Monthly Archives: February 2014

Pantheacon 2014

My car is under there somewhere.

My car is under there somewhere.

Winter storm  Seneca stranded me without the internet on my way back from Pantheacon.  Not that this was a great hardship.  I had to go pick up Orion from my parents home in Northern Minnesota and the idea of a 3 hour drive back into the storm vs a few extra days with my parents made for an easy (smart) decision.

Being without the distractions of “coming back” for a few extra days gave me a chance to really absorb my Pantheacon experiences.  Crystal Blanton suggested to me that Pantheacon might be a pilgrimage.  I dashed off a response and she included it in her article for The Wild Hunt.  That thought has stayed in my mind throughout the coming home process, especially given the weather delay.  What if this were a spirit journey?  What opportunities has this apparent obstacle put into my path?  How would my experience have been different if I had approached the entire event as a pilgrimage?

Waiting for a hotel room - yes I'm as tired as I look!

Waiting for a hotel room – yes I’m as tired as I look!

There were plenty of extra obstacles in the way this trip.  There was the issue leaving and almost missing the plane.  They called at least 10 names on that flight over the speakers.  Southwest didn’t staff for the possibility of the Atlanta flight being canceled.  We ended up in line behind them.

I did everything right, pre-printed the boarding pass, got to the airport early.   I’ve never waited so long just to check my bags!  I asked and was told there was no other option.  As we pushed ahead in line at TSA the agent decided that the 3 people who’d seen my boarding pass already were wrong and I wasn’t on a flight out of Minneapolis at all!  He was corrected and facilitated my EASY pass through security in return for his mistake.  The flight crew was extra kind, knowing how frustrated we all were with the ticketing window.  What a way to start the trip!

Transferring planes in Denver the gate got moved so the walk was further than I’d hoped.  At the hotel room wasn’t ready and the convention didn’t have my registration.  One step at a time, one problem at a time, one solution at a time and a little help from my friends.  That first day I ran into old friends and joined them for lunch.  I got hand-held by the convention staff.  I got invited to “hang out” in another friend’s room across the hall while I waited for mine to be cleaned.  I found the woman I’d agreed to share a room with and we spent some time getting reacquainted.  I attended my first workshop and made a new friend.  I had dinner with Crystal and her family.

Sneaking out included Nitrogen frozen ice cream at http://smittenicecream.com

Sneaking out included Nitrogen frozen ice cream at http://smittenicecream.com

Any convention or festival like this is an exercise in priorities and pacing.  There were a lot of workshops I was interested in: a panel on privilege, a workshop on medical clergy, a celebration of the Mighty Dead none of which I attended.  The things I did attend where exactly what I needed and sometimes I opted out just to take care of myself.  Elevating swollen ankles beats sitting on an uncomfortable hotel chair hands down, no matter how good the workshop might be.  It’s an age thing I suppose.  I even left the convention one evening to join local friends out for dinner.  That was an extra treat and well worth the time.  The fact that the food was as good as the company didn’t hurt either.  Hotel food is expensive and a little boring.

The highlight of this year’s Pantheacon for me wasn’t the workshops I attended (although they were spectacular) but having the opportunity to present one of my own.  I suspected that I would have a larger turn out than I’m used to for my presentation of “Daily Practice Sucks”, but I never expected I’d fill a double conference suit and that the staff would need to bring in extra chairs!  It’s a good title.

It was also apparently a good workshop.  For the rest of the conference I found myself in conversations with people who’d attended.  People would stop me in the halls and thank me for such a great workshop.  I’d sit down at breakfast and somebody would come by and tell me that my workshop was exactly what they needed.  I had one woman tell me she’d already put some of my suggestions into practice and it changed her life!

