The closing ritual was every bit as wonderful as the opening ritual. I had the opportunity I was sure I needed, to acquire some of the collected dirt to take home.
And that was it, we were done. Many Gods West was over.
I have never shifted so quickly from event space to event drop in my life, but I fought to stave it off a little while longer by arranging to have dinner with River and Xochiquetzal and a few others from the Bay Area. Lon and his family joined us as well, of course. Dinner was both delicious and comfortingly social, but I was quite ready to fall down flat, so after dinner we went straight back to the hotel.
I know I packed to minimize what would be needed of me the next day before checkout. I think I played a game on my laptop for to get some mental and emotional space before going to bed, finally.
The next day we drove out to Lon’s chosen-family’s ranch up in North Bend to hang out with new-old friends for a few days before driving the long haul home.
I spent every reserve spoon I had, and some I didn’t know I had, and by the time I got home to the Bay Area I felt like every muscle and nerve in my body was shaking to fall to pieces.
But I had DONE IT. And it was GOOD. I regret nothing!
I have determined several things:
1: I definitely want there to be Polytheist gatherings in the Bay Area!
2: Perhaps my particular love for my Valley is not to be shared, but reverence for Her as the local goddess of the land, and of Her kin landspirits accordingly, that should be built up more, shared more – Water of Many Lands, Salt of Many Seas, Earth of Many Spirits!
I suspect my local land-gods work as a potential group cultus needs to be developed more on my own before I will be allowed to see how it may connect with River’s work on the Matronae. This is not the first time the Powers have prevented me from participating in some aspect of River’s work that was available to me until I figured out some of my own stuff first. Or elsewhere, for that matter, but darnit, River’s work is SHINY, and I don’t wanna wait!
3: This ancestors sticks thing, I must do something with that. Probably in direct relation to the Local Land Gods thing. I must acknowledge PSVL’s influence on much of this, as well.
4: There IS support for me, not just in my local community, but overall, that I can show my cross-tradition work without it undermining my work for the Vanir or whatever reputation I may have. I don’t have to choose between amorphous eclecticism and strict reconstructionism to be a Hard Polytheist.
This is good, because wow, there really are MANY Gods!
5: Before I left for Many Gods West, there was a deity knocking on my head repeatedly using C.S. Lewis’ Aslan as a mask and flat out refusing to emerge from behind it. He’d said He was a god I’d met before, but didn’t work with much, and I hadn’t met this aspect of Him before. He also said I’d learn what I needed to learn about Him at Many Gods West. I thought maybe I’d get to attend the presentation on Anonymous Spirits by L Phaedrus, but that would require me being a morning person on the third day of a con. Not so much.
The Filled with Frenzy ritual gave us masks, which I thought might be a clue, except I already do work with Dionysos, and didn’t meet a new path there. But there was still an echo of a ping there, somehow… Which gave me suspicions.
Still I didn’t have any new or firmer sense of who it was until I got home to find that the Apollo Prayer Beads necklace/pendulum that I’d won in a blog giveaway had arrived in the mail. After some very enlightening conversation with Camilla Laurentine about the connections between Apollo, lions, and the specific depictions of Aslan, I am quite confident that I have identified my Mystery God (this time, anyway). Meanwhile Dionysos has also give me a mask, and both gods have felt the need to emphasize names to me that point back to Them being Thracian before They were Greek. Shenanigans, I tell you. Them Olympians is up to something…
6: It’s… it’s a distant echo, but if I’m right, it’s the most important thing for me, from Many Gods West: Belonging.
Belonging is a hard one for me. Groups I don’t quite understand, but sometimes, every once in a while, I still feel them, and Many Gods West I definitely felt it. I don’t think I’ve felt quite that good about a community event since I worked my first PantheaCon with CAT and got that heavy hit of “I have a PEOPLE!”
I already miss it again, which rather implies that it was a particular sort of something, doesn’t it? So what can I do to get it back, to get more of it?
There will be more, I’m sure. Time will tell.