Farm & Sing
On our farm, we tend organic apple trees and other fruits and berries; we raise lambs; we milk sheep. And we sing, and gather with friends and neighbors to reimagine and perform ancient animist agricultural folk rituals: to thank and honor our flock, the trees, the land, the sun, the earth, the clouds, the stones.
We invite you to join us in work, in song, in crafts, in foraging, in creating ritual on our beautiful farm.
The 12 Fridays of Makosh: Women’s Slavic Magic, Craft and Ritual Working Group
Jan 5-December 17 2023
Women’s Winter Magic, Song, and Ritual Walking Group
November 16 2022-January 18 2023
Spring Magic, Song and Ritual Group
The 12 Fridays of Makosh: Slavic Magic, Craft and Ritual Working Group
When: January 5-December 17 2023
Meeting once month for a year, this group will take a deep dive into the folklore, magic, craft, and sacred traditions surrounding the powerful Slavic Goddess Makosh.
Makosh is the patron deity of women, women’s work, fiber arts, and fate. She presides over marriage and childbirth; spinning and weaving; magical knots and sacred springs. In pre-Christian times, Friday was a sacred day to her, and 12 Fridays a year were considered especially auspicious. On these days, women took time out from their busy workdays to honor her with fasting, offerings and rituals.
This class will be divided into 3 parts. Thursday evenings, Olga Stanton will teach an online class on the significance, magic, and practice of Makosh’s Fridays. On Fridays evenings the group will gather in person at Cate Hill Orchard, a working sheep farm and organic apple orchard in northern Vermont, to practice spells and rituals learned from Olga the previous evening. Saturday, also taking place in person at Cate Hill Orchard, will be devoted to fiber arts and crafts, for it is through working with our hands with natural fibers that we can connect with our ancestors, the natural world, and Makosh.
Our work with fiber will include: Spindle spinning. Natural Dying, including the foraging and collection of natural dye materials. Wild fiber foraging and processing. Ukrainian belt weaving. Slavic embroidery.
And for those of you too far away to join the in person sessions, yes, you can sign up just for the online class on Thursday evenings!
Class dates and Schedule:
Thursday evenings 8-9:30 EST on Zoom.
Fridays in person 5:30-8:30pm.
Saturdays in person craft and fiber arts day 9-3pm.
Thursday Jan 5– lecture only; Feb 2,3,4; March 9,10,11; April 6,7,8; May 4, 5, 6; May 18, 19, 20; June 8, 9, 10; June 29 & 30, July 1; July 27, 28, 29; October 19, 20, 21; October 26, 27, 28; Dec. 14, 15, 16. NOTE: There are NO Makosh Fridays in August and September, our ancestors were too busy during the harvest season. There are TWO Makosh Fridays in May, June, and October.
More on Crafting Day:
The idea of this crafting group is to over the course of a year create textiles imbued with magic and meaning, together in community. Each participant will create a rushnyk— a sacred towel from the Eastern Slavic tradition, embroidered with protective symbols, and used for rituals, ceremonies, and household altars. Our focus will be less on creating an “authentic” textile — we will be working mostly with wool rather than flax—, and more on imagining the experience of our ancestors through handwork: gathering raw materials, spinning, dyeing, weaving, embroidering.
Can’t commit to the whole 12 sessions? No problem! We are offering these sessions individually. Cost will range from $20-$150 per class, depending on the guest teachers. Sign up for all 11 sessions by January 1 for $220 (this price does not include material fees!) To sign up for individual classes, send an email with “Makosh” in the heading. Payment due at the class.
Crafting Days Schedule: (Subject to change! Please check in 1 month before each class)
Feb 4: Gathering lichen for dyeing, setting up lichen fermenting vat
Making a wishing doll. The wishing doll , Zhelannitsa, was traditionally made in February during a waxing moon, and serves as an astral double of its maker, holding within itself the dreams and hopes of the maker, and serving as a protective amulet.
March 11: Spindle spinning. Embroidery.
April 8: Spindle spinning.
May 6: Harvesting bedstraw for dyeing. Warping.
May 20: Weave
June 10: Weave
July 1: Process dye plants; dyeing. Gathering wild nettles, making cordage.
July 29: Ukrainian embroidery with Bozena Hrycyna.
Possible September gathering, TBA!
Oct 21: Embroidery
Oct 28: NO crafts— day of ceremony and remembrance of the dead
Dec 16 : Tying of loose threads. Pavuki. Closing ceremony. Wearing and presenting our finished rushnyk, belts, clothing.
