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Nona Sabbata

Nona Sabbata is my Latin jargon for "The Ninth Sabbat."

For over five years now our Coven has been providing open public [Wiccan] community rituals a minimum of twice a month. In all that time, of all of those rituals, we only cancel one of them each year. Because we're at PantheaCon. And by "we're" I mean over eight of us. We all load up one very large van, and pile into one very nice hotel suite. It's like a non-stop four day slumber party with your best friends, at your favorite intergalactic spiritual space station. Which no one seems surprised to find located in California's Silicon Valley.

Our events are an opportunity to disseminate important information in our community. We are always promoting articles from Witches & Pagans, Newly released books, news and current events via The Wild Hunt or the Newswire Collective and anything else we can remember. We start promoting PantheaCon at our circles fairly early in the season, read off some the the events when the schedule is released and keep reminding everyone that "we won't be here that weekend."

Quite often there are new people. New to Paganism, new to our town or new to our state. In many of these newness's they don't know what PantheaCon is. I offer several explanations, starting with the simple convention construct of classes, workshops, group rituals, music, dancing and drums circles; organizational hospitality suites, Pagan personalities, activists, elders and coveted authors.

Then there is the Mystery school construct:

"You can read a book about driving a car, you can take a class, watch a YouTube video and even be a passenger. But until you have the experience of *driving* you never really understand it fully. Pcon is like driving, it must be experienced to be understood."

I offer my final veneration of PantheaCon with grain of humor; "for some of us, it's the ninth Sabbat on the Wheel of the Year." Although it may be with tongue in cheek that make such a statement, I would point out that at least for those I know, it is the only Pagan event in which we make a "pilgrimage." As someone who has made many significant religious pilgrimages in his life, I recognize the inherent value in such an activity.

Your mileage may vary, and PantheaCon may not be your Mystery School Mecca. If it is not, I would urge you to ask yourself what would you deem worthy. I would encourage you to find your Nona Sabbata. And I would embolden you to make your pilgrimage, because it is not just the destination that is important, but also the path.

Thank you Lord and Lady for not making it too close, or too far away.

Blessed Be


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Joseph Merlin Nichter holds a Master’s Degree in Human Services Counseling, specializing in Crisis Response and Trauma; a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, specializing in Military Resilience; and an Associate’s Degree in Religion. He is a state licensed Residential Care Administrator, and is a certified Law Enforcement Chaplain. As the first state-recognized Minority Faith Chaplain; Joseph provided religious services and facilitated religious accommodations for a diverse population of faith practitioners, on behalf of the California Department of Corrections, and has also served as an Alternative Religions Program Instructor for the California Department of Mental Health. Joseph has authored two books and a number of articles, published both online and in periodicals such as Modern Witch Magazine, Living Stones Magazine, and Witches & Pagans Magazine.


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