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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
On Veils, from PantheaCon

Picking up where I left off my previous blog about PantheaCon –

On Saturday evening I went to a workshop called “Taking Up the Veil,” with Xochiquetzal Duti Odinsdaughter.[1]  The description in the program intrigued me:

 

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  • Candi
    Candi says #
    Sometimes this topic makes me upset, and sometimes it doesn't. I've deliberately gained weight at certain points in my life in or
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Thanks for your comments, Constance. It's a complicated issue. As you said, the choice must always be that of the wearer.
  • Constance Tippett Chandler
    Constance Tippett Chandler says #
    Dear Aline, Part of my religious past was spent in the Hari Krishna Movement and we where expected to have our heads COVERED. It w

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
PantheaCon upon Reflection

Thursday Night thru Saturday Afternoon

To avoid the hassle of driving busy Bay Area freeways during the day, and because I’m not an early riser, I drove down to San Jose late Thursday evening.  I anticipated that this would allow me a few more leisurely visits with other early arrivers, especially those from afar, before the Con got nuts.  I was right.

I had printed out schedules of the events I was most drawn to ahead of time, together with some hospitality suite schedules and meal dates made in the previous weeks.  Over the years I’ve relaxed my schedule by not applying to do a presentation of any kind, rather only sitting on panels now and then when asked, or performing a ritual role when invited to do so.  I try to get to the most appealing presentations, but some of them are too crowded.  I know that some of them I can see at other venues.  If I happen to get involved in a compelling discussion or a tête-à-tête and miss something I wanted to attend, I can follow where I’m drawn, or I can break away if I absolutely have to be somewhere.  This year I played it loose.

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  • Stifyn Emrys
    Stifyn Emrys says #
    I'm sorry I missed Sabina's presentation. I've been a fan of her "Witching Culture" for some time. I chose a different event at th

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Wiccanate Privilege: What Now?

There's been a good deal of conversation online about the term "Wiccanate privilege" the past few days, and I think it illustrates the importance of choosing our words carefully when communicating important issues - especially those that others might find sensitive or take personally.

I have to admit the phrase rubbed me the wrong way to some degree. Whenever this happens, I ask myself why, and my attempt to answer that question usually starts with establishing definitions. When I looked up "Wiccanate" in Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, it told me, "The word you're looking for isn't in the dictionary" and advised me to try another spelling (the top three suggestions were "wagonette," "white and" and, disconcertingly, "witch hunt"). It came as no surprise when the word failed to show up, as it seemed like one of those terms coined for the sake of convenience or because nothing else quite seemed to fit.

Next, I looked around online and found references to it. Among the most helpful definitions was one I found at a blog called Finnchuill's Mast, which described it as "referring to practices either specifically Wiccan, or of traditions like Feri and Reclaiming that share many reasonably similar practices like circle casting and working with four elements." My first reaction is that the term could be seen as artificial and offensive (I know of at least one person who described it as such). What if someone were to label your tradition "Paganesque" or "Reconstructionistic"? You might not take too kindly to that. Shorthand and jargon can be convenient, but it also can come off as flippant, dismissive and/or exclusionary - the last because only certain people will know what it means.

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  • Nova
    Nova says #
    Woops somehow I doubled post they really need to consider some edit options.
  • Nova
    Nova says #
    I agree that the minority word does need to be heard and I understand that when someone gets offended or a bit tired of one thing
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Rather than trying to create a universal Pagan ritual for pan-Pagan events like Pagan Pride Day, how about we celebrate our divers

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
PantheaCon Book Purchases

Although I’ve been trying to lighten up the bookshelves in my home by donating some books to Pagan libraries, loaning out many (which seldom seem to return home), and simply putting some books I’ve read “in circulation,” such as leaving them at my gym or giving them to someone else to read with no expectation of getting them back.  However, that doesn’t mean a bibliophile such as me has ceased buying books altogether.  In spite of limited funds for non-essentials, I do consider books to be essential to my life, so I still buy them, albeit much more selectively than I’ve done in the past.  I especially tend to purchase books of poetry, even more especially if I know the poet, and/or anthologies in which their work is published.  I feel strongly about supporting the arts as much as we can; this is one of my ways of supporting the arts.

