Auction Tent update for BtW 2016

Hello everyone! I’m Joe Berlik, One of your Auction Tent Coordinators this year.
My partner in crime co-coordinator is James Vacca! We’ve got a lot going on so, I’ll dive right in!

The Between the Worlds Auction Tent is where you can find all kinds of amazing items for sale, up for auction, and as prizes! We will have mugs for sale as well as a limited quantity of t-shirts from past years. We will have our traditional raffle tickets available at the following price points: 1 for $1.00, 6 for $5.00, 13 for $10.00, 26 for $20.00, an inseam for $15.00 or a double inseam for $25.00. The prizes for the raffle come from all of you! So be sure to look around for donations to bring with you. Top prize in the raffle is a free admission to next year’s Between the Worlds festival so buy early and buy often!

In addition to the raffle, we will have the very popular Silent Auction! As with the raffle, all auction items are donated by you. Are you crafty? Do you have something that seemed great at the time but just isn’t right anymore? Donating to the auction or raffle are great ways to help us keep Between the Worlds going!

We also have something new and fun for our 15th anniversary! This year the Auction Tent will have scratch off lottery tickets. Sold for $1.00 apiece, every ticket is a winner! We will have a limited quantity of these available each day. Once they’re gone, they’re gone! Prizes range from one raffle ticket all the way up to another free admission to next year’s Between the Worlds!

You heard that right! This year we will have 2 free admissions up for grabs! So please visit, browse, donate and spread the word about the Between the Worlds Auction Tent!

Yours in Brotherhood,
Joe Berlik and James Vacca


Your Gate Coordinator: Ryan

ryanHello everyone. My name is Ryan and I am your Gate Coordinator. This will be my second independent year in this role having shared it with Drake 3 BTWs ago. So I will the first person to great you, most likely, as you arrive at Wisteria’s gates.  I would start off like everyone else and tell you how many years I have been attending BTW but I don’t have my bracelets on to count.


Throughout the gathering you will hear me called many names. I answer to Ryan, Rowan which was my Craft name when I first started attending Between the World, and Roxy. Roxy Codone is my Drag name and you will most likely meet her on the infamous eve of Komos or maybe as the MC for The No Talent Show.


In terms of my Spiritual path I am a Witch who has a love for Green Magick, Herbalism & Kitchen Witchery. I am the Deputy Minister for the Temple of Witchcraft’s Cancer Ministry.  I am also a teacher and co-creator of Drops of Three, an online store.


On a personal note I tend to be a bit of an introvert unless I have the assistance of Roxy or few cocktails so if you see me please say hi. I look forward to seeing my Between the Worlds Family new and old (and I am not just talking about the B.O.O.F.s).

BTW Countdown: 114 days!


Your Community Coordinator: Matt

matt deninnoMatt began attending BTW in 2011 and has been Community Coordinator since 2013. He is passionate about community awareness, spiritual development, and fusing the two. Some of his favorite phrases include “co-created”, “numinous”, “by it’s very definition”, and “now the dancing begins!”

Spiritually, Matt is a member of the Reclaiming tradition, which he glibly describes as “eco-anarcho-hippie witches, intent on changing the world.” With experience in Catholicism, Neo-Paganism, Western ceremonial magic, mysticism, the scientific academy, theater, intentional community, and self-help circles, he appreciates an artfully crafted ritual, but can’t help but ask of magic: “But, did it *work*? And, for what value of ‘work’?”

Matt lives in Portland, OR, and has a job because: Capitalism! He likes games, reading, cooking, and many other pleasant things.

Matt sincerely believes that Between the Worlds is an amazing opportunity for Queer Men who love Men to experience healing, growth (not always pleasant), and joy together and loves to facilitate, support, or empower more men to have and lead those kinds of experiences. Everybody say it with me again: co-created!

BTW Countdown: 118 days!!


Wisteria Work Weekend!

The Memorial Day work weekend at Wisteria is less than a month away! It’s happening May 22-25, and we’d like to get a group together to go down and help our host site improve what they can offer us.

