PCon 2016 Wrap-Up

(Because I am a “My Little Pony” fan, and I’m high as a kite on cold medicine, my brain keeps singing this post title to me to the tune of the “Winter Wrap-Up” song. Thanks, brain.)

It’s that time again in the Pagan blog-o-sphere where we all write about our experiences at PantheaCon! Since I’m now a part of that blog-o-sphere, and I know a bandwagon when I see one, here’s mine.

To start, a bit of a disclaimer: because I am a volunteer staff member of the convention, there is a large part of my con experience that I cannot discuss due to confidentiality concerns. I am not an official representative of the convention, and the thoughts and opinions I express here are not the thoughts and opinions of the con or of anyone else who works the event.

Now that that’s out of the way, I had a terrific time! This year was very much a year of transitions, with my past and my present colliding (in a good way, thankfully). I’ve been attending this event since I was 15 years old, and there is always a strange mix of childlike and adult energies that compete for my attention; there’s a lot of history here for me. I started to reconcile with my high school sweetheart, with whom I parted on bad terms; I reconnected with an old flame and started to rekindle some of that spark; I caught up with friends and family I haven’t seen in a while. This is also the year that I start to leave some of my old commitments behind as I make more space in my life for my Initiate work, which is always bittersweet, but transitions are never easy.

As part of my duties as ConOps staff, I spend a large chunk of the weekend roving around and talking to people (yay walkies!). This is a big change for me, since I usually help with the A/V tech and have done so since I was old enough to start volunteering, and it’s still something I’m learning to do well. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to be invisible, for reasons I’ll not get into right now, so having it be a part of my job to be seen is an adjustment, to say the least. While I am an introvert and find social interactions draining, it’s an absolute joy to meet people and talk to them about their convention experiences, to reunite them with lost items, and to generally be a friendly face. One of my friends mentioned to me that working ConOps is like warding on a macro level, and that’s exactly what we do. No wonder I enjoy it so much!

And on that note, a list of thanks and gratitudes. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone or something. Know that if I left something out it’s not because it didn’t matter to me; I am grateful to everyone who helped make this year’s convention great!

  • To my roommates for the weekend, a motley group of so-and-so’s collectively called the Monsters, my eternal gratitude for making our room one of the best places to be. For the cuddles, and the laughs, and all the incredible food (you’d be surprised what you can make in a waffle iron), you have my undying love.
  • To my fellow ConOps staff, for giving me a chance last year when I needed a break from Tech and for helping me learn how to be seen. Your calm wisdom and clear-headedness in stressful situations is truly something to aspire to.
  • To my CAYA family, for providing me with a chill place to relax at the end of my shift (and for all the joyful singing!). Especially big thanks to those of you who saw me at the end of Sunday night, when I was tired and in a lot of pain, and forced me to sit down and put my feet up while you fetched me a snack.
  • To all of you who came to PantheaCon, as attendees or as vendors or as staff members. Thank you for showing up, doing the work, having a great time, and (mostly) following the rules. Without you, there would be no convention. You give me hope for the future of the wider Pagan community.

I will close out this post with the tarot reading I did for myself as I was getting ready to depart the hotel (“the ugly carpet never lies,” to quote Mama Kitsune). From the Welcome to Night Vale tarot, the following wisdom:

12751161_901983943204323_1550924007_n

  • What did I learn from con this year? The Hanged Man. If I don’t slow down and take care of myself, the universe will do it for me. Don’t set yourself on fire to keep others warm.
  • What am I leaving behind? The Queen of Swords. I’m laying down one mantle– a full-time commitment to being con staff, not just at PCon but at the other events I work– to make the space to strike out on a new journey.
  • What will I bring with me to next year’s event? The Seven of Swords. All the wisdom and power and self-growth I hope to achieve through my Initiate work this year.

I hope those of you who attended had a great time! The convention is exhausting and overwhelming, but I always return refreshed and ready to take on new ideas and new projects. I’ve already got a few more posts lined up, featuring some crafty topics like sigil magick and natural dyeing, as well as some more thoughts on selfies (continuing the musings from this post). Watch this space!

In Joyful Service,
Kitsune

Advertisements

PantheaCon Whirlwind!

Like many of the other Pagans I know, I’ve been spending the last few days frantically trying to get all my things together for PantheaCon 2016 (I’ve also been sick, but thankfully I got that out of the way before con). It feels like my packing lists have packing lists at this point!

While I am not on the official schedule of events (I work behind the scenes of the con itself, making the magic happen as part of the Convention Operations (ConOps) team), CAYA is putting on a number of rituals and workshops that are shaping up to be really something. If you are interested in knowing what sorts of magical mischief we’ll be getting up to, my CAYA sister Wishbringer Molly Blue Dawn has put together this terrific schedule of events that CAYA is putting on, sponsoring, or being a part of. I hope to see some of you there, when I’m not busy performing my volunteer duties!