I returned home from PantheaCon with only two new books; I restrained myself. 

One is Gus diZerega’s Fault Lines: The Sixties, the Culture Wars, and the Return of the Divine Feminine.  I’ve been reading parts of earlier iterations of this work, and, having lived a life that fits into the title, I’m eager to read it when I don’t have plenty of reading piled up that pertains to projects I’m working on.  The cover is jarring, perhaps as it should be considering the subject matter, but it’s not appealing to me.  As they say, “you can’t tell a book by its cover.”

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Interfaith Dialogue in a Polarized World

At PantheaCon, I ran into someone with whom I'd had a disagreement online. This point of contention was a hot-button issue for me, and my reaction to it had been too quick and strident. When I met the person in question, our meeting was cordial, and I don't even think he recognized me. I left things alone, but when we crossed paths a second time, I confronted the situation directly and apologized for being too blunt. Because my "hot button" had been pressed - inadvertently - I had barreled ahead without finding out more about his take on the situation.

After a 10- or 15-minute conversation, we parted ways, having interacted cordially, but not having addressed the issue upon which we disagreed. He mentioned that we should do so at some point, and I agreed. In honesty, I doubt either of us will change the other's mind, but do we really need to? It's fine to be open to learning about another person's perspective without feeling obligated to embrace it as our own.

Polarization

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  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    Thanks for this helpful piece, Stifyn. Would you had been at the discussion in the CoG suite of "Wiccanate privilege" in interfai

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

My wife and I just returned from PantheaCon in San Jose. It was our first time attending the event, and we were very impressed. It's easy to find things to complain about, especially at an event this big, but one thing that impressed me is how few complaints I heard - at least about anything substantial.

Complaining can be a natural reaction to disappointment, frustration and other emotions; the lack of it spoke volumes to me in a couple of respects. For one thing, it indicated that the people who put on this convention really got it right. It was well organized, communication was clear (the map, list of events and daily updates from the "town crier" just outside the elevators were extremely well done. There just wasn't that much to complain about.

The lack of complaints also speaks to the tone set for the event in the workshops, rituals, classes, concerts and other activities. There was a sense of unity among a diverse collection of people. We were willing to celebrate our differences and learn from one another, eagerly and without prejudice.

Complaining is all about making one's feelings known - specifically, feelings of dissatisfaction. Sometimes, it's necessary, and some complaints can certainly be legitimate. But listening and learning are all about gathering information, and (barring an emergency), it's best to do as much of this as possible before complaining. Often, complaints turn out to be misplaced simply because we haven't taken the time to learn more about what's causing our dissatisfaction.

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  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    It was great to meet you at Pantheacon. Thanks for posting this! I too hope to see more fruitful dialogue.
  • Stifyn Emrys
    Stifyn Emrys says #
    I'm sorry to have missed you, as well. We'll definitely be back next year!
  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Hey, I'm bummed I missed meeting you! Next time?
Swashbuckling Aphrodite? Steampunk Aphrodite?

An Aphrodite of the people is not separate from the culture of the people. While some deities prefer to float around in the sky stroking their long white beards, and others like to stay classically enshrined in pristine and historically-accurate temples, Aphrodite is a party girl who gets bored if you try to keep Her dressed in the same old chitons and flowing gowns all the time. She is not stuck in history, nor in any single vision of beauty and adornment. She is Beauty in all its forms.

I envision Aphrodite in many different social and cultural contexts, and She always has impeccable style for the occasion. She helps me see the beauty of the unexpected.

For instance, if Aphrodite decided, as a sea-faring type, to go to the Pirate Festival, she might well look something like the fierce, deadly, and harshly beautiful Anne Bonny:

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  • Ladybug
    Ladybug says #
    Great article! And I love your Pinterest board! Thanks for the mention. I like to envision a bellydancing Aphrodite.

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