Pantheacon may not be the center of the Pagan world, but for four days every February it sure does feel like it is. At the very least, it’s the center of much of my Pagan world. This year I am thrilled to be attending for my third time.
Here is a list of my Con advice. I think it’s advice that works not just for Pantheacon (PCon), but other large gatherings and life in general.
My number one recommendation to anyone attending PCon is ward your room. Whatever technique you have – warding, shielding, censing, whatever – do it and do it as soon as you get there. There is a lot of energy, social and magical, flying around. Some people do not have good magical skills, so I recommend taking responsibility for your own energetic space. This is a good practice in regular life too: ward your homes to keep unwanted energy and ‘guests’ out. Creating a peaceful sanctuary for ourselves, away from the hustle and bustle of con and/or daily life will help recharge us and keep us sane.
Don’t forget bodily hygiene! It’s likely you’ll be running a lot of energy, either at rituals or socializing, or just making your way through the crowds. Please make sure to shower. It seems ridiculous that I would be mentioning this in a blog for grown ups, but we’ve all been in the elevator with that guy. On the flip side, please keep your perfume and oil usage to a minimum. Only people close enough to hug you should be able to smell you. I may sound harsh. I’m someone who doesn’t bathe every single day nor do I wear antiperspirant, and I wear perfume daily. But in large crowds I up my vigilance. I hope you will, too.
Con crud is real. The recycled air in hotels (and many work places) can spread illness like wild fire. Take care of your immune system! Wash your hands, make sure you are eating something nutritious, drink plenty of water, and get some fresh air. Again, this sounds like basic common sense, but when in the throes of fun it can be hard to remember when last you ate. Also, the Double Tree in San Jose (where PCon is held) is not known for its food; eating french fries for every meal, while tempting, is not advised.
One of the things that’s fun about large gatherings is meeting other people. Pagans are known for being very sex-positive, so if you’re going to take advantage of this, please play safe! By play safe I mean not only take the necessary precautions regarding sexual health and birth control, but also in your sexual ethics. Let your and others’ no mean no and yes mean yes. Do not be creepy. One way to avoid being creepy is state your desires and intentions clearly and upfront. It’s much easier to say yes or no if I know a yes or no is needed. If I’m not sure of what your intentions are, then lines get grey and murky. I hope I don’t need to remind anyone that consent is crucial. If you suspect someone is too drunk, too high or too tranced out to give full and complete consent, then do not pass go.
Part of why I love PCon so much is that I get to see lots of my friends and fill my spiritual cup with ritual and workshops led by initiates in my tradition, but I also get to meet new people, many I only know online, and to experience ideas and rituals that are not my own. PCon plays host to so many traditions that I like try a few new things. Branch out! Don’t just stick to your own tradition or comfort levels. Make sure you get your cup filled, but try something new as well. This is a good reminder as we head back to our home communities. Maybe we should branch out a little more.
Last, and never least, make sure you sleep! There are offerings at PCon that start at 11pm and go until the wee hours. Many hospitality suites are open even later. Have fun, but make sure you get some rest and quiet time, too. Your “re-entry” into your regularly scheduled life will be a little smoother if you aren’t running a complete sleep deficit. Ear plugs can be very, very helpful.
With that advice out of the way, I hope I’ll see many of you in San Jose this weekend.
There are a few places I will most definitely be:
Saturday: 11am – Kali Puja.
Sunday: 7pm – Solar Cross Media Meet & Greet
There are several other rituals and sessions I want to attend, but the above listed times are sessions that I will be at FOR SURE. Being pregnant, I will have to see how my energy levels are at any given time. If you see me, please stop me and say hi!