Friday, October 21, 2011
My Upcoming Travels
Oh boy! I have so much to do. On the 28th of this month (that's next Friday) I'm going up to the 30th Mount Franklin Annual Pagan Gathering in Central Victoria for Beltane (yes, it's Beltane in the southern hemisphere... at least in regions where a reversed northern hemisphere sabbat calendar fits). I first attended Mount Franklin in 1986 and I went regularly for 12 years, up to 1998. Then I stopped going as part of a general withdrawal from Pagan socialising on my part (but not from Paganism itself). So in the years in which Witchcraft boomed here in Oz, the late 90s and early 2000s - and as a consequence of which the which Mount Franklin event got absolutely huge, from what I hear - I just wasn't there. So, I'm going up for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday with my friend from my Pagan socialising days, Philippe. I haven't been camping for over 10 years so it's going to be, erm... interesting.
Next, the week I get back, I have to present a paper on Minoan tree cult at the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies 'Work in Progress Day'. This is actually a slightly longer, practice version of the paper I am presenting at the American Schools of Oriental Research Annual Meeting in San Francisco in November. A few days before that though, I am going to Pagan songstress, Wendy Rule's handfasting - that ought to be interesting. Wendy (who I last saw at Tim Hartridge and Tori Collins' handfasting in Sydney, where she officiated) and her partner Tim are having a British friend perform their handfasting. No doubt it'll be an Australian Pagan 'who's who' at that event and I look forward to wishing Wendy and Tim all the best for their nuptials.
As I said, I'm going to San Francisco in November, to the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) meeting to present my paper, 'The Sacred Life of Trees: What Trees say about People in the Prehistoric Aegean and Near East'. There will also be tons of other people presenting work there and I will be going to as many papers as possible - particularly those on the archaeology of ritual and of gender. After ASOR I am going to the American Academy of Religion (AAR) to present in the Contemporary Pagan Studies session. My paper is titled 'Researching the Past is a Foreign Country: Cognitive Dissonance as a response by practitioner Pagans to academic research on the history of Pagan religions'. This will be the first time in the USA for me, and also the first time I will meet many American Pagans in the flesh, particularly those Pagan Studies scholars who I've been corresponding with since 1999 and who - frankly - have kept my interest in contemporary Paganism alive in subsequent years.
So, basically I'm going to have to be very sociable within the next month...