In the order of the above:
Probably ’nuff said there.
But, I can never get away that easily…
PantheaCon was, in short, a complete and utter success as far as enjoyment, effectiveness of the rituals and events of which I was a part, connecting with people both socially and spiritually (and in very important ways in some cases), and as being a much-needed chance to recharge my religious batteries while running down my sleep reserves to dangerously low levels! This was, perhaps, one of the best PantheaCons I’ve yet attended for all sorts of reasons, especially as far as the Ekklesía Antínoou goes and the events that we put on at it, all of which had great attendance, participation, and impact on those who both attended and administered the rites in question. I could not be happier with it!
I’ll have more to say on those in the coming days, and on the other events that I attended and some of the further matters which went on. (And for a first offering in that direction, read to the bottom of the present blog post!)
Second–and this is very serious–my older brother Sherman, who lives in Nashville, TN and is a dentist, is in the hospital right now. He’s got pneumonia and has been having bad things happen with his heart, and also has a blood clot. While he’s a tough person in general, he hasn’t had many major health difficulties over the years, and all of this has come out of literally nowhere. If you have healing deities with whom you are in contact, or can give him healing energy that is specific and intended for his problems, please do so, as he could use all the help he can get–indeed, all of us could.
Third, in non-PantheaCon “while I was gone” updates, there’s that whole Fuchs Snooze thing in relation to pagans and Wiccans that just happened.
The whole thing is nonsensical, of course, but I’d just like to respond directly to some of the comments that were stated in these “reports” (and calling them that gives them a sense of legitimacy which they are not at all deserving of, and surrounds them with a sense of journalistic integrity of which they are entirely lacking):
1) By most estimates, there are about a million pagans, Wiccans, and related religions in the United States. There are also about 11,000 Zoroastrians in the United States, which is about four PantheaCons worth of people. Indeed, the numbers of our Zoroastrian colleagues is about 1.1% of the total size of the modern pagan, Wiccan, and polytheist population. Just because you’ve never met that many of us doesn’t mean we don’t exist in numbers that are far larger than your little brain can imagine.
2) I think I can safely say that, if not all Wiccans, than at least 99% of them, can name the eight major Wiccan holidays of the year (even if they might not pronounce them correctly), and most non-Wiccan modern pagans and polytheists can as well. Most Christians have enough trouble remembering Christmas and Easter, much less Pentecost, the Feast of the Annunciation, the Feast of the Purification, Epiphany, and any number of other major Christian festivals…and that’s not even counting the saints’ days. Just because you can’t name them doesn’t mean that others can’t name them.
3) If you think that twenty holidays a year is “a lot,” what about the number that Christians get off every year? I’m not talking about Easter and Christmas, I’m talking about one holiday every week of the year, i.e. Sunday, when stores that some of us might want to patronize are closed? That’s almost three times as many holidays as the number that you’re saying is “too many” as far as Wiccans and pagans go.
4) If you can’t take Hallowe’en (which is actually Samain, my friend–Hallowe’en is a Christian holiday, but since you can’t even name some of the other Christian holidays, why would you know that?) seriously as a holiday, nor any religion that takes it seriously as a holiday, how is it that you can take Christianity seriously, when they celebrate a thing called Mardi Gras which often involves the phrase “show us your tits and we’ll throw you some beads”? (Not that I have anything against beads, or tits, or Mardi Gras…but, I’m just sayin’.)
There are further dimensions of this supposed story that could receive more cogent attention, but those four points are the ones that stick out to me the most for the moment. I may have more to say on this in the near future, but in some ways, I kind of hope that I don’t.
And finally for now, I had the pleasure of being on the Patheos.com Pagan Channel’s panel on Friday afternoon, February 15th, 2013, at 3:30 PM at PantheaCon in the Double Tree San Jose’s Board Room. Including our moderator and the head of the Pagan Channel at Patheos.com, Christine Hoff Kraemer, the panelists included Steven T. Abell, Eric Scott, Sarah Twichell, Crystal Blanton, Jason Mankey, and myself. Prominent audience members (and discussants in the question/discussion period) included Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wild Hunt, Teo Bishop, Peter Dybing, and Glenn Turner (the founder/organizer of PantheaCon). It was a very good panel, all the more so for the fact that I didn’t hardly speak on it! (I think my lengthy comments only extended to two periods of such, and then a few words here and there otherwise.)
I have not heard the panel yet, but it was recorded, and can be listened to here at Patheos.com. A write-up of several bits of the introduction is also available there, so please have a look at that!
I would have loved to have spent more time talking with everyone on the panel; unfortunately, I was only able to speak with Jason quickly in passing between events once or twice; but, I had the opportunity to see Steven in action in a ritual, and to spend a lengthy dinner speaking and trading stories (as old storytellers always do!), and likewise Eric ended up at several events I attended or put on as well, and we had many enjoyable brief interactions as well as a few more lengthy ones at certain stages. With any luck, some co-blogging/posting between all of us might result in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that!
And, that’s all for now. I shall have more to say in the coming days on the first and last of these matters in particular! I hope everyone has been well in my absence, and thank you to everyone who attended PantheaCon, who came to our rituals, who spoke with me, who bought books, and also to everyone who kept reading this blog and all the pages on offer during my absence and lack of posting! May all of your gods bless you, and may all of my gods multiply their blessings!