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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 52 - 7/30/2001
Have you ever been to a Pagan Festival?
NeoPagan festivals have been going on for over 2 decades and continue to rise in both attendance and numbers of different festivals. If you have attended a fest, what did like best? If you have never been to Pagan festival, what do you think you would enjoy most? The community interaction? Meeting the Big Name Pagans? The Dancing? The Drumming? The Music? The large group rituals?
| Reponses: There are 26 responses posted to this question.
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| Pagan Meets? I Try To Avoid Them As Much As Possible. Went... ||Jul 30th. at 12:16:42 am EDT|
|Tarostar (Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 59 - Email |
Pagan Meets? I try to avoid them as much as possible.
Went to some in the early days, but lost interest in a record hurry.
Mainly, the "celebrities" who float in the air, rather than walk on the ground with the common herd, turn me off.
Drumming, drumming, drumming past the first croak of dawn makes you wish you brought an uzi.
Every newage sewage fad hitting the trail at the Psychic Fairs shows up at Pagan Meets also.
Rituals geared to a political agenda, rather than the Art Magical, create their own astral abortions.
People who can't keep their clothes on, but who really should, make life
not worth watching.
People past their prime being nymphs and fauns in the bushes can be scary.
Pagan Meets? I'd rather not.
| I'm On The West Coast, And The Only Pagan Convention Within Easy... ||Jul 30th. at 1:07:12 am EDT|
|Brightarrow (San Leandro, California US) ||Age: 46 |
I'm on the West Coast, and the only pagan convention within easy reach is PanTheaCon. I went for the first time last year. Best features:
- Questionnaire for the attendees to fill out, rating various features of the con and asking for what should be different next year;
- big, varied, splendiferous dealers' room;
- workshops that actually had some intellectual (not "pedantic") content, such as "Queer Magick" and "Pagans of Color."
- and a subtle but persistent coalescing of magickal energy that made all kinds of contact with deity much easier. This in a Hilton hotel in downtown San Francisco!
| No, Not Yet. I Had An Opportunity To Attend A Beltane Festival... ||Jul 30th. at 8:05:28 am EDT|
|Ciarrai (Somewhere in Somerset County, New Jersey US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
No, not yet. I had an opportunity to attend a Beltane festival in Lebanon, NJ, hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Pagan Alliance. It isn't very far from where I live, and in fact, the same park was used for a corporate function for my job. I was corresponding w/ my best friend's sister-in-law, who is a Witch that is most definitely out of the closet. She asked if I was going and I said, well, maybe I'll try to go w/ this guy that I'm seeing, he's agnostic but very open minded. She replied, "well, it is BELTANE, you don't need an escort!" I didn't feel that I was ready to go b/c I hadn't yet been educated enough. I really want to get as much out of this as I can as a religious experience, not a party. Perhaps by next year...I mark my "year and a day" of serious study next St. Patrick's Day (ironically)! I thinkthat I would enjoy the group rituals the most though, even if I'm looking in from the outside (forever learning).
| The End Of This Summer Marks My 3rd Visit To The Mountains... ||Jul 30th. at 8:58:45 am EDT|
|Lady Flame (Jackson, Tennessee US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
The end of this summer marks my 3rd visit to the mountains of Colorado and a wonderful festival, Dragonfest. My first year I did not know what to expect, my second was the total opposite, and now I'm just going in with no expectations this year and knowing that I will have a wonderful and spiritual time.
It is hard to decide which part I like the best. Seeing old friends and making new ones, visiting the merchants, attending workshops, hosting my first workshop this year...
But, while thinking about it and writing, I think my favorite part is the nightly drumming circles. Watching the sun set slowly as we eat our evening meal and listening to the quiet chatter of the other campers and occasional bursts of laughter. Patiently (or usually impatiently in my case) waiting for that first beat of the drum. The first beat is followed by several more until a definite rhythm is heard and you know that it is time to begin to make your way up to Sacred Space. It seems like a long walk up the trail. It's dark and the only sound is those drums beating. I always pause at the top of the trail and look. The fires are blazing and people are dancing around them. An overwhelming feeling of "I've seen this before and done this before in another very ancient life" always overcomes me. It feels like coming home. It is this once a year vacation that keeps me charged up for the rest of the year and it is the nightly drumming and dancing that gives me that energy.
| This Is My Second Year As A Member Of Four Quarters Farm... ||Jul 30th. at 9:14:38 am EDT|
|Damian (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 35 |
This is my second year as a member of Four Quarters Farm in Artemis, PA. I try to make it down for Full or New Moon rituals when I have a free weekend, and most definately make time to attend several gatherings per year. the DC Radical Faries host two men's gatherings (one in the Spring and one in the Fall) that I have a great time at both. I usually start my camping season with the Men's Gathering on Memorial Day weekend and keep my tent up until Samhain Weekend. Their largest gather is Stone's Rising which is coming up Labor Day weekend. We will be rising several more stones into the stone circle. It's a weekend of personnal sacrafice and ritual alone with lots of bonding with other pagans.
