Do as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, y’all. I’m back.
There was so much that happened at Pantheacon this year that it beggars my mind to set it all down. Through a cosmic blessing I was able to room with Karina Blackheart and Cairelle. Monday night hanging out in Anaar’s room and listening to these two “talk shop” and discuss the Craft was as good as any presentation. I was honored to be there and listen and speak. Having Karina in the room was awesome. She is a funny, wonderful, wise, passionate person and I am enriched by knowing her.
I made it to Jenya’s presentation of “Magick, Poetry, and Wisdom,” which was very deep. I am really proud that she is my sister, to say the least. I love her and Matt to pieces, generally, and the guided meditation took me somewhere deep. That was rare and beautiful in itself.
I am still processing the Exorcism: De-Possession and Re-Integration ritual. I participated in that as an asperger (that is a rare job description). Powerful is not a strong enough word for this ritual. Those who participated in it, which means everyone who attended it and went into the circle to face their demons and purify their poisons, Greed, Fear, Rage, Shame, and Despair were invoked one at a time, and the people there were invited to dance, scream, and shake their poison into the crystal bowl filled with water. Then the water was purified and blessed, filled with energy and sprinkled on the crowd.
This description is just not indicative of the event itself and how awe-filled it was. Watching Sharon and Morpheus circle around each other, invoking the five poisons, was absolutely chilling, one of many “hair stands up on the back of my neck” moments. I threw myself into the ritual, because I had some things to get out. It was beautifully purging, but it made asperging a little tricky afterwards. I didn’t have to worry about shaking the rosemary to sprinkle water on the crowd, my hands were shaking all by themselves. Lesson #1: if you’re part of the ritual, you may not want to participate in it, especially if it’s INTENSE.
Because I had to learn Lesson #1 the hard way, I was completely and totally exhausted by the end of the ritual. I went to eat with Anaar, Cairellle, and Lady L. (Lady L is someone I have known from LiveJournal days all the way up to the present, but never have met until this year. She is simply awesome. Hanging around her was again an experience just as good as any presentation. ) Lesson #2: After being part of an exorcism of 250 people, you should not eat SALAD. You need carbs and meat and grounding/earthing things. I ate a salad and was unable to get to good sleep. I popped with energy for most of the night no matter how I tried to shake it off or ground it. Chicken Fried Steak, which Cairelle was smart enough to get, would have been the right way to go.
I spent a lot of time in the hospitality suites this year. The OTO suite was great as usual, and I met EB there – another person I haven’t seen in real life before! Not enough time could be spent. Across the hall in the Golden Dawn suite I saw Joanne again and we talked of shoes, and ships and sealing wax. Then back across the hall again to talk to a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon of cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings. The OTO suite had a well-stocked bar, and the Golden Dawn had San Pellegrino water. The tap water at the hotel was like drinking swimming pool water, so I am afraid I took advantage of the Golden Dawn’s hospitality.
Rynn was running the Feri Haven. I was privileged enough to be present when she cleared and sealed the room and invoked Kuan Yin into it. I will say here and now that Rynn is a powerful and graceful priestess, who was able to attune the room masterfully. I have seldom been lucky enough to see a working as single-pointed and effective as that was. I am not exaggerating. The Haven suite was always a peaceful and fun place to be; I only wish I had stopped to have some beer there! I did go to a morning meditation there, which helped a lot.
The Stone City room was where I met Alex Mar, who directed “American Mystic,” which showed at Pantheacon last year. If you haven’t seen American Mystic yet, you really owe it to yourself to take a look. It’s a genuine look at three people who are walking down a road that not many other people choose to these days. Alex Mar is a pretty delightful person to meet. She’s intelligent and witty, with big eyes and a ready smile.
The Exorcism ritual pretty much wiped me out, but Sunday night I did make it to the Sharon Knight concert. I like the NeoFolk Romantique material and this was a great performance of it. Sharon and Winter are strong performers and Caith fills things out to where it sounds like more than three people up there. They were wrestling with the soundman, who apparently was unable to achieve personal fecal cohesion*, but in spite of that they did a great show and got people dancing.
I knew about the Controversy, but I didn’t go by and see. I was on my way there and Lady L. pointed out that if we weren’t going to participate, we would just be tourists viewing it as a performance, and this observation was strong enough to turn me around. I did not want to take energy away from something that important. I have my own views on the whole topic, but my primary thought is that if anyone should want to do a ritual that excludes people, then they should do it in a room or a hospitality suite. There are rituals that go on in the suites all the time. The OTO stages a Gnostic Mass in their suite, for example. (Not that the Gnostic Mass excludes anyone!) But it seems to me that if someone was concerned about safety, and being skyclad with only other women present, then the best place to do that would be in a suite. That would have avoided all the controversy.
I am also puzzled by the term “Genetic Women Only.” We all start out in the womb as female, and thus genetically we have those chromosomes within us all. Being female is one thing; being a “woman” is another. Our perception of sex identity is a construct. This is becoming more and more clear as we move further into the New Aeon. Sexual identity is a construct, and can be altered at will, or nearly so. You can decide to be a man or a woman or both or neither or some variation thereof. As a cisgender straight-identified male (sometimes ridiculously so; I am told that my blog can be identified “by the boobies”) I don’t know if I really have a dog in this hunt, but the world is changing, and sexual identity is becoming more fluid, and there is no reason for it not to do so. Not to recognize change when you have worked all your life to create change, and being unable to cope with the fact that change is occurring right in front of you, is sad.
Pantheacon for me was not about controversy. This year it was really about unity in diversity. There was so much going on, and so many people to see, that it was impossible not to become dizzy sometimes with all the powerful positive potential of it all. That is the truth that keeps me going back for what was the third year in a row now, and I do not see any breaks coming up in the future. I think that if we, as Pagans, Wiccans, witches, and magickians, can continue to just get together and open the doors of perception, then this kind of gathering is worth it despite any bumps along the way. That’s why I always come home buzzing from Pantheacon, full of new ideas.
I will be talking about some of these in the next few days. Blessed be – Love is the law, love under will.
* i.e. get his shit together