Friday, February 24, 2012

Convention Report: Pantheacon

Hello again! I'm back from the wilds of San Jose with a somewhat different convention report.

To begin with, Pantheacon was first organized nearly 30 years ago by Glenna Turner, proprietor of Ancient Ways. This makes her a pioneer in more than one sense; AFAIK Ancient Ways was the first blatantly Pagan (as versus "New Age" or generally "Occult") book-and-gift store in northern California, and Pantheacon was the first regular annual Pagan convention. Council of the Goddess had held conventions before then -- in the midwest as well as the west coast -- but they were irregular and occasional affairs. Since Pantheacon proved its success, the number of Pagan cons around the country has grown by leaps and bounds. I was amazed at the number of announcements for different Pagan cons on the flyers table. At least one of them was for a music-and-arts convention, which I'm definitely interested in.

I also noticed that the Depression hasn't hurt the convention too badly. It had enough members, for the full four days of the protracted weekend, to fill not only the convention hotel but an overflow hotel too. True, most of the members came from the San Francisco Bay area, and the rest from points north (fewer than half a dozen came from the southern part of the state, and I think I was the only one there from Phoenix), but that was still enough to support 10 programming tracks and 20 hospitality suites.

The subjects of the programming tracks were all over the spectrum: feminism, GLBT spirituality, philosophical bridge-building between the Pagan and Judeo-Christian communities, similarities of western Paganism and Hinduism, assorted art and literature panels, various concerts, several rituals by wildly different groups, and of course my panel on Bardic Magick. The dealers' room was enormous -- and tightly crowded, with half a dozen more merchants spilling out into the corridor -- and I never even made it to the art show.

As for the consuite and hospitality suites, well let's just say that I had to buy only two meals (overpriced, but what do you expect from a big hotel?) all the time I was there. I must admit, the CAW suite serves the best food, but the OTO has far and away the best bar. I'm afraid I didn't do much singing there; most of them had their own music, I was fighting off the usual convention cold that wiped out my upper range, and I mostly spent my time asking for rides back to LA, where my bus-ticket picked up (long story).

Anyway, my panel -- "Basics of Bardic Magic" -- was scheduled for 11PM on Sunday night, if you please, in the hotel bar. It still managed to draw an audience of about 50, so either I still have a lot of fans in the Bay Area or there's considerable interest in the magic of music. With my upper range gone I had to do my songs in Gm-Am, which is not the frequency most likely to arouse psychic talent, but perhaps that was all for the best. There was enough loose psychic energy flying around the convention hotel to create an army of gremlins. The pesky things stole away one of my star-pendant earrings, my good copper ring, and one of my smokeless/electric cigarettes -- no small loss in California, where the law forbids smoking anywhere indoors. *Sigh* In any case, questions from the audience convinced me to write an article on Bardic Magick, which (I promise) I'll post here first.

Altogether, a good time was had by all -- stupid Californian laws (against nudity as well as smoking, thank you) or no. If you can at all afford it, I'd strongly recommend going to Pantheacon at least once.


Antongarou said...

pet peeve of mine(and probably of most Jews around). There is no such thing as Judeo-Christian: the Judaic and Christian thoughts have almost no similarity, hell even the couple of books we share are assigned very different meaning, even if you don't take into account that they're almost incidental to Christianity and very central to Judaism.

Just to give you one major difference, Judaism's central idea is Responsibility- that's, essentially, what a Bar-Mitzvah is: the child assuming responsibility for his actions, that up to now his father was responsible for.People who "Chazru Teshuva"(led a life of sin and "returned" to righteous life) are accorded a higher status then people who never sinned in many tales and some very prevalent proverbs, exactly because doing that is declaring responsibility for your actions. Christianity OTOH centers around one of the Love/Guilt/Shame trio, depending on the exact sect and sometimes even the specific priest presiding- these are very different ideas and give rise to very different notions of "right" and "wrong"

Leslie Fish said...

Hi, Anton. I've noticed that the term "Judeo-Christian" is usually used by Christians who are trying to look tolerant -- especially when they're putting down a non-"Judeo-Christian" religion.

Antongarou said...

exactly one of the reasons I quite hate the term.It's one of the ways Christians try to appropriate Judaism, and most Jews don't really appreciate the fact that a religion that persecuted us for more then a thousand years tries to use us for legitimacy

Technomad said...

I'd like to go sometime, but California's quite a way out of my usual range unless/until I get more money coming in.

KateGladstone said...

So, what IS "the frequency most likely to arouse psychic talent"?