17 May 2015

Book Review: Penumbrae

One of the books I was most looking forward to this spring was Penumbrae, an anthology of occult fiction edited by Richard Gavin, Patricia Cram, and Daniel Schulke.  I was not disappointed. When I say this book was good, I mean it was practically perfect in every way.  Seriously, stop what you're doing, go order it, and then come finish reading this.

Penumbrae is unlike any other book of fiction I have ever read.  Instead of being a book of stories about the occult, it's a book of stories where the occult is just part of the landscape.  In most "magical" fiction you get heavy handed stories where the magick is the point of the story - the young boy learns to use magick to defeat the antagonist, the girl saves herself through the use of an ancient charm, etc.  In Penumbrae you get a more authentic occultism.  In these stories the magick simmers underneath the action, flowing through the story the way real magick lies beneath the surface of our everyday lives. 


The magick you find in "Turquoise on a Bed of Skulls" by Patricia Cram is the desperate folk magick of the hopeless.  Of all the stories in this anthology I found this one the most striking.  It's not a story about magick, but a story about terrible circumstances in which a woman takes power in the only way she can.  That happens to be through the use of what amounts to a series of Hoodoo jar spells.  However, the magick is not the point of this story.  This story has a much deeper message that sinks in to your skin and makes you itch for days afterwards. 

Most of the stories in this anthology are...not outright horror stories, but they are unsettling.  There is often something "not quite right" with the characters and their actions.  The magick and occultism they encounter tends to be extremely otherworldly - it doesn't quite fit in our reality.  So many works of fiction portray magick as a wondrous cure-all that just makes everything better, and yes real magick is a glorious thing, but it's not all white light and rainbows.  Real magick runs the gamut from gorgeous and uplifting to filthy and wrong.  When you really see magick changing reality is can be deeply, deeply unsettling - like when you see a movie displayed at the wrong frame rate and every movement just looks "off."


"The Spider" by Hanns Heinz Ewers was probably my favorite story to read: it's half mystery, half horror with just a pinch of the unreal.   This story has such a subtle thread of the unworldly.  It begins as a mystery that slowly deepens from the purely mundane to "that which should not be."  As someone who has practiced magick for a long time and who is widely read, I caught on to the occult elements fairly quickly.  I can't help but wonder how different this story would be for someone who didn't know the occult at all.  Still scary I would imagine, but much more shallowly so.


There were several stories in this anthology that had strong ties to Lovecraftian lore, though none so clearly as "Andromeda Among the Stones," by Caitlin R. Kiernan.  This story perfectly straddled that line between being uncomfortably close to reality and bearing the weight of unspeakable horror.   It highlighted the madness that deep occult studies often skirts and the consequences of allowing too much rigidity into our practices in the face of evidence that we should be doing things differently.  Unsettling, frightening, and yet magnificent.

So if you haven't done so yet go order this.  Then read it slowly while sipping a nice glass of red wine while listening to Debussy during a rain storm.

15 May 2015

Sweetening Spells


I’ve done a lot of spellwork over my magickal career, but until very recently I had never done a sweetening spell.  I think I’d skipped over them in the past because they’re often grouped with love spells, which I just don’t ever do.  However, I recently got a really fantastic bone casting and the reader told me that I should consider doing a sweetening spell to make the people at my new firm act more favorably towards me.  So, I decided to take a closer look at sweetening spells and really liked what I found.

In essence, a sweetening spell is done to make a person or situation more favorable – to make them be sweet to you.  Sweetening spells are close kin to love spells, but are a lot gentler and less coercive.  Instead of trying to force people into specific actions or emotions (e.g. make Jim love me or make my boss give me a raise), sweetening spells are aimed at making people be nicer, be more open and receptive.  Sweetening spells are the magickal equivalent of bringing someone cookies in the hopes that they’ll be more likely to do you a favor.  In fact, sweetening spells can be happily used in conjunction with bringing someone cookies ;)