I've admired Blossom's work for years.  http://www.weavingmonk.com

I’ve admired Blossom’s work for years. http://www.weavingmonk.com

My ego almost as swollen as my ankles, I floated through the rest of the convention.  I visited some of the hospitality suites.  I attended a few more workshops.  I even managed to squeeze out some time in the hot tub, although that’s because we stayed an extra night.  I’m always impressed with the quality of the workshops I find at Pantheacon and this year was no exception.   The vendors also tend to be high quality with some real artistry and reasonable, but appropriate pricing.  Year after year, what I come back for are the people.  It’s great to chat with other workshop presenters.  It’s pleasant to strike up a conversation over breakfast. It’s fun to pass on a kiss to someone you’ve never met from a mutual friend.  (Stephanie, I’m going to tell this story for a long time.)  And best of all is connecting with friends across the country that I don’t get to see very often.

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The Blog Of Immanion Press & Megalithica Books

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California

Clearly I have not mastered the selfie.  This is the balcony of my hotel room

Clearly I have not mastered the selfie. This is the balcony of my hotel room

I know it may seem I’m getting my blog out a little late this Monday morning, but honest it’s still REALLY early in San Jose.  I’m out here for Pantheacon (My regular readers will have seen previous years posts and several links to the con site in the last weeks.)  This is a convention for Pagan practitioners in the Bay Area and has become a national event.  I’ve met folks here from New York, North Carolina, Florida and Texas.  Not many this year from Minnesota through.

The locals are all complaining about the dry air.  I know that the area needs rain badly.  I also know that compared to living in forced air heating, well below zero, no humidity to be found air my skin is very happy with the moisture level.  My ankles may be swollen enough to be painful, but my heels are notably less cracked than they were just a few days ago.  63 degrees with the sun shinning is a treat not to be missed and I snuck an hour out of the day to put on my sunglasses and lounge by the pool.

I was on the schedule this year as a presenter, which has made this a very different experience for me than in previous years.  I find myself doing networking very actively.  This is hard work for me, but I’ve had some lovely conversations with people.  I even came out of nowhere to give Stephanie Taylor-Grimassi a big kiss!  Those of you who’ve listened to the The Priestess Show on Blog Talk Radio may know that Stephanie is another of the priestesses.  I’ve never actually met her in person, but Traci Logan Wood, our producer, asked me to give Stephanie a big hug and a kiss and I said I could do that.  It’s the kind of event (and Stephanie is the kind of person) where she didn’t instantly start screaming.  It was actually a good prank and it was great to meet her and her husband, Raven Grimassi, in person.

My publisher (Taylor Ellwood) is here and will also be coming to Minnesota for a convention in March.  We’ve been conspiring together between workshops.  It’s always nice to spend face time with people who are so important to the work I’m doing.  Taylor is additionally a sweet man and fun to talk to.  His wife has been very patient with him “checking up on hisImmanion Press authors”.

At the tarot table

At the tarot table

Because I’m a presenter I’ve also had the opportunity to do a book signing and tarot readings.  I took advantage of those events to make a few more contacts.  It will be great if I can manage to keep in touch with some of the folks I’ve met.  That’s not really my skill set either, but I know at least one of the women I’ve spoken with is now connected via Facebook.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that she’ll remember to send me the link to her favorite on-line women’s clothing store.

Next week when I’m home for real I’ll give you all more detail about my workshop presentation and the great friends I’ve been able to reconnect with.  In the meantime try not to be too jealous as you throw another log on the fire and curl up under you warm blankets.

Crazy

laundry isn't just about clothes to pack

laundry isn’t just about clothes to pack

I really think my head may explode.  I’m busy trying to get packed for Pantheacon.  I’m presenting a workshop this year and so on top of just figuring out how to get myself there and dressed I also need to pack my books and my workshop materials.  Do I send things to the hotel via U.S. Post?  Can I keep my bags under the checked bag weight limit when they’re full of books?  Can I pack the clothes AND shut the suitcase?  Crazy!

On top of that it’s time to be planning for Paganicon – in March.  I’m also presenting there and so I have logistics to figure out as well as preparing the workshop.  The good news is that (keep your fingers crossed) my second book  When Gods Come Knocking: An Exploration of Mysticism from a Deity Based Perspective is due to be released in time for the event!   All that is dependent on me finishing a final edit – one more thing on my list.

