Baxil (baxil) wrote,

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Restless on the con floor

To expand on a comment I tweeted earlier about Pantheacon being an adjustment:

Every con has its flavor. Compared to scifi/regional/general cons, furry cons are a lot more hands-on and close-knit, because a much higher proportion of the fandom is creators and there's a much more DIY aesthetic than with fans of various flavors of traditional media. Pcon is DIY too, but in a different way. It's a gathering of the tribes - the various organized sub-units of the giant mass known as "pagan," from Wicca and Thelema and druidry to the shamanic/neoshamanic paths, reconstructionists, Discordians, voudou, and even farther afield (I have seen "feri", pronounced "fairy" but from a Latin root that shares its etymology with "feral", a number of times and there's apparently a fairly prominent group behind it).

You don't have to be from a tradition to attend - but it sure helps. Virtually every event and/or ritual is put on by one "tribe" or another and is in that group's style. There is a lot of magic being thrown around the con, and .. in some weird way ... that unsettles me.

I'm an eclectic mage. ("Everyone here is, dear," a friend of a friend said while we were chatting last night. While this is probably true in our modern syncretic era, when I say so about myself I make a stronger statement, that I have no "source" tradition to identify myself by.). And, more seriously, through some circumstance or accident I have largely been conditioned to view magic - energy work - as an intimate act. In the literal sense of the phrase; an act of opening up an unguarded place within you, revealing a secret, letting yourself touch and be touched in a special place.

Clearly this is a minority view. I'm okay - even relieved - that it doesn't work that way for everyone; the benefit of magic being shared far outweighs my own personal discomfort. But it does have a badly isolating effect. I have a really hard time doing energy work that is either public or with strangers; so rituals at a venue like a pagan convention are basically guaranteed to intimidate me.

Beyond that, I do appreciate the chance to socialize and network - but even there, it's a challenge talking to strangers about magic work or even theory. (it's safer, but still a bit daunting, on the Internet; for a post like this I can pretend I'm writing notes to myself, and then the act of sharing isn't a conversation with strangers, it's a button press.) I also don't open up to new people well, even about nonmagical topics. So I spend a lot of conventions being an extroverted introvert with folks I already know and like. Pagan cons even more so.

And that's tougher here. More than any othe con I go to, Pcon attendees are here for the events, to share ritual space and talk theory and chill with their tribe. Last night, a little after 11, all of the various event rooms were packed to bursting, the parties were all swinging - and the halls were empty. Until I found the DJ'ed dance and hit the floor, it was like I was wandering through the Monday-afternoon ghost con, when 2/3 of the attendees are already home and the rest are packing or catching up on their sleep.

I still haven't hit any rituals or other energy-work events this year and I'm not sure I will. I'm looking forward to lupagreenwolf's Therioshamanism ritual in an hour or two, but it's a performance ritual, not participatory. I've also got half a dozen friends to hang out with. But still, after several years, Pcon makes me feel like a n00b in ways that other cons don't.

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Edited to add: There are some con-badge ribbons floating around with the phrase "ouk gnosko touto legei." This is wholly unGoogleable and the ribbon owners I've asked don't know either (just took it because it sounded cool). Anyone want to win a bunch of Baxil points and solve that mystery? </p>

ETAx2: So of course not two hours later I'm anointed official edge guardian for lupagreenwolf's therioshamanism healing ritual, transforming most of my comments into hollow emo whining. This is a consequence I am happy to live with. Although the greater points about the tribalism of the con, and my attitude about magic being intimate, still stand.

Tags: conventions, magic, via ljapp

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