From their website:

Admission is free if you give us five hours of work a day, and the rest of the time is yours. Evenings range from wild nights at Paw Paw, to quiet times listening to the woodland critters.


Love camping with your hard-working friends but hate breaking a sweat? You can skip the work entirely and just pay the open camping fee of $12 a night. Either purchase open camping tickets in advance, or just pay when you show up.

Food is on your own, but we all know how to forage in Athens.

Let us know if you’re coming for it, and we’ll be able to lend a bigger hand!


Your Medical Coordinators: Gentlebear and Jasen

gentlebear Greetings to One-and-All, Gentlebear here. I am your first-aid coordinator for BTW.

I have attended many BTW’s – missing but a few (last miss I was determined to still be there but cardiac by-pass surgery won out: now that I look back — What Was I Thinking?) I have been on Pagan/Eclectic path-journey since 1996 having first attended Pagan Spirit Gathering . Within the Rainbow gathering of Pagan Spirit Gathering – Between the Worlds idea came into being and was born. Has been awesome to see something progress from just being an idea blossoming into what it is today. I have indeed been blessed to be witness to both its birth and growth and to be an active participant in our gathering.

In profession – I am a licensed Registered Nurse both in Ohio and Indiana; practicing since 1988. A really long time. (Dang didn’t realize it has been that long).

Reiki Master as of 2005.

I am a bear – part of the Bear Clan at Between The Worlds — and I give hugs all the time. (Hugs — yeah that’s what we’ll call it).. (Leave me alone – I KNOW what you guys just thought).

I also facilitate a work-shop: Butt Murals … much fun!!

In the realm of healing note- as you process through the gates to the gathering– Healing has already begun. Be it a returning brother – or a first-time attendee, it is a healing that envelopes you regardless of your belief structure and begins to balance you on all levels. (Sometimes the balancing act of the Lord and Lady are significant – and that is what myself and the counselors are all about). We are there to assist you in having a fun, safe and healing adventure to empower you.

Rest assured – throughout the week you will be hugged and I endeavor to most always say hello in passing.

Welcome Home

JasenJasen began attending BTW thank to John and Rus in 2011, and due to circumstances, was asked in his first year to take a role as medical coordinator. He drank the kool-aid and hasn’t looked back since then.

J is a Registered Nurse with experience in emergency care, critical, education, wound care and management, as well as a degree in biology.

Mau Khet follows an Egyptian pantheon path, and spiritually has strengths in elemental work, spell crafting, craft magic and tends to be a deity magnet. He attends BTW with his BFF and mentor, and considers the BTW brothers his big, incestuous Pagan family.

J is originally from Upstate New York, but after BTW 2013, moved to Reno, Nevada with his partner Sam (workshift coordinator). He and Sam are polyamorous and got handfasted at BTW 2014, and recently mundania married. Together they enjoy trickster energy, causing chaos and their two cats Sabin and Ragnarok.

BTW Countdown: 125 days!



Your Work Shift Coordinator: Sam

samSalutations everyone! My name is Sam, I am your work shift coordinator, and happy to be doing so now for my second year. This will be my fourth year at Between the Worlds, and I’m so happy to serve you all, and help better the event.

Spiritually speaking I’m very new, still figuring out my path in the world, and beginning to understand just how magical life can be. My focus has been a shamanic one, working with animal spirits for healing, but I am always learning and adapting my practice. I enjoy listening to people’s stories and getting to know the person and the practice they have.

In mundania, I live in Reno NV with my two partners Jasen and Ray, both who attend this gathering. I’m a hairstylist by trade, and have been licenced for 4 years. I enjoy playing various RPGs, Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the gathering, and reading fun fantasy books by a wide range of authors.

Please feel free to stop me at any time of the gathering and strike up a conversation, I’m always happy to make new friends.


Your Safety Coordinators: Hobbit and Kell

russell john

John (left) and Russell (right)

Hobbit, or Russell has been attending BtW since 2005. The first few hours on the land were unforgettable. Over the years that passion has carried over into sharing that experience, bringing new faces to the event, and serving the Gathering. In 2007 he moved to Columbus and joined GFG. He has been a part of the Brotherhood of the Spectrum Blade since 2007, serving as one of the first volunteers, then initiate, and then High Priest.

