, in Wisconsin, introduced her to another way. “I had no idea what these ‘pagans’ were at the time, but I do know I was pulled that way — hard.” Paula visited Circle, and found the life that had been missing.
About that time, Paula was given a vision of a sanctuary she was supposed to open. She did nothing, telling herself that she only had two acres, what could she do? Throughout the next year she was shown many small sanctuaries — some were simple rooms in an apartment. The next year the vision reappeared, and Paula told the Goddess that she did not have enough money to make such a thing happen. Again, that entire next year was filled with small sanctuaries found which ran on a shoestring. The third year the vision appeared, Paula decided she needed to tell her husband, DragonSeeker, about this vision. “His exact words were, ‘what do we do first?’”, she laughs.
While this was going on, Paula was being led to different people who taught her. “There was a woman who ran an art gallery and book store — A Pagan book store. She was run out of the town she was in, but not before introducing me to Scott Cunningham books, and Campanelli books, and Llewellyn Publishing. I read as much as I could, as fast as I could. I ran across a shop that sold Tarot decks, one that had a psychic, all kinds of ‘other’ stuff; I was being force-fed as fast as She could feed me.”
Once the sanctuary was figured out, Paula was given a student, again totally unexpectedly. Kenny, known as ThunderHawk, was brought into her life, and she was told to teach him- and he was told to listen!
“I had to read and devour books, information, songs — everything I could, as well as devise lesson plans, and try and stay ahead of Kenny. I have never worked so hard in my life.” But it paid off — Kenny became High Priest to Paula’s High Priestess, and Four Winds Sanctuary became a functioning Sanctuary, with rituals, celebrations, and networking. “We came into being in the early 90’s, when there wasn’t anything else in this area, and we set up the Sanctuary as a learning Sanctuary, expecting people to learn the basics of Wicca, the basics of Paganism, and if they were interested, the basics of Witch Craft, and then leave, go on to start their own coven or group. They still came back for celebrations at the Sanctuary, though.”
Paula had been invited to the Avalon Elders Gather, and shortly after that found Earth House Midsummer Gather was a good home. Now a member of Sweetwood Temenos, Paula credits the early attendance of all the other groups with the background that enabled herself, ThunderHawk and DragonSeeker to find their own balance and way to go forward. Four Winds Sanctuary is not Wiccan, nor totally Witch Craft either. A blend of those, plus some of the Native American in the back ground of both Kenny and Paula, along with some of the Traveler tales in Paula’s back ground, make up a good share of Four Winds practices. Paula has also been studying Shamanism, while Kenny finds Medicine People practices interesting, and they combined that with their shared love of Past Life regression; a solid teaching style, plus lots of homework, means their students learned a bit of everything, and a lot about what Four Winds stood for and meant.
In 2009, a young man attended an information Earth Day event Four Winds held at the Stockton Park House, and soon he was studying with the same fervor and intentness that Kenny had shown. Paula knew she had a good one, and after discussing it with her HP, asked Chris to keep studying and become co-HP. He agreed, and the lessons began in earnest. In 2013, Chris was installed as co-HP at Four Winds.
Today, Four Winds Sanctuary does not hold rituals often, but is open for those who need a place to sit, unwind, relax and recharge. “There are enough groups out there now that there is no need for our teaching Sanctuary,” Paula explains. “So we partially closed down. After my husband died, I considered closing down completely, as I just could not imagine continuing without him, but after much thought and discussion with my children, we are turning from a Pagan sanctuary to an everybody sanctuary, giving people a place to unwind, relax, meditate. We are working to make the Sanctuary as mobility easy as possible, and hope to perhaps have an open house later this year.”
What does the future hold for Paula and Four Winds?
“I will continue to teach those who ask, continue to learn from those who offer, and see what the Goddess has in mind for me in the future.
I will also continue to write, as I have found I have a talent for children’s books. I like putting different things in my books, like the ‘Wise Crone’ in my book The Best Magic of All.”
What more could anyone ask?
My name is Peggy McDowell and I live in the small town of Tomahawk in the northwoods of Wisconsin. It's kind of primitive here. Except for electricity and the internet things don't change much. Most of the men hunt. Most of the women do crafts. Our family lives in one of Tomahawk's original buildings - behind the storefront - just like in the good old days.
We call our storefront Jester Studio. Jesters have a deep history of being those special characters that were allowed to tell the truth without being beheaded. I try to tell the truth in my artwork, with just enough humor to get away with it.
As a mother of two, a budget-bolsterer, goulash-maker, and laundry lady, life can get damned humorous sometimes. So I make portraits of domestic divas in their elements. I celebrate donuts and chocolate. I illustrate books and helped design a tarot deck..."Breaking the Rules Tarot." I feel the spirit in plants and dust bunnies. Yes, I did go to art school. I have a BFA from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. But I believe they ought to give degrees for being a wife and mother. It's a lot harder. Oh, and I am a "guest of honor" because I did this year's logo.