First day at PantheaCon was slightly surreal. My friend and I arrived the afternoon before with such slick travel chemistry, we suffered not a glitch, bump or delay in our flight. Our room was ready ahead of schedule and luggage exploded as we settled in for our stay. Friday morning we woke up at 6am (OH GOD THIRTY to others) and vowed to start each day with a healthy, robust breakfast. We rendezvoused with our friend and Tarotist, Jaymi Elford, as we talked about which panels we would see while inhaling eggs, hash browns, bacon, orange juice, bacon, coffee, toast, bacon and bacon. Jaymi had to dart to the Vending Room to help set up the Tarot Media Company’s booth. Meanwhile my friend, who from this point forth shall be known as Hedwig, and I stood in line for our coveted badges.
I found it rather humourous I was standing in line behind the same man I stood behind last year. The difference being, last year we were newly acquainted and this year we were Con Friends. That was surreal part number one (Pinch me! Am I really back at PantheaCon?). The second was seeing Selena Fox the day before, greeting her with a smile and having her come over with such genuine enthusiasm, you’d think we’d been friends for decades. I adore Selena. Not just as a very capable priestess but as a human being.
Badges were successfully acquired (Achievement unlocked!) and I opted to kill time waiting for the Vending Room to open by scoping out the booths in the main hall. Overall, I purchased a new belt and bustle from Blue Moon Designs, a drool-worthy TARDIS mug from Gaean Allusions and some Doctor Who themed buttons (“Are you my Mummy?”). Oh yeah, and I bought a new drum. *face palm*
I wasn’t planning on it. I really, really wasn’t. My beautiful custom made djembe sits by my altar at home; patiently waiting for me to give it more attention outside of festivals. Practically speaking I really don’t need another drum; however, the PTB thought otherwise.
Walking into Don Shultz’s booth, The Different Drum, my eyes scanned what was hanging off the walls and all of a sudden it felt like a vaudeville hook grabbed me by the neck and pulled me towards one particular drum. It was large and brown. My fingers gently thrummed against the skin and a rich, deep tone resonated out into the open.
The vendor suggested I take if off the wall and try it with a beater. I picked a red beater and started the basic rhythm of a heart beat. Hedwig stood there smirking the entire time. “I am not saying a word,” she said.
Placing the drum back onto its wall mount, I originally decided to simply write it off. I don’t need another drum. But then I tried the other drums (out of curiosity, of course) and they were all too high or too sharp. “I’ll think about it,” I said to myself. It was a bit spendy, but that was not was deterring me. The drum was worth every penny: hand made, 18″ in diameter, buffalo skin. No, what bothered me was did I deserve such a drum? It was a magnificent piece. A piece that needed to be played and loved. My djembe and other round Elk drum see my hands once every month or six. They don’t get the consistent attention they deserve.
The buffalo drum was shiny. Folks who had witnessed the “ensnaring” commented how the drum was calling me and calling me to it for a reason. Maybe that concern of mine, that fear of not deserving it will propel me to drum more. Perhaps this drum is the catalyst to get me off my ass and use all my drums.
So I bought it. That evening for the 11PM Drum Circle 101 class, led by none other than the drum maker himself, I learned how to rock my new drum, respect it and help find its place among the layers of rhythms. Headbanging included.
Or not. How does Captain Tightpants sound for a drum? It is brown. And tight like Captain Mal’s pants……..right then. I’ll think about it.
Later in the afternoon I attended the “Osiris Ritual to Honour the Dead” led by Tamara Suida. I’ve been to a few of her Houdou panels and one Damballa, so it was interesting to see her honour her other path, the Kemetic Tradition. The ritual was simple and lovely. Tokens of the deceased were placed upon the altar and their names were written upon a large scroll of paper by the attendees. Tamara explained that every sixth day of the month, they remember the Dead and Ancestors by reading their names from their book of the Dead. The names we had provided would be added into that book, so every month my beloved Dad, Friend and Grandmother will be read aloud and honoured. Tears were shed as the names were spoken with power. One woman offered up a song to the Dead and it was riveting.
I wish to incorporate honouring my Dead and the Dead connected to me every month. It’s been a lingering thought since November 2011 and I believe I’ve healed to the point where implementing this practice has finally arrived.
Next Episode: How Ivo Dominguez, Jr. Blows Up My Mind