By: Norbert Sykes Re: Pantheacon Stuff I just got back from San Jose, California's, 2nd an

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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 in detail. 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 Enochian. 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 talking. 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 conspicuous tattoos. 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 know. 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. 11. CROWLEY-IN-A-PAST-LIFE. 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 Busby Berkeley. 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. 15. FUNDAMENTAPAGAN. 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 suffering. DISTINGUISHING SIGNS: Tales of woe. Even less of a sense of humor than #17. Bristles whenever you use the words "masochism" or "whining." 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 own good. 20. HET-CASE. 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.

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