15 Random Thoughts From Mystic South

15 Random Thoughts From Mystic South July 17, 2018

Unlike last year where the hotel air conditioning malfunction created a clear focus for the event, this year there was no central theme to the Mystic South conference in Atlanta. So I’m just going to list my thoughts and observations from the weekend.

  1. Mystic South is one of the best organized, best run Pagan gatherings I’ve encountered. And I say that both as a presenter and as a participant. It wasn’t perfect, but the logistics were good and the content was excellent. I think I went to more presentations than at any conference in years. And the informal conversations were awesome.
  2. I wish I could have gone to more presentations. I’m thankful for the large Denton contingent who divided up and took notes for each other.
  3. I appreciate The Wild Hunt throwing a meet and greet on Thursday night. I also appreciate their understanding when I had to leave because their suite got too crowded for my claustrophobia. Star Bustamonte’s (mostly) quiet room and good Irish whiskey made for a welcome retreat. Thanks, Star!
  4. The Morrigan Devotional Ritual was intended to wake some people up, to kick people who are dozing out of bed, and to call those who are awake to action. I heard from people in all three groups who are starting to move. Blessings to you as you answer Her call.
  5. I also heard from people who didn’t attend the Morrigan ritual because they’re running from the Great Queen. While most times She will take no for an answer, that doesn’t mean She won’t keep asking. But at some point She’ll run out of patience and withdraw Her offer (or possibly claim you forcibly). And your opportunity for a life-altering experience will be gone forever. The choice is yours (probably), but choose wisely.
  6. I can’t tell you how great it felt to not only facilitate a devotional ritual to a Goddess to whom I am oathed at a major conference, but to do it with a full ritual team of friends and co-religionists from Texas. Many thanks to Erik Kolderup, Ruth Gibbs, Gabrielle Milburn, Morgan Milburn, Lauren Mart, and Cynthia Talbot. We performed a service for our community and for the Battle Raven, and we learned a few things ourselves.
  7. I really appreciated the personal stories of high strangeness in The Shredded Veil workshop. Every single one was presented in a completely factual manner. Never let anyone tell you that your experiences didn’t happen. We can argue about what caused them and what they mean, but that they happened is undeniable. Tell your stories – we all need to hear them.
  8. It was great to finally meet Morgan Daimler in person. Her scholarship and stories are even better in person than in writing. Wish we could have had a private conversation about a certain mutual acquaintance among the Fair Folk, but we were both incredibly busy. Maybe next time.
  9. If I pronounce a word one way and Morgan Daimler pronounces it another, there is a 99% chance she’s right and I’m wrong.
  10. It’s a privilege to watch Ivo Dominguez Jr. teach. He knows his material and he knows how to present it. He reminds me of how far I have to go as a teacher, and he shows me how to get there. If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of Ivo’s classes, take it, even if you think you don’t care about the subject. Before it’s over, you will.
  11. The Anomalous Thracian isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. He’s loud, profane, and there is no subject about which he doesn’t have a strong opinion. I found myself at odds with him on at least two occasions. And I don’t care. He raises important issues and challenges me to think more deeply than I otherwise would. I’m not going to comment on his “Theistic Orientation” presentation until the paper is published, but I will have much to say about it once it is. It’s important work for the polytheist movement.
  12. I wish the entire Pagan community could have heard the Pagan Media panel discussion, especially the part about the difference between journalism and blogging. We have different goals, different methods, and different standards. I wish the folks at Fox News (and for that matter, at MSNBC) could have heard it too.

    The Pagan Media Panel: Nathan Hall, Heron Michelle, John Beckett, Stacy Psaros, and Star Bustamonte. Photo by Marla Roberson.

  13. I will treasure the kind words many people said about my writing. I write because my Gods tell me to write and because I have something to say, not for the flattering comments. But they’re very nice to hear. Thank you.
  14. There were several conversations I intended to have and never did, or started and got interrupted. I wish there had been time for more. If one of them was you, feel free to pick it up by email. It’s not the same, but it’s better than waiting till next July.
  15. I’ll definitely be back next year. Mystic South is a great event, and for a hotel-based conference it’s reasonably priced. If you can afford the money and time off from work, I strongly encourage you to go.
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