Manage episode 354592821 series 2634748
CW: Brief mention of recreational substances. ~ 27:00-29:00
Remember, we welcome comments, questions and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com
Mark: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-based Paganism. I'm your host, mark, and I'm Yucca. And today we are talking about events and festivals, how to organize them and how to be at them, and just generally going over different kinds of events and how you might put those together and why you might want to, all that kind of stuff,
And, and y attend. And we'll touch a little bit on some of the etiquette as well, but about a year back, I think we did an episode. around that, geared specifically at that. So we'll put a link in the show notes if you anyone wants to go back and listen to that one.
Mark: Right. The one on ritual etiquette on festival etiquette.
Yucca: So, well, and there's also one reason that this has been on our minds is there is an upcoming gathering, although digital, Do you wanna speak to that a little bit,
Mark: mark? Sure. On June 3rd and fourth, we are going to hold the atheopagan web weaving 2023 or ah ah, . And it will be an online. Conference, which will take place over those two days.
There will be workshops and presentations and rituals and performances, and an open mic opportunity and lots of socializing. We'll, we'll really use the, the breakout room function on zoom to good effect. Mm-hmm. . So, , it's, it's an opportunity for us to see one another's faces and to gather with one another, even though we're not doing an in-person century retreat this year.
Mm-hmm. , we're gonna do one next year, but don't really have it together to do it two years in a row.
Yucca: Right. And that's the first weekend of June. Right? Of June, okay. That's right. Yeah. And so, and you're saying that we just got a lot of proposals for workshops and a pretty big mix of kinds,
Mark: right? We did.
Very, very interesting diverse mix of, various proposals. You know, there's some sciencey things, there's some ritually things, there's some psychological things, there's crafty things. So I, I just, I think it's gonna be a really good time. And the, the biggest challenge for people might be in any given workshop slot, which of the workshops they're gonna go to, right?
As with any conference. .
Yucca: That has always been the hardest part for me is go, wait, but they all, I wanna be in all three places at once or four. How many of her slots? Yeah.
Mark: Seems to me like I always have bad luck. They, they always schedule like two things that I really want to go to directly opposite one another and I can only pick one.
Yucca: Hmm. Well, that will be upon us before we. As mm-hmm. , the wheel keeps turning, right?
Mark: Right. Tickets will go on sale on April 1st. They are a sliding scale from 10 to $50 with an encouraged price point of $20 per person. And. Hopefully we'll sell enough tickets that we'll be able to pay our presenters something.
Mm-hmm. and the balance of the money will go to the atheopagan Society. Yeah.
Yucca: Which pays for things like hosting for this podcast. That is correct. Yeah. Well, let's, let's talk about some of the different scales of gatherings that we could be talking about, because there's the digital side, but there's also the in person.
gathering. And why don't we start with the kind of small local, because that's gonna be the most, for most people, that's gonna be the most common. Right? It's a lot easier to get six people, 10 people together than it is to get 50 people or 80 people.
Mark: Right. When you're talking about those small, intimate gatherings, you're generally talking about people you already know.
Mm-hmm. . . And so it can be more along the lines of hors dvs and wine or sit down dinner parties, something like that where there's an opportunity for everyone to talk to everyone else and to get to know one another. One of the things that I've encouraged people to do if they're looking for others to celebrate rituals with, is to do those kinds of events and just invite like-minded friends.
and, you know, do ritual light. Mm-hmm. , you know, do a, do a meal blessing and maybe a little something for the season at that gathering and, and have that be enough. And then maybe do another feast at the next station of the wheel of the year and invite those folks back again. That can turn into an ongoing tradition that can be really meaningful.
Yucca: Well, and, and sometimes we are starting to try to build community. I think especially in the Pagan community where many pagans are very spread out. Mm-hmm. , um, it's not like you can just go to a new town and, and there you go. You got your choice. But you know, you go to New Town and you can choose between your Baptist church and your Lutheran and your this and your that.
But that's not usually the case for Pagans. We're trying to. Pull together the, the small community that we might have. So one suggestion depending on personality types, but it sometimes can really help to have something to focus on that everyone's coming together to do with one of those, like you maybe not just expect everyone to come and.
