Remembering Inspiration – Pantheacon with Hughes and Mankey

Mar 8th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles
This year, 2018, is my third year in a row attending Pantheacon – and it will be my last for a couple of years. Not because of a negative experience, but because it is just too expensive for me to do every single year. As an event, Pantheacon is an amazing experience that I truly do cherish. I get to meet up with a lot of folks I never see face-to-face at any other time of the year, and while I truly love those folks – and really enjoy meeting new people as well – and while it is the most rewarding aspect of being there for me, it is not the topmost reason I have for attending. That award, for me, goes to the concurrent sessions that are available throughout the event, both on the con schedule and in the various hospitality suites. Every year I have gone, I have come back with a notebook full of hastily jotted thoughts and personal comments on the wide variety of presentations I am fortunate enough to attend. This year, I also decided to run a commentary at the end of each day, encompassing my own personal thoughts well after the moments that I had experienced – back in the sanctuary of my shared hotel room. I thought I would share some of my commentary of that day.
  • Ritual with Kristoffer Hughes is such an amazing thing.
  • We are meant to carry the Awen within us. To share it with others. To inspire others and ourselves.
  • The Pagan Square Mile” – what is in yours?
  • Jason Mankey is one of the most amusing individuals I have ever had the privilege of encountering. Quite the individual, and always ready to get you to smile and laugh.
TommyElf aka Tommy Van Hook

TommyElf aka Tommy Van Hook

So, let’s talk for a bit, shall we? The first three points all arise from being around the incredible Kristoffer Hughes. Quite possibly, the most inspiring individual I could ever be around. I was lucky enough to have Kristoffer in my Ovate Grade initiation last year at the OBOD Gulf Coast Gathering. His passion for living life is just incredible and infectious. His ability to move between corny quips and commentary and enter seamlessly into stark, serious discussion on the importance of the quality of end-of-life scenarios for those in our lives is literally jaw-dropping stuff. And his perspective on the need for this aspect of our lives, including ritualized points, is really sobering and inspiring. Considering how often we shy away from the experience of death, gaining, and even terminal illness, his points on how we can embrace such things to not only ease the transition for the individual approaching this moment in their lives but to also find ways to connect with those who remain behind when one passes, are literally shining a light into a darkness we need to find better ways to handle (geez what a run-on statement, Tommy!). Couple this with Kristoffer’s running commentary throughout his presentations (and ritual) about how we need to embrace the Awen of our lives – to become the inspiration that we seek, and to help light the inspiration in others – it becomes extremely apparent that the perspective is to embrace and experience Life in all of its aspects. Great Life, shoddy Life, mediocre Life – look it over and find the things to embrace and celebrate. At one point, he even brought up the perspective of the Pagan Square Mile – your own piece of the world around you. What do you have contained within it? How do you find inspiration from within it? In what way is it you? How do you spread that to the world around you? How do you spread the Awen to others – how do you transmit your DTI (Druid Transmitted Infection) to the world around you? All I can really say…if you ever get the chance to spend a few minutes listening to this man talk, you will not regret it.

Staying in the humorous vein for a moment, I took the time to attend a presentation on the Horned God by Jason Mankey. This man is insane. In a fun way. The projector apparently was washing out the colors and made everything psychedelic in nature. Jason rolled with the punches. The presentation continued with the psychedelic flavor. While he was serious about the topic, he interjected so much fun commentary about the slide colors, his own life, his own perspective, the perspective of others – it was apparent that he was enjoying it as much as the folks in the audience. Now, I also attended a session in the ADF Hospitality Suite, where Jason was part of a panel on Cernunnos, and he was quite a bit more serious while still adding in some humorous points from time to time. As a presenter, I admire his flash and style. As an individual conveying his knowledge and personal perspective, I could not have asked for a better individual. Jason provided personal knowledge and perspective to questions peppered from both the audience of his concurrent session and the panel he was part of. I look forward to getting the chance to hear him at various other panels and concurrent sessions in the future.
From these two presenters – Kristoffer Hughes and Jason Mankey – I came away from the first day at Pantheacon realizing how important our laughter can be in our daily lives. Kristoffer’s heady topics about end-of-life needs and Jason’s quick adaptation to a lousy projector could have both been handled in very different ways. Kristoffer could have kept the audience mood at a grim setting – stoic and solemn. Jason could have gotten upset over the lousy project and forced a halt to the presentation. But both of them found ways to bring humor into their respective presentations to help keep folks in a more receptive mood to their material.
What both have managed to do, knowingly or not, is in teaching me a small life lesson that I need to continually remind myself about: inspire others in a manner you would want to be inspired. Inspiration born out of fear motivates no one to make changes in who they are or what they do. It will inspire others to hide who they are and what they do, and in these troubled times – we need to be there to lift one another up. To support each other in the best manner that we can. I have no idea if what I write or do inspires a single soul to do anything. Regardless, I will continue to try, to move forward, and to do so with a smile on my face (when possible) and trying to find the incredible moments that each day holds. Even when those moments may seem like mere crumbs instead of “hamburgers the size of my face” (to quote Kristoffer). I do not really need to know if I inspire anyone, merely that my actions just might do so. And that single piece of hope is really all I need and all I really need to aspire to. All I can add to that is this: someone might be looking to you for inspiration and hope. Show them what it means to fight that good fight.
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2 Comments to “Remembering Inspiration – Pantheacon with Hughes and Mankey”

  1. Wow! Thank you so much for the kind words.

    • Tommy Van Hook says:

      Jason – you are quite welcome. 🙂 I truly enjoyed listening to you talk…both in your concurrent session, as well as the Cernunnos panel. –T /|\

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