This past weekend I had the pleasure to attend Pagan Pride hosted by the Dayton Pagan Coalition in Dayton, OH. I was able to stay overnight with my brother and sister in law in Columbus, as well–which meant that I got to see my super amazingly adorable awesome goobery niece, whom I just adore (she’s a little over 3 years old). It was a great opportunity to visit with friends and family both.
And to make new friends!
When I arrived, I met up immediately with my friend, Cara Mia (cutewitch772…google her!). She was doing the opening ritual and presenting a workshop titled “Pagans and Prejudice” based on a research project she did in a class she took in her undergraduate studies. As the theme for this Pride was “Walking Our Earthen Path,” she asked her partner and I to do the primary invocations to the God and Goddess–of course, she asked me about 10 minutes before ritual started, LOL. Thankfully I am well versed in impromptu ritual and can do an invocation the spot. Additionally, I had an even greater pleasure in being able to invoke the Goddess in a ritual where Selena Fox (!!) was present! I tried so hard not to fan-girl out, but at the end of the day I couldn’t help asking for a picture (which I will post later when I’m at my own computer) and gushing a little. Cara’s ritual was done in the Reclaiming style, a method of worship that is not common in Ohio, and she led it with mirth and reverence, honor and humility, strength and beauty. I was very proud to be able to call her a dear friend and to see her flourish as a priestess in her element.
Overall it was a lovely event. The vendors were varied and friendly–I purchased a beautiful suncatcher with a quartz crystal inside of a triple moon dream catcher made of silver (which I will also post later as a picture). I have a weakness for shiny things, and it was the shiniest thing there, and I simply couldn’t say no. I believe the young lady has an ETSY shop and takes commissions…I will try to post her information with the picture later.
The only real criticism I have of the event was that one of the presentation pavilions was set quite far from the main festival area, and I believe the attendance was poor at those workshops for that reason as it seemed the others attracted good sized audiences. For sure the best attended one that I saw was Selena’s “Paganism in the 21st Century,” which was a reflection on where Paganism started in America, how it has changed, what we need to do to keep on track, and what we want to see in the future. We did a little “visioning” of what we want our future to look like, and got a chance to share those ideas. Selena made an excellent point about having Pagan friendly retirement communities as the old guard first generation American Pagans are becoming quite elderly if they haven’t passed already. Another woman who is in the armed forces said she would like to see Pagan military officers, as all known Pagans are currently enlisted soldiers–I wonder if we do have Pagan officers, but because of their position of authority cannot afford the complication of being out of the broom closet? Another person suggested Pagan schools. I also offered an idea–with my background in medicine and nursing, it is important to me to see hospitals and western medicine embrace alternative forms of healing and integrate these therapies into modern healthcare. I believe we have better healing outcomes if we are better able to employ our hard won healing skills in the hospital setting.
Selena also led the main ritual in the middle of day, where we honored our earthen path as well as the military Pagans, active, reserve, or retired, who were present at Pride. There was dancing and chanting, and she definitely could hold an audience. Everyone was invited to invoke Earth in the way that was meaningful to them. There were a couple of priestesses whose invocations knocked my socks off–they were clear vessels of the power of Nature and the gods. It was great fun and awe inspiring.
I also made a new friend! She is almost like the female version of my husband in many ways, but also very much like me–we are both Capricorns and were immediately able to bond over what that meant to us (i.e., we are NOT morning people, lol). She works as a death midwife, which I feel is a very necessary role in our society. Hospice nurses work in this capacity in some ways, but they are also married to the rules and regulations of modern medicine. While they can give a lot of education and support, and there is a lot of emotional support needed in hospice, medicine can wear a person down and burn out their empathy. Having people who are trained to assist with the transition into death is invaluable both to the dying and the ones left behind. She is also a collaborator on the Pagan Perspectives channel on YouTube (co-founded by Cara as well). I am not sure if she is OK with having her name shared, so I encourage you to go to the Pagan Perspectives channel and look around!
The Dayton area is very lucky to have such a supportive and cohesive community, and I look forward to attending Pride with them again in the future.