Right off the bat, hit it off and have no structure, but maybe we're going on a hike together, and then once we get to the location that we're hiking to, then we have our little ritual. Or maybe there's an activity that we can come together and do. That's one of the reasons Game nights, in addition to games being awesome, but game nights really can be a great way to connect because it gives people something to be doing who might not be super outgoing to begin with.
Mm-hmm. . So that's one, one possibility.
Mark: Right. And there are some good tools for organizing those kinds of things. If you're going to have people that you don't know, you don't. You probably don't wanna invite them into your home. Mm-hmm. , without having had any experience of them. But a hike is a great idea.
Mm-hmm. . And you can organize something like that on meetup.com. It's a very useful tool. You can describe your event. You know, we're gonna do a. Mindful hike along this particular trail with you know, a blessing for nature at the end of it. And if people are freaked out by the idea of a blessing for nature, they won't show up.
And if they're not, then they will show up. And now you've, now you've got the, the beginnings of a group where you can meet people and decide who you might eventually invite to something more intimate. Right.
Yucca: And of course we're just using a hike as an example. You know, that might not be a good fit for where you are or your mobility or whatever it is, but you know, something like that.
Mark: other possibility is to organize some kind of volunteer activity. Hmm. You know, if you connect with, say, a conservation organization that's doing a restoration project and they need. They need a whole ton of saplings. They just put in watered mm-hmm. or or they're doing a, a trash cleanup of a local creek or a river or something like that.
Mm-hmm. . You can pull a group of like-minded people together and come as a group. Now you're contributing something really great. And developing a bit of a, of a group identity. people that are doing that together. You know, maybe you all buy t-shirts or something that all look the same so you can recognize the other members of your group.
Mm-hmm. . And that's, that's a good way to just kind of start off on that earth focused public minded kind of mentality that we, we really encourage. Yeah.
Yucca: I like that idea. I imagine little bandanas. Everybody have the same , Uhhuh, , same bandana. That'd be great. You make your bat houses or bird houses or something.
Uhhuh, . So, and then once you, you have an, a more intimate connection, maybe the inviting into the home, if that's something you're comfortable with or going into someone else's home or, or something like that.
Mark: Huh. Yeah. I mean having, or you know, if you're not, and the weather's good, you know, do a picnic.
Mm-hmm. , pick a park, have everybody bring their own food. But you can do it sort of potluck so people can trade stuff around. Mm-hmm. . But
Yucca: then you don't need to worry about not having something for somebody if they have a particular restriction and Exactly. That kind of thing.
Mark: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, all of those kind of human in low, low stress, low effort, human engagement, things are, are good opportunities.
To meet other people who either are naturalistic pagans or who could very well be naturalistic pagans if they knew what one of those was. . Yep.
Yucca: There's a lot of those
Mark: folks. There are. And we have more of 'em coming into our community every day. Yeah. Saying, wow, I thought I was the only person who thought like this.
Don't think of it as proselytizing, cuz that's, we're really not about that. We're not trying to convert people, but we do wanna offer people an opportunity Yeah. To be, you know, aware that this is a path that exists and they can have it if they want to. Yeah. And they can adapt it to whatever their needs are as they want to.
Yucca: Right. Be exposed to it and. You know, if there's bits and pieces that make sense to them, then fantastic. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. So what about if we, we kind of scale this size up a little bit mm-hmm. to a more medium or maybe even like a regional kind of event,
Mark: right. When you're, you're talking about, I mean, maybe you could accommodate 60, 75 people at a picnic.
Mm-hmm. , but kind of at maximum. . But you're certainly not going to have those folks at your house, . You've, you've
Yucca: gotta, unless you have a very different house than either of us have .
Mark: Yes, exactly. Yeah. I mean we can, if
Yucca: you do, awesome. More power to you.
Mark: Right? We can maybe fit 75 people in here if they were all jammed up against one another in every room of the house.
Yucca: I'm sure the fire marshal would like that .
Mark: Yeah, that would be great. . So. , you, you often will need a venue. The what I find is that Unitarian Universalist churches often rent their space for very little mm-hmm. . And that gives you, you know, a room and you pay a cleaning deposit and stuff like that.
But you can ask people to contribute at the door as they come in to recoup that money. Mm-hmm. . . And and you can explain that in the invitation. You can say, you know, please bring $10 to help pay for the hall.
Yucca: Yeah. If you can, or
Mark: whatever. Yeah. Yes. You know, no one turned away for lack of funds. Yeah. By the way, that is the way that the The atheopagan, we web weaving will be as well.
