Monday, February 21, 2011

Roberts Review of Pantheacon 2011!

The following is a review of several classes, lectures and group events that I attended. Towards the bottom, I've included personal stuff and some and the quote of the Con. My readers may be a bit surprised by the long time celeb that uttered said quote. There is also one of those statements that tend to get me in trouble from time to time. So be it! Enjoy.

Separated at Birth?
John Michael Greer
Chris Rock

John Michael Greer ROCKed THE HOUSE!

As those of you that either know or have seen John Michael, you know that he is so brilliant that his head glows in the dark. That said, some of his events have been rather dry, not anymore. I noticed a huge change when he spoke at Pantheacon on Secret Societies a year or two back. He had us rolling.

This year he spoke on the Picatrix as translated by himself and Chris Warnock. Along with treating us to insights regarding the perceptions of the ancients and our own perceptions of magick, he made us laugh. I mean solid funny stuff. There was no need to conjure up polite laughter at all. He was greatly informative as always but has added great humor to his presentation. He made us laugh speaking on ancient astrological magick that few modern day people have the skill to practice anymore. Brilliant stuff.

I opted out of his discussion on the Future of Paganism in favor of the Gnostic Mass (see commentary below). My friends tell me that I missed the real show of the Con! Apparently, John Michael was belly clutching funny and as always very informative.

I have a friend that had to spend most of the weekend sick in her room. The only thing she got to see was John Michael's talk on the Future of Paganism. She said that one talk made the whole weekend worth it.

Don't miss John Michael's thought provoking material the next time you get an opportunity to see him!

John is the Winner of Robert's Award for Best Presentation in 2011 for his presentation on the Picatrix. The prize is top billing in this review. 

The Gnostic Mass

The Sirius Camp Gnostic Mass is a beautiful and enriching thing to behold. Vicki, Eldon and their Deacon, whose name I never caught, were nothing short of outstanding. Every time I have seen them, I think that this is the way Crowley wanted it done. I say that having attended my share of Gnostic Masses and the two of the DuQuette's Ninth Degree classes on the Mass.  This is a very difficult invite to get due to room size but if you get the chance, I cannot recommend them enough. I may pass next year just to give someone else the opportunity.

Orion Foxwood

Orion Foxwood is a root worker and initiated into some of the more intense trad(s) of the craft. He is also a showman! Orion is funny, personable and really has a message. I'm not saying he's preaching but the man has something to say and he says it. This is not a dry fact sort of guy at all.

I was rather amused to watch him do a ceremony that used a three-fold breath right out of the three mother letters of the Qabala. Ahhhhhhh, Mmmmmmmm, Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, say it with me people! Aleph, Mem and Shin! These letters represent air, water and fire respectively.

I am not sure if this is a matter of current convergence or if he simply teaches disguised Qabala from time to time to the general public, many of whom would be asleep at the very mention of the word Qabala.

No one sleeps in Orion's workshops! I recommend sitting in. He would be on my list to see again, especially if he were to deeply discuss conjure in a way this Ceremonial Magician/Free Form Greek Mage? Seer? Oracle? could understand.

On a later panel, Orion acted with absolute class and earned this blogger's respect. There is more on that a bit later in this post.

Crystal Blanton

Crystal is a new comer to me but maybe not to you. She spoke on using Restorative Justice within pagan groups to resolve conflicts and hold covens, groups and groves together.

Crystal has tons of experience in the field, was a solid speaker, actual kept a group exercise at the Con moving smoothly, which is no easy feat, and was thoroughly pleasant and approachable. Hers was the only book I purchased at the Con this year.

Restorative Justice seeks to resolve the issues brought about by a transgression or perceived transgression without holding anyone to blame. It appears to teach a type of long term emotional awareness. Though, she never used that word. Further, I think the technique she taught will build stronger communities and even smooth over some of the rough feathers that occur between our various tribes.

I have barely begun the book, Bridging the Gap - Working Within the Dynamics of Pagan Groups and Society. So, I cannot review it yet but I love this line, "We owe our people more than first-class ritualists that are second-class leaders."

I plan on a review of this book in the future. It may be a long future as I plan to put the book to good use.

Weiser Panel on Dion Fortune Demon Lover

This panel consisted of a very quite Lon Milo DuQuette, Diane Paxson, T. Thorn Coyle, Ivo Dominguez Jr., Zee Budapst and Orion Foxwood. I suppose the discussion was mildly interesting. What struck me was the very poor deportment of one of the panelists. This continued through the entire discussion and culminated after a very poignant story told my Mr. Foxwood. It was one of those stories all mages have about their own ego inflation and how the gods took them down a peg. The response of this person was very unprofessional. What was said could have been said a hundred different ways and no one would have batted an eye. Unfortunately, this panelist did not explore any of those hundred approaches to the topic.

After a momentary expression of shock, Orion responded with pure class and smiles. He either is very professional, has done The Work, or both. Orion earned serious Robert Respect Points with that one. 

There was another surprise for me there. Diane Paxson mentioned that almost of their* work owes a great deal tot the Golden Dawn. The other panelists shock their heads in agreement. Check those names one more time, if you like. Further, she revealed that she once belonged to a ceremonial magick lodge founded by...Marion Zimmer Bradley. Yes, Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley.
Frater Barrabbas

Fellow blogger Frater Barrabass presented on working magick under the cycles of the moon and demonstrated that there are more than just four. Further, he showed your magick doesn't have to be done all at once. A planned series of magicks can have a much deeper impact.

Tony Mierzwicki

Once again, the fates conspired to keep me out of Tony Mierzwicki's lecture. Having met him and spoke with him, I have no doubt that he is doing good work with Greek Magick. I am more than a bit curious why I can never make his classes or get interrupted mid-class. I can also never seem to get to his book. It has become one of those things where I'm fighting against the universe. I have every indication that it has everything to do with me and nothing to do with Tony's work.

If you're into the Greeks, I believe catching Tony when you can will be informative.

The Quote of the Con and Personal Stuff

"Evil is ignorance combined with power." Z. Budapest

I enjoyed a brief discussion with Frater Barrabbas and Tony Mierzwicki on some points on working with the Helpful Deity. The Frater asked a good question which I will post on soon.

I really enjoyed being looked up by fellow past P-Con presenter Jason Mankey. Jason does a lot of presentations on Pan and puts on the famous Morrison Ritual. Unfortunately the Con took none of his presentations this year. If you've seen him in the past, write the Con Ops folks on their feedback form and ask they bring Jason back. He's a good guy with good information.

Next Year, I will present again, assuming the good folks at Ancient Ways see their way clear to include me.


I learned something in the midst of a tarot reading this go around. Look for an upcoming post on Qabalistic Tarot entitled "Your Job Is Not Being Psychic"

1 comment:

Crystal Blanton said...

Thank you so much for attending my workshop and giving feedback as well. I look forward to hearing from people what they thought and how they see it applying. This helps me to grow within my self and professionally in our community. I am honored you bought the book and want to give a personal thank you for your blog, presence and honesty in the process. Many blessings to you and future communications. keep in touch!