I had the good fortune to be one of the guests of honor at Paganicon 2013. From the pre-con staff lunch to the after-midnight post-con room party, the Twin Cities Pagan Pride staff went out of their way to make sure I had what I needed and that I had a good time. Wendy sailed through the event serenely solving problems before they became visible. Cei did a phenomenal job of shoehorning the odd scheduling bits together so that the tracks made perfect sense. Elysia always seemed to be on hand to make something happen. Doc had a smile for me whenever he ran into me. There were so many more I can’t call them all out, but they were all working hard and smiling all the while.
It’s a great size for a con, something like 300 people, small enough to meet the people you want to meet, big enough to fill a ballroom and have a great party. Four workshop tracks offered choice that wasn’t overwhelming. Just like the staff, participants were uniformly sweet. I kept saying, “Either you really are as nice as you seem, or you wait to talk about us until we’re out of earshot,” and the answer was always, “That’s Minnesota!”
Jane and Thracie of Eye of Horus supported the event behind the scenes by bringing books written by presenters and running the till for the art show. Oh, and the art show! It was the first for the con. Paul selected pieces in many styles and media and they were displayed well.
I had the opportunity to talk about two of my favorite subjects, women in magic (“The Woman Magician”) and relating to the gods (“Pagan Theurgy”). I was also able to construct a shrine to Seshat and offer people a chance to connect with the Lady of the Library. What better goddess for a writer?
I was able to catch two workshops by Kiya Nicoll, author of the marvelous romp Travelers Guide to the Duat. I hope to see more work from her in the future. I was lucky enough to sign books next to Frater Barrabbas and learn more about his work. Oh – and the headliner guest of honor, Orion Foxwood, was fascinating, engaging, and deeply sincere. These are all folk I hope to see at the Esoteric Book Conference one of these years!
The Twin Cities turned out to have many attractions in addition to the con. Ted and I slipped out on Saturday to catch Mass at Leaping Laughter Lodge, where our sisters and brothers in the order also made us welcome, and we had the chance to see a lovely Mass. On Sunday we caught a play at the Guthrie Theater, a sophisticated and elegant venue hosting amazing quantities of high quality theater. On Monday Elysia took us by Minnehaha Falls, which I think was Ted’s favorite moment!
Every convention has its particular character. Esoteric Book Conference features book sellers and book creators, people who love not just tex but the talismanic physicality of the form, along with a single track of programming featuring speakers from around the country and around the world. For sheer enjoyability in a fully developed Pagan community, Paganicon must surely be developing a sterling reputation.