No. You know, if you can't afford $10, then you know, we'll, we'll give you a, an entry code anyway. Right. Because we don't want anyone to be caught. Just because they don't have money.
Yucca: Right. Yeah. Cuz it's not, we're not doing it to make money. No. Charging because we need to compensate, trying to compensate the people who are putting a tremendous amount of, of effort into to, and volunteering time and all of that.
Mark: We're, we're actually, at least as I'm conceiving it now, I mean, I wouldn't make any money the peop, but it's the people that are doing the presentations. Right. Although actually I am doing two presentations now that I think about it. But anyway, we'll work that out. The, the, the people that go to the trouble to put together a presentation and, and give it to us.
Even if it's only a very, you know, like very token amount, like 25 or $50. I think it's, it's something that shows that we value. It represents what they're offering to the community.
Yucca: Right. It represents something. Right. In the same way we might use a tool and ritual. Mm-hmm. just having that exchange communicates that.
Mark: Yeah. Yeah. And, and we talk a lot about reciprocity in our relationship with with nature as being one that needs to be reciprocal, where we give as well as take. And that's true with people. . So it's, it's something that's consistent with our values. So anyway, . Yeah, there's, there's your tangent for today.
Yucca: At least number one. Yes. Let's see if we get to number two. Um-huh. . But, so coming back to the regional, right, you were saying that sometimes places like EU churches or places like that, you might be able to. Rent out for a short period of time.
Mark: Right. Or even group campgrounds. Mm-hmm. , if you wanna do like an overnight thing.
Right before Covid, I announced an event called Midsummer Dawn that was going to be done at the group campground of a, a local state park here where I am. and I promoted it as an event for pagans of all flavors. Mm-hmm. , you know, the idea was what we were gonna have in common was being pagans, what we believed about the gods or any of that really didn't matter.
The. , the rituals that we were gonna do in the evening were gonna be organized by me and my cohorts. So they were gonna be non theist rituals but very generic. Mm-hmm. . So, you know, if during the qualities phase people wanted to invoke their gods, well fine. Let 'em. Sure. Yeah. And we would enjoy time around the bonfire and.
just have a, a good social time. I had to cancel it because of Covid. Right. But that's, that's an example of the kind of event you can do without a ton of effort, you know? Mm-hmm. , you have to reserve the, the campground and that involves laying out, you know, can be a few hundred dollars. Well also
Yucca: check with your municipal park system.
I know that we, we were able to, Reserve a park for, I got married years ago and it didn't cost us anything. Now that might be the part of the, our particular city that we were in. Mm-hmm. . But you might not have to charge, you might not have to pay very much. It just go and, you know, talk with your Right.
Your parks department and see what. What are the restrictions they might have if you're under a certain number of people? They did have some requirements that we had to go and check out some trash cans from them and then give the trash cans back and do some, you know, some paperwork. But that was about it.
Mark: very often they'll, if you're doing an event, they'll require event insurance, which is very affordable For a one day event, event insurance, it's about a hundred dollars. Mm-hmm. .
Yucca: and, and that's probably gonna depend on si the number of people attending,
Mark: right? Yes. And, and other factors like, you know, will there be alcohol?
Stuff like that. Mm-hmm. . But generally speaking, you know, for a hundred bucks you can get a million dollar policy liability policy for an event. And that should cover hopefully, you know, hopefully even, you know, even if somebody breaks a leg, you know, that should cover. all of the expenses necessary.
Mm-hmm. . So, so anyway, oh, and in many homeowners and renters policies holding events like that is included in the policy. So you should check your own policies and see if you've already got coverage for events that you organize right Now.
Yucca: That would be on the smaller side though, because you're gonna have an occupancy limit.
Yes. Right. There's a limit to how many people you can have in safely in a, in a building,
Mark: right? Yeah. But even, even events that aren't in a building, like an event in a park. Mm-hmm. , Of those policies apply even to an event like that. Hmm. Okay. It's, it's worth investigating or talking to your broker or, you know, whatever, whatever that is.
So yeah, you can get 50, 75, a hundred people together in a, in a nice place and. Have a lot of socializing and visiting and all that good stuff. And then maybe when the sun goes down, if you're able to light a fire, that's perfect you can circle up around the fire. People can say their name and where they're from or their name and what brings them to this gathering.
