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Volunteer Team

The staff at Fertile Ground Gathering is made up of a team of dedicated volunteers who have been working hard since early November to make the event a success. Below are photos and descriptions of a few of our staff members. We'll be adding more as we are able. 

When you're at the Gathering, you can find all staff members wearing staff badges.  We encourage you to take a moment to introduce yourself to them, and perhaps even thank them for all their hard work.  Their labor is definitely one of love, and they are always happy to accept your gratitude.  

Liz* Jacobs

Event Coordinator / Workshop Coordinator / Webmaster

Liz* is an artist, a teacher, and a spiritual counselor.  She is one of the two founders of ShadowGrove, a priestess and guide to the Grove's Kin, and the only person who works full-time, on a volunteer basis, for ShadowGrove and Fertile Ground Gathering. Her journey on the Pagan paths began when she was very young, and she has spent many years exploring various aspects of the Druidic and Shamanic paths. After marrying her husband Cael, they began to work together to offer a sacred space for Pagans in the region.  On Samhain 2004, Liz* and Cael founded ShadowGrove, and a year later, they were ordained as ministers to further their service to the Grove and the greater Pagan community. In her role as minister for the Grove, she regularly helps coordinate large Sabbat events and rites of passage, and she has been the Event Coordinator for Fertile Ground Gathering since the event began in 2008. Liz* has recently added a new skill to her repertoire, and has been the Gathering's webmaster since 2016.

Cael Jacobs

Ritual leader / Teacher / Author


Cael was born and raised in the Northern Virginia area.  Though Spirituality and religion were not subjects of any particular emphasis in his family, he found himself following a Christian path in his adolescence.  During college, he discovered an intrinsic talent for perceiving and manipulating the fields of personal energy that exists in and around us.  Though exploration of that ability was antithetical to more traditional Christian beliefs, he did it anyway, and that exploration eventually led him to become a part of a radically evangelical charismatic sect. In that place he both learned and taught further manipulation of energy. A crisis of faith during his time within that church led him to set aside his Christian beliefs, just when work-related travel sent him to the Holy Land, and he discovered a path better suited to his abilities in the wind and water, sand and burning sun of that place. He entered the desert aimless, and returned from it a Pagan Elementalist. 

Cael' s philosophical practice was solitary for several years, as he developed a framework for energy manipulation based upon the Alchemical Elements of old. He uses the Elemental Framework for personal energy work that he developed as a method for teaching classes for individuals who seek to better understand the flows of energy within themselves. His book, Living a Life in Balance: An Elemental Journey of Self-Discovery, focuses on this method, which he refined through his years of teaching both at Fertile Ground Gathering, and in several other locations both local and distant.  

Lendri aka Ravynne

Head Kitchen Witch

"Lendri" (aka Auntie Lendri, Valerie, Auntie Val and formerly Ravynne) has been with ShadowGrove since Beltane 2006 and is working towards clergy status. She's been following an eclectic path that is veering more and more towards Norse Heathenry. Kitchen Witchery is the favoured flavour of practise, though, and cooking for other people puts her in her happy place. When not found in a kitchen stirring up some cauldron or other, she can usually be found with her fingers tangled up in whatever she's crocheting (or knitting - it's a bigger challenge). It keeps her out of trouble. Mostly.

Christa Hoeffler

Registration Coordinator

Christa is one of ShadowGrove’s original members, by virtue of growing up with the sacred space of ShadowGrove literally in her backyard. She is a writer, a gamer, and an animal whisperer. Her spiritual path is Druidic in its basic nature, though she draws insight from aspects of all religions she encounters. Though she has served as videographer in years past, Christa switched roles in 2016, and is now the event Registration Coordinator.  

Sarah Frank

Marketing and Advertising

Sarah has been practicing paganism for 18 years. She’s mostly been solitary, but feels she has been called to Shamanism. She dedicates her time to spiritual studies and volunteer work within her community. She is devoutly attached to her tarot deck and long walks up the Appalachian Mountains. Anytime throughout the year you can find her wearing a poncho and barefoot, cradling a notebook full of random thoughts and various information. If you dare, ask her about camping and sustainable living.


Commons Village Coordinator / Work Crew

Pattie was a Pagan before she knew what Pagan was. She spent her childhood outside among the Flora and Fauna, hearing the whisper of trees, the laughter in a trickling stream, and the teasing touch of the tide, alone in this wonderland. Then Cael found her in the “wilds” of Manassas and showed her a whole world filled with people who felt the same way. She heard them calling, “We are, we are here!”, joined them around the fires of ShadowGrove and never looked back. Officially, she has been following a Pagan path since 2013, with tendrils of Animism, Druidism, and Wiccan weaving in and out of a path laid with the magic of the Moon, Sun, and Stars. Hobbies include, 3 kids, 1 husband (so…4 kids), 3 cats, 1 dog, multiple fish, and during the 5 minutes that are left, cross-stitch, reading, or jigsaw puzzles.


Medic / Site Coordinator

You will often find Alicia running around the park, patching people up, or carrying things from here to there. She has been a member of Shadow Grove since 2011 and worked in some capacity or another at Fertile Ground Gathering since 2012. She believes in balance but enjoys walking that very fine edge as well, pushing herself and her boundaries to continuously learn and grow. She believes in “worshiping through service” and balances her healing work with modern medicine. (Don’t be surprised when you ask her for something for your leg cramps, and she hands you a banana!) . Growing up with the Old Ways, Alicia has walked the pagan path her entire life and finds simple ways to bring her beliefs into her daily activities. 

Alicia can best be described as a hedge witch, a melding of modern practices with the Old Ways making her a healer with skills that incorporate both old and new in a unique way that twines her Celtic heritage with other Paths. 

Biker Bear

Safety / Security

Biker Bear is a Guardian and Druid. He spent over 13 years in the US Navy’s Submarine Force and has been popping up at events here and there around the Northern Virginia area providing safety and security services for years.

Randy Meyer

Healing Garden Coordinator

Born in California, Randy grew up in a traditionally Lutheran household.  In his late teens, he discovered and joined a Wiccan coven, where he learned the fundamentals of energy work and healing.  It was at this time he had the revelation that personal energy fields were capable of being intentionally shifted to enable healing, and that concept sparked a complete redefinition of his relationship with Spirit.  Over the ensuing almost 30 years, his daily interactions with Spirit have led him to pursue many modalities of healing to incorporate into his work, including therapeutic massage, visualization techniques, and shamanic journeying.  He has blended these studies into a personalized and very intuitive form of energy healing.

Kristina Castagnola

Creative Observer and Helper

You will often find Kristina doing something creative, whether it be doodling, coloring, or taking notes on things she’s experienced. Although relatively new to Paganism (4-5 years), she feels like this has been a part of her for much longer. Being out in nature energizes and inspires her. A member of ShadowGrove since Litha 2016, she enjoys being with and helping her Kin. She’s down-to-earth, has the sense of humor of a nerdy teenager, likes to do voices, quotes movies/tv/music, is a color enthusiast, and is fluent in Norwegian.

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