Although I'm not pleased with some of the turmoil and cross words that my pagan community has been throwing around after some controversy surrounding a ritual at PantheaCon earlier this year, I'm proud that the opportunity for discussion and understanding fueled the theme for the First Annual Conference on Earth based, nature Centered, Polytheistic and indigenous faiths! Whew! Did we cover everything?
Some might say what happened at P-Con was a travesty, others a strange misunderstanding, a lack of understanding or just a tempest in a teapot. I arrived too late for any drama and have only heard subsequent reaction and reaction and reaction! (Then, there's been the reaction to the reaction!)Regardless, the range of amazing speakers and topics that came with the chosen theme, "Gender & Earth-Based Spiritualities" give hope of intelligent discussion on the matter.
For a one day conference the schedule is packed. There is something for everyone, no matter what your birth gender or current gender identity! Every time slot has respected speakers and fascinating topics! And not only is the full price reasonable, but there are discounts and scholarships available!
I have my own opinions. Part of the reason I've always loved to run with the pagan crowd is a general acceptance and openness and a love of individuality. No labels or boxes here. But as the community has broadened and diversified, I've also watched it splinter off. I've been surprised by misunderstandings and judgmental behavior. Sometimes, I've been guilty of it myself. All the same, part of the openness is being able to disagree with someone without being hurtful to them and it's crucial to be able to stop and examine ones own discomfort from time to time.
My hope for this conference is that it will open productive conversation, allow us to embrace our differences and see the fundamental ways that we are really unified and not so different from each other after all. And I hope with the blessing of the Mother Goddess, it will heal some wounds.
Here is a link to a fabulous article written by Crystal Blanton about the conference on The Pagan Newswire Collective's site. It contains interviews with three amazing women, JoHanna White, Lady Yesha Rabbit, and joi wolfwomyn who each add their own wisdom, insight and perspective to the discussion! It's well worth the read and links to the event page and related links.