The thing I like most about the festivals I've attended would have to be the bonding that goes on with everyone there. The festivals are very well organized and directed so everyone is working toward the same goal, weither it be raising more stones into the circle (which takes quite a bit of effort to just move the hugh stones into place) or just a themed weekend. This year I have been/will be working in the kitchen helping with the preperation of food to feed all the people gathered (here's where working in the ship's galley on an aircraft carrier will come in handy) and that is something else that I like doing at the festivals. Also, being a solitary I really enjoy getting together (at a place that feels more like home than the address on my drivers licence at times) in ritual with others and really get to test my skills when asked (five minutes before ritual) to call one of the quarters, or even if I would be interested in leading a ritual without an prep time of my own. Although the impromptu rituals can send people scurring around like crazy, they have their own special power that needs to be shared.
I have had great times and met many great people at the gathersing and festivals I've attended, and look forward to the great times ahead.
| Howdy Do All! My Name Is Heidi The Smith And I Attend... ||Jul 30th. at 12:47:36 pm EDT|
|heidi the smith (stump towne, Oregon US) ||Age: 35 |
Howdy do all!
My name is Heidi the Smith and I attend annually the Summerstar Festival held in Washington state. I have been attendingthis fest. over it's 9years(this was the ninth) and have to say I couldn't go a year without it.
This year I was involved with the backstage happenings, and worked as the Gate Goddess, making sure everyone was checked in, sent on to their camp sites, or just made sure they knew were to park.
It was beyond wonderous and fulfilling to work the fest, it was a high.
Being involved in my community and tribe is important to me, and seeing so many folks having fun, and connecting is the highlight of my summer every year.
Festivals bring us together, show us we are tribe however different we may be, what ever path we are on. It is a safe space where our teenagers are appreciated for who they are, our elders are honored for their wisdom, and all of us groovy freaky folks can just BE.
No evil glances directed at your pentacle, no onslaught of the mainstream media, and not so subtle negative messages from the church and state. King George who? For a few days or a week we can live as we are, and yes escape the mundane world. Gaining strength to return to it, and live truer to ourselves.
If you have never attended a festival find one in your area and attend.
Stay up late drummng and dancing. Attend seminars and workshops, find your tribe and clan. You are not alone.
We work together all week, all year really to put it on Summerstar and plan the fest. It is a labor of love. We brave the bugs and summer showers just so we can make a special place in time.
Heidi the smith
| I Attended The Pagan Picnic In St. Louis' Tower Grove Park This... ||Jul 30th. at 10:16:27 pm EDT|
|Lynne-Renee (rural STL, Missouri US) ||Age: 29 - Email |
I attended the Pagan Picnic in St. Louis' Tower Grove Park this weekend. It's the 9th annual and my 4th.
It was stated that the first (which came about as a family event-like a reunion) had 40 attendees. Last year, there was over 2, 000 (that's registered & signed in).
I can understand how those who have a large group with which to work or in whose community it's more accepted to be pagan, festivals are trite and possibly an embarrassing bore. I personally love to go, just to remind me that there's more of us than you think and ESPECIALLY that the majority are very regular looking people who follow non-mainstream belief systems.
Children are so free and without fear as they are respected and behave accordingly. In what other public place do you see this and for that matter don't wonder, "Where in hell are the parents??" We're all responsible for them as it should be.
