I got home late Sunday night from my trip to ConVocation in Detroit. This was my 2nd year (though in some ways it was like my first, since last year I was too sick to really enjoy myself properly.)
It began with a long and tiring trip. The three of us had just finished PantheaCon, which we do every year. We vended our store, The Mystic Dream, as well as hosted several parties in our Black Rose Witchcraft hospitality suite. So we were pretty tired. But Devin and I were determined to move forward with another con because that’s how badass we are. Or foolish. Or both. Or something.
Along with the Dragon Ritual Drummers, this year I was a “Guest of Honor”, which came with a bunch of perks. I definitely felt honored each day I was there. Everyone –from the staff to the attendees– went out of their way to make me feel welcomed and appreciated.
As a Guest of Honor I found myself quite busy… if I wasn’t leading a ritual or a workshop I was likely in the vending room selling our books and wares, or assisting with another presenters offerings. I taught a bunch of stuff on Faery witchcraft, starting on Thursday night with a class on the Watchers of Faery Tradition. On Friday afternoon I taught the Rite of the Seven Jars, which is a personal and transpersonal shadow-working with the Peacock God, Melek Ta’us. This was followed that evening with the Black Rose Sabbatic Dance.
Hosted by Devin Hunter and myself, we were joined by Black Rose/Sacred Fires priestess Tiffany Nicole, and special guests Tempest and Heather Killen. This ritual rocked, if I do say so myself. (And I just did. So there.) This is a Sabbatic working; the main objective of this rite is to slip into the witches’ dream and then travel to the Witches’ Sabbat; that eternal congress of witches on the astral in the hopes of communing with deeper powers and drawing that into our lives and work. In Black Rose we work with a figure called “the Magister” who is the Witch-Father, or “the Devil”, and so it was to him that we directed our attention, and from whom we hoped to receive a message or blessing. All set to EDM music, it began as the music played, and the participants entered the room to be greeted with a dimply let space with a round altar in the center, covered with little LED candles, flickering red and yellow. As this happened, Tempest, Tiffany, and I made a slow procession around the altar which shifted into a slow “dance” as we mirrored each others movements in a long, fluid display. I heard that it appeared from the outside that it had been choreographed, but in reality it was all part of a spontaneous trance working. Once we had all gathered and Devin had explained the rite, we cast circle with a hand-held procession (“I cast this circle thrice about, to keep unwanted spirits out.”) then invoked the Watchers, then the Ancestors. Then the deeper work began.
We conjured forth our bestial selves and flew by night to the sabbat rite, atop the lonely mountain, where the bonfire burns and the witches dance. We chanted his invocation, and raised our voices in howl and song. We danced, vigorous, triumphant… until our skin was slick with sweat and still we danced, and sang, and conjured. Then we travelled back, to make one final act of magic: to raise a cone of protection and healing, which was directed at the land that hosted our meeting.
On Saturday morning I taught the Witches’ Forge: Invoking the Iron Pentacle and was happy that I was able to provide some useful work to those in attendance, then that evening I assisted Devin in his Rite of the Cosmic Weaver; a ritual of community, connection, and blessing. Afterward, it was the Masquerade Ball, giving me not only an opportunity to wear a great leather mask I bought years ago, but also these really cool blue LED roses, which I wore as a garland.
I got to meet some new friends: Zeeke Harrison, Jeff Harris and I have been chatting over Facebook for a couple years now and so it was great to finally meet and get to spend some time getting to know each other better. (Too bad I didn’t think to get a pic with Jeff! Next time, Jeff! But thank you for the peacock feather necklace! I love it.)
I also got to meet fellow Llewellyn author Ellen Dugan and we snapped a great selfie. I was grateful for her assistance in helping me navigate the hotel and generally “showing me the ropes” as it were. As a featured presenter she has been there several times and so knows a thing or two about how these things run. She’s a lovely woman and I’m looking forward to doing something with her at the con next year.
It was great getting a chance to meet people outside of the classroom space, as well. While the music played, and in between dancing, I had the opportunity to chat with some of the attendees. It’s always especially nice to be able to chat about the things that I love and feel a passion for, such as Faery tradition and the Blue God in particular. Here I am with Con attendee Nathan King. I enjoyed our talks and hope we can continue them in the future!
Finally on Sunday morning I was up early again to offer a class on the Divine Twins and the Blue God. (“Behold how beautiful you are!”)
My workshops were all well attended, my books sold quite well, and I wanted for nothing for the entire duration of the convention. As with most of the larger events that I attend and at which I present during the year, I was thrilled to be able to spend some time with friends and colleagues, participating in rituals, discussions, or even just hanging out over a cocktail, or two. Or… um… a few, in the case of Friday night’s Meet & Greet in the Earth Warrior’s suite with Heather, Devin and myself. (SO. MANY. APPLETINIS.)
Jacki Smith invited Devin and I to take part in her workshop, “What’s My Spell?”, a “game show” in which participants chose items from a box and then devised a spell based on audience requests. It was so much fun!
I was glad to have the opportunity to hangout (however briefly!) with fellow Llewellyn author and friend Jason Mankey. It’s always a treat getting to hang out and talk the Craft with him. He’s really smart and also really kind. He’s also hilarious. (I’m wearing my “Bro-Witch” T-shirt that he conceived as I write this.) We need to make plans next time, Jason! I need more Mankey time!
I got to see (and basically “re-meet”) Michelle Belanger. I actually met her last year, but I was sick as a dog and we were nearly like ships passing in the night as she was leaving and I was waiting for my elevator so I could return to my room to shiver and cry. (Almost joking.) This time we thankfully got a bit more of a chance to hang out, but (as was a theme for me this weekend) not nearly enough of it. She is just a delightful person and I’m looking forward to getting to know her and her work better this year.
It was also great to meet some more people who are taking part in the Black Rose Witchcraft course. Black Rose students like Jade Empire really brought home for me the importance of that school and work. Seeing how it has inspired people in their own practice is really satisfying and inspires me to continue to find ways to improve the school and to work on the next phase of our Black Rose project, which will be a type of apprenticeship course. (Stay tuned!)
I’m sure I’m missing some people and for that I must apologize. I met so many amazing folks on this trip that I can’t count them all. Thank you to all of you who attended or volunteered, or presented, whether or not we even met. It’s because of each of you that an event like ConVocation can even happen. And for that I am certainly grateful.