The event was put on by basically the same management crew as last year’s – President Hope Macdonald, Vice President Nancy Adams-Campbell, Secretary Etheria (Dee) Celestin, Treasurer Karen Miller, and Board Liaison Aimee Dunham. The weather was nice and sunny, and so many locals took full advantage of it, enjoying the music, workshops and stalls.
There have been a couple of changes to the setup in the last couple of years. In 2012, the stage area for performers was moved from the South end, where it was exposed to the sun and required a canopy, to the North end, in cool shade provided by some of the many trees in the park. This change worked well, and I was pleased to see that the same stage location was used again. In previous years, the event had four workshop areas which were covered by canopies, located 30 or more feet away from the vendor stalls. In 2012, the four workshop areas were covered by canopies, but were interspersed between the vendor stalls. I felt that having people walking past the workshop areas and chatting as they moved between vendor stalls was a little distracting for those involved in the workshops. Fortunately this idea was scrapped and the workshop areas were again located away from the vendor stalls.
Jo-Ann and I were running late, and so unfortunately missed the Opening Ritual, which was a Druid ceremony presented by Coast Oak Grove, ADF, celebrating the unity of San Diego’s Pagan Community for PPD.
We also missed musician Eben Brooks who performs original and folk songs on a variety of topics, such as cyberpunk, magic, Buddhism, literature, gaming, comic books, eldritch horror, science fiction television shows, human existence, love, death, hostile workplaces, and the dangers of teleportation.
As is the case every year, the organizers of San Diego PPD organized an authors’ table with a canopy over it. It’s wonderful knowing that every year we can count on having a home base at which we can escape the heat to sit and display our books and CDs.
11 am time slot
We arrived halfway through the 11am to 12 noon slot, which was just in time to find internationally renowned author Donald Michael Kraig presenting Real Tantra. Don explains that Tantra is an entire way of life with holidays, deities, celebrations and belief that the world is a wonderful place and full of joy. Tantra reveals why our world does not always seem joyous and what we can do to make the blissful world obvious. He equates Tantra in the East with Wicca in the West, as both are systems which see the world as a great place to be. Don has been initiated into four Tantric traditions and holds a parampara, the right to initiate, in one of them.
In the area adjacent to Don, Liz Ashmead and Birgit Knorr of Kindred of the Northern Hammer presented Intro to Runes which was an introduction to the 24-rune Elder Futhark, its order and structure, the rune meanings, and how they can be used for divination and practical magic. Scheduled at the same time, but finishing early, Kindred of the Northern Hammer also presented Intro to Asatru which discussed its gods, philosophy and way of life.
Scynthia of the Rosewood Coven presented Bare Bone Ritual Writing 101 which covered the bare bones and formats for writing public rituals.
Rev Grace Reinhardt presented Pagan Prison Chaplaincy where she discussed the work done by Congressional Reformed Oracular Wicca (CROW) Chaplaincy ministers to communities in the penal system, hospice, and other ‘in need’ sections of society.
While these workshops were taking place, on the main stage we were treated to Inara, who started belly dancing when she was 8 and began dancing professionally when she was 19. She has performed extensively, and her dance styles include traditional belly dance, cabaret and tribal styles of belly dance.
As is evident, there was a lot going on at this timeslot, and it making a choice was difficult, given all the options available.
Noon time slot
The Mid-Day Ritual, “Honoring of community,” was presented by Griffin Ced of The Green Man Store. It was well attended as always.
1 pm time slot
The 1pm slot was very busy, with a number of workshops to choose from.
Drea Taylor of Coast Oak Grove presented Women in Druidry: Past and Present where she explored the roles of women in Celtic cultures – as keepers of the hearth, training young warriors, spiritual leaders, and defending their clans. She then discussed contemporary roles for women in Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF).
Briana Taylor presented Essential Oil Safety in which she discussed safety and clinical usage information for common essential oils.
I presented Empowerment: Ideas from the Ancient Egyptians where I noted that the ancient Egyptians were renowned as being very powerful magickians, and I looked for clues within their society’s code of behavior which assured them of a successful afterlife. Their code involved aspiring to a state of balance through having a proper relationship with the divine and with humanity, as well as an awareness of their rights and responsibilities towards animals and the environment. I suggested that empowerment would come about from finding such a balance point.
Tommie StarChild, a priest of the Anderson Feri Mystery Tradition and a Reiki master presented Building relationship with Ma Kali. Tommie discussed his personal experience of working with Kali, Mother of All. He talked about connecting with Ma, and developing a personal practice with Ma Kali. He discussed non-tradition based approaches to working with deities, and Kali Herself.
Rev Grace Reinhardt presented The Red Tent Movement where attendees meet to be women, to heal women, to love women, and to express themselves as women. She discussed the origins and future directions of the movement in San Diego.
2 pm time slot
The 2pm slot was also very busy, with a number of workshops and a performance to choose from.
Threshold, consisting of singer Jules and guitarist Edwin, performed original and cover songs ranging from styles of Blues, R&B, NeoSoul, Classic Rock, Celtic, Middle Eastern and Flamenco.
Covenant of the Goddess (COG) presented Intro to Aura Work. Through simple guided meditations, people can become sensitized to their own aura, their personal energy, and in working with it can develop stronger magical skills.
Sandra Urias presented Raising Magickal Energy Using Movement, where she discussed postures and movement that can be used to increase personal magickal energy for spellwork. In addition to dance, other techniques were presented that are just as powerful and can be used by those of limited mobility.
Peter Paddon, Magister of the Y Ffordd Wen Tradition of Witchcraft, owner of Pendraig Publishing, author and host of the popular Crooked Path Pagan Podcast, presented Visceral Magick. This was an in-depth workshop to explore the visceral experiences that lead to the union of magickal and mundane, and the techniques to trigger those experiences, resulting in magick that is physical, manifest, and potent. These experiences and techniques empower any tradition. Peter explored both ancient and modern techniques and experiences, using the framework of the Cauldrons of Poesy.
Lisa Nelson, The Crafty Maiden, presented Make your own dream catcher (Child Friendly) which was a workshop for children from 8 to 17. She taught kids the usefulness of dream catchers while they constructed their own to take home.
Grace Reinhardt presented Medicine Cabinet Makeover where she discussed the use of certified therapeutic grade doTERRA essential oils to to take control of your health.
3 pm time slot
The Closing Ritual was facilitated by The Crafty Maiden (Lisa Nelson). The closing ritual was based on what it means to have Pagan Pride, and the importance of having and maintaining a pagan community and that we are all brothers and sisters united under the Goddess and God, regardless of the chosen form of worship. It also stressed the importance of forgiving, forgetting and moving on so the community can grow and stay close knit.
4 pm time slot
The day ended with a raffle, at which Jo-Ann and I didn’t win anything, which was a shame given how nice some of the prizes were. As always we had a wonderful time and are already looking forward to next year’s San Diego Pagan Pride Day