This year’s PantheaCon was a wonderful experience. A delightful variety of workshops and rituals were offered at two hour intervals throughout the weekend convention. Between workshops, attendees could browse one of the best vending/merchant areas I have ever explored at a Pagan gathering.
On Friday, I had the pleasure of visiting for a while with Patricia Lafayllve, the Steerswoman of the Troth. She also gave an excellent workshop this year, discussing the role of gossip in neo-tribal communities. I hope she will continue to present this at other gatherings, because I feel it is a talk that anyone who belongs to an inhíred (or kindred or coven or grove) would benefit from.
Throughout the weekend I had the opportunity to connect with Christopher Penczak, author Steve Kenson and reiki master Adam Sartwell, three men whose friendship and support have come to mean very much to me. For those of you who aren’t aware of this, it was Christopher who encouraged me to write Travels Through Middle Earth: The Path of a Saxon Pagan. And it was a pleasure to see authors Lupa and Taylor Ellwood again. There seemed to be a constant stream of familiar faces. Z Budapest was as charming and funny as ever, and Oberon Zell-Ravenheart was in good spirits despite the health challenges he has battled recently.
While it was great to re-connect with old friends, it was equally exciting to meet new people. People like John Michael Greer, who authored A World Full of Gods, a book I consider to be one of the most important works I have read in the past few years. Christopher introduced me to Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor after telling me how much I would like them, and he was right. Orion Foxwood was an explosion of energy, startling at first, and then warm and intriguing. Some of the personnel from Llewellyn Worldwide were at the convention, so I had the opportunity to finally meet face to face with acquisitions editor Elysia Gallo and publicist Steven Pomije.
On Saturday I met with fellow Saxons Fálki and Andrew in a private location where we could witness an oath given by Wulfhrafn. Oathing is fundamental to Saxon tradition as a means of building community, as I describe in Travels Through Middle Earth.
On Sunday my good friend Bill Stewart arrived from San Francisco, bringing a bag filled with things I would need for my own presentation that evening. I’ve known Bill for nearly twenty years, but hadn’t seen him since 2004, so it was a joyful reunion. My ancestors presentation, entitled “Those Who Have Gone Before”, flowed very well even though it was a larger group than I’ve worked with while leading this workshop in the past.
This was such a great festival. I’m sure I’ve left out some names, so I’m going to apologize here to everybody I forgot to mention. I can tell that I’ve really enjoyed a festival when I find myself thinking about what I want to do “next year” even before I return home. PantheaCon was one of these.