Pre-Con Interview Series: David Salisbury
As part of our Pre Pantheacon coverage, David Salisbury talked to Pagan Newswire Collective Bay Area and answered some questions about his upcoming trip to California for the Pantheacon convention.
David Salisbury is a Pagan author and the High Priest of Coven of the Spiral Moon (of the Firefly tradition). Living in Washington DC, Salisbury is the Chief of the DC Bureau of the Pagan Newswire Collective, the Capitol Witch. Salisbury has been an activist with many organizations and currently is an employee with the Human Rights Campaign.
With his upcoming book, The Deep Heart of Witchcraft: Expanding the Core of Magickal Practice due out in March of 2013, Salisbury is traveling to network with the California Pagan scene.
What inspired you to fly to California this year for Pantheacon?
My reasons are actually two-fold this year. During Pantheacon 2011 and 2012 I spent a lot of time from my local area trying to urge organizers to move towards inclusion policies that were favorable for transgender individuals. I was thrilled to see that in 2012 they did just that. It seemed only appropriate that I support the Con by making it a point to be there for 2013.
The other reason is more personal. I work with Pagans scattered all over the country throughout the year and some of them usually stick pretty close to the west coast. This is a perfect opportunity to connect with those folks and strengthen our sense of community together.
Are you facilitating a workshop this year or on a panel? If so, which one(s)?
I’m not facilitating any workshops but I will be on Modern Witch Live which I’m very excited about. Other than that, I’ll just be soaking up all the knowledge of the Con. I can’t believe there are so many amazing workshops I’ll have to choose from!
What workshops are you the most excited about on this year’s schedule?
Grant Parker’s class “Teaching Skills for Coven & Circle Leaders” looks particularly interesting to me. There isn’t enough discussion between teachers about how to improve our skills so I’m excited to see what I can learn from that. I’m also very excited for “Building Bridges” which Melissa Murry will be involved with. I got to spend some time with Melissa at Pagan Spirit Gathering and found her to be an amazing teacher and facilitator around the topic of gender and gender identity within Paganism.
The Deep Heart of Witchcraft is my first book and it’ll be released by Moon Books towards the end of March, 2013. It actually grew out my experiences in teaching dedicants and first degree students within my own tradition. After teaching the same material for a while, I started to notice holes between what students were learning in class and how they applied those teachings to their daily spiritual life. I realized that a lot of beginner Witches have to take huge leaps from the basic foundations into very complex magickal systems that they might not end up resonating with. This is an effort to bridge that gap.
My hope is that the book will encourage all practitioners, beginner or experienced, to engage all practices within their Craft deeply rather than just going through the motions out of a sense of obligation. One of my first teachers told me to “question everything”, and that’s a big theme throughout the book.
If you could do five things at this year’s Con, what would they be and why?
1 – Meet new people: There are already so many people I’m excited to see and spend time with, I’ll have to make it a point to step out of the shell and make some new connections.
2 – Build community bridges: Similar to the above, but on more of an organizational level. I think the future of Paganism’s health will rely on cooperation between different groups and traditions. I hope I can be a part of learning about other traditions and how I can help foster cooperation between them and my own.
3 – Attend The Rite of 1,000 Crowns: I have so much respect for the folks at CAYA Coven and the Living Temple of Diana and I hear they both put on amazing rituals. I can’t wait to support that.
4 – Attend the Morrigan Devotional by Coru Cathubodua and Solar Cross Temple – I completely stand behind the intention of that rite and I hope it has a huge turnout.
5 – Write: As strange as it sounds, one of my major goals is to simply sit in that lobby and write, even if it’s just for an hour. I’m sure there will be a lot of interesting people walking around and I hope to glean a bit of inspiration from them!
What can we expect from David Salisbury in 2013?
My tradition, The Firefly House, is branching out with a new church and is going to be experiencing some structural changes in the coming year. A big part of my year will be dedicated to setting up a healthy and empowering space for the priests and priestesses of the tradition to do their wonderful work.
In my own time, I’ll be working on my second book which is aimed at teen and young adult Pagans. That should be out in the fall of 2013.
A special thank you to David Salisbury.
Crystal Blanton reporting, Pagan Newswire Collective Bay Area