2018 has been a quiet year for the Foundation. We have supported our fiscal sponsorees, mostly the OSOGD. But the ebb tide eventually returns to flow, and action follows quietude.
For the past year members of the Foundation have been dreaming and planning for a new event. Here in Northern California, since the end of the Ancient Ways festival at Harbin Hot Springs, we have not had a pan-Pagan outdoor gathering. After many discussions with folks we met at Ancient Ways ‘back in the day’ and new friends from PantheaCon and from the various organizations of Pagan and polytheistic folk, we know it is time to create a new one: SunWard Gathering, to be held March 28-31 at Saratoga Springs outside Ukiah, California. This event will be the major Foundation project for the 2019 year, collaborating with our sponsorees and especially the OSOGD, so much of this annual report is devoted to it, as we look ahead to the future.
SunWard Gathering is…
- to draw together our community of fellow Polytheists, Pagans, Witches and Magi,
- to gather our strength in this time of great need,
- to learn from each other by sharing and listening,
- to cultivate the good, to clear away and transform the bad,
- to share good food and drink, art, and laughter.
Our focus is religious and on the Gods and Goddesses we have built long relationships with, but we welcome all who come to respectfully share our event for our goal is building community. All too often we experience each other through the screen of computer or phone. How different it is when our interlocutors are right before us!
In the manner of the Twilight and Spiral Gatherings, our main rituals will be a thematically connected cycle with opening, main, and closing rites. Outside of those rites we will also have a cycle of offerings made at Dawn, Noon, Sunset and Midnight, to keep the Divine Ones close. Saturday’s main ritual will feature altars built to each Deity, or Deity-complex, or Pantheon, or Principle, we hold dear, and we will move among them to meet their Inhabitants, make connections and receive Their blessings.
In addition to the religious focus, we aim also to provide a setting in which attendees can meet in heart-space, so there will be time set aside each morning for such connection. The schedule will include brunch, time for teaching, and a cocktail/mocktail hour before dinner in the manner of a symposium (think drinking games with philosophical discourse) with a knotty question to inspire the conversation. Drumming and music are welcome!
Our goal for this year is creating the container with less emphasis on specifying the content and more on opportunities for creatively meeting the Gods. In keeping with our focus, we are looking for teachings that center on the Gods and how to work with Them.
We have found a lovely venue for this springtime, sun-ward gathering, the Saratoga Springs Retreat Center (https://saratogasprings.com) 20 miles outside of Ukiah. It offers a variety of comfortable, attractive accommodation, ritual, and meeting spaces, including a fire circle and roomy hot tub.
The team that is putting this together comes out of the OSOGD, along with collaborators from the broader Northern California Pagan Community. The Foundation is providing administration and financial support and oversight. Tickets are available through Eventbrite and through FaceBook, where most of our communications are happening. Just search for ‘sunward gathering’.
As mentioned at the start of this Report, SunWard Gathering is the Foundation’s main project for this upcoming year. We are also in discussion with various Pagan scholars around the country to start an academically focused conference that would move around the country and publish a collection of the papers presented at the event so that what is learned is shared and preserved. The coming year has much potential with these exciting projects!The Pantheon Foundation’s mission is “to provide organizational support for the practice of Pagan religion and the fostering of Pagan Ministry. To study the history, promote the culture, and advance the social welfare of Pagans and the Pagan community.” With a new festival on the calendar, and plans for a conference, we believe we are fulfilling that mission. We hope that you support this work and will join in the maturation and development of our religious community. And, come join us at SunWard!