I don't even know where to start, so I'll just jump right in. Yes, this is the guide I wish I had. You start planning July 1 as that is when pre-registration begins, for Feb. the following year. It's always on President's Day weekend and it's always 4 days. For one fee of $65 you get it all. The only thing you need to add is Hotel, Air and your meals. If you're like me, you're too excited to eat and there is so much to do that you will want to do it all, but you know you can only do a day at a time and you will try to jam as much as you can into those days. It will also go so fast that by the time you are leaving you are wondering where that 4 day weekend even went. Trust me.
The world is your oyster here, there are so many Pantheons to learn about, you have the African Diaspora, Voodoo, Santeria, Candomble, Umbanda, Yoruba, Asatru, Celtic, Druid, Hellenic, Egyptian, Wicca, Faeri, Goddess, Shamanic, Ceremonial, Norse, so many Traditions at your fingertips. There really is no other event that mingles so many tribes as PantheaCon. It's always in San Jose, California and it's always at the DoubleTree.
When the full schedule comes out in January you are circling everything you want to do and then some. It's first come first served and the rooms are all fairly close so you can move about with ease. No reservations for anything, you simply find your room and have a seat. If you see a line it's usually for one of the big name speakers, so get there early. The day is broken into chunks of 9a, 11a, 1:30p, 3:30p, 5p, 7p, and 11p with half hour breaks in between, so you have plenty of time to stay for your lecture and move to the next one. I made everything I wanted to do and then some. Only one talk was canceled and let me tell you the one I substituted it with was better than I could have imagined. Cool surprises happen all the time so let yourself be awed by not planning everything too. If you have a feeling go with it, it'll usually lead you where you need to be. You can dress any way you want. Style it for rituals, be casual by day or dress in costume everyone is in place and comfortable.
I got serenaded by Lon Milo DuQuette before meeting a past life..
Jason Mankey taught us about Wiccan Jesus…
Elysia Gallo encouraged me to write a book…
Devin Hunter and W Storm Doyle plied me with bubbly…
I went to a Green Fairy Party. Apparently they are legendary, and I can see why, forty-six bottles of authentic imported European absinthe, in an unprecedented thirty varieties to select from!
If you are like me, you have a library full of books and are always collecting new ones. Weiser Books had an amazing meet and greet and breakfast and coffee to boot. There were authors about and I met some I had not. It set the tone for the whole weekend. Meeting the very people who would be speaking in the coming days was a delight.
Llewellyn Worldwide had a meet and greet in the coming days as well as a New Books Launch Party, and even a Publishing FAQ where they answered the most common questions about publishing and submitting manuscripts, what to expect, how to market and promote. It was amazingly informative.
Evenings are filled with Banquets and Witch's Balls, Rituals or having a quiet dinner with friends. Whatever you want, you can have. In between the lectures there is even time to shop, and the shopping is awesome. Tarot, Crystals, Clothes, Books, Decor, Ritual items, it's all here and you'll love it.
Some of my favorite rituals attended were:
A Brigid Healing Ritual given by Selena Fox where we were taken through a guided meditation and energy work. We held a space for healing for the planet as well. Evoking change does wonders for yourself and those around you.
Christopher Penczak facilitated a wonderful ritual where we worked from our sacred center, each finding our vision, inspired by the prophets, psychics and oracles through time.
Managing Psychic Sensitivity with Ivo Dominguez Jr. was a workshop I loved. He took us through techniques to manage sensitivity, how to check in to determine if energy may not be your own, and how to harness excess energy so that it can be used, not just abated. Feeling where in your body energy hits was a good lesson, as well as grounding, shielding and expanding yourself instead of recoiling.
Pop Culture Magick with Emily Carlin was most inspiring, she amazed me. Turns out my going outside the box with utilizing Pazuzu as a deity of choice and working with Zuni from Trilogy of Terror in my Magic is cool. In fact it's a thing...Pop Culture Magick, where anything goes, yes Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings characters, people from your favorite movies, tv shows and even video games are all the universe of interesting and amazing enhancement to your magic. The stories you love can be the stories you utilize in your magic. Anything held dear to your heart can be used as a tool. What do you like? Identify with the emotion it produces. It's powerful. Read your favorite book, use that energy to feed and nourish you magically. Don't write off anything. It's more potent than you realize. Even the pieces from games can be used, like putting a little Superman in a Mojo Bag, or using your cuff bracelet like Wonder Woman before a board meeting, ala “no power in the world can stop me”.
Jason Mankey was awesome, high energy, made us all laugh with his sarcastic quips. Gerald Gardner is “Wiccan Jesus”. His power point presentations are very efficient and he does it with ease, while others, even people at my job have challenges with sound or focus on the screen. He even entertains you with a little presentation going as you grab your seat and wait, while he shares personal trivia and funny things for the heck of it. He was also an engaging speaker once the lecture got under way. Whether Tales of the Horned God or all about Athames & Other Pointy Things, I was taking furious notes and enjoying every minute.
I could go on all day, but know I need to wrap this up. I'll end with a theme of Dark Magic that was felt and heeded. You know the old saying 'a witch that can't Hex can't Heal”. Dangerous times are upon us and you need to be prepared. Byron Ballard took us through Appalachian Folk Magic and Willful Bane. Diving into history, and the practical use of dollies, sachets, vinegar, chicken feet, mirrors, boxes and marshmallows was a joy. Bottles and mason jars will never be looked at the same way again. She made me feel I can raise a storm in my own backyard!
The Dark Side of Druidry with John Beckett took hold and made an impact. Yes, there is a dark side to Druidry and it's as much a part of our heritage as plant lore and poetry. In this world full of oppression and injustice, it's also necessary. Contentious, dangerous, harmful, what scares us is sometimes necessary. The art of wild wisdom. Let's be clear throughout history Celts and Druids fought together and had an undefeatable will to succeed. Strength and bravery were afoot.
Yes PantheaCon is still in my brain and I am full of all the wonderful information and knowledge shared. I highly recommend this to everyone as an informative respite to the month of Feb. for anyone.