One of the best things about the Pagan blogosphere is that after big events happen you can usually receive a variety of impressions, ruminations, and opinions concerning said event. Last weekend’s Pantheacon was no exception. The largest indoor Pagan gathering in America, Pantheacon has inspired a number of intelligent and thoughtful reports from the Pagan blogosphere (and elsewhere). A common theme among some post-con reports this year seems to be “I cut back on scheduled activities and still had a good time”, as evidenced by posts from prestigious Pagans and occultists like Anne Hill, T. Thorn Coyle, and Erik Davis (who gives a unique “been away for awhile” perspective to the proceedings).
“It was a very familiar world to me, radiating a comforting otherness that I eased into without resistance, though with a characteristic and somewhat wearisome anthropologist’s eye. The clothes, the body types, the mannerisms, the brusque humor and goofy geekery that similarly mark SF fandom and the fetish scene—all bespoke a parallel world, or, more accurately, a collective desire to construct a parallel world. This has always seemed to me to be one of our more noble imaginative operations, and one not unlike magic—the spell of subculture. This familiarity seemed at once a sign of strength—this is a scene with legs, however hairy—and inertia, especially given what seemed to be a relatively small number of attendees in their teens and twenties. But despite the grey beards and the magnificent number of spreading waist-lines, the scene seemed vital, engaged, and playful enough to balance out the portentious poses struck by so many mages and priestesses.”
Beliefnet’s new official Pagan blogger Gus diZerega was also there, and has so far filed several thoughtful reports from various talks and presentations at the event. This includes a fascinating account of his work with The Lost and Endangered Religions Project (LERP).
“One might wonder why make the effort to protect traditions so close to extinction. I think we are uniquely able to answer this question. Because the sacred is immanent within the world, each tradition represents a way of approaching it, a way valuable because it sacralizes human life in a unique way. Were these traditions to die out because their members have found something more satisfying, I for one would have no problem with that development. But that is not what happened. They were suppressed or destroyed either by secular moderns or by people acting in the name of a monotheistic religion. The West in particular has taken so much from these people, LERP is an opportunity to give back.”
“It rained almost nonstop for the entire span of Pantheacon. Pretty much every conversation contained expressions of gratitude, as most Pagans were cognizant of the serious threat of drought hanging over California. The rain fell as a blessing on the land and as a blessing on this year’s conference.”
Feel free to post links to your own P-Con wrap-ups and thoughts in the comments. I’m very much looking forward to finally attending next year’s con for the first time. Maybe I can get some fellow Pagan bloggers together and do a panel? We’ll see how it goes. It’s clear that Pantheacon represents some of the wider Pagan movement’s best impluses, and functions to help create a healthy and vibrant future for our family of faiths.