In 2013 I wrote a “Pagan Year in Review” type of column and ended the piece with “The Hornies or Jason’s Random Superlatives” since then the Hornie Awards have sort of evolved into a thing. Last year I even had people tweeting their excitement over winning! The early Hornie Awards were centered around snark, but since people actually seem happy about winning the awards I decided to treat them a little more seriously this year.
Will there still be jokes? Absolutely. Should anyone take this enterprise all that seriously? Of course not. Should some of you be proud for winning a Hornie? Most certainly. And now strike up the band and prepare for the red carpet, it’s the 2017 Hornie Awards!
SHORT FESTIVAL: FLORIDA PAGAN GATHERING (BELTANE EDITION)
What’s a short festival? According to our rules, it’s any gathering that officially lasts four days or less. We had all sort of nominees this year, but the winner ended up being the Florida Pagan Gathering (Beltane Edition). So why did the prestigious Hornie go to FPG? Part of it is because the organizers were just amazingly great to yours truly, but some of it is because they booked great musical acts like Wendy Rule, Brian Henke, and Hecate’s Wheel, and ultimately it was because everyone there was super nice and the whole event was well organized and just kicked ass!
Also, you could hear alligators at night near the lakeshore! How much more Pagan can anything be? (Also, it was kind of frightening.) But FPG was my jam this year and it was great and I’m itching to go back, but itching in that good way, not the bad one.
INDOOR CONFERENCE: PAGANICON
This one was all kinds of tough, especially since I alone went to four indoor events in 2017, but ultimately it had to be Minnesota’s Paganicon. For me it was great because I got to hang out with all sorts of cool people I only see once or twice a year. Plus, they all seemed to really like my Dion Fortune Ritual! And I sold out of books! And it was what I want an indoor conference to be: plenty to do, a great bar near by, fun parties, and well organized. (My precious projector was always waiting for me during workshops.)
The only sad part about this year’s Hornie Award winner is that I won’t be there in 2018! I hope Minnesota misses me as much as I’ll miss it!
OUTDOOR FESTIVAL: PAGAN SPIRIT GATHERING
After hearing about the ticks and scorching temperatures at 2016’s Pagan Spirit Gathering, I nearly passed on an invitation to visit, but I’m so glad I did not! 2017’s PSG easily won outdoor festival of the year and it really wasn’t close. The festival had just the perfect balance of Pagan shenanigans and thoughtful ritual and informative workshops. In other words, every part of me was tickled and/or delighted in some way. It also didn’t hurt that Selena Fox bribed me with mead several times during the festival.
And oh the people! I think I’ve made life long friends post PSG. Everyone was so nice, and the festival site was lovely. There was great music all week long (Spiral Rhythm, SJ Tucker, and more!), the only strike against PSG were the morning meetings that I was contractually obligated to go to! (Jason does not like early mornings, which basically means anything before noon.) I loved PSG, absolutely loved it, just a huge highlight of my 2017. It’s also where I met Astrea who now writes here who I think is awesome.
MARION BLONDE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: TY SIDDIQUI
Marion Blonde was a High Priestess active in Northern California who served for nearly three decades as the treasurer of our local, eclectic, open circle. In other words, Lady Marion was one of those hardworking types necessary to maintain Pagan community that most people have never heard of. I’m here to change that because Marion deserves a slice of internet immortality, and most importantly we need more Marion’s in Pagandom. Our community doesn’t run on BNP (Big Name Pagans) or blogs or books, it runs on the hard work of people doing the everyday smaller things that are often missed.
So with that in mind, I’m happy to announce the winner of this year’s Marion Blonde Community Service Award, Ty Siddiqui. Ty manages New Orlean’s Pagan Pride Day and the Wyld Fire Beltane Hunt. Managing events is a truly thankless job sometimes, perhaps even more so in the age of social media, but few people are more giving or patient than Ty which is why I’m thrilled to be giving her this award.
We are not always all going to agree on who should headline our events or whatever, but we should always appreciate the hard-work that goes into creating them. Ty is the very definition of hard work. So thank you Ty, and I love your city far more than I should.
PAGAN OF THE YEAR: LILITH DORSEY
I give out a variation of this award every year, and by July of 2017 I already knew who I’d be picking as the winner: Lilith Dorsey. Am I a little bit partial to Lilith because she writes here? Maybe, but it’s a lot more than that.
Lilith truly walks between the worlds, she’s both a Witch and an academic. And probably most importantly for the purposes of this award, she lives in the world of Modern Paganism and New Orleans style Voodoo. For many people these are the same thing, but there are very real tensions between those two worlds. But Lilith manages them both, and succeeds, and kicks all sorts of ass, all while helping to bridge the divide between those traditions. I’m proud to call her a friend, and one day I hope I can make it all the way up to peer! (Lilith is that awesome.)