While there are many different types of sweetening spells out there, the one that resonates the most with me is the honey jar.  In its simplest form all a honey jar spell needs is a small container, honey, a small piece of paper, and a pen.  You write the full name of the person or situation you want to sweeten three times on the piece of paper, then rotate the page 90 degrees and write your own full name across the other person’s name three times.  Put the piece of paper in the jar, letting some of the honey get on your fingers.  Then suck the honey off your finger saying, “As this honey is sweet so ___________ will be sweet to me.”  You can enhance the spell by adding something linked to the spell target to the jar (a photo or signature are your most hygienic options).  A bit of candle magick is often added by burning a small chime candle (of the color most appropriate to your desired outcome) on top of the jar, letting the wax drip onto the lid and jar.  In most of the sources I looked at, both tasting the honey and the candle burning should be repeated weekly as long as the situation lasts or until you’ve reached your desired outcome.

Gotta love locally sourced magick :)

For the honey jar I made, I got a small jar of local honey (purchased from a local vendor very close to where I work) and used both paper and a pen from work.  My targets for the spell were pretty much all the supervisors in my department, so rather than writing a bunch of names three times I created a sigil that represented them and wrote it three times on the paper and then crossed it with my own.  I also drew the sigil on the lid of the honey jar with a sharpie (an invaluable magickal tool).  I folded the paper nice and small and stuck it in the jar.  I then burned a small yellow candle on top of the jar, right on top of the sigil.  I’ll be doing this every Sunday in an hour of the sun for the foreseeable future.


Sigils make writing out long lines of text so very much simpler

Resources:
Hoodoo Honey and Sugar Spells: Sweet Love Magic in the Conjure Tradition http://www.luckymojo.com/honeyjar.html
https://lamplighterblues.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/honey-jar-sweetening-spell-basics/

07 May 2015

Psychic Self-Defense for Ghost Hunters (2015 edition)

Last weekend I gave a lecture on Psychic Self-Defense for Ghost Hunters down at the Spooked in Seattle's Metaphysical Market.  I wanted to share the important points of that lecture for those that were unable to attend.  

These days it seems like everyone and their grandmother wants to have an exciting paranormal experience like the ones they see on TV - hearing whispered voices, having their hair be moved by unseen hands, seeing shadowy figures, etc.  Just a few days ago I was telling a friend about the haunting of the restaurant we were eating in (Kells in Post Alley, highly recommended)  and the table next to us got terribly excited and asked how they could experience the haunting for themselves.  For most people most of the time ghost tours and ghost hunts are a fun and completely benign way to spend an evening.  However, every once in a while something goes amiss.  There are a few quick and east things you can do to make sure your experience is as safe and fun as it can be, avoid the dangers of attack, attachment, or bringing something home with you.

Visit the dead but don't join them prematurely

Brief Disclaimer: The following tips and techniques are things that will make you safer, not safe.  You will certainly be better off doing them than doing nothing at all, but the unseen world is unpredictable and nothing short of sealing yourself in a psychic bubble and never leaving your house again will guarantee that nothing metaphysically untoward will happen to you - and perhaps not even then.  Use common sense - if you ever feel like you are in danger in a haunted location you should leave.  Ghost hunting is about interacting with the dead, not becoming one yourself.  

Before 

There are certain things you should do before visiting a potentially haunted location:


  • Know your environment - For maximum safety you should learn as much as you can about the types of experiences people have had in a location and what types of entities are generally believed to be present.  The more you know going in the more appropriate your protections can be.  However, knowing too much about what other people have experienced in a location can bias your own experiences.  The human mind is amazing at seeing what it expects to see.  As a result, you may choose not to find out too much about a location in order to guarantee a more authentic experience.  Most of the time that's an acceptable risk as long as you have something at hand that can increase your protections if necessary (I'll talk about that in a moment).  At the very least, find out if the paranormal activity in a location is generally benign or if it's considered malevolent; if it's benign then going in blind is probably an acceptable risk, if not then your safety should trump the desire to be "surprised" by paranormal activity.

