Over Presidents Weekend, the residents of Stone City were at Pantheacon 2011 in San Jose. As the kids and I drove down the mountain that Thursday, the snow was just beginning to fall. I had a hard time not being mesmerized by the beautiful white flakes coming towards the windshield, but Maia was there to remind me to "watch the road, Mama."
By Friday there was a couple inches of snow and Morpheus and Shannon were delayed in getting to the con. So, as the only representative of Stone City there by 1:30, I dragged T-Rex off to a workshop led by Daniel Foor and Earth Medicine Alliance that turned out to be a Shamanic ritual for the spirit of Mount Hamilton. Stone City Pagan Sanctuary is located just east of Mount Hamilton and we feel a close tie to the energy of the mountain so we were all very interested in Daniel's workshop offering. I got T-Rex settled with a video game in a corner (this is how he prefers to deal with the Con) and settled in to see what Daniel and EMA were all about.
I didn't arrive prepared for a ritual, and often have issues with rituals that take place indoors, but this was part talk, part ritual and I felt that Daniel did a really good job of making it appropriate for the space. I was very interested in the items and herbs he was using and, to be honest, don't remember what they all were. He handed out 3 bay leaves to each attendee and asked us to meditate on our prayer for the mountain, directing the energy into the leaves with breath. The leaves were then added to a bundle he'd already begun preparing. The preparations were finished by attendees who felt drawn to it and this, my friends, is how I left the ritual with honey and herb covered fingers. (For those who later asked "How did you get that all over you?")
During the trance journey that was part of the workshop, my mind and heart were brought back to home, where my connection to the mountain lives. As I meditated on home, all of the pain and difficulty of the winter was very quickly replaced with what felt like a preview of the coming year. It was as if the mountain herself had made this movie trailer just for me to help me remember why I was here living this life. I saw happy faces of friends old and new coming to the stone circle for ritual, dancing in the firelight to the drums. I saw the flowers blooming and the animals passing by. I saw my children laughing and playing in the pond. I saw my home evolving. I saw the community which brought me here growing and becoming more like family for me. As this trance journey ended, I felt as if I had been recharged by the power of the Earth and the mountain.
The entirety of Pantheacon went on in this positive light for me. It was truly the best Pantheacon I have ever been to in all of the years I have spent attending. I felt this inner power shine as I talked to numerous people about Stone City. I connected with new and wonderful people all weekend. I hardly needed sleep, I was so high on this energy. I stayed up very very late being with my friends and got up early to experience more. I did henna in the Stone City suite while Morpheus served chai and turkish coffee and we connected with many new people there. Thankfully, the wonderful people of Earth Medicine Alliance came to talk to us several times and have made plans to visit our land. I am really excited, they seem like great people.
The peak of energy seems to have been the Morrigan devotional put on by Morpheus, Thorn, Sharon and other friends of mine. 500 people attended this ritual!! Others have written about that ritual here and here, so I won't say much more. When they asked everyone in the room to make an oath on the Morrigan's sword, I had no hesitation in knowing mine or making it. My path and place in this world is so strongly clear for me right now. Though my disability was acting up that night and I was walking at a shuffle pace when without my cane, I knew that many of my favorite people were in that room with me among the 500 people and I felt safe and whole and strong.
Monday morning I woke up early and did my own workshop, bringing together Pagan parents to discuss our space in the community, our role with our children (and grandchildren), and what we hoped would improve and grow. The room was energized despite the small group and the time seemed to end too soon. I've since created a group on Facebook for further connection and one attendee wrote this article that includes mention of me and Stone City.
Leaving Pantheacon, I felt as if my work had been done there and fully ready to return home. The memories have been dancing through my days ever since, leaving me smiling, laughing, thinking and looking forward to all that is to come.
I am truly blessed to have this life to live on this mountain.