After a rough year, I decided it was time to press the reset button on my spiritual life.
What better place to do that than one of the largest pagan gatherings in America: PantheaCon, held annually on President’s Day weekend in San Jose, California.
Despite arriving before the opening ritual on Friday and staying through Sunday evening, there was not enough time to take every class, participate in every ritual and see everyone I wanted to. Still, I took some amazing classes, met up with old friends, rebuilt some old bridges, bought some beautiful handmade witchy crafts from pagan vendors, got a great tarot reading, and made at least one new friend.
The two big experiences of the weekend:
I was given a new spiritual direction.
For weeks, I pored over the PantheaCon program to decide exactly the classes I wanted to take. I built a detailed schedule of panels (a mix of home witchcraft, shamanism and divination) that promptly went out the window on Day One, when I realized I am being led to work with land and elemental spirits.
I ended up taking classes on land and house spirits, mapping earth energies, working with water spirits and doing urban magic. I took a few other classes, but this was definitely the “theme” of the weekend and it has opened up entirely new paths on my spiritual journey.
I had a rough ritual experience.
Every year, the Asatru/Heathen group Seidhjaller (associated with Hrafnar Kindred in California) performs Oracular Seidh at PantheaCon. I’m not the best person to educate on seidh (pronounced, approximately, “say-th“), but it is essentially a form of group oracle where the entire room goes on a shamanic journey with a single seeress, who then answers questions for the group.
I’ve been involved in Heathenry and worked with Hrafnar in the past (though I no longer truly consider that my path), so I was very familiar with the ritual, songs sung, etc. I hadn’t planned to go, but did so at the last minute. I was, surprisingly, the first called to ask a question.
I explained I’d been fighting cancer for a year, and asked for any advice. The seeress gave me advice about listening to my doctors and not well meaning friends and then asked if I had more questions. I said no and thank you (the cue to the seeress that the question is over), and the priestess running the event called on the next person. Suddenly, the seeress gestured to me and said:
“Oh, by the way, it will spread, but not bad and they’ll get it the second time.”
I wasn’t prepared for it, so it caught me off guard and frankly, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I sat there silently sobbing for the rest of the event (about an hour), and needed a lot of time to ground and refocus before I was fit to leave. (I did have help from the group’s warders, including one who brushed off an opportunistic spirit that had attached to me.)
It was so upsetting because, though it sounds like good news in the end, spread would still be an awful thing to deal with and cancer treatment is, to be frank, barbaric. Hearing I’d have to go through it again, was…
Now, I need to be clear about a few things. First, and most importantly, I may have misheard this, and I have friends who are double checking to independently verify that I heard what I did. But I have to assume I did, so here are two things to keep in mind.
1.) The seeress was led to say what she was led to say. The delivery wasn’t great, to be totally honest, because I thought the question was over and was not prepared to hear that. But the message is the message. That’s not the seeress’ fault.
2.) This isn’t some crazy notion. The chances of my type of cancer spreading or returning are, sadly, very high. And my type of cancer does spread in very specific ways and to very specific organs. Some of those types of spread are, indeed, way easier than others to treat, and many people do have to go through two treatments, and then are cured and live long, happy lives.
So this message is not different from what I have heard from my doctors and what I know about my type of cancer.
Overall, I’m really grateful I attended PantheaCon. I received new spiritual guidance, got a difficult but needed message and really feel like I’m starting fresh on this path. If you ever have the chance to attend, do it!
I’ll be giving more detailed reviews of classes and other experiences soon.