Spirit: Balticon 2013

Balticon was great for many reasons, but I will talk exclusively about the three great pagan-ish things that happened, the ones I went to at least.

The first: TECHNO-PAGAN RITUAL!

I wrote about this ritual recently actually and here is the link for more technical information on the rite: https://rosesrocksandredfoxes.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/spirit-techno-pagan-rite-by-pheonix/

I actually came to this years ritual and I HAD SO MUCH FUN! There were bubbles, bells, rattles, glowsticks, a squishy neon ball with lights on the inside, and cool music.

Those who wished to process from outside to get more people to join us played our bells and rattles and drums, blew our bubbles, and paraded around a section of the convention area and made our way back to the sanctuary.

We had two members greet us upon entering. One sprinkled glow water (water with a glowstick inside) on us saying “blessings”. Another member in a robe with a lightsaber blessed people saying “In perfect love and perfect trust” making the knighting motion over each shoulder.

We then started the ritual calling in landmark areas for our directions: Chesapeake Bay was East, Susquehanna River was North, the Catoctin Mountains was West, and Belt Woods was South. We also called in Earth Mother, Cybernata, and Logos.

We raised energy by passing/throwing around the squishy neon ball that lit up with movement and we played fun dance music in the background.

We then shared with each other how technology and the internet has changed our lives. Mostly we shared how it had changed our lives for the better.

Afterwards, we blessed any technology we had on us in incense. I blessed my phone and USB.

Lastly we shared cakes and ale. At this ritual we had iced sandwich cookies for cakes and mountain dew for ale. THe mountain dew was in a giant neon green alien cup.

After the ritual was over we had a smaller dance party in the courtyard/sanctuary for an hour! WHOOO!

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second: Viking Wire Weaving

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I loved learning this. It’s beautiful in the process and turns into a lightweight beautiful chain when you finish. Our lesson ran overtime so I never learned how to finish it, though our teacher said we could look it up on youtube, plenty of videos there apparently.

third: Sewing a “Viking” pouch

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Okay, so the class was called making a Viking pouch but pretty much it’s just a pouch. Our teacher, having been booked for teaching a few too many classes in such a short period of time, accidently gave us the wrong directions for the pouch we were supposed to make and didn’t have the string for the drawstring pouch she accidently started teaching us how to make. SO, I got creative and made this. I added embroidery later and still need to add extra fabric so I can attach it to any belt.

Spirit: Techno-Pagan Rite by Pheonix

My friend Pheonix is a co-coordinator of Turning Circle, which I have mentioned before I am a part of. Another co-coordinator, Selene, has major connections with Balticon, a science fiction convention in Baltimore. Last year, our Circle did a ritual for Balticon and Pheonix designed a Techno-Pagan rite for this event. We are doing this ritual again this year at Balticon on Mya 26th. Any pagans out there who are interested should come join the fun. Here is a little information on the ritual from Pheonix herself and the dieties she used.


TECHNO-PAGAN RITE

When our group was asked to lead a full moon ritual for a local science fiction convention, Balticon, it occured to me that a simple esbat was much too pedestrian for the venue. I had just finished reading the book “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman, and it had set my brain afire about this idea of modern Gods. I really wanted to do a ritual that somehow honored these Gods of modern tech that intertwine with the ways we live our lives in America in the 21st century. Gaiman seemed reluctant to give names to any of the new Gods, but I felt they deserved to come out of the mists and be more formally known.

I have heard and read often that if we do not choose our Gods, they choose us. Perhaps we give ourselves to fame or money or power, but if there is nothing else at our core, we do indeed make these things our Gods. Even if they be hollow Gods who offer little lasting comfort, they come to rule us. Perhaps by naming some of the forces that rule our lives, I felt we could create a mutually beneficial relationship that involved love as well as fear.

I decided to give name to the God of Telecommunications – “Logos.” The word is Greek and occurs in a Christian context describing how Yahweh gave birth to the world through the spoken word – Logos. It seemed a juicy term, and one ripe for reinvention. I stole it fair and square for the forces that make my smart phone work, and keep data zinging through the air waves around the globe.

The world wide web seemed like a digital version of the web of life of which we are a part. I envisioned her as a dark sister to the Goddess Gaia — a huge force that encompasses so much of our lives that we often don’t even see her. I wanted to give her a name that sounded techy, but original and came up with “Cybernata.” If anyone else already has this name for something else, I apologize. The Goddess seemed to like it, so I stuck with it.

The ritual we ended up doing took the form of a pretty generic Wiccan circle. For the quarters, instead of directions, we called in geographic landmarks for the area. I really wanted to enforce that Neo-Paganism is a faith rooted in the past and the natural world around us, but has wings that take us easily into the tech of modern life. Where humans go, our Gods go with us. We spent the ritual honoring these new deities and sharing how they had touched our lives – for those of us who have lived both pre and post internet, seeing these changes has been a momentous thing. We ended by giving everyone who came a glow bracelet showing that we were all connected – an instant tribe when assemble to worship together.

Many enjoyed the rite, and applauded this new take on modern Paganism, but we had our skeptics. Some felt it wasn’t appropriate to mix religion and science (why be at a Pagan ritual at a science fiction convention then?) and some felt it was blasphemous to “make-up” deities. To those who find a heresy in naming the forces around us, I softened the blow by saying I felt that Logos mapped easily as a new name for Mercury, messenger of the Gods, and Cybernata was a good fit for Athena or Minerva, a Goddess of wisdom and strategy. However, it was a human who came up with these earlier names from distant lands that we call into our circles today, and I think their desire to name the forces that rocked their lives was appropriate then as it is for us to call in the tech Gods that hold us in sway today.

I find some of the great strengths of Paganism is both our adaptability and our great senses of humor. I feel a religions that doesn’t take itself too seriously is one that will grow and thrive rather than twisting up into some dying parody of itself. I approached a ritual for these new Gods with my tongue firmly in cheek, and a desire to have a fun time at a SF convention, but my desire to name and honor these deities was also a devout and heartfelt one. I hope others who might come to know these deities giving them the respect they are due, will understand and appreciate that the world is always unfolding anew around us, and we too can be part of the creation of this brave new world we find ourselves in.

Calling in Gods of Tech . . .

Logos, God of Telecommunications

First there was the nothing, the unmanifest, but the word was spoken and LO there became something from the nothing. As the words flow on wings from site to site across continents and satellites, so is LOGOS, God of the spoken word born and born anew. We call to Logos, God of telecommunication! Blessings and Welcome! [Chime bell]

Cybernata, Goddess of the internet.

From the darkness came the embryo, the Arpanet. Then came transmission control protocol, ISP’s, and the birth of the world wide web at CERN. From code and wires, phone lines, and personal computers, grew this web of light, this massive structure of knowledge and truth, lies and . . .porn. Keeper of knowledge, spinner of dreams, and transmitter of thought, we hail the consciousness that is Cybernata, Goddesss of the Internet. Great Goddess, Blessings and welcome! [Plug in lights, turn on laptop playing internet music, chime bell]

This was copied and pasted from an e-mail with permission to put on this blog to get some internet hits for Cybernata and Logos.