This past weekend I attended Paganicon, a three-day-long Pagan conference here in Minnesota. This was my third year going and I honestly feel like I enjoy it more and more each time.
I started off the weekend by attending an ecstatic dance workshop, which focused on the elements of fire and ice (which was the overall theme of Paganicon this year). I am a big fan of anything ecstatic and anything that involves dancing, so I was very excited. It was amazing to see so many people letting loose to the music. As we went along, our leader prompted us with questions about how we experience fire and ice in our bodies and in our lives. Sometimes the music was slow and somber and other times intense and energetic. It was neat to see how everyone was operating on different levels but at times would come together for a moment in their dancing. Overall, it was quite healing for me. There was a moment where I sat down and just started crying. It was completely unexpected but it felt like a much needed release.
The rest of the afternoon was spent socializing, which is one of my favorite parts of Paganicon. I’m a pretty solitary Witch, by both choice and location, but I still love community and getting to experience it every now and then. I got to catch up with fellow Patheos writer Laura Tempest Zakroff as well as meet two of our other writers Ashleigh “FoxBat” Smiley and Jenya T. Beachy.
Saturday, I attended Tempest’s workshop, “We Are Aradia.” In three words, I would describe this workshop as fiery, empowering, and necessary. The underlying message is that we don’t need to wait around for a savior to come help us out, we need to be our own saviors. As Witches, we need to stand up and do what we can to help create a better world. And that’s the key, which Tempest stresses, it’s about doing what you can with where you’re at. Not everyone is able to go out and march and protest, and that’s okay. But it’s important to consider what you can do to create positive change in your community, starting from the bottom up. She laid out three steps which include: take care of yourself first, take care of others, and don’t be a jerk and then discussed ways in which we can work to fulfill them.
Sunday, I made it my goal to actually go to more than one workshop, despite my massive hangover. I attended another of Tempest’s workshops, “The Art of Sigil Witchery.” What I really like about Tempest is that she is incredibly smart and talented but also humorous, realistic, and unpretentious. In this class, she discussed her system of creating sigils which I found refreshingly practical and fun. If you want to know more I highly recommend checking out her book Sigil Witchery.
Next, I went to “Using the Symbols of the 7 Elder Planets,” which was taught by the lovely Ivo Dominguez Jr. I had the pleasure of meeting Ivo this last summer at Summerland Spirit Fest as was immediately captivated by his wisdom and kindness. In this class, he talked about how we can partner with the planets in our rituals and spells. I love working with planetary energy in my Craft and I found the information presented was amazingly useful. From working with glyphs, seals, and squares to creating special altars and utilizing planetary days and hours. If you want to know more, check out Ivo’s book Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans.
Overall, it was another great year at Paganicon (only missing Jason Mankey)! I got to learn many new things, which I’m excited to explore further. I not only got to catch up with old friends but to meet new ones as well. Coming home, I feel refreshed and revitalized with the love and friendship of our Pagan community. I will say that sometimes I get bitter and jaded about society (including the Pagan community) but I’ve learned that not everyone is terrible. There are so many beautiful people out there and there is something incredibly magical about connecting with your tribe.