Presenting at Many Gods West

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be presenting some brand new material at Many Gods West, a polytheist religious conference taking place in Olympia, WA later this summer. It’s a real treat to have the opportunity to explore religion, spiritual practice, ritual, and magick with such a diverse group of presenters and attendees.

I’ll be presenting a session called “The Labor of Love: (Re)Valuating the Purpose of Devotional Practice”. It’s my hope that this material will help further a consideration of what purpose devotional practice actually serves in our greater religious traditions and how the development of increasingly-articulate forms of devotional engagement actually contributes to the growth and maturation of the traditions that practitioners are part of. Some of the static surrounding a conversation about devotional practice is the opinion that this work is indulgent, delusional, or simply selfish; I hope to counter these attitudes by highlighting some of the physical and metaphysical advantages that this practice yields. (And to speak to a concern that I imagine a few of you have: No, I don’t think that devotion is important because of its concrete, measurable, or observable outcomes. I do plan to mention that valuating the human emotional experience at all is a problematic and potentially reductionist endeavor.)

Click here if you’d like to take a look at line-up of presenters and rituals. The precise schedule of events is still being determined but this is what the weekend has in store (though there’ll also be some musical performances, too).

If you’d like to know more about the event itself, visit the Many Gods West homepage. Registration is still open and last I knew there were still rooms open at the hotel.

I love teaching and sharing information and conferences are a great place to do this. I also get to meet lots of people that I’d never have the chance to otherwise. I’m by nature pretty reclusive – which is good since I can’t really afford to go far or do much. Finicky health also keeps me close to home and that can make traveling complicated, too. Needless to say I’m a little nervous about the trip for these and other reasons but I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the Pacific Northwest and I’m very happy for the chance to spend some time there.

If you’re a little nervous about the prospect of going to such an event and, like me, kind of a socially awkward kid, perhaps think about coming anyway. We can stand in the corner and fidget together while thinking about the pets we left at home. (My cat, you guys! I’m gonna really miss my cat!)


11 thoughts on “Presenting at Many Gods West

  1. The Black Stone Hermitage says:

    Fellow reclusive polytheist with finicky health and a tight budget here. 🙂 I’ll be hosting a quiet meditative shrine room for Skadhi in my hotel room at the conference. I look forward to your presentation!


    • Silence says:

      (I’m hoping there’ll be lots of soft chairs to sit in, heh.)

      Yes, that’s right; I saw your post about your shrine room. That sounds like a lovely offering to the community (and Skadi). I think I might have something for Her around here somewhere; if I do and if I can lay hands on it I’ll bring it. Oh, and I might also bring you a sample of my very favorite tea from a local company. It’s just too good to keep for myself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Black Stone Hermitage says:

        A sample of your favourite tea? Wow, that’s a very thoughtful and kind thing to do. Thanks for thinking of me! As it happens, I am sipping lapsang souchong (my all-time favourite) as I type this. What’s your favourite, if I may ask…?

        I am a hermit through and through – I get kind of stressed out by events and group socialising in general, so there may be some challenges for me at the conference. But I’ve never been in a group of polytheists before…perhaps I will feel more at home than I usually do in groups. Plus, if I get too overwhelmed I can always retreat back to the shrine room! Heh. In any case, I am very much looking forward to it, and will be happy to have the chance to meet you.

        Offerings for Her for the shrine room are very much welcome!


      • Silence says:

        Hmmmmn, the tea I most frequently drink is probably Darjeeling though I love English and Irish breakfast blends, too. This particular favorite of mine is ….

        Missing! I went to the cabinet to find the bag to tell you what’s in it and alas – perhaps I drank the very last of it? I was thinking I’d give you the last of this bag but I suppose this will motivate me to go buy some more since I’ve been longing for it. It’s a custom blend by a local company with a couple different black teas, some fruity notes, some floral I think…. it’s just lovely. I don’t always opt for flavored teas because sometimes they taste artificial but this one, oh wow. It’s something worth sharing.

        I can quite relate to being a hermit. I moderate my socializing quite a bit; I did so initially for health reasons and then discovered oh hey, I get way more stressed out by socializing than I thought I did. It can be an exhausting endeavor. However, I love teaching and I love learning. Even though MGW isn’t exactly in my neighborhood, it feels a lot closer than midwest events and plus it expect it to be relatively small.

        I very much look forward to visiting your shrine room (and meeting you, too!). I keep thinking, “Oh yeah, that bracelet for Skadi is around here somewhere. But hmn, what about that thing I wrote? Maybe I can do something with that? Maybe I could write something new. Maybe I could make something new. Hmmmmmnn,” and that is the path to madness. We’ll see what actually ends up happening.


      • The Black Stone Hermitage says:

        I am cautious with flavoured blends in general too since most of them have that artificial taste you refer to. But I do have a couple of flavoured black teas I like – blackcurrant and dark chocolate peppermint. Thank you for the thought, in any case. Tea is one of the things that keeps me (relatively) sane!

        We still have a few months to go before MGW; a lot can happen in that time. I’m sure whatever you decide for Skadi will be perfect. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. katakhanas says:

    Yaay! Looking forward to your presentation and to attending MGW in general! This will be my first hotel-based gathering (I’ve only ever done week-long festivals at campgrounds before), so I’m excited! Even though I’m presenting at this year’s PSG and not MGW, I just wanna skip ahead to the end of July already and head on over to the Pacific Northwest! Huzzah!

    Liked by 1 person

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