Getting materials together for the workshop

Getting materials together for the workshop

In the land of “who thought this was a good idea?” I have scheduled a doctor’s appointment for Orion on the day before and the day after this trip.  One of them is with a new doctor (that’s the before).  The immediately following appointment is because the doctor was out sick when we had the appointment reasonably scheduled and this was his next available date.  It’s NOT MY FAULT! Doesn’t change anything does it?

This morning I can’t find my cell phone so I’m in a panic.  (Did I leave it somewhere yesterday?)  I’m pretty sure that the bag with the books is too heavy and I’m going to have to get to the post office after all.  I’m not convinced my carry-on bag will be small enough.  Oh and the cat has noticed I’m packing and is – well, doing what cat’s do to express their displeasure.  ICK!

Will it all fit?

Will it all fit?

It’s Monday, so tonight is adaptive yoga.  Whoever put that into the schedule was brilliant! (If I do say so myself.)  Just what I need is an hour to unwind and be in the moment instead of planning for tomorrow, and the next day, and so on into the future.  Thinking ahead is making me CRAZY!

Breathe

Om

Did anyone notice these are the same links as last week?  I think I need a new groove!

Om

OH – I found my phone buried under a pile of clothes.  No wonder I couldn’t hear it ring.

Om

Attention

0203140928aOrion and I missed his bus this morning.

That’s an impossible statement, but apparently it happened.    It’s impossible because he rides Metro Mobility, which pulls up at the house and will come knock on the door for us if we’re not obviously waiting.   It’s impossible because we have breakfast in the living room and I sit right next to the window looking out on the driveway.  You can’t get to the door to knock without walking past.   It’s impossible because the driver says she went back and forth from the bus to the house knocking 3 times this morning.  (She knew she was early the first time, so she waited a bit before trying again.)

I didn’t hear a knock, didn’t see the driver walk past.  Orion didn’t hear the knock – or at least didn’t say “Oh!  There’s my bus!  Got to go!” which would be typical if he had heard the knock.  Somehow we weren’t paying attention.

Karina called this morning right about this time, so we were talking on the phone.  Breakfast, a phone call, I had a computer game running, I may have been a little distracted.  Karina had stayed up late at a Super Bowl party and gone into work right afterward so this was her “call you after work” daily check in.  She’s a baker, so going into work at 2am rather than 6am isn’t a big deal.  Getting a call when I’m waiting for the bus in the morning, rather than when I’m waiting for Orion to come home in the afternoon, apparently is a big deal.  I wasn’t paying attention.KarinaCalled

Karina was a little tired, didn’t get any sleep last night.  I’ve not been sleeping well either.  Being tired makes paying attention more difficult.  It’s harder to focus.  I’m not sleeping because I’m struggling with pain management.  That kind of chronic pain can be a distraction as well.  Paying attention to too many things isn’t paying attention.

Orion and I are taking an adaptive yoga class.  Mind Body Solutions offers a class at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute.  Yoga is all about being in the moment, paying attention to your body, trusting the messages your body sends.  We signed up for the class because I needed something to help me start moving.  I guess I need as much help with simply paying attention.

A lot of Spiritual practices are focused on paying attention.  That fully focused, in my body, in the moment attention is a struggle for me.  I don’t usually miss a lot.  I “multi-task” and I have a highly tuned “fill-in-the-blanks” function in my head.  It would be a good thing for me to work a little harder at practicing full attention spirituality.

I may not be sleeping well, but it makes it easier to remember my dreams.  I was dreaming I was driving in the snow with Orion and messing about on my phone.  I wasn’t texting.  I think I was trying to find an address.   I caught myself traveling blocks (blocks I used to ride my bike on as a kid) without looking at the road.  Scary.  Not paying attention.  Even my subconscious is sending me hints.

Do you catch yourself not paying attention?

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