Between the Worlds brings together several different spiritual paths. Over the years Russell has been drawn to a particular path, American traditional witchcraft, and is working toward initiation in the Anderson Tradition. He is also a Reiki master and an intuitive healer with a focusing on therapeutic massage, logging over 5000 hours of practice and being the most requested therapist at his location.

Domestically he is in a poly relationship with Kell and they are more than just dating Bernie.

Phillip (also known by John or Kell) has been an active member of the gathering’s community since first attending in 2008. After volunteering with the Brotherhood of the Spectrum Blade and initiating, he is now one of the leadership of the security team for the gathering. He has been an initiated for five years into the Brotherhood, and has enjoyed watching over and caring for his brothers during the event.

Phillip has been a practicing Pagan for over twenty years.  He started out as an eclectic solitary in the Wicca traditions, but eventually moved into a gnosis worship of the Hellenic/Greek gods – specifically Apollo, Athena, and Persephone.  Outside of Between the Worlds and the Brotherhood, Phillip has a long history of community service and service organizations, including Boy/Girl Scouts.  Currently, his day job is as a pharmacy technician for a Medicaid managed care insurance plan. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with his partners.

Countdown: 142 days!


Your BTW Co-Facilitators: Otter and Spiritwolf

And now, introducing (to the new people) and welcoming back (to the past attendees), your Between the Worlds Co-Facilitators, Otter and Spiritwolf!

Otter and Leon BtW 2014

Spiritwolf (Leon, left) and Otter (JR, right)

J.R., better known as Otter,  first came to BTW in 2006. There he met the man he would later marry and found a path to understanding himself, spiritually, as a gay man and his place in the world of other men-who-love-men. Otter served as Heralding Coordinator, aka Princess of the Sisterhood of Screeching Harpies, for a number of years before taking on the role of Co-Facilitator for the gathering in 2014.

Spiritually, Otter evolved from a philosophical Taoist and existentialist to the eclectic pagan and Kitchen Witch he is today. Following a 16 year career of pagan community organizing, teaching, and presenting public ritual with the Covenant of Brighid’s Haven in his home town, Otter now feeds his faith by reaching out to the spirits of the natural world around him. Seeking to deepen his connection with wild spaces he has hiked and pilgrimaged over 900 miles in the forests and gorges of the Allegheny Plateau and around Lake Erie and the Allegheny River and their tributaries.

Beyond the mists of our personal Brigadoon, Otter is an Administrative Law Judge in the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. He lives with his husband, Grey, in Erie, Pennsylvania, not far from the shore of his beloved lake.

Spiritwolf, or Leon, is, spiritually, an eclectic still finding his way amongst the paths. While SpiritWolf started practicing in the early 80s, he dropped away for several years while in the Navy following other paths of beliefs but came back to paganism in the 90s.

SpiritWolf started coming to Between the Worlds in 2004. The following year he helped start a security contingent because of his past military experience and in 2005 the security contingent developed into the Brotherhood of the Spectrum Blade (the physical and spiritual guardians of the event) which is still growing. SpiritWolf and Daystar moved to Ohio from the San Francisco bay area in 2007 and joined Green Faerie Grove. SpiritWolf was elected president of GFG from 2008-2010 and again in 2012 to present and this is his third year as Co-Facilitator. Outside of all this, Leon is currently the assistant to the CFO of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.


Guest Post: Between the Worlds 2015 – Inspiration for Apollo

This weekend’s post comes to us from Matt Gerlach. You’ll see him around the Den, you’ll see him as part of the Flamekeepers, and you’ll see him around. He seems to be everywhere all at once. If you’re not sure who he is, ask anyone, and someone should be able to point him out.

Have you registered for Between the Worlds 2015? Are you looking for inspiration on what kinds of workshops and rituals might be great to craft and offer to our community this year, the year of Apollo?

