Another truly wonderful ConVocation for the record books!
I’ll be honest, there was a time last summer when I wasn’t excited about going this year. It’s an expensive weekend between registration fees and the hotel room. Then you have your food and shopping budgets to consider. It was tight for me financially this year, but it was worth it. It always ends up being worth it and if you plan, like I did this year, it’s manageable.
Cathy and I did quite a bit of vlogging style start/end of day talks that we’re going to splice together for this weeks podcast, so look forward to that. We didn’t record any of the classes or take footage of anyone in the common areas of the hotel since it was be nearly impossible to check with everyone on who was in or out of the broom closet. I hope you enjoy that when we get it put together.
I was especially happy to see Raven Kaldera and Selena Fox return to ConVocation. I took a really great class with Raven involving the Norse Sea God, Aegir, his wife, Ran, and their nine daughters. I loved listening to the experiences that Raven shared of his connection to these deities and how he honors them. He read poetry about each of the daughters and while he always stressed that they weren’t to be taken lightly, I felt the reverence he had for them. I felt his relationship with them and understood that it was something he definitely has cultivated over time and maintains with great respect. I really appreciated that about him.
When I made the decision to study the Runes more in depth last year, I made contact with Odin Father and since then I’ve been feeling a pull towards the Norse pantheon. The knowledge I gained from Raven in this class is bringing me even closer, but I have to admit that I’m a bit hesitant about this connection. I’ve been trying to learn more about Heathenism, including claims of white supremacy in some of its followers. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way an advocate of such views, nor is that something that would necessarily keep me away if that were where I felt drawn, but I don’t want to go into a situation without knowing what to expect. Really, that’s an entire other post, so I’ll stop here for now and pick up this train of thought when I feel I’m better equipped to make further remarks.
Another topic I feel that I’m going to be doing lots of thinking about and future blogs posts deals with leadership within the Pagan community. I went to a workshop on the subject led by Shauna Aura Knight and Taylor Ellwood, I even purchased a book they co-edited. They have some very well thought out views on the subject and I’m hoping to talk to both of them at a later date. Taylor is open to recording a podcast with us so I’m looking forward to that!
The beautiful wall hanging gracing our hotel room door!
I experienced two really amazing workshops with Selena Fox. The first was called “Honoring the Dead” where she shared all kinds of really helpful information on ways to spiritually help facilitate the death process with both the person who was crossing over as well as the family and friends left behind. I especially was looking forward to getting some useful information in this area to help apply to my own practice. I’ve performed a couple of memorial services in my time as a clergy member, but I feel lacking in this area. Selena shared some chants to use for creating a container like sacred space as well as how to invite the dead. She covered how to honor the dead and the different types of altars you could have at a funeral or memorial service. I really liked the idea of Giveaway Altar. This is a table that would hold items that belonged to the deceased that hadn’t already been earmarked to go to someone specific. Guests would be invited to take something from the altar to remind them of the one who’d just passed.
The other Selena workshop I attended was a Bridget healing ritual, and as you can well imagine, when I see something involving my patron goddess I have to go! Selena is a master ritual planner. She created a wonderfully moving rite that was multi-dimensional and very inclusive for all in attendance. There was a time for personal healing as well as healing for the earth. She used water as a catalyst for the healing being done and to it she added sacred water she had collected over the years. She brought water from a sacred Bridget spring on Circle Sanctuary land, water from her well in Kildare, Ireland and water from New Zealand that was used in a ritual that was held at the Parliament a few years ago that Selena was able to obtain.
Selena was specifically aware of those who live in Flint, Michigan, given the recent water issues there. She invited anyone living in Flint to take some of the remaining water to sprinkle at strategic places around the city with the intention of helping to make the water situation healthy for consumption again. I thought it was brilliant! When the ritual was completed I went up to her to ask if it were possible for me to take some of the left over water so that I could take it to the state capital in Lansing to sprinkle as well. She agreed so now I need to make a little roadtrip.
Another high point of the weekend for me was the workshop I attended that covered Pagans presence in the world of blogging. Jason Mankey is a not a new face to the ConVocation scene. He is a native Michigander who has moved to the West Coast and is now a blogger and the editor of Patheos Pagan section. There were five other Pagan bloggers at the workshop, each coming from very different traditions and backgrounds. I can’t say for sure that I’d ever heard of the Patheos site before that day, but it’s a place that I’m definitely starting to explore. As a blogger myself, I think it’s important to support each other as we let our voices be heard in the ether. We might not agree with everything we read and that’s okay because if we want our voices to be heard we sometimes need to be subjected to others points of view. It’s how we react to those other viewpoints that define our character. I feel that if we want to be accepted we need to be open to dialog.
And then there was Ellen Dugan…
Ellen did a couple of classes with Michelle Belanger this year, but unfortunately I didn’t make it to either. The workshop I did attend was the “Menopause Magick” one and it was a riot! Ellen gave a very frank talk about what to expect while going through peri- and full-blown menopause. She told us everything that no one ever warns you about, as she entertainingly and candidly shared some of what happened to her. From tricks played on her by the nurses in her doctor’s office, to how you will need to completely change your makeup and clothing colors after embracing gray hair. It never occurred to me that I might be perimenopausal, but I would now and surprisingly I’m okay with the idea!
I did take a couple of classes with Jacki Smith that were really good. One of them covered the Tree of Life from the Jewish Kaballah perspective. It was definitely interesting for me to review the Jewish mysticism for the Tree and Jacki is always fun to listen to! We’re also hoping to have her as a guest on one of the podcasts soon!
I can’t end this post without talking about the evening Cathy and I spent checking out the stones and crystals that belong to a friend we made at last years ConVocation. He only brought a part of his collection, but I found it really fascinating to have him pass spheres and chunks of raw stones around the circle so we could all experience the energies. That was a real highlight and makes me want to work with stones more!
All in all, another successful ConVocation! I can’t wait to see what next year brings and who will be the Guests of Honor. If you are reading this and went I’d love to hear about your experiences!! Thanks for reading and for walking the path a little while with me.
Link to my haul video:
Heart of the Witchs Path YouTube channel: