By: Norbert Sykes Re: Pantheacon Stuff I just got back from San Jose, California's, 2nd an
By: Norbert Sykes
Re: Pantheacon Stuff
I just got back from San Jose, California's, 2nd annual Pantheacon,
repository for the pagan, the weird, the failed trekkies, the outcasts,
and the decidedly religiously odd. It was fun, even just as a spectator
sport. I brought back something you might find amusing, in a
pagan-religious sense, from a wonderful little magazine that was
anonymously put together and distributed (because it rocks the
acceptable self-image of paganism?) called The Magical Flame. It has
no credits, no contact info, and no copyright. Enjoy!
A FIELD GUIDE TO NEOPAGANDOM
Is this the first time you've seen this many pagans together?
Well, you're in for a deflowering, young earth-worshiper, and you've
come to the right place. However, you should realize that there are
many, many types of pagans. We old farts just had to keep making
the rounds until we either found a group that wouldn't kick us out
or founded our own clique. But now, progress has brought us many
different flavors to choose from.
1. BRIGHT EYED NOVICE.
You just read this cool book about a religion where there's
_goddesses_ and gods, and they meet outside, in nature, instead of
in some scary old building, and you want to know where to sign up.
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Mispronounces god/dess names, has to think a
moment about which is widdershins and which is deosil. Has a shiny
new athame (rhymes with "A-frame").
2. I REMEMBER WOODSTOCK.
Did I ever tell you about the time I dropped with Kerry Wendell
Thornley? Or maybe it was Robert Anton Wilson. I was pretty
loaded. Anyway, it was somebody with three names. Or was it three
people who had one name?
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Luxuriant gray locks, listens very intently,
knows dish about people you've read about.
3. TREEHUGGING NATURE SPIRIT.
Prize possession: one of Judi Barry's old tree spikes.
Simultaneously believes in universal love for humanity AND returning
the planet to a pristine, uncorrupted state. Apt to remove clothes
and fondle the shrubbery at a moment's notice. Can discuss compost
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: No meat, no fragrance, no leather, no
eco-exploitative garments, no animal tested cosmetics, no cigarette
smoke, no drugs, no TV, no car, no corporations, yet very tolerant.
4. ANAL-RETENTIVE CEREMONIAL.
Book collection actually holds up the ceiling in places. Is
trying to learn how to speak Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, all at once.
Does "workings" instead of "rituals." Has a web site that all in
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Won't go anywhere without a book. Dresses
according to planetary coordinates, or according to what Mom finds
on sale at Wal-Mart.
5. WOMYNCENTRIC GYNOCRAT.
A man's shadow crossed her altar once and she spent three
months purifying it. She'll have no wands in her chalice, thank
you. No boys allowed in her full moon club.
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Tiny axes, just the right size for amputating
a penis, are a favored symbol and often hang conveniently from her
body parts. When a man approaches she rolls her eyes and stops
6. IS THIS WHERE THE BIG, SMART WOMEN HANG OUT?
Oh, they're so nice. All that warm, round, sex positive flesh
. . . and you can actually carry on a conversation with them
between orgasms . . . pant, drool.
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Cute. Horny. Will recite love poetry to you
under the full moon. Likes to do it outdoors. Often destitute.
All too few of them.
7. HEY BOSS, I'D LIKE TO TAKE FEBRUARY SECOND AS A PERSONAL DAY.
Has an entire chapter in their Book of Shadows concerned with
spells for purifying the work place. Doesn't mind working on
Christmas, especially if there's overtime involved. Quit being
overtly pagan at work since getting canned by that closet born
again, yet still refuses to say "Merry Christmas."
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Can assume a properly smiley work persona at
the drop of a hat. Constantly glances around the room anxiously
looking for co-workers and their spies. Non-distinctive hair, no
8. HI DIDDLY DEE, IT'S A PAGAN CELEBRITY.
At conventions, stays on the hotel floor that requires a
special key for elevator access. Lurks around hallway corners
eavesdropping in order to see if name is being mentioned.
Arrives in helicopter especially for ritual. Never seen
unaccompanied by beefy Amazonian bodyguards.
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: Always has plenty of books to autograph
and will personally sell them to you at a slight discount from
cover price. When you ask them how it's going, they hand you a
press release. Seems vaguely afraid of anyone they don't already
9. CHILDE OV KAOS.
Can name seventeen different industrial bands without pausing
to think. Knows what a Prince Albert is. Sleeps in black leather
jammies. Painted on their jacket, engraved in their flesh or boldly
displayed as jewelry is an emblem which resembles a combination of
a corporate logo and an arcane sigil. If you don't know what it
is, they'll think you're a dweeb.
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: Easy to picture as a bike messenger or
alternative musician, difficult to visualize as a schoolteacher or
research assistant, impossible to imagine as a TV anchor or bank
president. Personally feels that if no panicky headlines appear
the day after you do a ritual, you screwed up.
10. SCARY DEVIL WORSHIPER.
Won't go skyclad. Rarely smiles, except for in a smug, knowing
way which insinuates you are an ignorant peasant worthy of conquer.
Secretly enjoys Rush Limbaugh and The Bell Curve. Fascinated with
Nazis. Probably wouldn't hurt a fly; yet they want you to think
they are capable of vast destruction.
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: Lots of black and red. Men like goatees,
women favor eye liner. If you see several of them getting tanked in
the hotel bar, it would be wise to stay far away.
Every magickal gathering has at least one
Crowley-in-a-past-life, along with several variants along the lines
of Gerald Gardner, Tituba, Morgan Le Fay. Many of them were
abducted by aliens recently, or have had disturbing dreams rich
with symbolism which they will tell you, in great detail.