  • Choose how much protection you want going in - Psychic protection, at its core, is something that strengthens the barrier between you and the world around you.  It makes it more difficult for unseen entities to do things to you that you don't want - like pushing, scratching, or attaching themselves to you.  However, it can also make it more difficult for entities to do things you do want - like touching or talking to you.  Think of it like the difference between wearing rubber gloves as opposed to wearing a full hazmat suit.  They each put a protective barrier between you and something potentially dangerous, but one dulls your senses a lot more than the other.  Ideally, you want just enough protection to keep you safe, but not so much that it deters activity.  After all, the whole point of going on a ghost hunt or tour is to experience something.
  • Basic Pre-Hunt Protections - These techniques are good for most situations (e.g. mild/med hauntings).  Do these before entering a potentially haunted location.    
    • Prayer - If you are a person who prays it will probably be beneficial to pray for protection and good fortune before entering a haunted place.  The powers (gods, spirits, angels, etc.) that are a part of your personal belief system generally have a vested interest in helping you out and are probably willing to do so.  It never hurts to have a little outside muscle on your side.  However, keep in mind that prayer alone is almost never enough to be considered complete protection.  Also, depending on how your faith views the unseen world, the protective entities you call on might scare away all the ghosts.  Think about it and do what makes you comfortable.
    • Ground and Center    
      • When I use the term “grounding” I mean the act of flushing out negative or excess energy you have in your body into a place where it is naturally neutralized.  This is generally done by visualizing all the energy you don't want as static electricity and then moving it down your body and into the ground where it is neutralized.  Grounding helps to make sure that your energy doesn't interfere with the energy of the place you're visiting and it makes you more energetically stable.
      • The act of centering is essentially finding the place in your body where you feel your energies the strongest and aligning your energies to concentrate and flow from that place.  For many people that place is the lower abdomen or the base of the spine - it make be different for you.  I generally center by visualizing my center (just below and behind the navel for me) and breathing into it until I feel my energies focus and stabilize there.  Having a calm and focused center makes it easier to pay attention to what's going on around you and adapt accordingly.  
    • Shield - Shielding is the practice of forming a layer of protective energy around yourself in order to strengthen the barrier between you and the outside world.  The easiest way for most people to shield is to visualize an egg of white or pale blue electricity surrounding them like a bubble - just like the shields around the Enterprise on Star Trek.  Depending on how safe you feel in a given location you will want to make your shields thicker or thinner.  The nice thing about shields it that you can modify them at any time in response to what's happening around you.  This is also a great technique to use when dealing with angry co-workers or relatives.  It helps keep their negative energy off of you!
During a Tour or Hunt

  • Statement of Intent - I consider it a common courtesy to introduce myself when first entering a haunted location.  You can do it out loud or in your head, paranormal entities are generally able to hear thoughts expressly directed at them, though I like to say it aloud unless it would make me look like a crazy person in the given situation.  I recommend introducing yourself, expressing your respect and compassion for the unseen entities present, and inviting the experience you would like to have, e.g. let the entities know that you'd like to hear them speak or be gently touched and that you do not want to be pushed, scratched, or otherwise harmed.  By expressly saying (aloud or silently) what you do and do not want to happen you actually make it easier for the entity to do what you want and make it more difficult to do what you do not want.  Clearly expressed desires create their own energy that can help or hinder paranormal entities to act.  It's also just the courteous thing to do.  Wouldn't you be more likely to be friendly to a stranger that introduced themselves and asked you to do thing rather than just barging in an making demands?    
  • Protective Items - These are things to have on hand in order to escalate your protections as necessary.  Depending on the item and your own risk assessment you make choose to carry some of these things on your person (in a pocket or bad) or choose to leave them in a secure and easily accessible place just outside the haunted location.  I recommend choosing just 2-3 items to have on hand for most investigations.    
    • Talismans/charms     
      • Objects of faith (cross, star of david, pentagram, hand of fatima, etc.)  
      • Personal objects of special significance (family heirloom, love token, etc.)     
      • Bundles or small bags of protective herbs (Angelica, Bay, Cinnamon, Cloves, Fennel, Garlic, Mullein, Rosemary, Rue, Sage)    
      • Mojos (bundle of protective objects in a red cotton bag worn next to the skin - to begin I recommend choosing an herb, a stone, and a metal charm, eg. a bay leaf, a hematite, and a small pewter dragon)     
    • Protective stones (hematite, jet, obsidian, malachite, black tourmaline, etc.). 
    • Salt water, salt, black salt - Salt has a unique ability to disrupt and neutralize negative energy.  Black salt is salt that also contains charcoal or crushed lava rock and it cannot be beat for absorbing and grounding negative energy.  Something as simple as putting a few grains of salt on your tongue or rubbing salt on your hands or feet can make a huge difference in mitigating negative energies.  You can also wash your hands or feet in salt water for the same effect.    
  • Shielding - As I mentioned earlier, you can and should adapt your shields in response to what you feel in a haunted location.  If you feel threatened you can thicken shields or change their opacity, e.g. if your shields are a translucent electric blue you can change them to be made of solid steel or concrete.
Aftercare

