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About Us

Our Mission

Heartland Spiritual Alliance [HSA] is an all-volunteer organization which is dedicated to promoting the appreciation and acceptance of a variety of alternative religions and philosophies. HSA encourages participation in educational programs and activities, most of which deal with the various nature-oriented or nature-connected religions of the world, the similarities within all religions and the respectful free exchange of spiritual beliefs. We strive to maintain a well organized, dynamic and smooth running organization within an atmosphere which allows people of all religious traditions to coexist peacefully.

Our History

In 1985, there were no Pagan festivals held near the Kansas City area. Interested folks meeting at The Rune picnic formed a group, The Council of the South Winds (CSW). Their first meeting mustered only three people, but the next assembled the first core group of eight, joined by a dozen or so later. These intrepid pioneers put together the first Heartland Pagan Fest, held June 27-29th, 1986. It was held at Camp Hammond, near Lawrence, KS, as a three day event. Featured guests included Isaac Bonewits, Amber K, and Starhawk, as well as a number of local luminaries. They presented over 25 workshops, a concert with Gerald Trimble, Steve Denti, Cabira, and the Watling Brothers, a sweat lodge, and half a dozen rituals. There were 18 Merchants and services.

CSW repeated the Festival in 1987 at Camp Shawnee, near Kansas City, with a larger attendance and larger expenses. Featured guests included Scott Cunningham and Raymond Buckland. After much painful debate and deliberation it was decided that incorporation was needed to effectively manage the financial and liability aspects of the event, and The Heartland Spiritual Alliance (HSA) was incorporated September 19, 1988.

HPF grew over the next three years, reaching a point where Camp Shawnee could only accommodate 500 attendees, and HSA had to limit registrations accordingly.

1991 saw HPF move to the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation, near Osceola, MO. Featured guests were Stewart and Janet Farrar, on their first visit to the United States.

There were over 60 workshops, several rituals, two concerts and the first “Merchants In The Round”.

1992 was the year we came home. Gaea Retreat Center, near Tonganoxie, KS, owned and operated by Earth Rising, Inc. (ERI), was the site for the first HPF that did not have any restrictions on size or activities. HSA membership was instrumental in the rehabilitation of the camp, which had been neglected for many years, with considerable funds and hundreds of hours of labor contributed to repair and upgrade the camp’s infrastructure.

The first few years were a struggle to make ends meet, with all excess funds donated back to Earth Rising. In the years since, the festival has grown to accommodate 1200 people in a five day event with a budget approaching $60,000, and featuring several concerts and rituals, incredible bonfires, the Vision Quest, a myriad of workshops, and a Merchants area second to none.

We are proud of what we have accomplished over the years, and optimistic about the years to come!

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