I plan to do one further post of this nature, on the other events of Sunday (which were mostly of a social sort!), but this fills in all of the other gaps of my PantheaCon experience not yet accounted for from 2014 on Friday and Saturday.
My arrival to PantheaCon was, generally, good. I had to get the shuttle from my hometown the night before at 7:15, to arrive at Sea-Tac slightly earlier than expected at about 9:30. I then got the hotel shuttle from the airport to my hotel for the night, and arrived there around 10ish. I had hoped to be in bed by 11 since I’d be having to get up just before 3 AM, but that didn’t happen: I got engrossed in internet matters, and wasn’t in bed until after midnight. I had a brief sleep, and then got up, got myself ready for the airport, and was headed in that direction on the 3:30 AM shuttle. I arrived there, got my baggage checked, went through security (which didn’t take too long, all things considered), and then had some food before heading to the gate and making this post while I waited. I made a few further notes, both physical and mental, for my first presentation that would occur in a few hours.
The plane ride was uneventful, and we arrived in San Jose. I went out to the area where the Double Tree shuttle was supposed to pick up, only to find that there were no phones to summon the shuttle (as there were at Sea-Tac), and I had no way of knowing what their number was. I contemplated what to do about this for a few moments, and resolved to call home and see if the number could be looked up on the internet…and then, a Double Tree shuttle rolled up and I didn’t have to call them at all! It let someone off, and I was the only one going back in that direction at that moment, so I rode it, and found my way to the hotel. I discuss my arrival slightly in my most recent Patheos.com post, where I encountered Angus McMahan immediately, and soon after spent a nice long while with Jason Mankey.
I went to get registered just after 10 AM, and that took a lot longer than expected, as I ran into various folks. Before going to the Green Room to sort out all of the room needs for the next day and other presentations, I saw Victoria Slind-Flor by the fire, where she often holds court, so to speak, and thus had to stop and chat with her for a little while in case I didn’t get to see her otherwise during the con’ (and, alas, I didn’t get to see her outside of that–drat!). We had a good chat, and various other folks happened by in the meantime.
I went to the green room and had all of that sorted, and met Silence Maestas for two seconds…and, alas, that was also it for any interactions we had.
From the Green Room, I decided it was time to get my luggage, and found Jason Mankey to retrieve it. Once I had it, I tried to go to one of the hospitality suites, where I was told I could leave it. I shared an elevator, alone, with Ruth Barrett (!?!). As happened throughout the con’, I found that my nametag had turned around on the lanyard which I brought for it, so my name was not visible. I was grateful for this in that particular instance, and did not move to alter it. She was not warm and friendly to me, but she also wasn’t mean either. I got out on the tenth floor, as did she, and found the hospitality suite in question wasn’t open, so I went back down again with all of my luggage, and went to the room where I’d be presenting to catch my breath, walk around and chant the Ephesia Grammata a few (dozen!) times, and just prepare myself for what was going to come for that session, as well as the rest of the con’.
And the results of that session can be read about further here!
From there, I went to Brandy Williams’ presentation on Pagan Theurgy, which was quite good. Much of the audience from the previous session was also at this one. While I knew most of the material discussed therein, it was good to have a review of it and a kind of contextual overview. I wouldn’t call myself a “theurge” in the “classical sense,” and yet I do magika hiera or theourgia as a kind of default a lot of the time as part of my ritual and devotional activities; and, depending on who you ask, my daily Ephesia Grammata practice might fall into that category as well. Hmm. I was able to speak briefly with Tony Mierzwicki between sessions, and for a moment at that point after Brandy’s as well. I did not get to see him and Jo Ann as much this year as in previous years, and wasn’t able to attend any of his sessions either, unfortunately, but I did see him several other times, and was in a session the following day that involved him (and Asklepios!), on which more later!
Following this (and some logistical frustrations meanwhile for many others, alas!), was the Sanctification ritual for Lady Olivia Sancta and Rev. Dr. Eddy Hyperion Sanctus.
After that, my friend, colleague, and co-religionist, and the eventual Acolyte of the Ekklesía Antínoou, Duffi (about whom you’ll be hearing more in future posts!), and my roommate Signy Ragnvaldsdottir, went over to the Fairfield to deposit my luggage, and then we had a very nice dinner before the evening sessions.
I then attended Finnchuill‘s session at 9 PM on Experimental Reconstructionism. It was a good and relatively casual discussion between himself and those who attended, and topics ranged across the board from trying to do this sort of work without cultural appropriation, and various topics within the specifically Celtic sphere of this variety of work with a reconstructionist methodology. After that, Finnchuill and one of the participants in the discussion (who, if that individual would like to identify themselves in the comments, is free to do so!–I didn’t want to just divulge it, though…) had some dessert in Sprigs at the Double Tree. After that, I had an encounter with my Anomalous Thracian colleague that eventually involved Orion Foxwood and his lovely husband Sethlan (who I had never previously met nor seen, alas!), a box of leftover steak that was then characterized as “Anomalous Thracian’s puppy” (not unlike Schredinger’s cat), and a tall witch’s hat, which you can read more about here. Then, at last I headed back to the Fairfield for a well-earned (but not easily-obtained) rest, after I wrangled with my luggage and what I’d need for the next day’s activities.