What you do after a paranormal experience may actually be more important than anything you do before or during it.  If you do nothing else, I urge you to always do all three of the following:

  • Closing statement - Before you leave a location, inform the spirits that you’re finishing up and give them one last chance to communicate with you. Thank them for allowing you to share their space and wish them well. (Being kind and courteous costs you nothing and can go a long way towards ending things on a positive note - especially if you think you might come back!) Then tell them that you’re done and that they are to remain where they are, that they are not allowed to follow you home.  As with your statement of intent, just saying that the spirits are not to follow you will make it more difficult for any troublemakers to do so.    
  • Ground - After any paranormal experience you're likely to be either keyed up or extremely tired. Take a few moments to consiously let the energy of the experience calm down.  The easiest way to do this is to have some food and drink (fruits, nuts, cheese, bread, water or fruit juices all good - stay away from over processed or sugary foods for the best results).  Eating has a wonderful way of closing any open psychic connections and bringing down energy levels.  Rubbing your hands with salt or putting a little in your shoes is also an easy way to help you ground. 
  • Cleanse - Cleansing after a paranormal experience is absolutely critical.  You never really know what energies have gotten on you during an investigation and you do not want any potential negatives lingering. Here are a few things that you can do to cleanse yourself energetically:    
    • Smudge - A Native American technique of essentially fumigating yourself with the smoke of smoldering herbs, most often sage, cedar, and/or sweetgrass. 
    • Spritz - Have a spray bottle with a few drops of cleansing essential oil in water or hydrosol (rosemary, cedar, sage, lavender all good) and give yourself a good spritz or three.  This technique is particularly useful while traveling. 
    • Wash hands in salt water 
    • Bathe/Shower -  If you can, I highly recommend taking a shower - standing in running water does wonders for washing away negative energy.  Try using cedar or sage soap, florida water soap (available at your local Hoodoo supplier), or a van van wash (also available at your local Hoodoo supplier).
Try out these techniques the next time you visit a local paranormal hot spot and see how different your experience is. 

tl;dr - be courteous (ghosts are people too), be firm (say exactly what you do and do not want to experience and mean it), be prepared (have some quick and easy methods of increasing your protection if necessary)

My previous post on this topic - I've refined things quite a bit over the last few years.

01 May 2015

Beltane Blessing 2015

I've been celebrating Beltane for...a good long while now and this year has, by far, the most tumultuous energy I've ever felt on May Day.  With everything that's going on in the world it seems appropriate to turn the traditional blessings of fertility and personal prosperity into blessings for understanding and fruitful communication between all people.

A brief aside for Seattle area folks - I've got two events going this weekend. I'm facilitating a Beltane Ritual tomorrow at 3pm in Carkeek Park.  It's going to be fun and low key, so come on by :) On Sunday I'll be teaching a workshop on Psychic Self-Defense for Ghost Hunters at Spooked in Seattle's Metaphysical Market at 4pm.


