It’s that time of year, when all the different Pagan Prides happen throughout North America. The last one I went to was last year in Hamilton. I was to do a talk on Baltic Faith, and to sit at the Traditions Information Table to represent Reconstructionism. Now, I do not consider myself a Recon, but instead a revivalist. But try and get that word used by other pagans .. good luck with that. So the most palatable word is Reconstructionism — it causes the least amount of confusion.
I’m one of those odd peeps who is culturally specific in her faith, practices and traditions. What I get a lot of is head patting, that’s lovely dear, and used as a puppet to say “yes we are inclusive, see, we even have recons”. To that I say “bullshit”.
It happens each time I sit at that information table — a bunch of ladies plop down next to me and start to have a gossip session, with the excuse being that they don’t think anyone will drop by and they would love to use the seats. The last Harvestfest I attended I was asked by someone to wait 10 minutes while she finishes off a reiki session — even though I was on the schedule to start a talk on Velines (Baltic Feast for the Dead towards the end of October/early November). It’s this dismissive behaviour that just pisses me off .. this casual “oh there’s not that many of you, can’t be that important”.
I had purposely chosen not to come to a Pagan Pride this year, because I do not feel welcome in this supposedly all-inclusive and welcoming community. My beliefs and practices are dismissed, unless someone wants to pilfer them for their own mish-mash eclectic reasons. Maybe it’s fact that my source culture is alive & well, with the practices and beliefs virtually intact which is off-putting, who knows. All I know is that the Toronto Pagan Community is not welcoming, or even tolerant.
I do have friends who happen to be pagan – whatever their traditions are – and these are the few individuals I do know in the overall community who are open-minded, welcoming, accepting (tolerance is not enough, acceptance is what is important), and with the same intellectual curiosity that I have. I don’t just read a few Llewellyn books and think “viola! I don’t need to do anything else”.
I weep for the demise of the Toronto Pagan Conference – it wasn’t a festival, though there was drumming & feasting. The emphasis was on education, with different paths and practices being discussed in round-table sessions, lectures and interactive workshops. With the demise of this Conference there really isn’t much else in the Toronto area. I use to go to a few Pub Moots, but I’m tired of being lectured at. I am tired of seeing people more desiring of drinking & drumming, and not expanding their knowledge or even truly exploring their spirituality.
So I have decided that I am not part of this elusive Pagan Community. I may invite people to a few things I do, but for the most part I am shutting down whatever knowledge I may have. Good luck with the shit published by Llewellyn, may it give you all the spiritual enlightenment you desire.