When you hear the word “Pagan” or “Witch”, what are the first images to pop into your mind? Scary looking folks sacrificing babies in some creepy wood? Stereotypeical goth teenagers trying to be edgy and rebellious? Or a flakey looking New Age woman with tarot cards and gypsy skirts?
All these and more are dangerous stereotypes that are damaging to the Pagan community. So many Pagans never tell their friends and family about their spiritual beliefs because of the overwhelming amounts of prejudice and discrimination about their chosen path.
After spending the past seven years in “the broom closet”, as it was only last year that I proudly told my family of my spiritual beliefs and being free to practice in the open, Pagan Pride Day was a gift from the Gods. I went with two of my close friends, both Pagan as well, down to Battery Park in Manhattan.
I could spot the tents housing the booths from the entrance of the park. They were bright, eye-catching colors that heightened my sense of excitement. This was my first time mingling with fellow Pagans and it was highly liberating; rather like being a little kid in a candy store.
The purpose of this Pride Day was to donate to charity; there was a canned food drive for City Harvest as well as a pet adoption with Eve’s Sanctuary. Upon entering, there was a suggestion donation of three dollars or five dollars if you wanted to participate at a raffle.
Pagan Pride Day boasted different workshops, vendors, performances and at the very end, an open ritual to celebrate the coming fall.
The workshops included:
• Psychic Witches with Lady Autumn BlackWolf
• Ritual Magic with Juan Ramirez
• Santeria with Ian Fford
• Shamanism with Kurt Talking Stone
• Kitchen Witchery and Seasonal Foods with Dawn
• Intro to Voodoo with Lilith Dorsey
• Intro to Druidery with Sharon Gorbacz
• Ethical Spellcraft and Tarot with Courtney Weber
• Astrology with Jeanette
The vendors were selling beautiful essential and aromatic oils such as lavender, sage, and rose. Of course, there was jewelry to suit almost all of the different Pagan paths. I saw some beautiful ankhs, pentacles, rune and Celtic knot pendants for sale at very reasonable prices. There were also books, candles, incense, incense burners, tarot cards and crystals for sale as well.
The entertainment did not disappoint as well. There were singers, tarot readers, belly dancers, and drummers. At the very end when we all gathered together to celebrate the Harvest and give thanks to our Gods for all the blessings that have been bestowed upon us in our daily lives, there was a feeling of camaraderie and kinship in the air. There were one or two “outsiders” who were asking silly questions, but for the most part, innocent bystanders were very respectful of what we were doing.
There is absolutely nothing like dancing in a circle with others who share your beliefs and laughing and talking with strangers. Everyone I met at the faire was kind, courteous, and very personable. There was a good deal of laughter and a sense of fun in the air and you could see how everyone there was having a rollicking good time.
For we Pagans, today was a great way to kick back and relax without any fear of anyone making silly assumptions based on stereotypes. It also served as an excellent way to generate awareness and “set the record straight” about our religious beliefs.
If you would like to see the pictures I took today, please visit: my Photobucket Account.
Read the book Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices by clicking here.