We are a collection of diverse UK Pagan and Heathen organisations who have joined together to represent our members through a shared platform. With a unified national remit allows us to work effectively together towards a common goal. The Organisations are listed below with links to their web sites.
For a potted history of the formation of the Symposium:
Our origin: The Pagan and Heathen Symposium - a President's view
The Pagan And Heathen Symposium was born from a desire for organisations to build links and improve communication between diverse paths. Pagan Federation President Mike Stygal explains what led him to establish the Symposium.
The Pagan and Heathen Symposium was an idea that I’d had a few years ago. For many years I’d been watching Pagan and Heathen organisations engage in conflict with one another, set up rivalries between each other and trying to provide the same services as one another. At the same time, I’d watched wider society move from a position of distancing themselves from an unknown and feared 'Pagan and Heathen’ community, to a position of curious interest.
As long as I’ve been an officer of the Pagan Federation, I’ve had an interest in building bridges with other Pagan groups, feeling that if the Pagan Federation is to honestly meet the expectations of those official bodies who regard us as representatives of the Pagan community, then we really needed to explore ways we could actually hear that community in as broad a range of its diversity as possible. The more interest Paganism and Heathenry gain from the wider community and official bodies, the more it seemed to be important that we try to find ways of working more closely and supportively together. It would serve our community better if we found ways to point to the expertise found in our collective organisations and to pool our skills where services were needed, but didn’t already exist. Also, that wider society has preconceived ideas concerning the provision of services by faith communities and while we undermine one another in setting up rival services, we struggle to match up to those ideas.
I’ve been very fortunate to find friends in ‘senior’ positions in a number of Pagan and Heathen organisations (senior is in brackets because we all seem to struggle with notions of seniority… none of us are willing to suggest we are in some way better or more advanced than others) and through discussion with those friends, it seemed we were all of the opinion that it would be good to find ways to put aside old rivalries and conflicts and see if we could explore ways to work together, each organisation remaining distinct, that distinctiveness being something to celebrate, but not to isolate from inclusion in collaborative projects and in providing specific services they had developed to a high level of expertise. We agreed we would each contact other Pagan organisations we were in touch with and see if we could gather together an initial group of Pagan and Heathen organisations for a meeting.
That meeting took place on 12th July 2014 and included representatives from many of the main Pagan and Heathen organisations in the UK. There was a little apprehension that things might not go according to plan. But there was also a great deal of shared intent that we would all do everything we could to make the gathering a success. A success it most certainly was. Since then, we have continued to explore ways we might work together, projects we might collaborate upon and ways we might signpost to one another the expertise found in our respective organisations. The Pagan and Heathen Symposium meeting was always intended to be a first step, and thanks to the wonderful enthusiasm and positive intent of all who attended the meeting, that first step was a big one. We’re all still feeling our way with developing our working relationship. But anyone who has been around Paganism and Heathenry for any length of time will know that even that is a major improvement on the past. Where will the symposium go? Well, while I conceived of the idea and was very much involved in bringing it into being, I have no intention of dictating where we go. That is something for us to decide collectively. But where ever we do end up going, my hope is that we go as partners, colleagues and friends.
Adapted from an original article written by Mike Stygal and published in Greenmantle magazine
A number of representatives of Pagan organisations including Dolmen Grove have created a shared list of professional but essentially pagan counsellors.
This is because we are aware that in some situations it is beneficial to have a counsellor who understands the spiritual beliefs of the individual as well as the problems being faced.
The intention is to be able to offer advice or counselling where necessary to pagans countrywide and the original call was put out September 2014 and received much interest, since then we have been compiling the list and are now looking for any more who may have missed it the first time around.
If you are a qualified professional pagan/heathen counsellor and would like to be included on the list please could you contact Diane Narraway (chairman Dolmen Grove) by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or me at email@example.com.
Please state qualifications and tradition/path plus any fees/costs etc.
Any help with this will be appreciated by all those of the pagan and heathen community in need!
From the other side too, should you be in need of these confidential services then do please either contact Diane, Kevin or any other member of the Pagan Symposium and they will assist you in finding the help you need.
In 2015 we created a code of conduct that can be optionally adopted by any group who wish to show that they recognise and protect the diversity within their event and/or group. We do not wish to enforce rules on the community, however for public events it is good practice as well as a requirement that some kind of statement is available showing consideration of creating a safe environment for participants.
Going live at the end of the Summer 2016 term, members of the Pagan and Heathen Symposium are proud to announce that after a lengthy process, the first step of introducing paganism to the UK National Curriculum has been launched.
The section was written by Denise Cush with advice from the President of the Pagan Federation, Mike Stygal, and other members of the Pagan and Heathen Symposium, particularly in relation to Heathenism and other reconstructionist traditions.
This material is for use by teachers in preparation of teaching materials and the Symposium is working towards the next stage to expand on this core text.