Beltane Blessing for 2015

As I reach down to feel the earth beneath my feet I feel it pulsing with the energy of new growth.  The seeds we have sown are awakening and burgeoning with new life; changing the landscape with bursts of energy.  I shall ride these currents of growth and change and harness them to my will.  With them I birth a shift of consciousness in my self. The vast and unfathomable energies of the Sabbat flow through me and change me from within 

The bright fires of Beltane burn within and purify me.  Beltane fire burns away prejudice and privilege so that I may grow true, unburdened by the mistakes and misconceptions of my past. 

The seeds of expression bear the fruit of clear and effective communication.  The seeds of listening grow into true hearing. The seeds of knowledge within me blossom into real comprehension.  The seeds of compassion I've sown flower into true empathy. 

I manifest this growth through right action in my life.  I know that all change begins within but must be brought without in order to take hold.  I walk through the world enacting comprehension and empathy with all those around me.  I model the behavior I would see.  I inspire others to manifest positive change through right action.

Beltane blessings take hold within me and through me move into the world.


17 April 2015

Pop-Up Ritual

I love doing ritual magick but I don't always love the rigidity of the way it's often practiced.  I want my ritual practice to be adaptable enough to be done anywhere and anytime it's needed, with whomever wants to join me.  Don't get me wrong, a complicated and exactingly crafted ritual can be a beautiful thing - but I tend to save that for rare major workings.  Most of the time I do magick on the fly, including rituals.

Like so many things, I first started doing ritual back as an undergrad at Wellesley.  We had an amazing group that focused on learning new things and trying out new practices.   We were students just getting into magick, what else would we be doing?  We met every week and would often begin meetings by asking if anyone needed any magickal help.  Most of the time someone needed something (help studying for an exam, healing of an injury, dealing with a conflict, etc.); so, we would circle up, call the quarters, and do some magick.  We were a diverse group with Wiccans, Witches, Druids, Red Road, and a few other practitioners, so we didn't exactly have a set liturgy.  We'd improvise on a theme and just figure out what we were doing as we went along.  Every ritual was totally different, but they pretty much always met our needs.  It was an extremely open and flexible way of doing ritual and I loved it.

Ah my Alma Mater

I still love it.  I pretty much never do something the exact same way in multiple rituals.  Yes, over the years I've developed a pretty standard way of casting a circle and calling the quarters, but they always vary at least a little from ritual to ritual and they're the closest thing to standard liturgy that I've got. I like being able to feel the energies around me when I'm doing ritual and then adapt the ritual accordingly.  Shouldn't the way you call air into a circle be different if you're standing on a wind swept bluff as opposed to when you're indoors?  Should you summon, stir, and call forth a spirit that you can feel is already standing right beside you or just acknowledge it's presence and thank it for showing up early?  I've always felt that such adaptability is key for an effective practice.

Ritual is, in essence, a formal framework for worship, magickal practice, or a bit of both.  In my practice a ritual needs to have: a statement of intent/focus, an opening, calling of supportive powers (elements, spirits, deities, etc.), a working (devotional, magickal, or both), thanking of supporting powers, and a closing.  As long as those elements are present, preferably in that order, you've got yourself a ritual.  To me, it doesn't really matter whether your celebration of Artemis takes the form of a 15 minute recitation of an original poem in perfect iambic pentameter or is just a few moments of heartfelt meditation and lighting some incense.

Oh My Gods Archive
The exact execution of any step in a ritual is far less important than the focus and intent used in performing it.  I've been to large, carefully executed, highly formalized ritual that had less power and meaning than a five minute improvised ceremony to honor a pretty tree found in a park.  It's a lot like feeling the power and beauty of a heartfelt jazz improv as opposed to a coldly, if perfectly, played Mozart concerto; like music, magick has to have soul!

