Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Notes on Pantheacon 2010 - A Good Time Had By All

Well, I am back from Pantheacon today, although quite exhausted and tired from the long journey (a brutal 9 hour connecting flight) and the over-all lack of sleep due to adjusting to a two hour time difference, and the fact that there was just too much going on to get a decent night’s sleep. That being said, I will limp through the next couple of days and regain my rest and sanity incrementally.

So even though my brains feel like mush, I wanted to say a few things about my experience at the Con, talk about my classes and mention a few notables who impressed me. I met several really wonderful people while talking, visiting and attending lectures, and I learned some new things that I would also like to share with my readers. (Yes, I am always learning new things, not to mention having to amend or revise my opinions about various topics.)

First, I would like to mention that I was quite impressed with the workshops and the depth of knowledge as presented by three individuals who I had not previously crossed paths with. These were Athena Wallinder, Ivo Dominguez Jr and Donald Frew. All three gave presentations that were, in my opinion, quite unique and enlightening. I also attended the last few minutes of Dr. Jehon Gris’s presentation and purchased his multimedia CD of the lecture, which I intend on perusing at my leisure. I also got to spend some time with my good friend Tony Mierzwicki, who put on a presentation about Egyptian initiation rites, including stepping us all through an interesting egg spell from the PGM. Tony is by far probably one of the most adept and capable ritual magicians that I have met in some time, and his sole book is probably one of the greatest classics on magick that I have seen in quite some time. You find his book on amazon dot com here.

Athena Wallinder is a wonderful, zany, humorous, artistic, creative and brilliant occultist. Her knowledge is as wide as it is deep and insightful. Although she seems to be kind of jocular and funny much of the time, she is also quite deadly serious about her magickal practice. She is an Enochian magician and a goetic sorcereress of some note, you can find one of her web sites here. Athena actually set up a goetic temple in the middle of a moderately sized presentation room and stepped the attendees through the creation of a seal for the demon Buer, who is reputed to be a healing spirit. She was dressed in the expected garb of a sorceress, somewhat stylish and quite outlandish.

The first slide in her presentation was an image of the current Catholic pope with the word “Fear” emblazoned across the top, as a way to remind folks that having an open mind and approaching things with a bit of courage is important if one seeks to traffic with goetic demons. It was also ironic and quite funny. I suspect that more folks were probably more inimical and afraid of the pope than goetic demons. What I learned from her is that of the list of goetic demons, some of them are harsh and some are more compassionate, such as Buer or Vassago. I also noticed that she uses Egyptian gods and other reclaimed infernal entities as a means of self empowerment and magickal control. This is, of course, perfectly in alignment with some of my own opinions about goetic magick. I have discussed demons as a compete class of spirits instead of also looking at them as individuals, an omission that I will have to rectify and amend my opinions on this topic. Much of what I have stated in past articles I still believe today, but there are details and nuances to ponder in the days to come. Athena hasn’t changed my mind, but has powerfully opened it to other possibilities.

Ivo Dominguez Jr has been around the east coast pagan community for quite a number of years. This was the first time that I got to attend one of his presentations as well as be introduced to him and his perspectives on magick. I found his presentation to be very well thought out, concisely structured and extremely hilarious. Ivo had a number of very funny and even outrageous stories to tell, all of them quite relevant to the topic, I might add, which was practical earth based magick. Ivo’s main talking point was that simple and basic magick is available to everyone, and should be practiced and used to soften the hard edges of life and open one up to life’s many opportunities. He discussed an important point that to work earth based magick one needs to focus on energies and spirits that are close to the earth instead of more attempting to use the remote godheads or higher level spirits, such as angels or demigods.

I met Ivo the next morning and had a brief chat with him. I found that we were both in agreement on a lot of the areas of basic earth magick, that timing had a lot to do with one’s greater fortune. I found Ivo’s knowledge to be breathtakingly expansive. He knows basic practical forms of earth magick and he also is quite conversant with just about any other occult topic as well. I found him to be something of an understated expert in the discipline of astrology, which I also use extensively in my occult practices. Ivo is brilliant and also very down to earth, with a very clever and earthy sense of humor. I recommend his teachings, books and an opportunity to have tea or coffee with him in the future. His website can be found at this location.

