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Let’s Break It Down

A Word about Our Schedule…

If you are totally gung ho about this festival, please attend everything. If, however, that seems a little overwhelming, we’ve broken the offerings down into more manageable pieces. You can choose to do one track or to take a class or two from each track. Or you can just pick the things that seem most interesting to you.

Also please join us daily for our morning coffee break at Ishtarbucks Café. Bring a cup of coffee and visit with the community. Daily at 10:30 a.m. EST

Track 1: Mesopotamian Magic and Sumerian Religion

Sumerian Treasure Hunt – This activity invites participants to go on an archaeological adventure in their own homes and surroundings to find hidden Sumerian treasure. Watch the video and then download the pdf to participate. You will take away an understanding of the ways that Mesopotamia, now modern-day Iraq and Kuwait, still influences us today. (This activity will be available all weekend if you are not a morning person!) KID-FRIENDLY
[Saturday at 9 a.m.]

Mysteries of Mesopotamia
(Oberon Zell)
The Dawn of Civilization began around 10,000 years ago, in Mesopotamia— “The  land between the rivers” (the Tigris and Euphrates). Ancient Sumeria gave us the earliest writing (cuneiform) as well as origin myths that have come down to us in the Book of Genesis. But was there an actual “Garden of Eden”? And if so, where was it located, and what happened to it? And what of the legend of the great flood of Noah? Did that really happen—and if so, when, and how? And what was the Sumerian Underworld told of in the story of the “Descent of Inanna”? Oberon will reveal some of “Hystory’s Mysteries” from his current book project.
[Saturday at 1 p.m.]

Ishtarfest Tour – Slide Show & Music. Come take a virtual tour of Ishtarfest past, perhaps a trip down memory lane or a new landscape as we visit New Uruk, on the beautiful 26 acre property in New Jersey. A feast for your eyes and ears! Music based on Mesopotamian hymns (with permission, Wendy Sheridan)
[Sunday at 11 a.m.]

Introduction to the Sumerian Deities 
(Ed Vanderjagt)
Let’s meet the Major Gods: Everyone here probably knows Inanna / Ishtar, but she is simply one of many. Do you know all seven who decree fate? How about the gods of the underworld? The hero gods? If you do, wonderful I still hope to see you there. If not then join us to learn and discuss.  
[Saturday at 11 a.m.]

Geshtinanna, Wise Woman
(Priscilla Long)
Who is the mysterious sister of Tammuz? In the mythology, she takes his place in the Underworld for half the year, but she is so much more. This workshop delves into this fascinating goddess who can teach us so much about our dreams and subconscious. Find out more about who She is, Her place in the pantheon, why one would reach out to Her, and how to find Her. A guided meditation will help us further connect with her.
[Saturday at 4:15 p.m. EST]

Crystal Magic in Mesopotamia 
(Amie Tolomeo)
Exploring crystals and minerals used for healing and protection in Ancient Sumeria & Mesopotamia. Focus on Lapis, Serpentine, Hematite, Carnelian, Quartz, Calcite, Copper, Gypsum, Terra Cotta. We’ll discuss applications such as amulets, incubation, elixirs, poultice, wards, and offerings.
[Sunday at 2:45 p.m. EST]

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish
(Amara Willey)
Leading a lively discussion of modern-day Mesopotamian ritual practice, Amara Willey will facilitate a sharing of experiences interacting with the Sumerian pantheon in ritual and magick. For those of you who have engaged in magickal Mesopotamian practices, bring your thoughts and stories. For those who haven’t, come see what you’ve been missing! [Sunday at 7 p.m.]

Track 2: Sumeria Through the Lens of Other Cultures

Pan: The God of All
 (Jason Mankey)
Few ancient gods have captivated the modern imagination as much as the Greek God Pan. This workshop follows the history of Pan from his humble beginnings in the mountains of Arcadia, and perhaps even further back to Mesopotamia, to his rise into the pantheon of the ancient Greeks to his re-emergence in the 19th century. Find out what has made Pan so popular and ever-present for the last three thousand years.
[Friday at 4 p.m. EST]

Ancient Near Eastern echoes in the Astra Planeta and Greek 
Mythology
(Hercules Invictus)
In this interactive adventure we will enter the Maze of Mediterranean Mythology through a familiar door, then follow Ariadne’s Thread (provided by the Hellenic Historian Herodotus) from the origins of the world’s first Superhero, to the Monster at the Heart of the Maze (who is more than he seems) and then ascend the Stairway to Heaven, encountering the Wandering Stars themselves.
[Friday at 5:30 p.m. EST]

