Tuesday, August 23, 2011

PantheaCon Proposals, 2012

This year I've sent in proposals for two sessions at PantheaCon. The theme is "Unity in Diversity" -- a response, no doubt, to issues raised at last year's con over things like Wicca-centricity of discourse, and trans-phobia in ritual.

I received a request to do a session on Brigid and imbas, which I expanded into a more cross-cultural exploration. The result is this proposal:

Brigid and Sarasvati: Goddesses of Poetry and Inspiration

Imbas flows in many forms. Poetry, music and other creative arts lie within the purview of Brigid of Ireland. India's Sarasvati is similar to her in many ways. Join Erynn Rowan Laurie in exploring the mythic and poetic intersections between these two Goddesses and their poetic gifts to their devotees.

Last year, I was heartened by the presence and participation of folks from the Hindu community at the con. They are very interested in making common cause with Pagans and other polytheists regarding our mutual problems with the politicization of the Christian overculture in the US, and in fighting unethical and coercive evangelical tactics in India and other countries. Their words were powerful and their fellowship is greatly appreciated.

I've been very interested in Sarasvati for many years and I keep an altar to her as well as to Brigid in my home. The similarities between the two deities are, in so many ways, quite striking, and I thought it would be fun to explore these similarities with others who might find it of interest. That it fits so well with the con's theme this year is a lovely perk.

The other proposal I've sent in is also a response to a specific request. I've done talks at PCon about living a CR path, and about basics of constructing CR rituals, but there are a lot of people who mostly only hear what CR isn't. We don't use four elements. We don't cast circles. We don't invoke The Goddess and The God. One of these wanted to know exactly what it is that CR ritual looks like and what it does. It was an excellent question, and one that's rarely actually discussed online, at least that I've seen. As always, there's often just too much fear of the UR DOIN IT RONG contingent. I thought that, in this setting, we could examine the particulars and demonstrate what one local group is doing, hence this proposal:

Celtic Reconstructionist Rituals: A Look at the Nuts and Bolts

We will examine rituals used by the Seattle CR community as examples of ritual construction for vigils and shorter rites. With scripts in hand, we'll deconstruct these texts and the elements involved, and discuss how and why these rituals were created and how they evolved. These living examples can provide inspiration for creation of rituals for other local groups or individuals.

Naturally, I can only address what my local group is doing. Other groups in other places will be approaching things differently, but this will at least serve to illustrate actual ritual practices and show exactly what's happening and why.

I hope I'll see some of you at PantheaCon this year!