Don Frew put on a brief presentation about how Neoplatonism is very important to both modern occultism and to earth based spirituality, such as wicca and neopaganism. He covered the history of neoplatonism, including the various greater luminaries of that philosophical system who lived in the first four centuries of the common era. He also compared the main features of that system of philosophy with modern witchcraft and magick. Since I have been a major proponent of what I call the union of being, representing the source and ultimate destiny of all spirits and godheads, it was good to know that my beliefs are not an outlier, and that they are well represented by neoplatonic philosophy. I will definitely have to examine this topic in much greater detail now that I have been shown the important of neoplatonism and the teachings of the Neoplatonists. Don is a Covenant of the Goddess National Interfaith Representative and witchcraft elder.

As for myself, I presented three workshops during the Pantheacon convention. I have already stated what these presentations were about and when they were to be presented. I will say this about each of them.

22 Steps of the Cycle of Initiation - Transformative Journeys: Friday 3:30 pm. This was my first class and it was probably my weakest performance. I was admittedly a bit tired and had not gone over the workshop notes before performing it, so in my own opinion I was not as prepared as I should have been. I focused too much on my notes and attempted to read from them too often, even though I knew the material pretty much by heart. I was not as accessible nor did I exhibit my rather infamous dry humor. I was a bit too keyed up and unable to relax. However, I still managed to present all of the material and I did succeed in communicating to the audience some very useful points and perspectives. I was somewhat disappointed by my performance, but others who attended didn’t seem to notice it as much as I did. The workshop was adequately attended, since the bulk of the attendees probably had not yet arrived to the convention. Anyway, I vowed to make certain that the next workshop would be much better presented. I had some ideas. Seeing the other presentations also really helped gel in my mind what I needed to do to present a better workshop. Keep in mind that this was the first presentation that I had done in quite a number of years, so I was a bit rusty, but the overall structure of the workshop was quite sound and allowed me plenty of time to present all of the necessary ideas.

The next workshop was the Art of Ritual Evocation: Saturday 9:00 pm. This workshop was well attended and I was well prepared for it. I had considered this workshop to be probably the hardest one to pull off, so I had gone over the notes quite thoroughly. So when it came time to give the presentation, I was confident, relaxed, funny and accessible. I talked to the attendees instead of talking to my notes. Audience response was good, the questions were relevant and thoughtful, and there was time to go over most of the material. What I didn’t do was go over the history of the grimoires, since I had mentioned them at various points of my talk and there wasn’t any time left to make an exhaustive study. What I did focus on was how individuals would use the old grimoires to perform magickal evocation. How I was able to put together a system of magick that allowed me to invoke spirits through a matrix and actually symbolically generate them. This concept was well received and opened a lot of eyes, since my audience consisted of mostly wiccan and neopagans, who were not too crazy about using the old grimoires to perform evocation. I was very pleased by my performance, since it represented what I needed to do in order to be confident and prepared. It also went a long way in restoring my confidence in my ability to give fun and informative presentations.

The last workshop was Elemental Magick - Using the Energy Theory of Magick: Monday 9:00 am. This workshop was surprisingly well attended, although not like the previous one - of course. I was pretty exhausted by this time, but I went over the material in the morning before my presentation, and drank a large cup of coffee, which seemed to revive me somewhat. However, I knew the material very well, having explained it to people and written about it for quite a number of years. Even though I was tired, I managed to give a good presentation and made certain that the attendees understood how an elaborated energy model of magick could be used to refine and focus the magick worked. I explained the importance of qualifying the energy via the four elements and also shaping and giving it a vector. I also touched on the basics of crystal magick and how more advanced systems of magick might be deployed using these structures in a more advanced methodology. I also brought together the ritual structures covered in the previous two workshops and showed how the gateway and the elemental octagon were used in conjunction with the septagon to generate the body and mind of the spirit. There were a few attendees who had attended all three and I could the lights turn on in their eyes when I pulled all of these threads together. For me it was the most gratifying thing that I personally experienced in all three of my classes.

So that was Pantheacon 2010 in a nutshell. I believe that I will seek to attend next year’s gathering, and see what new workshops I can present as well as attend.

Frater Barrabbas

1 comment:

  1. Your workshops were extremely wellspoken and well done. It is always nice to meet another magician who actually practices and has for some time. Well met.