Day 2 started out much quieter except that it was my presentation day and because I had been up so early the day before and out late at dinner I was a little loopy to begin with when Tagh and Beth picked me up at the late hour (compared to the day before) of 7:45am.
The opening session was Kimberly Kirner -“ Environmental Paganisms: Affect and Action in Right Relationships to the Earth” and it pointed out how many pagans profess to love the Earth but then don’t take any action like recycling and that they have a disconnect between the talk and the walk.
Next was Wendy Griffin and “Crafting a Voice in the darkness” about climate change and Paganism followed by Francesca C Howell – “The Other than Human and the Dark: A Pagan Deep Ecological View. The three papers complemented each other well but my panel was up next and my brain was hopping around like a jumping bean on Olvera Street.
My paper was supposed to be “Fading of the Light – the disappearance of Goddess only and women only ritual space over the last 30years in LA” And I started the research and did the questionaires as well as having all the data from my surveys on Lesbophobia last year.
The Goddess and in particular Hecate had other plans. About a month ago I found out I may have cancer and I’m waiting for the testing but the Dr is pretty sure I have something evil growing. Also I seem to have always had some relationship to Death over my life. So the paper became Facing the Dark – Pagans and terminal illness” This got way more personal than I intended but I have always known that the Goddess laughs whenever I have plans. If I’m here next year maybe I can expand it since I was a bit crunched for time by the time I had to do it and there really isn’t anything directed at the person with the disease. Most writings are external about how you deal with others impending death not how you prepare to face your own. And I did find some interesting things. People said that it had no effect on their spirituality and then proceeded to tell me how they were living differently. That people, is a disconnect, how you live IS your spirituality. By the time I had to get up and present I was pacing like a tiger in a too small cage.
I felt like I was going up there in my underwear and it had holes in it. I lit my Brighid candle for inspiration and courage and had BunniHoTep up on the lectern with me but when you give a paper you are pretty much alone. A lot of what I said got way more detailed than I had been going to say but I did ask for inspiration so I supposed I got what I asked for. It seemed to go well and I presented my statistics and the eternal 20 minutes were soon over and my brain had the consistency of oatmeal.
I’m afraid my brain checked out for most of my ex J’s presentation with Joe Greene on Finding the seeds grow in the darkness: Using the Tarot as a tool for healing in dark times. I’m sure it was wonderful but as I said, my brain had turned to mush always entertaining when you are about to have a Q&A on your topic at the end of the panel. EEEeeeeeeee!
I was starting to come to after lunch which being allergic to tomatoes and it was pizza meant I had to chocolate chip cookies and some crackers and nuts I brought. Usually I bring my lunch knowing that Sunday is always pizza but I couldn’t get to the store at the time I got home the night before.
Orion was fantastic, and he didn’t give the talk he was scheduled to do. I had never heard or met him before and it was rather like being in ritual more than a talk. It’s always cool to meet someone else raised in family magical traditions. They have a more organic approach to it for lack of a better term. Less thinking and obsessing and more flow to it. He shared some charms and chants and a lot of wisdom about the Faery Tradition. I know he has worked with RJ Stewart too and I’ve taken his classes too so it was very comfortable but challenging.
The last session was Lauren Raine, Endarkenment: The Dark Goddess in Contemporary Thought and Art and the last was Alfred Surenyan – Music for the Dark Mysteries of Paganism. I only heard parts of both and what I heard was great but I had to go outside and commune with a tree and I ended up talking to Orion who was out in the garden too. I was way overloaded with sensory input by then and just needed to ground so a very accommodating jacaranda tree and a rosemary bush let me.
I can only take so much high powered or emotional energy before something blows so I really needed to hug that tree. Some folks need smoking breaks, I need time out with a tree or the wind. And now that I’m old enough not to care what the other grown ups think, I’m not shy about doing it. One of the best things about being an old fart, err… crone.
But it was a great weekend and my head is still churning with ideas and needs to settle down and take care of business. Good thing I did my taxes last week because this week I’m in processing overload. If you ever get a chance to attend the Current Pagan Studies Conference, do it! You will learn a lot. And should you decide to present, all the better.