I woke up early, had a shower and then breakfast, and got ready for Inundation; I went over to do that, strolled around the vendors’ room, and went back again to change clothes and re-group for events later in the day, which included immediately after that Lupercalia, as I’ve already written.
After our near-record tear-down after our ritual, I went with Finnchuill, Duffi, and several others to the panel discussion which followed at 3:30 PM, organized by T. Thorn Coyle and the “Kick-Ass Panel,” which included recent Lupercum Xochiquetzal Duti Odinsdottir, Crystal Blanton, Charlie Glickman, and Elena Rose Vera. It truly was an excellent panel, and I’m glad it was on the main program this year. It will be available soon on Thorn’s Elemental Castings podcast series, so watch for it, and I’ll certainly post about it here when it goes up. I did have a contribution to the discussion, which several people immediately took action on, and which I received generally good feedback on throughout the weekend. I’ll reserve further comment on it at present, unless people either want to discuss it, or have things they’d like to add for themselves, until the podcast is available and can be reviewed by me and consulted by others so we’re on the same page, so to speak! But, it was a well-attended and important event, and I’m glad it was able to fit into my schedule for the weekend.
After goign to the FoDLA hospitality suite with Finnchuill to get changed into my next outfit for the night, I had a rather quick-and-dirty (and yet not-at-all-dirty, and not-very-quick) dinner at Sprigs before my next commitment, which was the Healing Ritual for Margot Adler, organized by Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary (and many other things!). It was one of the first pan-Pagan rituals I’ve actually been a part of in more than an “attending” capacity (and there have not been too many of those for me, to be honest, either!), and I’m happy to have been able to contribute something to it. Many very well-known modern pagans were there and contributed something, including Selena herself: Starhawk, Oberon Zell-Ravenheart, Glenn Turner, Ruth Barrett, Tony Mierzwicki, Sabina Magliocco, and others whose names I have probably heard but did not hear on that night and whose faces I don’t necessarily know. I won’t say much on Margot’s specifics health-wise, though she did explain them to us in detail on the occasion, and said that apart from various conventional and alternative treatment options, she “feels fine” and doesn’t expect to slow down her activities at present, which is about as good as anyone could wish for in a similarly serious but uncertain situation. At one point in my remarks, I said that I expect a “fourth edition” of Drawing Down the Moon in 2026, and let’s hope that there is even a fifth edition after that, eh? ;) The ritual itself was eclectic and rather free-form (which there isn’t necessarily anything at all “wrong with”–may I assure you!), with some bits that didn’t quite work from my particular practical/theological framework (e.g. silently calling upon “the Divine,” which is hard when one’s gods are not omniscient), but in the part where we actually got to do direct healings and blessings on Margot, I used storax oil, called on Antinous the Liberator, Antinous the Navigator, and Antinous the Lover to heal and support her in various ways, and then used the Ephesia Grammata ritual in three parts for those purposes. I noticed that of all those present who did spells and healings of various sorts, only those of myself and Tony Mierzwicki (who, with Jo Ann doing the “physical” bits involved, did an ancient healing prayer/hymn of Asklepios) called on specific deities to intervene for healing purposes. It’s a noteworthy thing, I think, and demonstrates the deity-centric focus of reconstructionist polytheistic practice, if nothing else. In any case, we all wish Margot well, and I encountered her further the following two days in both discussion, ritual, and social contexts, for which I am most grateful! :)
After that, my all-white outfit (apart from my blue shoes!) took me to the Danbala Sevis ritual put on by Mambo Chita Tann/”Mambo T.” This was the first Voudun ritual I’ve ever attended, and while it was certainly interesting for various reasons, and powerful, and I did get to speak with the Big White Snake for a moment (though I don’t know that I can usefully say much about it here, other than that it involved Paneros of the Tetrad++ Group…?!?).
I completed my evening on Saturday with the “Dreaming the Raven: A Morrígan Dance Ritual,” danced by (the awesome!) Tempest and with violin music by (the phenomenal!) Nathaniel Johnstone. My fellow audience members and I did not know, until it was completed and we asked questions and discussed it, that the entirety of it was improvised, both in music and in dance, which made it all the more impressive and appealing and interesting in the aftermath. Of course, I asked difficult questions (hey, it’s me!), and I do think that they could have said more about what they were thinking and feeling with the music and the dancing that emerged as far as a potential “story” of what we were seeing, or even a few impressions outside of what was given…nothing is self-interpreting, and even though an artist’s interpretations are not the only or even the most important ones to consider, nonetheless they do exist and it is often nice to know what some of them might have been. (In the same way that someone writing a paper defines their terms beforehand, even if they are terms that one might assume everyone knows…) Nonetheless, it was entertaining, and I was able to speak with the dynamic and dastardly duo afterwards briefly, as I obtained copies of Nathaniel’s latest CDs (which I still have not been able to listen to yet–drat!–but, in fairness, it’s only been eleven days…).
From there, I hied myself hence once again to the Fairfield, and eventually slept relatively well, ready for what was to happen the next day, which I’ll discuss in a further future post.