Bubble Bubble Toil &….. Tuna Casserole?!
Every wonder if witches are real? We’re you scared of those punks and goths back in high school or college? Not sure if you should talk to the guy in the cubicle two rows over because he’s got an pentagram pinned next to his monitor?
Fear not! Today I’ll be bringing you some answers straight from the source! A Pagan group right here in Los Angeles CA! *GASP!!!!!*
So as it turns out witches, among other things like Druids, are real, but before you start fearing for my life, it also turns out they’re not so much the ugly mole-ridden creepy old hags casting spells we see on TV. In fact some of them are almost sadly dull. *sad face* But from my experience a lot of them are more like a relatable to a mash-up of hippies, karmic circle theorists, ancestors watching over us, everything has a spirit so be nice to it and paint with the colors of the wind kinds people.
Disney would be proud. But let’s not get off track.
How did I get myself involved with Pagans?!
How indeed. You would think that it’s unlikely to know someone who is pagan. But apparently pagan doesn’t mean what many of us are probably taught.
pa·gan – noun
a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.
What was also interesting to find out is that, because it was common in the olden days to worship many gods, people who believed in only one god were the ones originally being called pagans. Funny how things turn out hu?
A long time ago I found out a very good friend of mine is pagan. I happen to love learning about different cultures and religions so my friend, invited me to a pagan festival and later on a craft fair.
So this wasn’t my first time going to a pagan event, but it was one of the best!
So WHAT HAPPENED?!
Well first they had us all strip to our undies, then they brought out this huge black cat and the most beautiful sword I’d ever seen… *record scratch* Naw, just kidding… well except the sword… there was a sword. It was awesome.
Honestly if you’ve ever been to a party with a church service, this wasn’t too different.
The pagan festival I went to was called Beltane. It was done by the Raven’s Cry Grove, a local Druid group, in a local park / camping site. (Side note: The view was amazing. Hmmm that word Druid popped up again.*wink*)
Beltane was one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals. Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season, when livestock were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were held at that time to protect them from harm, both natural and supernatural, and this mainly involved the “symbolic use of fire”.There were also rituals to protect crops, dairy products and people, and to encourage growth. Beltaine was a “spring time festival of optimism”. – https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Beltane
A little about Raven’s Cry Grove:
“We are a public Druid Grove within Ár nDraíocht Féin, a Druid Fellowship. We were founded in 1999 to provide a community for modern Druids in the Los Angeles area. ADF is an international fellowship devoted to creating a public tradition of Neopagan Druidry…. We do believe in the importance of scholarship. Through the on-going study and discussion of archeology, history, and comparative mythology we have developed methods of worship that we believe our Paleopagan ancestors would recognize and respect as akin to their own.”
So what’s this about Druids?
A druid was a member of the educated, professional class among the Celtic people of Gaul, Britain and Ireland. Although little is known about Druids, since they left almost no record themselves, many records from Romans/Greeks list them as philosophers and important figures in ancient pagan Celtic society:
“At Raven’s Cry Grove the rituals are ones based off of texts to be similar to the ancient styles of the Druids. Although Druids do not sacrifice humans with silver sickles on stones, some still have that image of Druids. For ADF Druids, it is definitely not accurate as we came into being in the 1980’s. We especially claim only inspiration from our Ancestors unlike a number of other groups that make claims about ‘Authenticity’.” – An Ravens Cry Crove Member
A long standing religious group that want to provide a community for those in the local area with free to attend events and a strong belief in education….. OMG get the pitchforks! They MUST be evil!
Clearly I’m joking. In all seriousness there was nothing you’d object to a child watching. Especially if you’re into sci-fi like me.
Basically the “ritual” was: make a line in the dirt (with the cool sword!) to symbolize entering a “safe space” where you leave the rest of the world behind and focus on the moment, stand in a circle, bring out some cool stuff to represent different aspects of nature/karma/gods/etc (like candles and water and stuff), say a how-dee-doo to any gods you worship (there are a lot of options) and nature, say thanks for what you’re thankful for, ask for anything you want to ask for, dance like idiots (cause WTF it’s fun!), and lastly say bye to the gods and “thanks for stopping by”. Then there’s food. There is ALWAYS FOOD. I made potato salad and it was gone in like 5 seconds.
What I really loved about this group was how they checked if there were any newbies and explained everything before they even started. This was great to settle anyone’s doubts. They also made VERY clear, numerous times, that you didn’t have to do anything if you didn’t want to. And most importantly, no one ever asks you to do anything.
I also love the general way they do the ritual where it’s very calming, connecting with the earth, yourself, etc. Very meditation like. Very Zen. Very spiritual.
They also NEVER asked anyone to join the organization. (Note: their events are ALWAYS free to attend and open to the public.) Never passed around the “basket of shame” for donations, though they did have one. They only said at the end of the ritual that if you liked it and wanted to help support the group that they did have a donation basket but no pressure. Basically there was none of that recruitment or obligation to anything that I’ve often seen/heard of in a lot of churches.
Overall it was a very open, welcoming, obligation free, judgement free and wonderful atmosphere.
I would highly recommend checking it out if for nothing else then just to broaden your horizons and meet some very cool people…and eat… eating food is good.
So what you’re a Pagan now?!
Well, yes. Though I doubt it’s just now. I’ve never really been a fan of the “all-mighty all-knowing all-righteous one supreme power that’s always right”. I grew up on Christianity and never really liked it because of that. Most of it just felt too forced to me and I don’t do well when people force me to do things. But let’s face it, at least in the USA, not to many other options are publicized.
At first I was afraid to write this because I was “outing” myself and dealing with the fall out from a few people I know. Then I realized the same thing I have realized many times before, that I should be who I am because:
“Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” – Dr. Seuss.
Just because I have a word for my spirituality now doesn’t mean that I wasn’t that thing before. Plus, the kinds of people who spend their whole lives avoiding certain things or people just because of stereotypes aren’t the kind of people I want to be friends with.
“A closed mind is an empty mind… for there is no way to fill it.” – Someone smart, maybe me…. I dk.
So you’re giving up Christmas?!
Hell No! I’ve always celebrated holidays in the spirit of fun, friends, family, giving and togetherness. That hasn’t changed. Hey, I’ve gone to festivals for holidays for no other reason than, food, music and “I’ve never done that before”. I don’t see a reason to stop now!
So does this change anything at all?
Not much! I pretty much learned a new word, some cool new info, met some cool people and stuffed my face full of food in the middle of a park.
Welcome to Life Outside The Box!
Where everyone is weird and your personal life choices don’t matter (to anyone else).