So and I went to Western MA’s Pagan Pride Day, on Amherst Common. We saw lots and lots of our friends and fellows from the world of drumming and dancing, from to , and all sorts of folk in between. had a great time, and I did too, but there was one source of friction. A friend of mine has a tendency to introduce me to his friends, and not introduce here — and when he introduces me, it’s as “the classics teacher I’ve told you about,” in the same tone of voice as someone might say, “my trained dancing bear”. Like Aslan, perhaps I resent being thought tame. But when being introduced like that, it carries much the same weight as being told I have to perform — and I have no idea what I should perform, or how.
We stayed for the ritual around three-ish, when they formed a great circle on the central lawn, and called the quarters, and then invited people to throw incense into a flaming brazier. As each person threw their chunks of frankincense into the brazier, the crowd was supposed to chant, “hail to thee, Queen of the Harvest!” There were maybe… what– a hundred thirty people in the circle? That was going to get old really quickly, so I started making up a chant to those lyrics to sing underneath the shouting and the tedious bits of “circle becoming line to the brazier”.
Then it was — pass the cakes and wine around. I’ve never been in a circle where there were cookies and wine, and it felt vaguely communion like, but I see what and mean when they talk about all the energy raised, and then going unused. I’m not sure all that much energy was raised, but any energy raised didn’t go well-used at all.
Sigh. We as pagans are not really going to have an easy time of it until we have some compelling rituals, though I did see a few japanese tourists taking pictures at the edges of the circle — and lo and behold, one of them had her hands raised as we invited the quarters to depart. So maybe we have more compelling rituals than I think we do. Who knows?