PantheaCon 2019 ended about a week ago, and while I wanted to write this a lot sooner, it took me a little while to wrap my head around all of my experiences from this year. I’ll be honest that I was a little nervous going into PantheaCon this year. There had been a lot of public drama and hate being thrown towards those attending. However, I had an obligation to go as I was teaching a workshop this year and running the hospitality suite for the Temple of Witchcraft. I’m really glad that I went. I met so many amazing people, I got to connect with people that I rarely get to see, and I was able to attend a few fantastic events. The only thing that I regret was that I didn’t take more photos with people while I was there.
The Hospitality Suite
I was so nervous about hosting the hospitality suite, which didn’t help when we ran into a few snags. I had only been to PantheaCon once before, and I attended with my high priestess, her daughter, Christopher Penczak and the other founders of the Temple of Witchcraft. We had a whole crew of people, including local members who came to see us and help out! This year was all on me and I had yet to hold this kind of space before. I started off going through the motions and following the footsteps of my HP from the year before me, nervously waiting for people to show up (or not) to our protection ritual on Friday evening.
Slowly the room began to fill. I had yet to run ritual solo for a room of strangers before and I was constantly thanking my ability to hide my anxiety. We went through introductions, got into a ritual state of mind, and as soon as I stood up to cast the circle a sense of calm washed over me. I knew how to do this, I had always known how to do this. One of the things that I love most is holding space for people. Spirit took me by the shoulders, guided my hand and I knew that I was where I was supposed to be. The ritual ran smoothly, people came up to me to talk about their experiences afterward, and we broke open the wine. I thank those who stepped up when I asked for help with aspects of the ritual and I thank those who attended.
The rest of the weekend for the suite was mainly geared towards social time and answering questions about the Temple. We had a movie night (The Wickerman – original) and social hours. Several people from the first ritual kept checking back and we were told by many that our suite was a peaceful retreat from the parties.
Laura Tempest Zakroff, Myself, and Danielle at PantheaCon 2019
Oh the People You Will Meet
This year was all about meeting amazing new people and connecting with people that I rarely get to see. I will never be able to list all of the people that I got to meet, but some of the people I had meaningful connections with were the Amici Mortem group, Amy Blackthorn, and the fantastic folks in the Weiser and Llewellyn suites.
I was especially excited to meet some of the people who I had been working with in Sacred Fires/Black Rose for the last couple of years but had never met in person. These are the people who have laid themselves bare for me to see (and I back to them), but I didn’t have a proper face or voice to match to them. The amount of love and support that I found with this group blew me away and I’m sad that there is so much distance between us the rest of the year.
I traveled with my friends Danielle, Beth and Mat Auryn and they were welcome companions to turn to when everything else became overwhelming. I also got to spend some time with Thorn Mooney, Tempest, Julia, Devin Hunter, and Storm Faerywolf who I usually see a couple of times a year, but never often enough.
One of the things I look forward to most at PantheaCon is the Patheos Pagan dinner that Jason Mankey puts on each year. We’re able to all set down together and share a meal, talk shop and about our blogs. It’s my chance once a year to meet a few more of my fellow writers, while simultaneously getting to see those who live far away.
Workshops & Rituals
Sadly I didn’t get to go to as many rituals and workshops as I would have liked. Between running my own things and workshops filling up I was only able to attend a small handful. Every workshop or ritual that I did attend was wonderful though. I was able to go to the #WeAreAradia ritual run by Tempest and Pheonix, Jason Mankey’s workshop in Initiations, Elysia & Judika’s Acquisition Editors Panel, and Danielle’s Herbal Allies workshop. I sadly wasn’t able to get to the Revels of Pan ritual, but I did get to party with that amazing Pan (Tempest) a bit afterward.
One of the biggest changes to my experience this year was that I was presenting a workshop for the first time! My workshop slot was from 1:30-3pm on Monday and I was expecting maybe 5-10 people as a lot of people were checking out of the hotel at that time. Imagine my surprise when we filled the room! I was excited to be able to present on Working with the Bones in Ritual and Divination as it’s something that I work with a lot in my personal practice. My personal set agreed to be on display, people came prepared with skulls and bones to work with, and we got down to it! It was a fantastic experience and I’m really looking forward to continuing to teach classes.
Picture taken by Mat Auryn
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