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Gaia Gathering 2017

Aspen Witanara

Aspen Witanara* is a second-degree Wiccan priest from the local Black Ring tradition with over 25 years of experience in neo-pagan and Wiccan traditions. His extensive knowledge of the history of magic, witchcraft and neopaganism, world religions and archetypal (Jungian) psychology richly informs his practice and studies.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, he assisted the founders of Evergreen tradition with their early teaching circles and was an integral part of many of their public circles.  He was also a board member for The Covenant of Gaia, Church of Alberta (COGCOA) for many years helping formulate policies and direction.

Aspen has attended many Wiccan and neo-pagan seminars and workshops including; pastoral counseling for Wiccan clergy, advanced ritual design, the Dionysian mysteries, the winter mysteries and drawing down. In addition he studied Eastern religions (primarily Hinduism and Buddhism) and the nature of religion at the University of Calgary.

As an independent scholar, he has read extensively on Jungian and archetypal psychology for over 35 years, incorporating what he has learned into his body of knowledge. One of his other specialties is the study of divination systems.

Aspen has taken part in many events and well over 200 circles from different pagan and magical traditions ranging from Druidry to The Golden Dawn. 

He is now very much a solitary practitioner currently finishing a book tentatively titled, The Four Realms of Ritual which is the topic of his Gaia Gathering presentation.

* “Witanara” is taken from Old High Gothic and means “wise eagle”.

Keynote Speakers

The Mama Guru

Mama G, as many call her, teaches using story, humor, and Real language. She has a mission to inspire both men and women to show them their inner light within.

She loves God, The Goddess, Angels and all things Magickal. She is a trained Shaman, a Reiki Master, Psychic Medium, soulful ~ Spiritual teacher, and has 30 years experience guiding people through transition.

Her passion is geared toward restoring you through Magickal spiritual processes to a Being who lives and loves from a centered, grounded, totally in your True Power place. She uses the tools of ancient wisdom to assist you to break through blocks in your life: Love, financial, health, Confidence, Peace of mind.

Her healing techniques, herbs, oracle cards, tarot, angel cards, crystals, oils, Reiki, Shamanic healing  and cup of her magickal brewed tea.  Her gift is guiding you to face the darkness and own your power through deep love, ancient wisdom and laughter.

Kriket Wilkinson

Kriket has been an active member of the Pagan community in Edmonton since 1991. She has led drumming circles, shamanic classes and public rituals for over 21 years. Her Primary focus has been on her roots in Finnish Shamanism.

As she rekindles the indigenous spirit within, she connects to the sacred roots, listening to the voices of the ancestors while honouring the connection to the web of life. She is both the weaver and the web and invites others to join her to ignite their sacred fire.

Tracey Braun

Tracey identifies as a radical feminist activist witch who has served the Goddess of Ten Thousand Names since first learning of Her in 1992. In the Pagan community, she has been a member of various circles and covens, is a founding member of the Calgary Pagan Pride Society, has spoken at both Gaia Gathering (Edmonton) and Pagan Pride Day (Calgary), and always has the next AB Witchcamp (Reclaiming) circled in red on her calendar.

In the nonprofit community, she is a Program Manager at the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, a board/committee member at various societies, and a founding member of the Agrihood Project Cooperative. In between the two, she single parents a son who’s off to university in the fall, crochets her way through a ton of meetings, and works on graduating from modified to full-on Pigeon Pose. 


Dominique has been on the Pagan path for more than thirty years. She holds initiations in witchcraft (Black Ring) and ceremonial magick (Ordo Astrum Sophiae), is a necromancer, and a conjure worker. As a follower of The Great Work she has dedicated her life to magick, and the pursuit of true self. As a professional witch, international lecturer, and metaphysical shop owner, Dominique is forever seeking and experiencing magick, as well as knowledge to share with others.

Dominique was the chair person for CNPC: Gaia Gathering for five years and is incredibly pleased to be able to finally enjoy the conference as an attendee and lecturer. CNPC is an integral piece in the landscape of modern Canadian Paganism, something that becomes more apparent with every passing year, especially when one is privileged enough to travel and understand what makes Canadian Pagans so different.

Workshop Presenters

LS Alabaster

LS Alabaster is a 3rd degree blackring, ATC elder, author of Pagan Protocol, BA in women’s studies U of C, Bed Maters of Teaching at U of C. 16 years teaching with the public education system Founder of the now defunct Dame school. LS has been following the path since 1990.

Shelley TSivia Rabinovitch, PhD

Shelley TSivia Rabinovitch is a singer and songwriter, artist, Powwow Dancer, and Third Degree Gardnerian. She has been the Witch Queen of Desert Henge Coven since the 1980s. Shelley was co-guest of honour for the second Gaia Gathering in Nova Scotia, has two books out (and some chapters in others) on modern Neo-Paganism, and follows both Wicca and Indigenous teachings.

She completed her MA on Witches and Pagans in Canada, and her PhD on the pagan origins of Virgin Mary Shrines in modern folk Roman Catholicism. Shelley lives in Ottawa with her three lovely cats.


John David “Hobbes” Hickey is a writer and storyteller based in Montreal, Quebec. He has been an active member in his community since 2000 and this would be his 6th Gaia Gathering. He has helped organized two successful Gaia Gatherings (Montreal and Edmonton) and was a member of the Board for several years (now retired, mostly). 

His spiritual expression is quite eclectic, but he is currently a member of ADF Druidry.

He is also highly regarded as a storytelling Bard and has told tales in festivals and other events across the country.