AWARDS HANDED OUT IN AN EARLIER CEREMONY
Bro-mance Of the Year: Past winners have included Gwion Raven and Devin Hunter, so Storm Faerywolf has a lot to live up to, but he did a great job of it in 2017. He released a fine book earlier this year, and was all over the festival circuit teaching and leading ritual. He’s also pretty which I appreciate.
Circe/Coven/Grove of the Year: Most people think that because I’m handing out the award it will go to a Gardnerian Coven by default, but nope this year it went to ADF’s Columbia Grove up in Portland Oregon. Just terrific people with a great community presence. I love these folks!
Under-Appreciated Resource Award: George Knowles who runs Controverscial.Com, a site full of great articles about Pagan elders, Witch traditions, and dozens of other things. When I don’t know something about a person or group (and that happens a lot) I visit Controverscial, it’s one of my favorite sites on the internet. Special Runner-up Award in this category goes to Patti Wigington at ThoughtCo, that’s another place I go with a lot of frequency. Thank you both for your hard work and for being awesome.
BOOK OF THE YEAR: THE PATH OF PAGANISM BY JOHN BECKETT
John Beckett’s Under the Ancient Oaks is probably the only blog I read religiously, and by religiously I mean every single post. When I heard he was putting together the Path of Paganism I was unsure of whether or not he’d have anything new to say in his book, and boy was I wrong!
What I appreciate the most about The Path of Paganism is that John managed to make the word Paganism mean something in it. There are days when I think of myself as a Witch first, and a Pagan like fourth or fifth. I feel like there is more than divides us than unites as a community anymore, but John manages to find the things that draw us closer to together. In his very capable hands he re-establishes Paganism as a path one can walk without having to be a Witch, or a Druid, or a Polytheist. I learned things reading his book. I learned things about Paganism, about myself, and about the greater community we are both a part of.
BLOG OF THE YEAR: FOR PUCK’S SAKE
I don’t think anyone has written more stuff online this year than Mat Auryn at For Puck’s Sake. He was the easy winner here because of the 100 book and tarot reviews he’s written this year, along with his insights as a professional tarot card reader. And a lot of the credit for his winning this award is because of articles like The Hex Appeal of Activism which read like small books, and articles like Beginner Books Recommended By Trad. Craft Witches that feature the wisdom of lots of different voices.
Mat just owned the blogging world this year, writing about how to do stuff, personal experiences, and everything in between. He’s also a terrific writer and person.
STUPID WORD OF THE YEAR: BRO-WITCH
Oh, you want to try and insult me by calling me a Bro-Witch? Well how I about I pick up that mantle proudly and wear it like a pentagram on my sleeve? Yeah, someone called me a Bro-Witch, erroneously believed they were clever, and now I’ve got all sorts of people using the term. Do you want a Bro-Witch calendar? They’ll probably exist soon. How about a Bro-Witch shirt? I’ll be selling them at festivals later this year.*
Bro-Witch is symptomatic of how much wasted time we spend fighting and insulting each other in the Pagan Community. Why we slag on those who should be our allies has me scratching my head on a near daily basis. There are so many real fish to fry out there in the larger world, and yet we’ve got people wasting time with silly insults and petty rivalries.
Though I’ll admit to totally being down with the term Bro-Witch because it’s so ridiculously silly. Anytime someone takes me too seriously I’m quick to remind them that I’m a Bro-Witch.
PAGAN ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Y MABINOGI-THE FIRST BRANCH BY DAMH THE BARD
It’s not a traditional album by any stretch of the imagination (it’s a combination of songs and stories) but it’s such an ambitious project and so well done! The stories are worth repeated lessons and the songs rock, roll, and everything else you want in a great tune. This is a fine album, and something we’ll still be talking about in 20 years.
WITCH STORE OF THE YEAR: ARTES AND CRAFT, HARTFORD MICHIGAN
Think Witch capitol of the Midwest and the city of Hartford Michigan (population slightly less than 2,700) probably doesn’t come to mind, but it contains one of the biggest and best Witch stores in the entire country, Artes and Craft, our 2017 Hornie Award winner for best Witch store. They’ve got a fabulous collection of stuff, including hard to find books, store made athames, and just about anything your Witchy heart might desire.
They also have a fantastic ritual and workshop space, a must for a successful store. One more thing, they’ve built a great community of people that revolve around the store. That’s one of THE reasons we should support our local stores; in addition to selling stuff they are important community hubs. People need a neutral space to visit in, and houses just don’t cut the mustard. Pat and Paul Barbary who own the store are also just cool folks that I genuinely like (even if Pat is a fan of the New England Cheatriots).
TOUR OF THE YEAR: IRON MAIDEN WITH GHOST
And some of you were wondering how Ghost was going to make an appearance! This was the occult/heavy metal tour of the year, and yes, Ghost was better than Iron Maiden, even though Papa’s stage raps make Paul Stanely’s between song banter sound good.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all in 2018!
*Neither of those last two statements are true.