This year marks my first when I'll attend the "Magickal Weekend" at Eureka (just outside of St. L). It's in the Ramada and has a Ball, a dinner, lectures and of course, vendors. I'm glad there are places for "Come one, come all."
| I Attended Pagan Pride Day In 1999 At Borderland State Park. I... ||Jul 30th. at 11:40:00 pm EDT|
|Laura Winmill (Bridgewater, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 33 |
I attended Pagan Pride Day in 1999 at Borderland State Park. I have to say the most amazing thing about the festival was how friendly the people were. I had my not quite 2 year old daughter with me. At one point she complained of being hungry, well enough said. Two wonderful women who had overheard her offered to make her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and we sat with them on their blanket while she ate. I loved this feeling of community. Thanks!
| I Have Only Attended Two Pagan Festivals, And That Was Several Years... ||Jul 31st. at 8:31:12 am EDT|
|John (New Naumkeag) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I have only attended two Pagan festivals, and that was several years ago. I would like to go again, but this year IÕm ill (with Epstein-Barr virus = mono for adults). Maybe next year. :-)
I liked the festivals I attended because of the feeling of community there. I *donÕt* think of myself as part of ÒtribeÓ; I do think of myself as being part of a community Ð a nice, vague, flexible word that covers Pagans in all their variations. And that was what I liked the most: we *celebrated* our variations and differences because we celebrated all of us just being Pagans . . . Pagans (Witches, Wiccans, Druids, even some Asatruars) who actually had the blessing of being together in each othersÕ presence.
As a solitaire, the feeling of community was especially pleasant. I cherish my form of the Craft, the solitary one, but sometimes itÕs just really nice to *be* with other folks on the Pagan paths.
If you havenÕt yet attended a festival, I encourage it: take some gear and some foresight and some common sense, but also take an open, happy mind, and you should be pleasantly surprised.
And, to any who do go to festivals this year, please remember me and the other Pagans who, because of illness or other reason, canÕt be there with you. WeÕre with you in spirit!
| I Enjoy The Drumming And Fellowship. There Is Little In This Life... ||Jul 31st. at 8:48:50 am EDT|
|Linda (Portland, Maine US) ||Age: 32 |
I enjoy the drumming and fellowship. There is little in this life that is better than to sit, dance, drink and drum with others who feel as I do.
| I Try To Support The Community By Going To Each Public Festival... ||Jul 31st. at 12:40:31 pm EDT|
|ƒowyn (Western, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 28 |
I try to support the community by going to each public festival that is held in the area. I started this practice about 4 years ago now. I love the camaraderie, seeing old friends and making new ones. In fact, I liked it so much that I (well, I and a bunch of my friends) decided to start holding one annually.
I went to my first Rites of Spring, held annually here in WMA. What an experience! Everything was unbelieveable, from meeting community elders and having the chance to work with them to leaving the "Muggle" world behind for a week and not looking back. Someone told me that leaving Rites was going to be a wrenching experience and I thought 'yeah, right', but when I actually passed through those gates and back into the real world, some part of me mourned the separation. It is an incredible thing: being surrounded by people who are like you when you live your life in a place where you are different. I hope that everyone is lucky enough to experience it, even if it is just once.
| I Have Attended The Goddess Gathering Festival At Ravenwolf Every Year For... ||Jul 31st. at 6:51:21 pm EDT|
|Heather Lynn Fairfield (Canton, Massachusetts US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
I have attended the Goddess Gathering festival at RavenWolf every year for the past three years. One of the first things that really struck me about this gathering is how everyone treats everyone else like family. This should not imply that we all get along every moment of every day -- all families have their squabbles. On occasion, someone manages to really screw up and make it on to the whole camp's sh*t list, but it generally doesn't last long. However, in many ways, it feels like an extended family barbecue to be there for a week. (Some might argue that if I feel this way, my family must be more dysfunctional than most ... grin.) I suppose that I have met some "big name" Pagans, but names never really mattered much to me. I am much more concerned with who someone is as a person rather than any fame that might happen to be attached to them. I have seldom been impressed by anything I could not witness for myself when it comes to a person's name and reputation. Judging people on name and reputation only is not generally a wise idea -- whether said individual's reputation happens to be good or bad.
The second thing that I really enjoy is the sense of community. When I was living in Chicago and going to college, I was more or less one of the leaders/founding members of my circle. Since coming back to Boston, I have been very cut off from the Pagan community, as no one else in my family and almost none of my friends here are Pagan. Joining a coven really isn't the answer for me, as I usually choose to work solitary. The festival is one of the only times in the year that I get to relax in a community of people who all believe the same thing I do. The older I get, the more I realize how important this is to me. It is such a nice change of pace to be able to make a comment or observation about your faith/world view without having to explain yourself to those who just "don't get it"! (Although I have been lucky that my family has been very supportive of me, despite not always agreeing with my views.) At other times in the year, I really miss having my spiritual community around me.
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