You can listen to and watch his performances at www.johndavidhickey.ca.

Samuel Wagar

Sam has been a Wiccan 3rd since 1985, is the Wiccan chaplain to U of Alberta, author of four books, teaching Wiccan Theology at U of A, and a Doctor of Ministry candidate at St. Stephen’s College. He has founded a national Wiccan church, five public Temples, two religious retreats, and several covens. swagar@ualberta.ca

Frank Schornagel

Frank has been an active member of the Calgary Pagan Community since 1988. He is a founding member of Clearwater Kindred and has served as Gothi for the Heathen community at large for the past 15 years. During that time Frank has been part of a dedicated team to foster the growth of the Heathen community across Canada

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JD Hobbes with plasma lamp

Paulie Duhaime

With a background in music and a good sense of timing and rhythm, dancing comes naturally to me. When I discovered Sacred Circle Dancing about twenty years ago, I fell in love for the second time in my life. I am a patient, thorough and easy to understand teacher. I convey my love of Sacred Circle Dance in a joyful, gentle, enthusiastic way. to join her to ignite their sacred fire.

Amethyst BanDraoi

Amethyst has been quietly pursuing a Druidic life in Calgary since 1997, when she began the correspondence course of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. Twenty years of celebrating with other Calgary area Druids, and co-founding Chinook Hills Grove in 2014, have firmly set her feet upon celebrancy as her chosen path of service.
In addition to the three grades of Bard, Ovate and Druid, Amethyst has completed OBOD’s “Celebrating Life” and “Serving the Living and Dead” courses, for a solid foundation in crafting inclusive Druid ceremonies. People of all faiths or none can find comfort, joy and celebration in her rituals.

Kimberley Buckler

Kimberley Buckler became a Reiki Master in 2002, author in 2015, along with being a strong empath. Her life has brought many experiences to help her understand what empathy is along with being able to read the energy that is around her and that of her clients.

Over the years Kimberley has learnt how to connect with the Angels, the Fairies, the Animal Kingdom and many other spiritual beings that are with us to help us daily or through the transitions that we are going through. During this time, the need to learn how to work with earth bound spirits without being fearful became not only essential, but became a passion to teach others how to do so.

We are in a time where the veil is getting thinner, the children and adults both are seeing and hearing spirits that have been stuck here, and they also see those that have already crossed over. The goal is to help people feel more comfortable with the spirit realm and to share how to work with the spirits in a healthy way.

Athelia Nihtscada

Athelia's journey along the Druid path started back in 1991, and she was initiated as a Third Order Druid with the Reformed Druids of North America in 2005. She is also a Druid with the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids; and is also a member of The Druid Network, Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF), the British Druid Order, the Henge of Keltria, and the Sisterhood of Avalon.

Since 1988, Athelia has felt a strong calling to serve in caring for individuals and families facing death. She has spent over 25 years researching the funeral industry and graduated from the Beyond Yonder Virtual School of Community Deathcare in December of 2016. Through her paid work in the funeral industry, as a palliative home care provider, and as a family member, Athelia has assisted many individuals and their loved ones through the process of dying.

Shelley TSivia Rabinovitch

Jennifer Taylor

Jennifer is a Third Degree High Priestess with the Evergreen Tradition, and has been a follower of the Craft for eighteen years. Jennifer is an active teacher for the Evergreen family, training First, Second and Third degree students; preparing them to take on roles within their Craft family.

In addition to her work with Gaia Gathering, Jennifer is also on the board of Calgary Pagan Pride, manages three Pagan Facebook groups, and volunteers for secular groups, including Special Olympics.


As a child, I realized I could see and communicate with departed souls. I was terrified by this psychic ability I did not understand and fought hard to ignore it. Three years ago, I decided that my story could benefit from a bit of magic and decided to learn how to use the spiritual gifts I was given. Staying true to myself, I went all in and became a Certified Yoga Teacher (CYT200), Usui and Karuna Reiki Master and Crystal Healer.

Through this journey, my vision found me. Yes, you read that right, it found ME. My mission is to inspire and empower people of all ages to connect with their innate gifts and lead a more mindful life. I am now fulfilling this vision by combining my training and experience teaching yoga, meditation, chakra balancing, visualization and many more.


  • Co-founder of PAR: Pagan Association of Red Deer 1998
  • Founder and Ard Ban Draoi Emeritus (Retired)  of the Grove of Danu International with members in the U.S., Australia, Ireland and throughout several Canadian Provinces
  • Occasional guest lecturer on paganism Red Deer College
  • RN Psych (retired) teaching job skills to mentally and physically challenged adults by writing and implementing programs based on behavioral theories and principals ; 15 years experience.
  • Author: Michener Center Vocational Training Center: Task Analysis 1985: A compendium of detailed analysis of several jobs performed in the Vocational Training sheltered workshop, from folding boxes, to sewing forest fire water bags, ,making buttons, survey flags, folding advertising flyers etc.
  • University of Athabasca alumni BA Pscyh
  • Former owner/breeder/handler/trainer of working German Shepherd Dogs, in various service positions with gas companies, airlines, search and rescue and police departments internationally.
  • Former Secretary of Central Alberta Injured Worker's Association
  • Founding member Smooth Fox Terrier Club of Canada, Consultant to Board of Directors
  • Currently owner/breeder/handler/trainer of Smooth Fox Terriers, competing in  Conformation/ Rally Obedience, Agility and Barn Hunt competitions.
  • Retired from the pagan world, enjoying a quiet married life. Writing a trilogy, near completion.