Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine

I spent this past weekend at PantheaCon, that big Pagan festival out here on the West Coast. It was mostly fun, absolutely exhausting. Unlike most years I didn’t have a whole lot to do. I didn’t make the schedule, but I did get to play “guest priest” in a couple of rituals which was fun. What follows are a few random observations from inside the gold mine.

Kings and Queens of Pcon (Magicians parody, I'm Q.)

Kings and Queens of Pcon (Magicians parody, I’m Q.)

-Perhaps my favorite hour or so of the festival was Devin Hunter and the Black Rose Tradition’s Sabbatic Dance. Transformative rituals in public spaces are really difficult to do, and I sometimes think doubly so in a hotel ballroom, but Devin and crew mostly managed to pull it off. I had a small role in this rite so I had to stop myself from falling over the edge and truly embracing my inner-goat, but I oh so wanted to.

Actual copies may be smaller.

Actual copies may be smaller.

What probably impressed me the most about the rite was the sheer amount of Witch-energy we created together. The blogosphere loves to go on and on about how we DO NOT get along with each other, especially in various Witchcraft traditions, but sometimes a lot of that is absolute bollocks. Most of us all raise energy in similar ways, and that energy generally feels familiar when we share it with one another.

Storm Faerywolf and I have very different ideas about hair.

Storm Faerywolf and I have very different ideas about hair.

I’m not going to run out and join the Feri Tradition or anything, but the more I interact with people outside of my own tradition I sometimes find myself thinking “it’s not that different!” Sure a lot of our ritual techniques and triggers are going to vary, but in the vast cosmic puddle of power raising we share an awful lot of shit together. If you ever find yourself at a festival with a chance to do something outside your usual path do it.

-Speaking of energy, Selena Fox’s Sacred Sun Ritual lived up to its title. It was a journey ’round my favorite golden orb, with a dash of political activism and a side of healing. Somehow, through all the rain we’ve been getting out here, I could still feel the sun shining on me like it was a warm Spring day.

One of the suites had a cutout of Orion Foxwood, so of course I had to lick its head.

One of the suites had a cutout of Orion Foxwood, so of course I had to lick its head.

If you read this blog with any frequency you probably know I’m pretty meticulous when it comes to ritual. I like to have every word I’m going to speak written down and in my BoS days before ritual time. I think this part of why I’m a BTW Witch; working with Selena takes me away from that place into something far more less scripted. Selena’s ritual seemed to consist of a few chants scribbled down into a notebook, but it never felt like that. The way she directed everything it all flowed together so naturally with nary a pause or a hiccup. It was something to see, especially up close.

Altar at Selena's Ritual.

Altar at Selena’s Ritual.

The energy was different from what was created at the Sabbatic Dance, but it was still overwhelmingly Witchy. One side represented that more chaotic and primal way of feeling, while the other was warm and focused. And I find it amusing that the ritual with the most set-up was the one that was more chaotic in feeling. Just goes to show what we create (and manipulate) when we work on a rite.

-I’m an author now, and I will always find that odd. This year marked the third year in a row I’ve been invited into the Llewellyn Suite for author things. I continually feel unworthy, but it’s always fun. For the most part the Llewellyn Suite feels like a changing of the guard these days. Instead of Raven Grimassi and Christopher Penczak attendees this time around included Storm Faerywolf, Thorn Mooney, Devin Hunter, Jenya Beachy, and Laura Tempest Zakroff (three of those five write here at Patheos Pagan too!). (Special shoutout that I absolutely love all the people mentioned in that last sentence!)

That's Jenya Beachy, my wife, Thorn Mooney, and Elysia Gallo-our editor at Llewellyn.

That’s Jenya Beachy, my wife, Thorn Mooney, and Elysia Gallo-our editor at Llewellyn.

I don’t know if the changing of the guard thing means anything, but I still find it worth commenting on. I will say that Pagan faiths and traditions seem to constantly be growing and transforming, which means every so many years we are always going to end up with a new crop of authors and other folks. I just hope we do as good of a job as the many who have come before us.

-And finally, the oddest two hours of the weekend were spent talking with John Halstead. If that doesn’t seem odd to you, good. Don’t Google it and don’t worry about it because it’s nothing really. But if you think it sounds weird, it was for me too. One thing I don’t do very well is hold grudges, or stay mad at people, or scowl for days on end. (And it’s incredible how a few shots of Jameson over ice smooths things over-at least for a bit.)

I don't do selfies well, but thought I should document that this happened.

I don’t do selfies well, but thought I should document that this happened.

Generally we are not all that different, and by we I mean most of all of us out here in Pagan-land. I think most people consistently try to do the right thing, even if the right thing isn’t the same across the board. I’ve been disappointed as paths have diverged over the last month or so, but I certainly don’t wish any ill luck upon those who have chosen to go another way.

-One more thing. I just have to share this picture because it’s glorious. I’m off to pack for Detroit.

To Stir a Magick Cauldron.

To Stir a Magick Cauldron.

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About Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey has been involved with Paganism for the last twenty years, and has spent the last ten of those years as a speaker, writer, and High Priest. Jason can often be found lecturing on the Pagan Festival circuit, so you might just bump into him. When not reading and researching Pagan history he likes to crank up the Led Zeppelin, do rituals in honor of Jim Morrison (of The Doors), and sing numerous praises to Pan, Dionysus, and Aphrodite. He lives in Sunnyvale CA with his wife Ari and two hyper-kinetic cats.