Of course, nothing is ever quite as simple as that.  Unless you're really comfortable with public speaking (something my inner attention whore loves with an unholy passion), improvising in front of strangers can be intimidating.  If you're inexperienced you might not know what to say; you may fear being judged or laughed at.  It's important that ritual space be safe space.  I like to begin my public rituals by stating that there is no right or wrong way to do something (within reason) and that judgements are strictly prohibited.  When I ask for participants I try to be fairly specific about what roles are needed and any constraints on how something can be done (usually time or adapting to the needs of the particular atendees).  If someone wants to participate that doesn't know what to do or feels comfortable doing something alone I ask for a more experienced practitioner to help the newbie plan what to do and how to do it (think magickal spotter). 

This brings us to the idea of pop-up ritual.  I have a dream of building a network of magickal folk who can come together, without prior preparation, and perform ritual whenever it's wanted.  Just like you see pop-up retail stores appearing temporarily where they find a need, I want to see pop-up ritual that can be set up in a flash anywhere, anytime, with whomever happens to show up.  I want to see open, inclusive ritual being practiced in my community. If you're in the Seattle area check out Illustris on Facebook and see where you can participate in my pop-up rituals.

Beltane Ritual 5/2 at Carkeek Park

If you are in the Seattle area come join me on May 2nd to celebrate Beltane!  We'll be doing a fun, informal ritual in the always lovely Carkeek Park.  We'll be meeting in the parking area next to the playground at 3pm.


This relaxed and informal ritual is open to all ages, traditions/practices, and levels of experience. Come as you are.  Just bring an open mind, a willingness to participate, and a small offering of flowers or birdseed if you can. 

I hope to see you there!

For full details check out our event listing on Witchvox:
http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_ev.html?a=uswa&id=94369

07 April 2015

Pop Culture Magick: Con Edition - Part II

In my last post, Pop Culture Magick: Con Edition - Part I, I talked a bit about that magick you can perform at a comic or pop-culture convention to take advantage of the unique energies and opportunities that cons present.  In this post I'll talk a bit about the magick you can perform in order to help yourself stay safe, sane, and healthy while at a con.

Conventions are amazing things and I adore them, however they can be rather overwhelming.  When you squeeze a convention center or hotel full of people the possibilities for discordant energy, exhaustion, and illness go up dramatically.

First, the mundane

Why am I talking about the mundane in a magickal blog? Because you can't do effective magick if you're physically exhausted or ill.  If your mundane foundations aren't strong your magick will suffer, so you need to take care of yourself.

As with any con, I always recommend that you keep the 6-2-1 rule in mind: get a minimum of six hours of sleep a night, eat at least two balanced meals a day, and take one shower a day (this is for you and everyone around you). Most cons have official activities going all day and both official and unofficial activities going most of the night.  It's shockingly easy to loose track of time when you're having fun, but all-nighters aren't good for you.  I don't know about you folks, but I am not a teenager anymore and turn into an unbearable harpy when I don't get my rest.  My getting sufficient sleep is in everyone's best interest.  It's also incredibly easy to miss meals at a con.  Often events are scheduled so that there's always something happening and it you're interested in it all there might not be much time for meals.  Do yourself a favor and find the nearest grocery store or deluxe mini-mart and stash some healthy food in your room and some nutritious and non-squishable food and a water bottle in your con bag.  Here in Seattle we have one of the best public market's in the world, Pike Place Market, so I took advantage and filled the room with tasty and mostly healthy snacks.  I trust I don't need to explain the need to bathe.  Seriously folks.


If you can, get a hotel room near the con.  If you're going to be at a con that is either multi-day or that goes far into the night do yourself a favor and get a room.  Having a room means that you've got safe, private space at an extremely public event.   As a magickal person the ability to, whenever you need to, retreat from the public energies into a quiet energetically controllable space is absolutely critical.  You never know when you're going to need to just crash and chill out for a while.  Cons can be overwhelming in both good and bad ways: you can be shaking from an inspiring panel from your favorite writer or shaking with rage from the dudebro bad mouthing your favorite character.  Either way, having safe space to relax is a godsend.  Some conventions (thank you ECCC) have quiet rooms in the con itself for just such occasions and they are truly helpful - mark them on your map!  But if you need to do a full LBRP to come down, having private space to do so would make your life a lot easier.

