This was my fourth year attending (second year teaching), and each year, I seem to have an overarching theme regarding the classes and rituals that I attend.
For me, this year's theme seemed to center around Ancestors, the Mighty Dead, and Death.
I wasn't planning on that theme, but with the specialized track of "Death & Dying" built into the programming (as well as an Appalachian Folk Magic track), I was drawn to that type of exploration.
I also had an absolute blast presenting on Coyote, and his silliness & laughter crept up in lots of places throughout the weekend!
The night before the Conference, I was rushing around late at work; putting the finishing touches on my PowerPoint, printing out handouts (such an East Coast thing!), sending out the last of my work emails, and finalizing all of my duties while I was off for the next few days. I was at the office so late, that I could hear Coyote howling at the clock, telling me to hurry up and get home to pack!
|Aooooo! Get a move on, Monika!|
I slept in really late, knowing that I would not be sleeping too much once I made it to the hotel (too many excellent conversations happen late at night)! After unpacking and hanging up ritual clothes & tools, I went to the main classroom for the Opening Ritual.
The Patrons of Sacred Space are Athena and Thoth, and my dear friends Michael and Gwendolyn invoked them with beautiful and powerful prose. I had tears in my eyes, as I could feel Them enter the space with a energetic tingle up the spine (it's amazing to hear Athena invoked in ancient Greek!).
After the Opening Ritual, I went right into Michael's presentation on Thoth (one of my favorite Egyptian Gods). Although Michael had some technical difficulties (no PowerPoint with images), he was filled with so much information that the presentation flowed very organically. It had the perfect amount of myths, stories, legends, and personal gnosis, and I felt my connection to this god deepen.
As the presentation ended, it was a Mad Dash to Dinner. The Outback Steakhouse attached to the hotel was not prepared at all for our Conference, as the lines were long, and they were terribly understaffed (I did not eat there for the rest of the weekend).
I ran upstairs after I wolfed down my food, and did the final preparations for my presentation. I wasn't sure how many would attend, as I was right after dinnertime, and opposite the amazing Selena Fox, and her Brigid Ritual (oh, to be in two places at once!). And Coyote is rather an acquired taste, and Tricksters can sometimes scare people away...
I shouldn't have worried.
I had an excellent group (~20), and although it was really freaking hot in the classroom, and everyone was full from dinner, all seemed to enjoy it. My PowerPoint gave a good background on who Coyote was (in relation to his Native American mythology), the behavior of coyotes in the wild (and how this informs the perception of Coyote as a god), and who Coyote is Now (his evolution as a Trickster that loves Humanity and heals with Laughter).
|PowerPoint + Journey = Happy Coyote!|
A few people were comfortable discussing their Journey to Him, and some of the insights they received. One got confirmation of her skills as a comedienne, while another received insights as to dealing with work situations (hopping on one paw). Another received illumination on Laughter breaking through fears, and one received a powerful healing of the body after an asthma attack.
The presentation ended a bit early, which was good, as I had gone almost 40 minutes over last year! I was able to answer questions, tell a few funny stories, and run upstairs to my room to catch my breath and relax.
At the end of the night, I ended up attending Caroline's Orisha Soireé. The Orishas always make a exciting and boisterous presence during the Conjure Dance (and UToS rituals, too), but I don't know Them that well (sort of like "friends of friends"). Caroline gave excellent introductions to each, and spoke of Their different skills, realms, and preferences for offerings. And then, the party began!
|Candy and Liquors as offerings--yummy!|
Stay tuned for the next few days at Sacred Space Conference!