Holding Space and a Beginning

I can’t really describe the discussion we did at Pantheacon this year. Partly because I was channeling Crow in Warrior mode and it is difficult to remember things exactly, and partly because I am still trying to understand the effect it had on me.

Because I know, for a fact, that no one left that room unchanged in some way. Not even me.

What I do understand is that this is only the beginning. The beginning of the deeper conversation. The beginning of learning things about myself that I didn’t know before, or didn’t acknowledge. The beginning of the work of radical inclusion that is so desperately needed in all religions.

Was it perfect? No, of course not. We didn’t know who would show up or what would happen. It was stepping into the unknown, for all of us.

The biggest thing I remember though, is the beginning, where Sarah (who was also channeling Lilith, the Buddha, and Jesus) went around the room and said to each person as they introduced themselves:

“I love you unconditionally, and I surrender to your compassion.”

The energy shift in the room while she did this was palpable. How everyone received that, I don’t know. I do know that this was not a small thing.

I also know, that this is just the beginning.

We have a choice here. We can continue to be angry at each other, point fingers, and place blame. We can write angry words on the internet and speculate about who does what.

Believe me, I know about being angry. Sometimes letting it out is a good thing.

But the other option is to channel it into something more. You can let it become the passion that drives change.

I choose to channel this into the work of radical inclusion. I choose to recognize that everyone, of all races, genders, orientations, and creeds can sit at the table together. I choose to work for this in the pagan community because I know we can do better. I choose to work for this in the Christian community because I know we can do better.

But, being radically inclusive doesn’t mean we can’t be real. There are serious problems and deep wounds that need healing. These need to be aired out and discussed, then we can let them go.

This is not a comfortable process. Radical inclusion doesn’t mean that we kiss and make nice. It means we listen to what is being said and figure out how to make things better.

We are human. That means we make mistakes, screw up, and do really stupid things.

But the question is: do we learn from the mistakes we make?

Do we truly listen to people when they are hurt and angry?

Will you truly listen, or just react out of fear?

This is what we intended, this is what we brought with us.

Love is the law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well!

6 thoughts on “Holding Space and a Beginning

  1. Nisaa

    “The energy shift in the room while she did this was palpable. How everyone received that, I don’t know. I do know that this was not a small thing.”

    It was so very powerful. As Sarah started going around the room saying this to each and every person, I thought she was using up valuable time that could have gone into the discussion. And then when she’d gotten halfway around the room, I realized that it was probably the most important thing to do for that discussion. There were tears in my eyes.

    I remember being at a gay pride march in New York City years ago where the bisexual contingent I was part of said “We love you” to each of the protesters we passed. There is something really important about meeting someone who doesn’t understand you with love and compassion.

    Yes, I am still angry. I want my transgendered friends to be able to be who they truly are and go to any public ritual they want to at an event like Pantheacon where they pay money to attend. I want people to understand that my transgender friends are who they say they are, not who someone else’s prejudice decides they are. I think people who believe in magic should be able to understand this.

    I was prepared for a shouting match as I entered the ‘Open Discussion of Gender and Transgender in Paganism,’ but it wasn’t like that at all. The passing of the talking stick gave people a chance to really be heard without interruption. We needed to listen to each other, really listen and I felt that the way you conducted it was very effective.

    As I’ve said to you before, I’m so grateful for the work you and the Circle of Cerridwen have been doing around this issue – not just for transgender inclusion but radical inclusion in general.


  2. Perlandria

    I just want to say again how much I appreciated the artistry and mastery of ritual forms your discussion showed. Even if an atheist were in that room, the setting of intent and therefor expectations were excellent. Your quarter warders were amazing, and acted like firewalls, from a non-faith perspective, both in breaking up group reaction by breathing in a meditation rhythms instead of stress rhythms, and as a visual reminder of what each of them said as I looked around the room to see who looked like they wanted to speak, or check in with someone who had spoken, or to just see. I really respect your coven.


  3. aediculaantinoi

    Again, thank you so much for doing the discussion/ritual…and for editing the anthology…and for everything that you do! (And of the work of your covenmates as well!) I hope that in the future, we might be able to do Communalia with all of you, which we can discuss further as time goes on. Excellent reflections here!


    1. worthyadvisor Post author

      Thank you again! (both here and on your blog) Let’s chat and see where things go. We have a lot of ideas coming out of this year’s Pcon, and so we’re doing a lot of debriefing and discussion. Feel free to email me at corvopiccolo(at)gmail.com.



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