PantheaCon 2020: the closing of a chapter

pantheacon program and ribbons

This year marks the final Pantheacon. After 26 years, the organizer of the event, Glenn Turner, has retired and decided to pursue new adventures and experiences that life has to offer.  I wish her the most wonderful journey and thank her and her many volunteer team members for setting up this amazing experience for so many.

My first PantheaCon was actually not one that I attended. In a previous chapter of my wonderful adventures, I was an Irish dancer.  I love Irish dancing and whenever traditional Irish music is played, dance steps that I learned or wanted to learn are moving in my head. Irish music and dance are, magical.

But I digress. My first exposure to PantheaCon was when it was still in San Francisco (SF).  I was in SF for an Irish dance competition (called an Oireachtas for those who are curious) and we were staying at the same hotel that was hosting PantheaCon.  My friend and I wandered through the vendor area to check out the goods offered and saw many interesting people.  This was prior to my pagan and my Northern Tradition experience, though not before I was aware of the gods and goddesses. Little did I think then that a couple years later I would be attending conference workshops and making many wonderful friends over the following 14 or so years.

My years at PantheaCon have been a positive experience. I have met people with whom  I have enjoyed sharing space, exchanging ideas, and continuing connection beyond the PantheaCon space. The con has dealt with troubling occurrences and responded to those issues brought up by addressing and providing redress in following years. I have seen inclusive and welcoming programming and spaces the years that I’ve attended.

The programming included a range of topics over the decades including 101 classes, rituals, panel discussions, workshops, meditation, concerts, and performance. Having such a variety of subjects gathered in one space provided a wonderful collection for people to relate and see how other traditions practiced and interacted with the otherworlds. Among the joys of the event are the variety of ways that people express their style. Hair color from the rainbows, sparkles and glitter, elaborate dress to jeans and tees, and tails, ears, and fairy wings. We’ve seen wizards, sorceresses, elves, fae, animal spirits, and even St. Nick show up as well as the many beautiful spirits and smiles throughout the event.

pantheacon ribbons
Ribbons collected at PantheaCon since 2009

Another of the fun activities was ribbon collecting. To many (especially the children), collecting little 2 x 4” ribbons to attach to the name badge was as much a part of the convention experience as attending workshops. The ribbons were of many colors and had messages from as simple as the name of an organization to clever sayings.

Some of my favorites over the years include:

You’ve Been Runed (this was my ribbon);  It’s the Money or the Honey (my husband’s); Mind the Ginnungagap!; What would Loki Do?; I’ve been Butterfly Mooned; Open the Whale;                My Other Athame is a Light Saber; What would Eddy Do?;    Bad Druid, Now Go to Your Tree;  Take a Liking to a Viking  

Then there were the hospitality suites. These places were spaces provided by groups to facilitate additional learning, introduction, or fellowship around common tradition or themes. The suites also hosted panel discussions, workshops, rituals, and socializing opportunities. As a person of the LGBTQI+ community, I enjoyed connecting with others from the queer community, allies, and people of color throughout the convention and especially within the hospitality suites.

For four years, my husband and I hosted a hospitality suite for divination. We held workshops, shared the latest decks and books from the top publishers, and made way for the divination deck tool swap. It was a lot planning and commitment, but we enjoyed the interaction and meeting some really talented and interesting people.

With this being the last of the con, I focused on the people of PantheaCon. I looked for those that have attended over the years and infuse the convention with their quirkiness, their smile, and their joy.  I spent time with special friends in the vending room who carefully select their products to be the best for the person who chooses to go home with it. Or those who handcraft clothing, jewelry, artwork, drums, tools, books, pottery, and more.  I enjoyed meeting authors from Llewellyn and Weiser as well as the wonderful staff from both companies who come every year from the Midwest and East Coast to sunny California only to spend most of the time inside to meet with attendees.

What I missed this year were the many people who chose not to or could not attend the event. There were less hospitality suites as many chose not to attend, leaving fewer spaces for people to have those inclusive spaces to connect, have fun, and additional opportunities to the regular programming schedule. I thank the groups who did attend and set up those spaces. They were welcome and appreciated.

the last ribbons of PantheaCon (PCon) 2020

As this chapter of pagan conventions draws to a close, another will follow it. A planning committee is already formed and working out details to produce a new convention that will further the needs of pagans for the next season. May it find the grounding, volunteers, and support to continue this valued and necessary need for community building, encouragement to face the world (especially when many are solitary practitioners), and learn about and from other traditions and practices.

To all who have likewise enjoyed PantheaCon, it has been a pleasure to share space with you over the years.  To the future conventions and shared ritual and learning fires, be they in person or virtual – hail!

