Ninety percent of my PantheaCon time was spent taking classes (with one ritual and concert thrown in for good measure), so I thought I’d do a review of the ones I attended. Now, if you’re familiar with PantheaCon, you know that this is just a fraction of all that’s on offer, and the program changes every year. So your mileage will definitely vary.
I also have to say that I got something out of every class I attended, and most were very well-presented. The ones I didn’t find as useful or engaging tended to come down to the presenter’s presentation skills: either not being prepared, not having the timing down or letting audience participation get away from them…
That said, here’s the scoop on those I took
Altars for Devotion and Practice
A good class to start the weekend with, Phoenix balanced a talk about the practicalities of altar and shrine building with a hands on activity: creating our own travel altar. Phoenix is a very personable presenter, and she comes from the hoodoo tradition, so her approach was both pretty and practical. She explained the differences between altars (a temporary space for working) and shrines (permanent), and gave a lot of really useful tips for creating our own sacred spaces. Then she gave us each a small tin box and let us loose with craft materials to make our own traveling altar to keep with us during the con. I would definitely take another of Phoenix’ classes.
Honoring Spirits of Place and the Home
This was the class that triggered a complete change in my focus for the con, and many of the classes I took later were because of this one. Morgan went into great detail about land spirits: what they are, how to make offerings to them, what to do if they’re angry, etc. I was pretty wrapped up in the idea. Sadly, she had a little bit of trouble managing her time, so the house spirits part of the class was rushed and I had really been looking forward to that part. But still, it was a pretty powerful class for me and I’m very glad I attended.
Working with Water Spirits
I hadn’t intended to take this class (see above), but I’m so glad I did. Annwyn is a water witch with a great depth (see what I did there?) of knowledge in this area. This was a very thorough overview of the types of spirits (mermaids, faery women, kelpies, etc.), ways to work with the spirits, etc. I think if someone were more skilled in water witchcraft, they might feel this was a high-level overview, but I found it very useful.
I’ve heard about Thalassa (she’s very well-known in tarot circles) but have never attended one of her workshops. If you are at all interested in the Tarot, and you get a chance to hear her talk, go. Just go. Yes, it was a very interesting and engaging talk about the tarot: the history and meaning behind it, and why it works as well as it does. But Thalassa is a true character: truly funny and charming and real. Great way to spend 90 minutes.
Introducing Runes into Your Practice
This was really more of a Runes 101 class than about working runes into your own practice. It also seemed a tad disorganized (I think the crowd was much bigger than Dave expected). I think since I already knew the basics, it actually helped me and I found it a good refresher course.
A Concert with Lon Milo Duquette
I was convinced to attend this and really enjoyed it. Lon is a true talent, really funny and folksy.
Geomantic Dowsing: Mapping the Earth’s Energies
This was absolutely the best class I attended, hands down. Adam gave so much information on dowsing, Ley lines and how to map the energies of the earth that I spent almost an hour just transcribing the notes. Adam is also a very personable, comfortable presenter. Very, very good class.
Connecting with Your Urban Spirit
I was pretty disappointed by this class, because it was really taken over by the audience, who started playing “Let me show you how much I know” and dragging the presenter off topic. I think it didn’t help that Diana was ill. I ended up leaving 20 minutes early. I did feel, when I transcribed my notes, that I got more out of it than I thought, but I felt like Diana had much more to teach us, so that was disappointing. She is writing a book about Urban Magic, so I’m hoping that will have more of the meat I missed here.
I wrote about my experience here earlier, so I won’t go into that again. But as an event, this one is top notch. The ambience with the chair and the veiled seeress is powerful, the singing and chanting is primal, and the warders who watch over the crowd are the very best. It can be very emotional and powerful, which is a double edged sword, but as an oracle, this is a unique opportunity.