TS and I went to the TAWN Fall Fest on Saturday, sold lots of Wild Women Soaps products, did a little shopping and a lot of people watching. We also met with Willow, who lives in Tucson and is a Reclaiming/Feri Witch from Portland, OR. She is interested in building a Reclaiming community here in Arizona and we share a lot of the same views. I am so excited about the possibilities. Willow and I are driving to camp together, so we’ll have lots of time to talk about it then. I only wish Thalia could go with us.
The festival was interesting, as I mentioned, the people watching was prime. I remarked to Thalia at one point that no matter where I attend these kinds of events, the crowd looks essentially the same. So much so, that I find myself thinking I recognize about 50% of them, though there’s no way I could.
There are a smattering of “normals,” by which I mean, people who don’t really wear their Paganism on their body and who seem to be relatively healthy folks. Some of these folks had kids, which is heartening. Even if their children don’t grow up to be Pagan, I can hope they will at least be more tolerant. But maybe I’m being naive. At any rate, these folks are the ones I can generally follow in conversation, and who I usually have most in common with. I know, I walk the tightrope of being boring. However, these are also the folks who I can most often have an honest, deep spiritual discussion with — Paganism is a part of their identity, rather than the defining factor of it.
Anyway, to continue… There are a fair amount of disaffected, black-clad-and-eyelinered youth who may or may not stay in the Pagan realm as it’s part of the whole “finding my identity” phase that most young people pass through. These folks tend towards very structured forms of Paganism, with lots of dogma, rules and seeming darkness and power. I often wonder if structure is missing from their home lives and whether this is what drives them to seek the paths they seek.
There are the aging hippies, wrinkled, with thinning, graying long hair (often regardless of gender), holding tightly to the ideals of their youth. Some of these guys seem to have smoked a little too much weed, or been have abducted by one too many aliens, and can be challenging to follow in conversation. With a few different life choices, my parents could have easily been in this category.
There are the D&D/SCA-ers, who either use any event to dress in “garb” or who simply dress that way all the time. Likewise, they can be hard to follow in conversation because they are far too fond of archaic phrases and speech patterns. Also, I think if one reads too many D&D manuals, one may start to believe they are Mercedes Lackey or Marion Zimmer Bradley, narrating one’s own life. Dragons abound! Er… hard to converse with someone who seems to reside in an alternate reality where they see and hear things that I don’t see and hear. I’m not saying those things don’t exist! Just that I don’t experience them too. Again, with a few different life choices, my husband could have ended up in this category, so I’m generally pretty amused.
Of course there are the performers, who are sometimes hybrids of the above categories. This particular event had belly dancers — two troupes — and some vendors who doubled as performers, even if it wasn’t really an appropriate time to demonstrate that didgeridoo. The belly dance troupe that performed after the huge, torrential thunderstorm came and chased a lot of festival-goers away were inspiring. I’m dropping in on the local tribal belly dance group today to find out about dancing and drumming classes.
And then there a smattering of “Other” people who sort of defy categorization, like the 7-foot-tall-Opie-turned-Biker Guy or the Jerry Springer castoff mom who kept bellowing for her children, who were climbing all over displays and poking their fingers at the ferrets, while trying to make gossipy conversation with a fellow JS castoff.
I met one of the priestesses from TS’s old coven — she was pretty damned bitter in general and rather cool toward me. I’m pretty much okay with that — I don’t have a lot of energy these days for people who don’t recognize non-enabling help when it’s offered (a long story that’s not really mine to tell) and who behave like junior high schoolers while dreaming up “witch wars” and imagined slights.
All in all, an interesting day, especially since TS was expecting it to be very slow, and we had taken books and my laptop to work on coven stuff, only to find ourselves overwhelmed with people wanting to buy all manner of body products. You should really check out her website — the Green Man and Earth Mother soaps are wonderful, as are all the rest!
So lots of wonderful prospects ahead of us… a new Reclaiming community, belly dance classes, and of course, more coven work. Life is good.