I'm back from this year's Pantheacon and am happy to report that -once again- I had a weekend full of connection, magic, and healing (...and great parties).
The theme was "Co-operation, Tolerance, and Love" and, at least in my experience, the convention lived up to that intention. From the moment I arrived this particular theme wove its magic through me and I found myself in situations in which old hurts fell away, and connections were forged and re-forged. I was able to lay down some burdens that I had been carrying, and was able to reconnect with a couple people in particular with whom I had previously had some unpleasant dealings. Through the connection of eyes, hearts, and hugs, past insults lost their meaning and a path forward was revealed that offered healing and power to all involved. This was real magic at work, though no Circle had been cast, no Crossroads called... the space of Divine Center made manifest in the moment and Hir presence was felt. The God/dess is alive... and magic is afoot.
This was the first year that my store, The Mystic Dream, had a presence in the vendor room. Truth be told, I often spend most of my time in the vending areas anyway as most of my friends are also vendors there. Plus there are always so many fabulous things to see there. Our friends, Tombo Studio and The Sacred Well were situated with us and so we had the pleasure of sharing in the fun together. I would have spent more time with our neighbor and friend Blossom Merz, owner of The Weaving Monk, but his booth set-up put a "wall" in between us, so I was limited in our interactions for most of the con.
The vending room at Pantheacon is honestly pretty epic and I know many people who attend mainly for the shopping. So this time offered me the opportunity to have my own space so as to not be getting in the way of my friends while they are working while still offering me a centralized space to talk to people about anything from Faery, to Conjure, crystals, what fabulous smelling oils we were using, to the most important topics like Who-was-too-drunk-last-night and Who-slept-with-whom. You know... the real issues. ;)
My presentation on Friday night, Witchcraft at the Crossroads, was a great success. It was well attended (both good and bad; the "double" room we were in was on the smaller side and so people had to squeeze in... but people seemed OK with it.) The purpose of the class/ritual/trance was to "bring the Crossroads to us"; a variation of an energetic exercise passed to me in my Faery training that used the four directions as external meditation points for the presences of the physical elements to relate to our own sense of center. In this state we sit "between the worlds", a liminal space that is informed by all the worlds, making it the perfect place to do magic. In BlueRose we often call the Holy Crossroads instead of casting a circle, a revelation that was apparently both surprising and well-received by those in attendance. I was honored to host BlueRose practitioners who invoked and embodied the presences of the elemental powers of the roads as I stood holding center and leading the trance. We then took some time to experience the roads from our three centers: sex, heart, mind, and learn to perceive our strengths and our weaknesses and blockages to fully connecting to those powers.
On Saturday afternoon I participated in the Dustbunnies Feri Tent Revival, a phenomenon that is now for me a staple of my Pantheacon experience. Through the adoption of a Baptist Tent Revival style, but decidedly and authentically Feri, we raise our voices in song (and laughter!) to praise the great Mystery, and remind ourselves that each of us are holy. Each year follows this basic theme with the addition of a new song or two and this year we were reminded how each of us were born in our holiness... we were born this way... and the immortal words of Lady Gaga drive this home.
Sunday night was the Rite of 1,000 Crowns; a "Pan-Dianic Love-fest of claiming our Sovereignty" put on by the Living Temple of Diana, the Bloodroot Honey Priestess Tribe, and the CAYA Greenmen that also used song and voice to touch the souls of the participants. In this we were treated to three different traditions in co-operation offering a new vision of the future. As Yeshe Rabbit laid out that vision we saw the old paradigm begin to open from a space of exclusivity and dominance, and into love and sharing. The women opening to men in co-operation... men opening to sensitivity... and everyone outside and in-between being seen and honored for their presence and unique controbutions to our ever growing community of spiritual practiitoners. We were all honored for our presence and the participants moved around to give out "crowns" to each and everyone there; a symbol of our own divine light, worn proud for all to see. It was certainly a highlight of the con for me and I suspect that the magic done there will continue to have reverberations in the Craft community on the inner planes for years to come.
This was also the first ritual that I know of to be flashed mobbed. Yup. Flash mobbed. At the end of the rite the chant became repetitive and then suddenly recorded music started playing and the participants began a choreographed dance to "Let the Sun Shine", the famous song by The Fifth Dimension. Now, I knew this was coming; Devin Hunter, head Priest of the Living Temple of Diana (and one of my partners) had been planning this for months. What I did not expect, however, was the spontaneous inclusion of practically everyone in attendance; as the flash mob dance continued, one by one... row by row... the attended turned and adopted the dance, becoming part of the dance. We hugged each other... we looked into each others eyes. We saw each other's power and it did not threaten our own. We saw each other... we opened in love. We became part of the magic. In its light-heartedness, wearing gold-foil crown of stars and dreams, we all tossed aside that which was holding us back, and we danced... and we sang... and we smiled... and we loved. "Let the Sun shine in", we sang. And it shone brightly into our hearts.
Afterward, BlueRose had a little meet and greet, shared a few drinks, and then it was off to the parties. I must admit, that the parties are always a big draw for me. Being half-hedonist I do like the social mana that gets generated at these events. There was so much laughter and god conversations that I could have stayed out all night (and one night I almost did!) but; alas, the responsibilities of being a businessman take their toll and I retired at least a little earlier than I would have otherwise. ;)
As always happens, Monday comes to soon (or not soon enough, if you ask my feet!) and we find ourselves saying goodbye. I have made some incredible friends at Pantheacon... people whom I never see until the next year, but whom are always in my heart. Though this year provided a lot of stress and challenges in the form of Pantheacon's new Room Lottery Policy (don't get me started; it was bad) I found that even those stresses melted away in the presence of so much good. And there is so much good to be seen and had there.
I'm already planning things for next year... classes... rituals... panels... ribbons... I come away inspired to continue my work in the Craft community and look forward to seeing many of you next year at the world's largest indoor Pagan event.