Olga Stanton is the writer and manager of MagPie’s Corner Facebook page who specializes in Eastern Slavic culture, folk traditions, and witchcraft.
Maria Schumann is a folklorist, farmer, singer and ritual practitioner. She milks sheep, leads singing groups, and practices bringing to life the ancient calendrical agricultural rituals of our ancestors, through community, song, and dance.
Lydia Wild is a weaver and fiber artist from Craftsbury
Guest teacher Bozena Hrycyna grew up in the Ukrainian diaspora community in Ontario, and has a life long commitment to the folk traditions, crafts, and songs of her ancestors. She’s a founding member of Kosa Kolektiv, a group of women in the Toronto area that aim to revitalize peasant folklore in an urban context, through singing, sewing, cooking, planting, crafting, putting on workshops and sharing ideas over tea and good food.
For Online Class with Olga Stanton: $360 for all 12 classes.
For Friday evenings: suggested donation $110-220 for all 11 gatherings (for a total of $470-580)
Craft days: For all 11 classes, $220-660 sliding scale if you pay by December 27. (For a total of $690- 1250) Individual Craft days price and materials fee TBA . Price for individual craft days will range from $20-150 per class.
About Pricing: We are intentionally keeping the price low to make it affordable, and to frame it as a “Working Group” rather than a class. The $690 price works out to just $60 per weekend! If you can afford it, please pay the middle or upper end of the sliding scale. This will help pay for guest fiber arts teachers, support people who cannot afford the class, and make it possible for us to continue to offer classes and workshops. Contact us if you need to make a payment plan. Thank you!!
*Meals and housing not included; contact us if you need help finding a place to stay.
Women’s Winter Magic, Song, and Ritual Walking Group
When: Wed afternoons, 3-5:30, Nov 16, 23, 30; December 14, 21, 28; January 4, 11, 18 plus evening TBA (10 sessions)
Cost: $180-360 sliding scale
This group will dive into northern European midwinter calendrical ritual holidays and traditions, with a focus on Slavic folklore. Midwinter is a season full of ancient folkloric magical ceremonies and practices, for the harshness of the winter weather demands community, songs, fire, and ritual to ensure survival. Topics will include: Divinations, Ritual bonfires, masking and feasting. Honoring the dead. Blessing the animals, hives, and trees. The magical art of pavuki — building mobiles out of straw to absorb bad luck. The Year End Walk. The Greater Watercrossing.
Each session will begin and end with singing simple, traditional Slavic, Baltic, or English midwinter songs.
Sessions will take place at and near Cate Hill Orchard in Greensboro, a working sheep farm and organic apple orchard. We will meet outside unless it is severe weather. Walking in nature will be a part of this group, for it is through walking that we can connect with the earth, sky, trees, and wind
“The songs, the feasts, the reverence, and the spirit that infuses every gathering at Cate Hill Orchard is pure magic. Singing to the ancient orchard, eating from the land, immersing into magic and history, and gathering with their incredible community is deeply nourishing, inspiring and fun. Maria and Josh are incredible people and hosts and it fills my heart to know that they are singing just on the other side of the hill.” – Beana Bern
“…..deep like the soil, soul-quenching. Moving like wind through me and us. Seeping through like snow melt. Healing. Deeply loving & supportive community…”
“I want to thank you again for the amazing experience….. Working and living on the farm gave me so much more than I could have ever hoped for or expected, and I’m so grateful to have been able to share that little window of your lives with you…”
Slavic Magic, Song, and Ritual Working Group
When: Sunday mornings, 9-11, 2022
March – May
Cost: BY Donation
This working group will focus on a deep exploration of Eastern Slavic (Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine) folk magic and calendrical ritual traditions. Topics will include: Household Spirits. Working with the elements. Magic of herbs, ﬂowers, and trees. Ancestors and the Dead.
Each session will begin and end with singing simple, traditional Slavic or Baltic songs.
April and May are a busy time in the Slavic folk calendar. The spring winds, calling the birds, bringing the animals out to pasture for the ﬁrst time, honoring the dangerous and generous spirit of spring waters, remembering and honoring the dead and the ancestors— each call for moments of observation and ceremony.
Sessions will take place on our farm. We will meet outside unless it is severe weather, then will meet inside the airy barn.
No magic or singing experience, or Slavic heritage, necessary, people of all spiritual paths are welcome.
To register, please send an email to us with “Spring Magic” as a subject heading.