Of particular interest to me this year is that there will be ribbons available at the Info Desk that allow you to declare your pronouns, if you so desire! Since this is a first run at it, the options are limited to “She/Her”, “He/Him”, “They/Them”, “Ask Me”, and a blank ribbon where you can write in your own, and the staff asks that you only take one ribbon per person as the numbers are limited. We’ve had these available at another convention I work for the last two years, and they’ve gone over very well. Kudos to my fellow PCon staffers for working to make this available this year!

I want to encourage my cisgender readers to wear the ribbon with your pronouns on them, in solidarity with your fellow Pagans who are trans and/or non-binary. I dream of a world where it’s normal to introduce yourself with your name and your pronouns, and making that dream a reality starts with you.

This year’s theme of the convention is “Change Makers”. I am incredibly excited to see how this theme weaves itself into the magic and the laughter and the late-night conversations that fill this weekend every year. It looks like it’s shaping up to be something really special.

In Joyful (but hectic) Service,
Kitsune

Posing For the Dark Mirror: On Selfies and Shadow Work

Let’s talk about selfies real quick here.

So, I spend a lot of time on Instagram (follow me!). I’m a highly visual person, and communicating through pictures really speaks to how I like to interact. The #365feministselfie and #capturewhatcapturesyou hashtags have introduced me to some incredible people and some beautiful images, and reinforce my belief in the importance of finding the sacred in the mundane.

If you look at the little Instagram widget on the sidebar of this here blog, you’ll notice there’s an awful lot of my pretty face there (and also pictures of my food, because I’m That Guy).

Edit: one of my readers informs me that the Instagram widget is not playing nicely with all browser/OS combinations. I’m working on troubleshooting this!

I’m a big fan of selfies (although the word “selfie” makes me cringe a little for reasons I can’t pin down; it feels… dismissive?). I think they’re great. They can be fun and silly, and it lights up my day to see my friends near and far show up on my various social media feeds.

Selfies can also be a powerful act of magic.

They can help us reclaim our pride, our power, our identities.
By taking the camera into our own hands, it puts us back in control.
Selfies allow us an opportunity to confront the parts of ourselves we hide away.

Selfies let us be seen.

I have more to say on the topic, including some thoughts on how selfies helped me start to explore my non-binary gender identity, but this is starting to get rambly enough as it is. As a way to bring this to a close, I offer you the following little bit of spellwork to try; this is easiest if you have access to a forward-facing camera of some sort, like a smartphone or a webcam, but any picture-taking device will do:

I am a big fan of not just mirth and reverence, but mirth as reverence. A while back, my dear friend (and Initiate sister!) Laurel told me about how she would sometimes try to sneak up on herself in the mirror, and surprise herself with a particularly hilarious or grotesque facial expression. This gave me an idea for the following: in succession, take a picture of yourself doing these three things:

  1. Making a goofy face
  2. Laughing at your own silliness
  3. Relaxing after laughing

Don’t think too hard about these, or worry about camera angles or lighting or anything; that’s not the point of this. Take a good look at all three of those pictures, especially that last one. Do you see that spark of you-ness somewhere in there? Look at those photos and say aloud to each one, “I see you. I see you. I see you.”. Then, do with them as you wish. Delete them, keep them for yourself, share them with the world (if you do this third option, I would love to see them!).

Happy selfie-taking!

In Joyful Service,
Kitsune

Image-1

It Lives!

Well, it looks like my first post went through okay, so here we are.

Welcome to Tales of the Fox! My name is Kitsune (or Kit, if you like), and this little nest of mine is my second or third crack at blogging. I would love to say that I’ll be posting on a set schedule, but the truth is if I start there I will either not follow through or stress myself out way too much trying to keep to that schedule, and that’s no fun for anyone.

A little about me: I’m a genderqueer witch born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, currently making my home in the Silicon Valley. I am, among other things, a knitter, a student of the martial arts, an amateur tarot reader, and a trained linguist; I have undergraduate degrees in linguistics and computer science from UC Santa Cruz (go Slugs!). My pronouns are they/them/theirs, and if you don’t like that much I invite you to do some more research on use of the singular “they” through the history of the English language.

I started this blog because at the end of January I began my year and a day of training as an Initiate in CAYA Coven‘s Wildflower tradition; if all goes well and I complete that which has been asked of me, I will be ordained as a Priestx (that’s pronounced “pree-sticks”, or /pɹɪstiks/ for those of you who can read IPA) in the Spring of 2017. I wanted a space of my own to talk about an assortment of things relating to both my journey through this training year and life in general.

Ideally I would like to post here at least once a month, to coincide with whatever topic my Initiate work is focusing on that month. We’ll how how that plays out! Whatever comes of this, I’m sure it will be an interesting ride!

In Joyful Service,
Kitsune

Is This Thing On?

*tap tap*
*peers through glass*

Hello blog-o-sphere! If I’ve set this up right, you’re looking at the first post on Tales of the Fox! If not… well, then I’ll keep banging my head against it.

More about me and this little nest of mine to come. Watch this space!

Cheers,
Kitsune