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: Look for the intense gleam in eyes, the
backpack rattling with various psychiatric medicines, the garments
that were clearly designed and tailored in outer space.
12. RAVIN' PAGAN.
Young and psychedelic. Refuses to do boring Eurocentric
rituals and prefers deities from sunny climes with many interesting
local plants. Can say "Ayahuasca" ten times, fast. Never goes
anywhere without a ritual drum.
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: Colors that hurt your eyes unless you've
taken ecstasy. Bloodshot eyes, peaceful smile, can deliver long
quotes from Terrance McKenna.
13. FAIRIE QUEEN.
Is he a he? Is she a she? Are they a couple, or are those two
a couple, or are all four of them a quadruple? If the answers to
these questions could upset or disturb you, best stay away. If,
however, the answers to these questions seem overly nosy and
judgmental, you might have a real good time.
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: When you look at this person, does every
sex act you've ever experienced in your life seem hopelessly
vanilla? If so, the congratulations -- you have found a faerie.
14. HIGH EPISCOPAGAN.
Do their rituals have a script, a choreographer, a lighting
director, an orchestra and last three hours? It's a High
Episcopagan! It can memorize pages and pages of Olde Englishe, it
has more ritual outfits than most people have socks, it considers
its main pagan influences to be Gerald Gardner, Judy Garland, and
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: Book of Shadows exceeds five volumes (or
five megs of hard drive space). Knows every note of "Carmina
Burana." Better not ask about that 18th century seed pearl trim on
their ritual hat unless you've got an hour to spare.
If it's in a book, it must be true. If it's in an old book, it
must be _really_ true. If it's in an old book that was supposedly
handed down from oral transmission from people who couldn't read,
then it must _really_ be _way_ true. Has hissy fits if anyone
shows up at a circle wearing a watch, glasses, or other mechanical
assistance. Believes that anyone who has never sustained
themselves from their own land, using only primitive agricultural
methods, dare not call themselves a pagan.
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Gnashes teeth when the old "Crowley ghosted
Gardner's Books" argument comes up. Goes around correcting
everyone's gaelic/old norse/latin/babylonian.
16. DANCES WITH BUNNYRABBITS.
Uses animal symbolism to express nearly all opinions and
feelings. Charter member of PETA. Thinks meat eaters should be
publicly executed. Has many, many pets. Has a spirit animal.
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Not counting the pagan his/herself, how many
animals can you find in this picture? if the count surpasses five
(including critters found on tattoos, jewelry, garments and
undies), you have found a Worshiper of Beasties.
17. PRIESTS AND PRIESTESSES OF POLITIKAL KORRECTNESS.
Analyzes everything they hear for
sexist-racist-homophobic-imperialist-Eurocentric content without
paying attention to what is actually being said. Believes in
personal liberty -- everyone has the right to be overbearing,
dogmatic and holier-than-thou; not just the religious right.
Incredibly boring and annoyingly righteous at the same time.
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Beady, hyper alert little eyes are constantly
in motion, waiting for someone to say or do something bad.
Constantly has loud and attention-attracting fits when confronted
with everyday things such as advertising and corporate franchises.
Rudimentary sense of humor rarely activated.
18. OUR LADY OF INTENSE SUFFERING.
Is constantly persecuted. You are probably persecuting her
right now, you just don't realize it. Became a pagan because she
decided it was the most persecuted religion of all. Can't enjoy
anything because it would be selfish to have fun when so many are
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Tales of woe. Even less of a sense of humor
than #17. Bristles whenever you use the words "masochism" or
19. I AM NOT SPOCK (at the moment).
Knows at least three filks about Cthulu and at least forty Star
Trek jokes. Has found a clever way to create simple furniture from
stacks of science fiction paperbacks. Can name ninety different
kinds of space ship.
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Two-fisted drinking style. many cryptic
buttons, badges, patches and other insignia. Too smart for their
Insist that they aren't homophobic; they just think that
paganism is about a god and a goddess and they do it, and what
could be more simple than that, and it just doesn't work right if
you try it any other way.
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Signifiers of het-dom such as long, manicured
nails and wreaths of flowers (on females _only_; the males have
big, bushy beards instead). Are secretly afraid gays and/or
lesbians are dying to jump their tender hetero bones.
21. NORSE CODE.
Heroic and vikingly, these pagans often get into trouble with
festival organizers due to their fondness for running around
carrying a battle-axe in one hand and a full mead horn in the
other. They do throw the best parties, but if you're a wimp, you
are expressly not invited.
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Look out for the large and foreboding persons
wearing runes, with many pounds of amber dangling from their necks.
22. PENTACLES, INC.
This is where all the people who are into paganism come, right?
So how come they aren't buying my hand-forged Venus of Willendorf
necklaces -- they come in silver or gold, and each one has a
genuine cubic zirconium belly button. Would you like a reading?
Will that be Visa or Master Card?
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Business cards feature little embossed
pentagrams. Rarely leaves the dealer's room and can't believe
there are so many jewelry sellers present.
23. MONSTER TRUCK PAGAN.
Can grow their own food, build their own house, sew their own
clothes, homeschool their children and brew their own organic
hooch. Are looking forward to the bleak, post-apocalyptic world
postulated by the environmentalists as they can't wait to run amok
through the country, worshipping ancient gods, blowing up strip
malls and rutting on the divider line of every interstate.
DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Resourceful, clever and very well versed in
the U. S. Constitution. Eats meat with visible twitches of
pleasure. is aware that primitive religions have nothing to do
with crystals, Atlantis or unicorns.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank