Monday, February 20, 2012

Pagan Conferences

Blessings Darlings!

Let me state this, again, up front:  If Z Budapest trashed "Niggers" and "Kikes" as she does "trannies" - do you really think she'd be invited to any conferences? If she banned Jewitches, and said "Kikes are just animals in human clothes, so they can't come to my rituals. Oh, that's hurtful? They still aren't coming, but I'm sorry THE TRUTH hurts" ....

Anyway ...

I'm now going to talk about what the roles of Pagan Conferences are or should be in the US.

I'm not talking about conferences by any one particular religious group for its members or people who want to participate in that particular religion.  I'm talking about a conference open to everyone in the Pagan community who can and will pay the admission price.  Many of them will come from far away, many won't be affiliated with a local pagan group or local pagan community.  Those that come who are involved in a local group aren't at the conference to learn more about their home group even if members ARE giving classes - they can get those at home, after all.  They traveled to the conference to get stuff that is NOT available at home.

Let's look at the "about" statements of several conferences/festivals on my side of the country:

"The Sacred Space Conference is a place and time of respectful sharing and thoughtful learning among the many rich and varied traditions, beliefs, paths and organizations found in the DC/Baltimore metropolitan region, the surrounding Mid-Atlantic area, and the world.  It is our hope that through this conference we will increase understanding and religious tolerance between the many traditions within the esoteric community, as well as within the public at large."

"Between The Worlds is an interfaith esoteric conference sponsored by the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, a Wiccan non-profit religious organization. This conference is an opportunity to experience learning and rituals from a wide range of esoteric Paths."

"The Free Spirit Alliance is a spiritual networking organization serving the Pagan and Pantheist religious communities. Founded in 1985, our focus is and has been on presenting national, regional, and local events where people from all backgrounds can learn and share ideas. "

Learning and sharing, among a wide-range of folks.   Nothing less than that.  

Learning. Sharing.  Being exposed to the thoughts and rituals of many different groups.   Rituals to experience how those groups worship and work with energy.

That's what I say Pagan Conferences are for.

That said .....



None of those descriptions have anything about deliberately life changing rituals.  No promises of healing. No offer of spiritual breakthroughs.  


I really worry for folks who seek spiritual breakthroughs at Pagan conferences, especially those who go back to being without group and community back home.  

Because 'breaking' and 'breaking through' is relatively easy.  Putting things back together in a new order - that is hard.  And is best done with the support of groups and community, not alone.  

Non-magical example:  I lived in the middle of Illinois for years.  One local therapist loved to help women separate out all their different parts.  Like ... dissociation/multiple personalities.  She honestly felt that doing this lead women to emotional breakthroughs.  But she never put them back into a cohesive whole.  Breaking the old without putting a new framework in place - simple destruction - left a trail of less functional, more broken, individuals.

Magical breakthroughs are very similar.  Looking at the coven I'm now in .... The coven was created (at the auspicious time) and we all became members.  And even that energy - no initiations, no elevations, just forming a coven and becoming members! - manifested in chaos in members lives.  Divorces and marital issues, unemployment and financial problems, internal communication issues, etc.  

Or even an encounter with the sweet, healing Goddess Bridget as Crone - where She announced She was going to work me over like she works a sword on Her forge - left me physically ill for months. Worked over, indeed!

Change SOUNDS great.  Change INVOLVES chaos.  We had each other, the group, the tradition and it's other members/HPs/HPSSs/Elders to rely on, and it was still chaotic.  

An actual spiritual breakthrough, at a conference, away from home, and you have to deal with travel after it ... and then being alone to deal with the chaos if you aren't part of a group.

And it doesn't matter if the breakthrough is 'healing'.  Healing is equally chaotic, especially if you are healing from long-standing issues.  You've build structure in your life around being broken.  Yes, you've shattered the Tower.  But you are now in mid-air, with debris around you and on every place you would land. NOW the real work starts.  And the ritual leader/healer doesn't stay in your life.  You are on your own.  Who is back home to even talk with about what is good to keep and what must be junked in your life?  Who can see magically what is going on that you might not be aware of, now brought to the surface?   

Because healing one area is going to bring up other areas that need healing, or areas you overcompensated in.  There will be fallout.  It was be ... yes ... chaos.

And if you do not have group/community back home, you will be alone.  With new chaos. 

Which is why life changing rituals, healings, etc, are to be done in your area, with people who are going to be around afterwards finishing the job - helping you clear up the chaos.

Let me summarize:

Pagan conferences are for sharing.
Pagan conferences are not for breakthroughs unless you seek a break-down.

Frondly, Fern 



  1. Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! You are precisely right on all counts(IMNHO lol.) Sharing with an almost unseemly exuberance! :)

  2. Makes lots of sense! If i ever get the privelage of going to a pagan conference (or any for that matter) i'll be sure to keep this in mind

  3. Well it's symptomatic of this whole 'Modern Pagan Movement'.
    "An actual spiritual breakthrough, at a conference, away from home, and you have to deal with travel after it ... and then being alone to deal with the chaos if you aren't part of a group."
    this also applies to the stand alone workshop/seminars, and the 'self help guruism", which is so prevalent, and bleeds over into these conferences and festivals, which feature the self help gurus as presenters, and though the conferences themselves may not tout such things, many of the presenters at such conferences do.