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| Article Specs|
Article ID: 2811
Age Group: Adult
Posted: May 31st. 2000
Festival FAQ's (part II)
by Patricia Telesco
(with thanks to Silver Wolf and Aradia -- Iron Web Coven)
I notice a lot of people with athames and other magickal gear at events. How should these be treated? Trish Telesco
With the utmost respect. Don't touch anything without first asking. Just because it's sitting somewhere, this isn't an open invitation for people to pick up an item and tinker with it. Please treat other people's goods with the same courtesy as you would wish for your own.
Note that this "rule" extends to things like food and drink. Don't just take things from someone's cooler without asking. While we are a community, not all of us are "communal."
With more festivals allowing full or partial nudity, do you have any good advice or rules that apply to our interactions?
Pagans are pretty comfortable in their skins, but that doesn't mean that nudity is an expression of sexual desire or that it's suddenly open season on body parts! Many people are in monogamous relationships, others are simply exploring the freedom of a festival, and others still have taboos against certain types of touching with people that aren't in their family unit. In all cases, the body is a sacred thing that should be treated accordingly.
We want festivals to remain a safe place for people to explore their sexual self without feeling on display. This means that being respectful of people's personal space is very important. Don't just go hugging, grabbing and groping unless you know that action is (a) desired, and (b) appropriate to the moment.
One thing that avoids some awkwardness is to extend a handshake. A person can easily decline this, or they may say "hey we hug!" In any case, find an approach that maintains a nice medium, and stick with it until you know a different one is accepted by that person.
What other kinds of courtesies are often overlooked?
On common one is how camp fires are treated. I have often seen people just ramble into a camp, plop down at a fire, and start talking without ever asking if (a) the conversation was private or (b) if it was "ok" to join in. Note too that a camp fire doesn't always mean cooking. Many people use this space for ritualistic purposes. Don't just go tossing in a potato without checking first!
Similarly, people often just grab a chair and use it without asking. Folks pay for those chairs, and pack them to use. Don't just drag one away from a camp site or sit down without at least asking if it's ok. Along the same lines, people don't always stop to think about asking permission to enter a camp before strolling in! You wouldn't do this at someone's front door so don't do it here.
Really, if you pretend for a moment that a festival is a very big home that everyone is sharing you'll get the picture. Do unto others is a very good motto no matter the setting.
What can festival coordinators and attendees do about underage drinking at events?
This is a very serious question and one our entire community needs to look at closely. Under age drinking is AGAINST THE LAW, not to mention unsafe if not properly monitored. Festival coordinators cannot simply turn a blind eye to it. Yes, teenagers are going to experiment -- that's normal, but this isn't the place in which that experimentation should happen because it exposes the entire community to potential legal liabilities. Our teens need to understand how important it is that they respect mundane and spiritual laws, and also realize what the consequences of NOT obeying those laws will be.
As a community we have a duty to remain aware and informed about this problem. I would suggest first brining such a problem to a teen's parents if they are on site. Otherwise, find the responsible adult and see what they do. If that person is not willing to act, then go to the festival coordinator and inform him or her of the situation. Note that some festival coordinators will ask a teen and his or her companions to leave an event for drinking
If anyone reading this has constructive ideas on how to handle under aged drinking at events other than those mentioned, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I like to merchant at events but I'm not always put in a good location. Is there something I can do about that?
For one you can register earlier. Many festivals are "first come first serve" and the sites for merchants are simply set out in a 1-2-3-4 form. Alternatively talk to the festival coordinator about the possibility of changing your location another year. Explain the "whys" and generally you'll find they're very cooperative and helpful. I've often had coordinators move me right away once I asked about it!
I sometimes see unattended children at events. What should I do?
First, call to the campsites nearby and see if a responsible person is about. If so, let them know the children "appeared" unattended and see what happens. If responsible action isn't taken, or a responsible party isn't located, take the children to the check in booth or festival coordinator. This is one of my personal gripes in that I feel if someone knows they cannot properly care for their children at an event, they should either not come or find a sitter. We are a community, and an hour or two of asking for help with the kids is understandable. Whole afternoons of unattended children is NOT cool, and it puts other adults in a very uncomfortable position since safety is an issue, not to mention common sense. Kids will be kids. Don't expect them to behave like adults just because you want to attend a workshop and can't find someone to watch them!
Speaking of Children, what's the overall feeling about bringing children to ritual?
It varies. I do believe our children, as our future, hold a very important place at the ritual circle. However, not all rituals are suited for children of specific ages (who might get antsy or speak out at inappropriate moments etc.). Again, this is where a parent must know their children well enough to make a judgement call. If the ritual theme is suited for children, and if that child will handle the sacred space well, then I say bring him or her. Otherwise find a suitable, and responsible alternative.
The Witches' Voice
May 18th., 2000
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Location: Amherst, New York
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