Follow me on Instagram: @wyrdgifts1 Facebook: @giftsofthewyrd Twitter: @wyrdgifts #pantheacon #pantheacon2020 #wyrdgifts #giftsofthewyrdpodcast #heidhrcraft #runestersofinstagram #inclusiveheathenry

Turning the Wheel book cover
Turning the Wheel from Iaconagraphy Press.

The Oracle of Nehalennia

Tarot and oracle decks abound in many styles, themes, and practices.  From traditional images to pop-culture characters, deck creators are tapping into their experiences to bring creative and relevant ways to connect during divination experiences.

Favorite and well-known Gods and Goddesses are often the subjects of decks, individually or as part of a collective. This is an amazing way to learn more about and connect with the different beings of a pantheon, a tradition of spiritual practice, or aspects of a particular God or Goddess that is expressed with the deck. Designers draw inspiration from the myths/stories, personalities, and traits of the Gods to develop correlations to divination responses.

Oracle of Nehalennia cards.The Oracle of Nehalennia is such a deck. This deck is created by Bela Síol with beautiful watercolor artwork by Igor Alexandre about the Dutch Goddess, Nehalennia. The deck has 33 square cards and comes with a full color book that is in English and Portuguese (Síol’s native language). Through this colorful deck, Síol carefully explores the many ways that Nehalennia is known, has revealed Herself today, and how those traits can provide inspirational messages.

Nehalennia is a Goddess known from the southern coastal region of the Netherlands called Zeeland. She was honored locally and by the merchants who came to the regions to transport their goods by sea. Not much has survived about this Goddess by the sea, and she had almost fallen into almost complete obscurity until a storm in 1645 exposed the remains of a temple devoted to Her in Domburg.

Votive Stone to Nehalennia in the Rijksmuseum of Antiquities, Leiden The Netherlands. Image (c) J Hyatt
Votive stone dedicated to Nehalennia in the Rijksmuseum Antiquities, Leiden, The Netherlands. Photo mine.

In the early 1970s near the town of Colijnsplaat, votive stones with inscriptions to Nehalennia were recovered from the sea which inspired more research into this unknown entity. The stones (most of which appear to come from the region of Köln) typically depict a seated woman in roman style clothing with a basket of bread or fruit, the bow of a ship behind her, and a dog seated at her feet. They would have been lavishly decorated and bear inscriptions which generally indicate them as an offering to the Goddess by merchants or ship captains as an offering for safe passage across the sea for their ship and cargo. This would associate her with the liminal coastal region of land and sea, travel (particularly over water), merchants, property, loyalty, and a connection to the sea.

Síol explains that she experienced the presence of Nehalennia first as an unknown being, meaning she did not seek Nehalennia out.  It was only after working with the Goddess closely, that she learned more about Her nature and identity. The cards represent different aspects known about Nehalennia as well as generating divination interpretations to associations with the merchants, sea-farers, and people of the region.

Within the book are very detailed descriptions of the scene on the card and how it connects to Nehalennia directly (such as through recovered lore, experiences of Her followers today, or archaeological revelations) or how other aspects are connected such as with harbors, beaches, shells, etc. The book then continues with possible divination interpretations depending on the type of situation or question from the user.  This can include something as simple as a “yes/no” inquiry, immediate advice on a situation, or personal, mental, and emotional contexts.

When asked about the different context options for the meanings, Síol replied that since there are so many different ways to approach divination with an inquiry and different layers to what is revealed, she wanted to show just some of the potential ways that a card could be interpreted. This helps to explore the other ways the images and connection to the Goddess can be explored and applied in a divinatory setting. The book also includes a few sample spreads created to accompany the oracle.


The artwork is by artist Igor Alexandre who worked with Síol to create bright, colorful images that include classical elements. The bright water color style works well to evoke a connection to the past that is fitting for Nehalennia. Síol commented that during the creative process, she would have an idea for a card and upon communicating it to Alexandre, found out that he also had the same or very similar idea.
The card stock is thicker than regular cards and the square, oversized shape makes them difficult to shuffle (riffling would crease and ruin them quickly). Reading with them, however, is a joy. Knowing the story of Nehalennia and Her connections to the sea and trading brings the divination experience to a deeper meaning.

Check out the interview with Bela on episode 22 of the podcast where she discusses her connection to Nehalennia.  She is also working on other decks for release including The Morrighan and Freya. The Oracle of Nehalennia is available from

Follow me on Instagram: @wyrdgifts1 Facebook: @giftsofthewyrd Twitter: @wyrdgifts #goddessnehalennia #wyrdgifts #giftsofthewyrdpodcast #heidhrcraft #runestersofinstagram #inclusiveheathenry

Turning the Wheel book cover
Turning the Wheel from Iaconagraphy Press.