Take care of your feet.  I walked over 20,000 steps the first day of ECCC.  On an average work day I get in about 4,000.  By Sunday night my legs and feet were both very unhappy with me.  Bring multiple pairs of shoes to change your gait, change your socks 2-3 times a day (trust me), and bring epsom salts and soothing lotion for your legs and feet (tiger balm is your friend).  You will have a better time at the con if you're not in pain.

A word on con-crud.  80,000 of your closest friends does not a hygienic environment make.  Getting sick at a con blows donkey nuts.  Take vitamin c, take immune boosting herbs, do acupuncture before hand, use hand sanitizer, eat well, keep yourself hydrated, and get enough rest.  Take care of yourself or pay the consequences.

On to the magick!

Grounding

Possibly the most important magickal skill you can use to have a better con experience is grounding.  The near-tidal levels of chaotic energy that are experienced at a convention can wreak havoc on even the most shielded of practitioners.  Ground well and ground often to keep your equilibrium.

This is where you should plan on bringing out you big guns for grounding: use stones like jet or obsidian to help earth your energies, drink soothing herbal tea like chamomile or lemon balm (put some iced tea in a water bottle for on the go grounding needs), wear grounding jewelry, have particularly earthy friends on hand if possible, and be prepared to take a grounding shower at the end of the day (seriously, a nice herbal soap and a soothing shower do wonders for grounding at the end of the day).  At ECCC this year my con buddy, Rae du Soleil, brought a spritz of rosemary/cedar water that was wonderful for helping us ground.  I highly recommend something similar. If you forget to ground you will wake up with a spectacular magickal hangover - I speak from experience.

It's also nice to give yourself a magickal foot massage at the end of the day.  Even if you forgot to pack your homemade lotion packed with grounding herbs and per-charged with your intent, almost all hotels have little bottles of hand lotion.  Use the lotion to rub your feet with the intent of working out both the physical kinks and the energetic residue of the day.  As you work the knots in your muscles allows your energetic knots to come loose as well to allow the energy of the day to ground away.  Your feet and your aura will thank you.

Shielding

Shielding at a con is tricky.  On the one hand you don't want to miss out on the fun and excitement of the ambient energy, and on the other hand you don't want to get blown out by that same energy.  I recommend coming into the event with minimal shielding and then reading the ambient energy to see how much you need to add.  I'd rather get a little bit frazzled than miss out, but it's totally up to you.

I highly recommend using anchored shields (shields housed in a physical object) while at a con.
If the con is any good you will be fully engaged in the con itself, with very little brain power left over to deal with shielding.  Making sure that your shields take care of themselves will save you a lot of energy.

Altars

Travel altars are your friend.  Having a small altar of your own power objects can completely transform an energetically nondescript hotel room into your hotel room. If you're energetically sensitive you're probably noticed that generic hotel rooms can be a little bit soul crushing.  They're specifically designed to not have much character or energy beyond restful sleep.  Setting up a small altar infuses your energy into the room and makes it far more supportive to you.  Don't underestimate the importance of feeling like you belong in the space you wake up in. 

Rae du Soleil's ECCC 2015 altar
Daily Divination

It may seem like a small thing, but doing a bit of divination before you head out for the day and really affect how you experience things.  Anything from a simple one card pull to a full spread on what you need to focus on for the day can provide guidance and direct your focus.  It's also a great way to help yourself figure out if you really need to skip lunch to make that 12:20pm panel.


Cosplay 

First off, I am not a cosplayer.  I have tremendous respect for the art of cosplay and I love the incredible people watching it provides, but it's just not really my thing.  That being said, there is tremendous magickal potential in cosplay.  It's quite different to walk the floor as a nondescript attendee and another thing entirely to walk the floor as Lady Sif (and there were a few amazing Lady Sifs at ECCC).  If you're a cosplayer you can take advantage of the energies involved in playing a character in a place where that character is recognized and respected.  Just a thought ;)

For more info:
Conventions - Part I
Pop Culture Magick Index