Piedmont Pagan Pride Day is fast approaching and I’m in the midst of workshop preparations. I’ll be leading a discussion concerning the role of nature/Nature in contemporary Paganism and, essentially, arguing that “nature” is as man-made a concept as any of our local skyscrapers. As both a happy urbanite (who desperately misses the roar of DC traffic—not even kidding) and an avid outdoorswoman, I’ve come to see phrases like “earth-based religion” and “connecting to nature” as misleading at best and outright nonsensical at worst. I’m hoping to push some buttons, inspire some conversation, and leave people with a better appreciation for the actual place they live instead of fostering a (mostly useless) fantasy reminiscent of Walden Pond. We’ll also be talking about practical strategies for actually connecting to physical spaces.
Also that day, I’ll be representing Gardnerian Wicca on an interfaith panel. Interfaith usually strikes me as somewhat dubious, given that I’ve never been an advocate of the belief that we’re all just “different paths up the same mountain,” and don’t see how anyone could be after any kind of training in the academic study of religion. Gardnerian Wicca is also consciously exclusive. So what am I doing there? Well, largely, it’s an opportunity to interact with other group leaders whom I wouldn’t see otherwise. Last year I enjoyed a rousing conversation with one of the founders of the local Church of Wicca, and I think it was good for everyone to see that we can disagree, be thoughtful adults about it, and leave friends. And, though we’re different, we might have more in common than we think we do. It’s also important to me that Traditional Wicca (by which, as always, I mean BTW and its closest kin) has some kind of presence in my city and isn’t just lost amidst the cacophony of “harm none” and “witchcraft is whatever you want it to be.”
Last year’s moderator allowed for no audience interaction (thereby, I think, misinterpreting his title), which was so unfortunate I could have cried. This year I encourage attendees to show up with eager hands. I’ll call on you myself if no one else does, though I have faith in this year’s choice for moderator.
Then of course there’s the usual rush of fall. Fall means visiting Craft family, making new contacts with people inspired or re-inspired by Halloween, and lots of really intense ritual. For me, it’s also the start of deer season. Much more on that as things approach, but suffice it to say that I’m having All The Feels and am beyond ready for our first hunt. There will also be hiking, writing, tarot, mead, and hot chocolate by fires.
The Boy and I will also be taking a special trip north to see Omnia—a special post-Halloween treat. There will be costumes.
It should be a big year.