If so, this article is for you! Here are complied a few ideas of what kind of content resonates both with the Gathering itself through the years, and also with the patron deity of 2015, Apollo.

Great Topics for Gay Men in the Woods

Queer Spirituality – As it says on the BTW website, “The Between the Worlds Gathering was designed to provide a safe place for men who love men to explore alternative spiritual practices and paths, to empower themselves, and to plant the seeds of spiritual renewal within the gay community.” Rituals and workshops on what it means to be a man who loves men in the Pagan community reach to the very heart of why this Gathering was founded, and will always be a great addition to the schedule regardless of the year.

Nature Spirituality – We are spending a week in the woods! So many of us find benefit and nourishment from simply getting away from the world build by man. Help up deepen this benefit by offering workshops and rituals for connecting with nature and the Land.

Community – The staff of BTW spend a good amount of time asking themselves, “How can we best cultivate this beautiful community of men each year?” and many of the events they plan are designed specifically for building that sense of community. Help them out by offering your own rituals, workshops and events geared towards knitting together a closer, more vibrant community.

Bring Yourself – What is it that you do? Where do your skills and passions lie? Can you teach us about these things? Can you lead us in rituals rooted in these things? If so, we’d love to see you more deeply!

Great Topics for Working with Apollo

Oracular Work – Apollo is perhaps the most famous God of Oracles in the Greek world. Do you have a workshop or ritual dealing with this fascinating and elusive topic? Propose it! Not comfortable teaching about or doing the work of the oracular seer? Perhaps a workshop on your favorite divination system! Or maybe a workshop on “how to ask the right questions?” Let inspiration be your guide!

Healing – Both Apollo and his son Asklepios are known for their great powers of Healing. And goodness knows many of us find ourselves needing some healing when we arrive at BTW. Do you offer services as a healer? Perhaps Reiki, massage or something else? Bring your gifts and teach us about them, or offer them at the Gathering with Apollo’s blessing! Can you lead a ritual rooted in healing? Propose that too!

Disease – Just as Apollo is a god of Healing, so is he a god of Plagues and Pestilence. This year would be a great time to bring content to the Gathering honoring those who live with illnesses which effect our community, like HIV, and also to remember and honor those who have died. (Also, remember to educate yourselves on safer sex practices!)

Music, Poetry and Dance – Every year we have many opportunities for music, poetry and dancing, from the No Talent Show to drumming and chanting at night around the fire. But this year we have Apollo, God of Music and Inspiration; bring a little extra if inspiration hits you. Wanna teach about how to write poetry like an ancient Norseman or Greek? How about teaching drumming? Perhaps you can bring these elements into the rituals you propose?

The Muses – Where would our music, poetry and dance be without the Muses? The ancients called Apollo Musagetes, Leader of the Muses. Where he goes they will not be far behind, so why not honor them with ritual and teaching?

Athletics and Competition – As a god associated with young, strong, healthy men as well as with seeking excellence, Apollo was associated with athletics and competition. Do you want an excuse to rub strange men down with oil and wrestle them to the ground? Or perhaps to throw ball shaped objects at them, reliving the horrors of being an awkward little gay boy in elementary school? This is the time! Step up and offer to facilitate something!

The God Himself – Who exactly is Apollo? Who are his family? What did ancient people do for him? What makes him relevant to us now? Propose workshops to answer our burning questions! Offer rituals drawing us closer to him, to his family, to his work!

His Sister – There are many who have a relationship with Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo, and so it would also be valuable to bring her to the Gathering, if you feel so called. Who exactly is she, and what is her relationship with her brother?

The Nietzschean Duality – As many of us know, in modern times the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote quite extensively about Apollo as a God of reason and logic, contrasting with Dionysos as a god of the irrational and chaos. What do you have to say on the topic? Do you have rituals invoking these powers along this duality? Do you not like this charactarization and choose to interact with these gods in other ways? What did the ancients say about the relationship between Dionysos and Apollo?


Bang it! Bang it again!

Nope, not another post about sex. This one is about drumming at BTW.

