(P) Pagan Pride

This post is primarily based on an experience that occurred in 2008, though in all fairness it’s pretty common at almost any PPD, that I’ve been to in recent memory. As we are fast approaching PPD season, seemed like a good time to bring it up.

So…my family and I go to our local Pagan Pride Day almost every year, and though some years it’s better than others, I am often left wondering if my standards and/or expectations of other Pagans are a bit too high.

I realize too, that there are a whole group of people who categorize themselves as Pagans, who are simply “wannabes”. These are the ones who are doing this too piss off their parents, or because they saw “The Craft” once and thought it looked cool, or any number of other less than “noble” reasons.  What gets me though, is it seems to be these particular people who often show up in droves to the PPD events. Maybe they think that since it is a gathering of other Pagans, that it is ok to let loose,  not that they really have any sort of understanding of Paganism, outside of stereotypes anyways. However, I still have to question…why? Why break out the fairy wings and renaissance wear – the Harry Potter gear, and extreme Goth wear?

In this case I don’t mean people who may normally dress that way on a regular basis, but the ones – and you can tell the difference – who are dressed up like PPD is one giant Halloween party. I also understand completely the concept of ritual wear, though again (and maybe this is just a personal quirk, but I know others that feel the same way) ritual wear is generally reserved for ritual purposes only. Wearing ritual gear out into the mundane world allows it to absorb those energies, which generally leaves them kind of icky (‘cuz you know people have all sorts of crazy energetic baggage – and especially when you are around a large group of people, you never know what you are going to pick up). Then you then have to go through the effort of cleansing them, and it’s usually just better to keep them away from that sort of thing.

So we shout Pagan Pride and expect others to take us seriously, and yet if this is the public “face” that we are putting on… can we really expect for anyone to take us seriously and give us the respect we deserve? I can understand that we don’t necessarily want to exclude anyone, but part of bringing Paganism to the mainstream (or at least raising tolerance levels) is letting people know that “hey… we are just like you”. That we should be able to dress however we want (be one Pagan or otherwise) is an issue as well, but until we live in that world, it’s still seems that one should be dressing some what appropriately (not particularly fond of that word, but it will have to do). At the very least, we should not be going out of our way to dress/act in a way that perpetuates the negative stereotypes we are trying so very hard to break away from.

There are many people who have chosen a Paganism because they are seriously seeking a religion or a spiritual path that they have not been able to find elsewhere. As one of those people, I find that I resent the “intrusion” of these “wannabes”. I am sick of wading through endless amounts of fluff, to find one small shred of valid truth. Just once, I’d like to go to a Pagan gathering and come away feeling like I learned something valuable, not like I’ve been violated. If I wanted to go to the a carnival or Ren Faire, then that is where I would go. As I said in the beginning, maybe my standards are too high – but if we are ever to be taken seriously, then maybe it is time that others raised their standards as well.


7 thoughts on “(P) Pagan Pride

  1. Sunfire says:

    I don’t think your standards are high. I think the problem is that serious pagans won’t be found at the freakshows that the PPD events seem to be. You have to find other events, organized by serious pagans and serious groups, with the intention of sharing information, rather than the wanna-bes that put together an event that serves to make someone money one way or another.

    • Sephira says:

      I think we’re sort of lucky, the group here that organizes our PPD is a good one – a bit too eclectic for my tastes, but otherwise a really nice group of people. They do a great job of organizing the event as well, it’s more just the people that show up.

      Though I have on occasion met some really wonderful people at our PPDs – a couple years back we had an awesome workshop on community building (within the various Pagan paths/trads, as well as with other faiths) – sort of a how can we get others to accept us, if we are always fighting amongst ourselves. It went really well, and I’m still kicking myself because I didn’t get contact info for a couple people that I would have really liked to keep in touch with. Unfortunately though, it’s just not the norm.

  2. Harry says:

    This is the exact same issue that is raised at Gay Pride every single year, and it’s beginning to get a bit tiring. The way I see it is this. Any lifestyle minority is usually faced with the argument ‘We don’t mind you being [Pagan/gay] so long as you’re not rubbing it in our faces.’ The way I see it, the ‘freaks’ among us – the drag queens or leather subculture, the fairies or the goths, should have as much of a chance at being proud as the ‘normal’ folks. The aim of the Pride Day is to show everyone that all [Pagans/gays] are sane, law abiding, friendly people, even if some of us look a bit crazy from the outside. So as long as you’re doing sane, law abiding, friendly things, to me it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing.

    You’re other point is about wannabes. I can really see what you’re saying here, and I don’t know what can be done about it. But I will say that there are other places where a ‘sensible’ exchange of ideas can be had on Pagan issues. If your town has a PPD, then there must be more Pagans than in mine – and I have found a local Pagan study group, though I choose not to attend. There must be other Pagans in your community who want to discuss serious things, so why not get together with some of them. Perhaps, once it’s up and running you could have an interview for new people wanting to attend, and you can screen their motives fairly easily then.

    I will say that in my personal experience, non-Pagans are very good at telling the wannabes from the serious students. It’s obvious when someone doesn’t take it seriously, but that doesn’t stop people from respecting the path of the Pagans who do.

    • Sephira says:

      That was sort of why I tried to differentiate between people that might normally dress that way, and those that were clearly playing dress-up. Because if that is how one expresses oneself on a daily basis, then I have no issue with that at all. If they are comfortable enough with themselves, and have that much self-confidence to endure “daring to be different” – I give them total props, and support them for that.

      I did also mention that we should be able to dress however we want to, but that we don’t quite live in that particular world yet – so we still do get judged (often incorrectly) by the way we look/dress. I look forward to the day when it doesn’t matter.

      I’m particularly interested in trad Wicca, and there are (unfortunately) no trad Covens anywhere remotely near me, and I’m not in a position where I can do any traveling at the moment. My other interests are in Heathenism, and there is a pretty good sized group not too far away, but it’s just far enough that I can’t make any sort of real commitment due to the transportation issue. So I’m a bit isolated at the moment – or at least confined to mostly online discussions (which is fine for now). Though I do miss working with a group.

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