Another fabulously mediocre Pagan Pride Day behind me. I’m not sure at this point why people even bother, it’s got to be a lot of work on the part of the coordinators and the vendors – all seven of them – that show up. Even as a lifelong Pagan ( a moniker I don’t especially like, but use for convenience) I’m bored to tears by Pagan Pride Days, even the term makes me cringe. I usually skip them all together, being that in my area it’s an overblown affair that usually ends up being a get together by the same handful of Pagans that attend every local event, but this year I thought I’d do something different and attempt to participate.
I was thinking to myself one day that perhaps the lameness of our local PPD has to do with the fact that no one (including myself) cares to put themselves out there and actually try and make it great (I did wholeheartedly enjoy our first local PPD in 2006, one that my Grove sponsored). I put my money where my mouth is and volunteered to conduct a discussion this year, a small workshop on the Runes and the wisdom they reveal about Self,Community, and Society. Now before I get to that, for years I’ve been giving workshops on several topics; Tarot Magic(k), Rune lore; Norse Mythology, Sigil Magic(K)…but in the last few years I’ve stopped because the apathetic nature of our community to participate in meaningful practice is just that, very disappointing, and participation continues to go down. I think that, in the last few years, Pagans/Occultists/Magicians have also suffered from the disease of the virtual society/community that in modern culture seeks to keep us all glued to the computer screen instead of making real connections. Also this disease, IMO, has made the idea of knowledge common, in that people think they aren’t missing anything by not going to hear someone speak or to experience something in the real world instead of through text or video. I have news for you my fellow Occultists, the wisdom of experience cannot be expressed through the filter of Facebook – it has to be bestowed, offered, and earned; you may actually need to get off your ass and actually do the work, seek out that knowledge, and put it to use. In the end Magic(K) is a verb, it’s not a thing that exists for you to manipulate, it’s an action that is done, a practice that is practiced, and a skill that is developed.
Anyway so that brings me to the crux of this post. When the time for my discussion came, not a soul showed up; not a single person showed interest. Now this doesn’t upset me, because I’ve come to expect this from our community – more-so I was disappointed in myself for getting the material ready and thinking that somehow my participation and my sacrifice of time would be appreciated. I tend to be liked in our community and don’t create waves among groups, I like to think that I’m considered as someone sincere about his practice, and knowledgeable about certain subjects. And even then I saw this coming, but I hoped it would be different. As a result however, I ended up having a nice day with some old Grove-mates instead that I hadn’t seen in a few years, friends that had come specifically to hear my simple little discussion. Instead of giving my talk to the grass and trees we left the PPD behind and went to have dinner where we discussed many things including a bit of the lore I would have shared with the wider community.
My attempt at this wider participation, when I have purposefully, in the last few years, left group work and much of the local Pagan community behind, maybe on a different level was meant to be a reminder about the importance of smaller connections. Time and time again, the local Pagan community in my city lets me down…and I’m reminded why others who were once very active, myself included, are missing in action.