For the last five years, September has had one specific focus for me – the Pagan Pride Day festival. Like many CUUPS chapters, my own chapter hosts an annual Pagan Pride Day in Frederick, MD. I have had the honor being the lead organizer since our inception. We have been fortunate – our festival has expanded year after year and been the focus of a good deal of joy, excitement, spiritual connection, learning and growing. It feels so strange to experience a September without a Pagan Pride Day festival and honoring the disappointment and grief around that loss is healthy.
However, the priorities that are at the root of why we have Pagan Pride festivals in the first place are not dependent on a festival. Pagan Pride Day exists to raise resources for charities and in so doing, to act as outreach on behalf of a frequently misunderstood faith path. To this day, Pagans can face job discrimination, housing challenges, harassment, familial strife and more simply due to their adherence to a less common belief system. Many of us awkwardly attend the office Christmas party because we fear ‘outing’ ourselves at work and facing a threat to our livelihood. We wish to educate, to expand the conversation, to reduce discrimination, and to present the value that our paths bring to our culture at large (without proselytizing, of course – you do you, boo). Vendors, workshops, performances, drum circles and socialization are fun, but the reason we have Pagan Pride Day is pretty serious: we still need to.
So, here are five ways to carry the Pagan Pride banner in a year without a festival. Continue reading….