One of the things I talked about as the keynote speaker for the 6th annual Conference on Pagan Studies at the Claremont Graduate College is the need for community. I wrote that simply writing to people through the internet is valuable, but not enough. We need to have in-person communication in order for the community to survive and thrive. I wrote:
“The methodology for creating safe Neopagan community, however, is in place. In 1971, Carl Llewellyn Weschcke organized what may be the first modern U.S. occult festival in Minnesota, called Gnosticon.¬†By 1974 he was holding the Witchmeet, perhaps the first modern U.S. Pagan festival. Over the next 35 years, the number of Pagan festivals has grown dramatically. I have attended ones where attendance was only a few dozen people and others where thousands of people participate. Some, such as the Pagan Pride Day events, last for just a day. Others‚Ä¶last for a weekend. Perhaps the largest weekend convention in the U.S. is Pantheacon currently held each year in February during the President‚Äôs Day weekend in San Jose, California.”
I am very honored to be presenting at Pantheacon this year. I’ll be giving three workshops, one on psychic self-defense, one on future trends in magick, and one on sex magick rituals. I’ve spend a lot of time on the computer making sure the visual aspects of my workshops will entertain and inform. I’ll also have a special announcement during one of my workshops about a book coming out later this year.
Beside having the chance to meet with others of a like mind, going to vendors who have products you need, and attending my workshops (of course!), the other presenters make this one of the greatest events I’ve ever been at. I’d want to go even if I wasn’t presenting. Here are just a few of the other people presenting:
Deborah Blake, author of several Pagan books.
Luisah Teish, famed author, storyteller and priestess of the If√°/Orisha faith.
T. Thorn Coyle, famed musician, author, and teacher in the Feri and Reclaiming traditions.
Brandy Williams, Wiccan, magician, teacher and author.
Taylor Ellwood, author of numerous books and articles.
Lon Milo DuQuette, famous author, teacher, magician, musician, and Thelemite.
Z. Budapest, founder of the 1st feminist coven in 1971 and Pagan writer.
Kenny Klein, Pagan and Renaissance musician, performer and author.
R. J. Stewart, well known as a musician, storyteller, and author of numerous books on Paganism and magick.
Mary Greer, one of the world’s foremost authorities on and teachers of the Tarot.
Starhawk, one of the people responsible for helping modern Paganism become widely popular.
Lupa, a well-known Pagan writer.
Tony Mierzwicki, known for his writing and lecturing on Greek and Egyptian magick.
Diana Paxson, the well-known Pagan and author of science fiction and fantasy.
Gus diZerega, author of Pagans & Christians.
Ruth Barrett, a Dianic High Priestess, musician and author.
Athena Wallinder, a leader in the study of magick, especially Enochian magick.
Sylvia Brallier, author, teacher, and personal growth catalyst.
And these are just some of the wonderful people presenting at Pantheacon. There will be many more, as well as entertainment, music, rituals, dance, and lots of fun.
I really urge you to help build community among magickal folk. One way to do this is by attending events such as this one. If you can get to San Jose next weekend, please come to Pantheacon and say hello. I know you’ll have a blast and I’d love to meet you.
I’ll try to make a blog post when I’m there.