As I mentioned earlier this week, Pantheacon, perhaps the largest indoor Pagan convention, occurred this past weekend. Now that everyone has had a chance to rest a bit from the festivities, thoughts and experiences from the weekend are popping up in the Pagan blogosphere.
Anne Hill talks about the highs and lows of this years P-Con. Among the lows is the manner of dress for certain attendees.
“….it’s bad enough that a certain elder in the community thinks it’s a good idea to walk around in a wizard costume to promote his new book and correspondence course. He had us covered for “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” lookalikes. But the Johnny Depp wannabe was just disturbing. In the first place, he was in no way as good looking as Johnny Depp, which made him an object of derision more than a sex symbol – probably not the effect he had intended. In the second place, it was annoying to see some guy in a pirate outfit with beads hanging from his beard every day. He served as a reminder that many among us are in no way ready for prime time, and that it’s really a good thing Christopher Guest hasn’t chosen the Pagan community to mock in his next film feature. Why bother, when we mock ourselves so well?”
Deborah Oak, in the comments of Anne Hill’s blog, brings up a common fashion complaint at Pagan gatherings. What is up with all the medieval/renaissance garb?
“My fashion peeve is the overabundance of Medieval garb. Why do we pagans have to constantly invoke the dark ages? Why?”
On her own blog, Oak says that Pantheacon left her with the impression that the modern Pagan community is maturing (despite the outfits).
“…am still ruminating on the experience, which was overwhelmingly positive. Witches and pagans are indeed moving on from the state of reaction and reclaiming and as a whole I felt the maturing of the Craft.”
Thorn Coyle speaks fondly of the conversations she had at the convention.
“The highlights for me are always the conversations, which this year included the video documentary I’m working on with a friend. What a joy to listen to and film smart people with deep practice and enough engagement in their respective traditions to have theological ideas about even ingrained patterns of speech (I got to ask “What do you mean when you say ‘The Goddess’?” and get a tasty answer in reply!), or enough history in their studies to be able to chart the current wave we are on in relation to other transformative waves. Scratch someone with mastery and you’ll get some interesting answers.”
Alfrecht gives a very detailed account of his weekend there.
“Much which was unexpected took place in the course of these several days, but all of it, without exception, was positive, despite some frustrations here and there. Aster articulated and summarized an excellent point which could be applied to the entire experience: “Magic is the world suddenly acquiring a plot.” I hope that this plot is one which others are interested in, or at least are as interested in as I am!”
“Talked to Isaac Bonewits and it turned out he was dining with the acquisitions editor and the publicist from Llewellyn, who immediate pounced upon me and were desperate for me to write for them. I gently turned them down, explaining that a CR 101 would probably work for their audience, but I’d promised my ogam book to Megalithica, and that really, a book on filidecht would deal with the search for illumination that results in one of three things — poetry, madness or DEATH — and that honest, I didn’t think their target market was quite ready for that.”
A blogger by the name of “ardgruntler” was a bit dismayed by how quickly mutual friendship and respect dissipated after the convention.
“Are We Serious or Not? Because I’m finding it a little tough to see the leaders who were talking the ‘we need to stand together as pagans’ ‘walk’ at Pantheacon – two days later taking pot shots again. I’ve gone from really hopeful to kinda sad. And I feel a little bad myself. The best I can say about my behavior is that I didn’t level shots at other organizations, just my own. (Don’t know which is worse. But, since looking at one’s own house with a critical eye is essential to any real growth, I’ll stick with the former.)”
And in a final note, an attendee by the name of Todd praises Margot Adler for telling modern Pagans we need to shape up (literally).
“Kudos to Margot for facing probably three hundred Pagans and telling us all “We need to take better care of ourselves [i.e, physically].” And P-Con programming folks: When you get my proposal to lead a morning “fun run/walk” each day next year, take it seriously.”
On that note, I think I’ll head off to the gym.