Walking the Way: A Vinotok Pilgrimage 

Balance & Reciprocity

Vinotok Altars have been an important part of the festival for several years. They are constructed to represent the archetypes of our principal characters such as the Harvest Mother, Green Man, Sir Hapless the Knight, and the Earth Dragon (and more!). While some appear on Elk Avenue, others migrate to our Wastelands, those places scarred by our mining history in need of healing.

Once the altars are installed, you’ll be able to visit them and strike out on your own Vinotok Pilgrimage to visit all the altars and archetypes. Each will have mythology, information, and poetry about that particular archetype, and then each will also offer a gift. It might be a journaling prompt or instructions on constructing a Beckoning Prayer Flag for the Fire Circle. One might direct you to a Grump & Gratitude form to access for writing down your Grumps and leaving at the Fire Circle, another will provide materials and direction on beginning a head wreath.

In the spirit of balance and reciprocity, you will be asked to leave a blessing, sentiment of gratitude and appreciation, offering of healing, or pardon request to the land where that altar exists. Examples of offerings might be a bundle of herbs from your garden, or a special rock, feather, or other found object. In making the entire Vinotok Pilgrimage, you will collect all the base materials and instructions for celebrating the whole week, as well as a growing knowledge of the mythology underlying the foundational archetypes and practices of the celebrations. Ideally, disconnect from technology and bring a journal and pen to take notes on what you discover at the altars. You may also, of course, take a photo to capture the information.

Rules & Suggestions for Leaving Objects at Altars

Yes, Please.

Your offering must be a natural object (i.e., nothing human-made).

Walk in nature and find things you would like to offer back to the land.

Leave natural wildflowers in the wild, and instead purchase wildflowers flowers from a local florist or use flowers from your own garden.

Tie small bundles of dried flowers, grasses, or leaves; and please shake out the seed pods to release the seeds on the ground so they may do their thing. Collect a little bit from here and there.

Garden items, like small herb bundles tied with grass, could be used.

Be respectful of collecting from nature. Watch your step and collect a little bit from here and there.

Grasses, leaves, or sage tied in bundles and harvested respectfully can be appropriate live items.

No, Thank You.

No flammable items like candles, incense, burning sage, etc.

No freshly picked wildflowers from the wild.

No food or items that attract critters.

No paper or other items that can fly away with the wind.

Do not collect too much from any one place.

No living items such as flowers, moss, mushrooms, and the like.

Please leave objects you are willing to part with permanently. All gifted objects will be collected on Saturday, September 23, 2023, in the morning to be disposed of in an honorable way. The Altars will be deconstructed on Sunday, September 24, 2023. If you do not want your gifted object released back into the earth, please collect it before this time.