It’s been an amazing two-and-a-half days at Pantheacon!
I spent Saturday rehearsing for my workshops later in the day. Then I went to the exclusive Llewellyn party. Thanks to Elysia for setting it up. I had a great chance to meet and greet long-time friends and meet some new Llewellyn authors. Unfortunately, the room was rather dark and since my camera didn’t have a flash, the pics didn’t come out. Sorry.
Then I gave my first workshop: why the LBRP (Lesser Banishing ritual of the Pentagram) matters. I presented the idea that magick requires three things:
- The ability to raise or generate magickal energy (both from interior and exterior sources)*
- The ability to manipulate the energy you’ve raised
- The knowledge of what to do with that energy
I pointed to the sources of the LBRP (early Jewish bedtime prayers and the work of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) and pointed out that the ritual is the only one taught in the outer degrees of the Golden Dawn. As such, it was not only for banishing, but for learning how to work with three necessities of magick.
I had a brief break, then gave another workshop, entitled “The Séance Experience.” The goal of this workshop was three-fold. To give history and information about séances, to let people experience what a Victorian séance was like, and to combine this with modern “ghost hunter” technology. The result was extraordinary! I started out by exposing how fakes could easily fool people in the dark room of a séance, revealing how a fake medium could make it appear as if spirits had passed a metal hoop through flesh and blood. Then we tried several other experiments. Perhaps the most amazing occurred when a heavy table suddenly rose straight up about two or three feet into the air! Afterwards, people examined the table but couldn’t get the same effect by any known trickery.
Finally, we had the “dark séance.” The room was placed in darkness for about 15 minutes while I asked for spirits to appear. People called out that they were touched by something, smelled smoke, felt water dropping on them, had “tingling on half of their bodies,” and many more phenomena. All in all, I think everyone enjoyed the “experience.”
On Sunday I had a chance to attend several workshops. First was a panel put on by Llewellyn. The topic was “Are YOU a Pagan? Are we?” It was about the nature and value (or lack thereof) of the term “Pagan.” Is it limited to certain spiritual systems? Is it so broad in meaning that it becomes meaningless? If there are two spiritual systems that are very similar, and on calls itself Pagan while the other doesn’t, what is the difference? What do you think? Are you a Pagan or do you dislike having that term applied to you?
Later I saw Dr. Sabina Magliocco speak on the culture around “La Befana: the Italian Winter Witch.” She revealed the history of the Befana and how she is currently seen in many places. It was a very interesting historical lecture, although it did have some problems with the computer tech.
Later I saw a workshop with Chic Cicero about Israel Regardie. It revealed many interesting stories about Regardie, some of which included Chic’s personal experience with the man. Chic also described how he had been working with the Golden Dawn system for decades and his Vault of the Adepti had been consecrated by Regardie—the only such Vault in existence in the world.
In his earlier workshop, Chic had shown photos of that Vault, something that, traditionally, never should have been done. In this workshop about his relationship with Regardie, he stated that he, like Regardie, believed that the information on the system needs to be shared, not hidden away. As a result, Chic revealed that in forthcoming books, he and his wife are going to be revealing some previously secret and unpublished Golden Dawn knowledge and techniques (rather than keeping them private to aggrandize power and money for themselves). This, in my opinion, is great news for all people who are interested in the Golden Dawn system. It’s a policy that agrees with my earlier blog post.
One of my great joys this Pantheacon has been to spend time with my long-time friends, the Ciceros. It’s been about a decade since I saw them. I also had a chance to spend some time with Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor. They, too, are great friends, and I hadn’t seen them since they moved across country a few years ago. I’ll be seeing more of them in Florida in a few months (more on FPG in a future blog post).
I should also mention that my wife, Holly, showed what a trooper and professional she is! Holly was ill on Friday with a debilitating case of food poisoning or stomach flu. Even so, she taught a strenuous and very well-received workshop in Yoga on Saturday morning. It completely filled the room with people! She rested for the remainder of the day and then helped me with my two workshops. She’s incredible…but I’m prejudiced.
It’s just after 11:30 p.m., and tomorrow Lon DuQuette, Holly and myself trek back south with great memories of a great con. Thanks to Glenn Turner, owner of Ancient Ways occult shop in Oakland, California, for putting on this amazing event.
*I realize that some magicians today take the point of view that magick does not involve the use of energy. As I mentioned in my workshop, this is another subject and for this workshop was taking the classical approach.