Hellenistic Astrology and Mesopotamia
(Michael Law)
The patterns of the stars were long noted by the ancients. From Mesopotamia to Egypt to Greece, the dance of the planets through the sky provided guidance to sailors, philosophers, and counselors alike. Trace this fascinating history of the art and science of astrology through the ages. [Saturday at 6 p.m. EST]

Mythic Gods & Ancient Aliens
(Hercules Invictus)

[Sunday at 12:30 EST]

To circle or not circle… 
(E. Massey)
Is casting a magick circle necessary? The use of magickal circles have been recorded as far back as ancient Mesopotamia and now many traditions insist that casting a circle for every magickal working is a strict necessity. But is it? E. Massey author of The Modern Witches Curriculum discusses this “hot button” issue that many Witches cannot agree on. Learn where, when, and why many cast a circle and then hear the opposing sides of this seemingly “controversial” practice to decide for yourself.
[Sunday at 4:30 p.m. EST]

Ishtar & Isis: The Knots That Bind
(James Jacob Pieri)
The Goddesses Ishtar and Isis have much in common with one another, similarities in myth, image, ritual and magic! At the center of it all is the “Sacred knot” both Goddesses’ possess, that to devotees in both ancient Sumeria and Egypt or even in modern day hold a curious Magic and is a symbol of their powers. This presentation will be provide visuals and even light meditation/ ritual. Come unravel the long-entwined mysteries that tie these two special Goddesses together and find out what’s at that center! [Sunday at 6 p.m. EST]

Track 3: Sumerian HGTV

Siduri’s Favorite Recipes from the Inn at the End of the World 
(Maeve)
Come, feast your eyes and soul with recipes from Siduris cookbook. Here’s your chance to experience Gilgamesh’s last meal on earth. Maeve will conjure up Fesenjan, a walnut pomegranate stew. Traveling back in time she will breathe new life into this time-honored recipe using her slow cooker for the modern-day chef.
[Saturday at 12 noon EST]

Cooking with Sumerian Herbs and Spices 
(Conny Jasper)
An exploration of ancient food with nutritious and medicinal properties. Conny will discuss some of the delicious and health boosting Sumerian and Mesopotamian ingredients and recipes. She will also show you how to make a simple and delectable dessert.
[Sunday at 11:30 a.m. EST]

Shapatu Cakes
(Enheduinanna)
If you were at Ishtarfest last year, you might have tasted the crazy delicious Mesopotamian bread and date syrup when you were preparing to enter the Kur (Underworld). Priestess of that ritual and baker of the bread, Enheduinanna will regale us with a cooking “show,” educating on how to make delectable shapatu (sabbat) offering.
[Sunday at 5:30 p.m. EST]

Track 4: Goddess of Love & War

Inanna, You Hot Mama 
(Amara Willey)
This interactive adult-only workshop explores Inanna’s sexual prowess and exploits in the hymns, poetry and literature. What’s it like to be dedicated to a love goddess? How can we use shapeshifting and cross-dressing to explore our inner anima/animus? What might Inanna have to say about the Wiccan idea that “all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals? This and other questions will be addressed in this somewhat irreverent presentation on Inanna of Sumer, goddess of love and war. Come get your mojo on!
[Friday at 6:30 p.m. EST]

Sacred Love – At the Crossroads of Sexuality and Spirituality 
(Eldritch, Robin Renee, Enheduinanna, Amara Willey)
A Panel Discussion of Sexual Orientation and Gender in Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia was a cosmopolitan crossroads, a fertile crescent lying between the Tigris and Euphrates river, home to a bustling advanced civilization. Inanna as Goddess of Sacred Sexuality brought Her power and magic (or me, pronounced “may”) to social mores and religious practices. The panelists will share their views on issues important to the LGBTx community and building more diverse and inclusive community understanding.
[Saturday at 2:45 p.m. EST]

Belly Dance and Sacred Breath with Ana 
(Anadonis Nephilim)
PLEASE NOTE: You must sign a release waiver before participating in this class.
Within all of us lies an internal primordial power at the base of our spine and our pelvic region. This force, when paired with a focused series of ritualistic breaths and abdominal motions, rises through the spine and supplants the body, mind, and spirit with a wave of energy and clarity. Marriage of movement and breath has the capacity to bring about a sense of personal empowerment, however, engaging in this practice – particularly through ancient dances such as Odissi and Raqs Sharqi, provides an opportunity to deepen our relationship with the physical husk and the Divine first and foremost. Ana will be facilitating this module in a comprehensive seventy-five minute workshop by synthesizing traditional yogic breathing techniques with traditional Raqs Sharqi style belly dance to illuminate both the body’s subtle motions and the moment-to-moment experience of the dancer.
[Sunday at 1:30 p.m. EST]

CLICK HERE TO SIGN WAIVER and CLICK HERE for what to bring.

