Coru Statement on our Participation in Pantheacon

The Coru Cathubodua Priesthood will no longer be hosting the Temple of the Morrigan and Coru Hospitality Suite at Pantheacon as part of our service to our community.

This decision was a bittersweet one. Pantheacon has played a significant role in the history of the Coru. Over the past 7 years we have served the community of the Con with joy, providing hospitality, devotional practice, rituals, spiritual care, and counseling. We helped create an environment of safety, camaraderie, and religious devotion.  In recent years, we have witnessed, and tried to support where we could, the volunteer staff of the Con as they struggled to maintain basic community standards of safety, and to create an environment where marginalized groups are supported in fully participating in the Con unthreatened and unmolested.

For the Coru, safety and inclusion are central to our core values and these principles drive where we are willing to invest time and resources. We recognize and respect the epic level of unpaid labor that the volunteer staff has been performing for years to try to make the Con safe for everyone, often without the support of the leadership. Meanwhile, pagans of color and trans people have had to struggle to have a place at the table within the decision making process of the Con, and we have witnessed these same people regularly attacked by angry members of the public with very little support from Con leadership. We are glad to see the recent announcement of a Diversity & Consent Policy and for the sake of the community, we hope this will be enforced. However, this comes after many marginalized voices have already been pushed out of the PantheaCon community. We are making the choice to withdraw from PantheaCon so that we can invest our time and resources in events where these marginalized voices are given equal weight and space at the table, rather than as an afterthought. We choose to support events that are safe for marginalized peoples, with strong and clear policies on acceptable conduct and consent.

Supporting Pantheacon has become a net drain on our community. People come to the Con from around the world to attend presentations and rituals, to meet people, and to explore the hospitality suites. Presenters and suite hosts at Pantheacon are providing nearly all of the Con’s content, hospitality space, and spiritual services, while paying a hefty price to do this. The Con provides only a minimal discount for some presenters, and no support at all for suite hosts. The staff are nearly all volunteers, and in truth, very few people benefit from the massive amount of money that the Con brings in. This is simply not a healthy or sustainable model of community engagement. Going forward, we intend to invest in events that are built on a more community-focused model, and that acknowledge the value and effort of content providers by easing the financial burden of participation.

While this work has been rewarding and meaningful for us, the truth is that planning and running a hospitality suite and the Temple of the Morrigan requires a tremendous amount of time, energy, and resources to pull off every year. It is time for us to refocus our resources into efforts that are built on inclusivity, recognize intersectionality, highlight marginalized voices, and are financially sustainable for the greater community.