At the Crossroads: Anyone Bring a Flashlight?

A day in the life of one witch’s attempts at community organizing, group leadership, public Paganism, and joyous shenanigans. Balancing inner work with external obligations, a professional career with public Paganism, and a full social calendar with gratuitous amounts of sleep.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Mystic South - 2018

Well, magical folks. It’s been about a week, and now I finally have enough time, energy, and understanding to share about my experiences at Mystic South 2018. Wow! What an event! It takes a whole week (or more) to process experiences like this – a Southern Pagan conference full of love, learning, magic, healing, and mysticism.

I arrived to Atlanta “a day late and a dollar short” (as Grandpa used to say). Despite missing a day of workshops, as well as literally losing hours to Atlanta traffic, I was able to settle in nicely on Friday night. The kind, patient, and smiling folks at the registration table set the tone for the rest of the weekend – everywhere I went I was greeted with friendly smiles and welcoming energy.

But really, isn’t that the whole thing about Southern Paganism? The South is known for many things, some good, some very (very) bad. But one thing is for sure – we’re friendly. We’re hospitable. We’ll take care of you. These are all values that are important in Paganism, too. We exult the concepts of xenia and breaking bread, of honoring both guest and host.

Mystic South is, above all, Southern – it’s hot, it’s sticky, it’s busy, it’s laid back, it’s smart, it’s fun, it’s generous, it’s funny, it’s loyal. It’s a contradiction of a contradiction, and bless your hearts, we love it. This relatively new Pagan conference celebrated its inaugural year in 2017. It was created with the vision of offering a “Southern-based conference… [with] a Southern flair [that speaks] of the mystic spirit of our own part of the country.”

After registration I dove right into the Mystic South experience with dinner and a great conversation about sexual ethics in covens. (Stay tuned for a post on this topic, inspired by real-life events!)  We had just enough time to make it to John Beckett’s Morrigan devotional ritual, “A Gathering of Ravens.” It was great to see Beckett  in action, and to experience a ritual I’ve read about many times over the years. I heard him speak last year on Sweet Tea, the South, and Southern Paganism, but it was great to see him as a liturgist. After the ritual (when we should have been in bed and dreaming) my colleagues and I had a great conversation regarding public ritual. What makes an effective ritual? What makes a good ritual? What makes a GREAT ritual? (Me: “It just needs… I don’t know. Style and finesse!”)

Mystic South features three days of workshops, starting first thing in the morning and going well into the evening. The nights are filled with drinks, gatherings, karaoke, rituals, music, and dance parties. Mama Gina, the musical headliner, has the biggest smile you’ll ever see. And I know from firsthand experience that no one boogies harder than Swamp Witches and disco.

Last year’s workshops seemed to focus heavily on hoodoo and Appalachian folk magic. This year took a different, but meaningful focus - local spirits, community work and leadership, and self-care. Attending workshops on these topics was re-assuring to me personally. Sometimes I feel very alone and isolated in the community work I do, and hearing tips, tricks, advice, and anecdotes from community leaders from all over the South was incredibly validating. We’re mostly on the same page, we’re mostly doing our best, and we’re mostly changing the face of contemporary Paganism with the work we’re doing. Yes, burnout is real, yes, there is great mistrust in the community, yes, resources are in short supply – but there is a great thirst, a great need, and we are meeting these challenges with gusto. Folks, we change the world with every tiny little bit of magic we do. And it adds up, big time.

Each and every act of magic we do changes the world. It changes time and space. It changes the Cosmos – literally. Canu’s ancestor healing ritual  was… incredible. “Doctoring the Roots of the South”  took us to a place beyond words and into a realm of experience, of light, love, blood, and healing. The South has a lot, a LOT of healing to do. As Southern Pagans, we have our fair share of ancestral baggage. How do we heal our own experiences of trauma, as well as reconcile the actions of our ancestors with the energy of this land? What happens when we reach out through time and space, through this world and others, and offer a hand of love? Healing is hard. It takes time. It takes energy. But it’s so, so powerful. And necessary.

The South is greatly resilient. Pagans and Magical Folks are greatly resilient. The folks of Mystic South saw a need – an event that speaks to our unique experiences of magical and mystical southerners. Events like this, a gathering of talents and magic, give us the tools to understand our pasts, to learn from them, to move forward, and to create a strong, magical future.

I’m not originally from the South – I’m an transplant from the Rocky Mountain States. But I’ve lived here in North Carolina longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. This place has become my home, and I’m so very proud to include myself in a network of strong, magical, ethical, talented, friendly folks.

“From Florida to Virginia, South Carolina to Texas,

From the cities of New Orleans, Charleston, Atlanta, Asheville. and beyond.

From the Appalachian Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley,

From the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Ocean, to the low country and plains,

Welcome to Mystic South.”

See you at Mystic South 2019!

recap - Mystic South 2017

Last modified on
Trivia is a social worker, freelance writer, minister, and priestess. She loves to have a good adventure. Follow her exploits on Twitter ( and on Tumblr (!
Author's recent posts


Additional information