Rituals:

The Petition to Ereshkigal (Hands of Change, Gaia & Kokopelli in service, with special guest Elspeth of Haven) – a virtual Torchlight Procession down the forest path and through the last gate into the Kur, where we conjure a magickal circle and ignite the balefire in honor and homage to the Goddess of the Underworld, Ereshkigal. Hear the words of the Goddess as we come to her in supplication to heal the rift in the health of our planet and its inhabitants. We honor those who have recently fallen and speak their names. If you would like, place a black candle and a glass of red wine or grape juice on a dark cloth on your altar in morphic resonance with our virtual sacred space. [Friday at 7:30 p.m.]

Pour it Out for Me – Devotional to Inanna & Dumuzi (Temple of Inanna & Dumuzi, Valerie Voigt and Ivan Richmond in service) – We are honored to welcome you to this ritual of devotion to the Goddess of Love and War and her Royal Consort. Offerings will be made, prayers offered and ancient sacred texts read, followed by call-and-response singing. You may best participate in this virtual ritual by bringing your own food and drink offerings, which may be eaten afterwards. Traditional offerings include lentils, olive oil, bread, cream/milk, beer and wine, if you would like to also have some of those available. [Saturday at 5 p.m. EST]

The Sacred Marriage of Shadow and Light (Hands of Change – Sionnach, Enheduinanna & Helenanna in service) – Oftentimes we view opposites as opposing, in competition with one another for reign – negative versus positive, good versus evil. The grander truth, that these forces are in constant flux and balance, is not always so easy to comprehend and incorporate into our human experience. For this ritual we will be calling upon the Sumerian Goddesses Ereshkigal, Mistress of the Underworld, and Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, to show us the balance within ourselves and our part in the pulse of Being.  [Saturday at 7 p.m. EST]

The Oracle of Ishtar (Vela Chandra, in service) – Invocation of the goddess Ishtar during a ritual in Her honor. Hear the words of the Goddess Ishtar, the Morning and Evening Star. Participants in this virtual ritual are invited to offer devotional prayers and ask a question of the Oracle. Bring percussion instruments and help us raise some energy! [Sunday at 8 p.m.]

Performances:

Ninkasi’s Nightclub – Join us nightly after ritual around 9 p.m. for a performance and bardic circle. Ninkasi is the Sumerian Goddess of Beer, so feel free to BYO drink of choice and praise offering to share. If you’d like to share some Sumerian poetry, story, joke or song, we would welcome it, but if you just have more modern offerings, those are welcome too. Don’t be shy and regale us with your talents. (No recordings please.)

Featured performers:

          Friday – Music by Daxe & Carol

          Saturday – Magic by River Barry; Music by Wolfsong and Jonny

          Sunday – Music by Kokopelli

Storytelling 1: SistersElspeth has written an original story which tells of two magical sisters – nicknamed Honey Gold and Dark Rose – describing their personalities and interactions with each other growing up eventually to become the Goddesses Ishtar and Ereshkigal. Kid-friendly!  [Saturday at 9:30 a.m. EST]

The Gliks Fire Performance (Erica Gliksman) – This is multi-prop fire act. What festival would be complete without a fire-spinning performance? Kid-friendly!  [Saturday at 8:45 p.m.]

Storytelling 2: The DescentCharlene will be recounting the Marriage and Descent of Ishtar as told in The Shapatu of Ishtar, a play by Amara Willey. In this version of the myth, Tammuz is abducted to the Underworld after his sacred marriage to Ishtar by her grandmother Ereshkigal. Ishtar makes her way through 7 gates, representing layers of consciousness, to rescue her husband. What she doesn’t realize is that the ways of the Kur are strict indeed! She is trapped in the Underworld. Will she get out? Come find out. Kid-friendly! [Sunday at 9 a.m. EST]

Belly Dance Performance (Anadonis Nephilim) – Ana’s movements on stage feature exotic Middle Eastern, Turkish, African and American fusion dances, accompanied by props ranging from elegant sword dancing, melodic zagat / zill percussion, shimmering silk veils, charming Saiidi cane tricks, and mesmerizing flame dance with various instruments that leave viewers in dazzled awe. Come find out what she’s got up her sleeve to amuse and amaze us! Kid-friendly! [Sunday at 4 p.m.]

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