You will see this information on the main Between the Worlds website and also in the guidebook for the festival. It bears repeating.

The evening drum circles around the fire are an opportunity for spontaneous community magic. It brings together individuals who work together to create a sacred space though drumming, dancing, chanting, spoken word and storytelling. In doing so, we can connect to the fire, the land, the stars, each other, our guides, our gods or ourselves. It’s also a time to have fun, frolic and socialize.

Because we are trying to create an unrehearsed group experience, there are some guidelines that we would like people to follow when participating in the evening fireside activities.

  • Listen and observe: When you first approach the drum circle, simply listen and observe what is taking place. Ease into participation so that you can get a feel for the group and bring your unique contribution gently into the mix. It’s less disruptive to the water’s surface if you wade in rather than cannonball.
  • Lead: Anyone can lead the group. It could be a drummer, dancer, chanter or storyteller. The activities around the fire are broken into performance pieces. They have a beginning, middle and an end. Since these are not rehearsed pieces, they may be long or brief. By listening and feeling, the group instinctively follows the arc of a piece until it’s end.. Some will end softly like a sigh while other may speed up into frenzy and end with a howl.
  • Let others lead: If you have led the group in a piece, give others the opportunity to lead the next few pieces. If someone starts a piece, it is important that everyone respect that leader by participating in the spirit with which the piece is presented. If you don’t like a particular rhythm, chant or story, please gracefully step away from the activity to socialize or watch around the outside of the fire until you feel moved to rejoin.Personal meditation, observation and socializing around the fireside activities are perfectly welcome forms of participation. If you are socializing we ask that you do so quietly in an area near the fire not occupied by drummers, dancers or chanters.
  • Bring some water if you are dancing or drumming: The fire is quite hot and extended periods of dancing or drumming can be draining. If you are drinking alcohol, you will still need water to stay well hydrated. If you see someone who looks like they need some water, please remind them to stay hydrated.
  • Please do not smoke near the drummers, dancers and chanters: If you need a cigarette, please take a brief walk away from the fire.

If you have any questions, ask!

Drummers and Instrumentalists:

  • Respect the drums: They are not to be used as end tables, footstools or chairs. Don’t place anything on the head of a drum except a protective cover. Don’t lean your elbows on the head of the drum when you are not playing.
    • Rubbing the skin in circles with the palm of your hand will generate some heat, warming the drumhead for playing. If you wish to remove moisture from the drumhead, you can do so by holding it near the fire, but not too close!
    • Do not play a drum while wearing hand or wrist jewelry.
    • Place instruments you wish to share in a designated area.
    • Drums that are covered, on their side or not in the area designated for shared instruments are not to be played without the owner’s permission.  These are traditional signs that the owner does not want them played by others.
    • Hand drums, rattles, shakers and other percussive instruments are the backbone of a drum circle. The didgeridoo, flute and recorder are welcome additions. If you would like to play an instrument not listed, please discuss that with the drum circle prior to playing it.
  • Follow the leader: One drummer will set the time and rhythm for a given piece. Follow that drummer’s lead and do not try to speed it up or slow it down. The rhythm will naturally speed up or slow down based on the energy of the circle, the chants and the dancing.
  • Try to keep time: This is music. The easiest thing to do if you are a beginner is strike your drum on the quarter note beats. You can also just strike your drum on the even or odd beats to accent them. If you need one of the more experienced drummers to count the quarter note beats for you, just ask. They will get you started. As you become more comfortable with timing you will find polyrhythm and solos possible while maintaining the established time signature.
  • Solo wisely: If you’re comfortable throwing in a solo, please do. Only one drummer should solo at a time. Solos can be short or run the length of a piece, just make sure what you are doing is in the spirit of the piece.
  • Blend: If your drum is the only drum you hear or you can’t hear the drummers beside you, then you are probably playing too loud. Adjust to blend.

If you are unsure of what or where to play, watch the reactions of the more experienced players.

The most important thing to remember, though, is the easiest to do. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to play a drum that someone isn’t playing, ask. It’s as simple as that.

163 days, Brothers. It will be here before any of us know it!