You go around.
Yucca: were their favorite
Mark: something? Yes. Their favorite. Something we did. Favorite, favorite color in the mixer this morning. Oh, nice. .
Yucca: Yeah. Or favorite tree or bird or, you know, star or things
Mark: like that. Yeah. So it's, it's an opportunity to do, you know, very, very low key kind of ritual. , but to bring people of like mind together and socialize and make friends and, and visit with one another.
Mm-hmm. . And then of course there are the very large festivals, the ones that pull in 300, 500. Even more people like Pagan spirit gathering or rights of spring or, you know, some of these Starwood, some of these very, very large ritual or pagan gatherings. Mm-hmm. and that's, we're not gonna talk about organizing an event like that because this podcast would then be four hours long.
Right. There are tremendous logistics to organizing something that big. Yeah.
Yucca: And probably there's going to be fewer people. organizing an event like that than, than folks who are gonna be doing a regional gathering or a small local gathering?
Mark: Yes. Yeah. Y yeah. I, I think what, what I encourage people to do, if they, if they have a solitary practice and they feel lonely in that, they want to connect with other people of like mind, you know, start.
You know, if you find, if you find five or six people that really resonate with what you're doing, you've got critical mass for a ritual circle. Mm-hmm. don't wanna get much smaller than that because if somebody doesn't show up, then you really don't have critical mass. Right. But you know, my, my ritual circle is eight people and.
Has been working fine for more than 30 years. So, it's, it's worth making that effort to hold a gathering, see what kind of folks you, you come up with, you know, kind of test the waters with people and get a sense of their personalities and their interests mm-hmm. , and and proceed from there.
Yucca: Well, is there anything we wanna say about attending those kinds of real big gatherings
Mark: though? Oh one other thing that I wanted to mention before we talk about attending those gatherings, there is an online tool that's free at least it, it, it is free. For the purposes that we used it for, for the Suntry retreat, it's called SignUpGenius.
Mm-hmm. signupgenius.com. And it's great. People can check options of different things that they want to register for. So I. admission plus tent camping, plus linens, plus food. Mm-hmm. . And all that gets all added up and, and they get registered and it goes into a spreadsheet that you can download. It's, and Oh, nice.
And then you can have them pay through PayPal or Venmo or something like that. Mm-hmm. , um, and. . It was a really slick way of organizing, you know, keeping track of, okay, we have this many slots for this sort of lodging opportunity. How many of those slots are gone? Right? It was, it was a really effective way of keeping track of all of that stuff.
Mm-hmm. , and I really encouraged people to check it out, sign up. genius.com. They're not sponsoring the podcast , right? I'm just giving them free press .
Yucca: And I was not involved with the organizing on that, but I did use that as one of the attendees, and I found it was very user-friendly, easy.
There was no confusion. It was super clear exactly what they were asking and how to use it. So,
Mark: mm. Yeah. There were people that did not find it. It wasn't that they didn't find it easy, it's that they didn't understand how to do it correctly. So we had a couple of people that didn't sign up for attendance.
They only signed up for lodging and food , but they didn't sign up for attendance, so you had to go back through, figure out. So we had to call them and they did it. Sure, it's fine. But between, you know, the, the pay systems. PayPal and Venmo and systems like Signup genius. There are just wonderful tools online right now for organizing events.
Brown paper tickets is another. Mm-hmm. , you know, if you have a, a set ticket price. So check it out. You know, you, you may be able to get a lot of the. The busy work, the administrative work for organizing your event taken care of with free tools on the net. Yeah,
so big festivals. As, as Yucca said, we did do a episode on festival etiquette about a year ago. . So we encourage you to go and check that out, but let's hit some of the high points. I think the number one thing there, what you'll find in these in these festivals is lots of very happy Abu friendly people.
Yucca: it's kinda a party kind of feeling going on. Yes.
Mark: And a lot of people know one another, so you see lots and lots of hugging and all that good kind of stuff. So just be really aware of consent and your own boundaries. Ask people before you hug them. If you're introduced to somebody, they may well want to hug you.
just as a greeting. Mm-hmm. , because that's pretty common in those circles. It is perfectly okay for you to say No hugs, please. Yeah. And
Yucca: so one thing you can try doing with that and it's is when they move forward for the hug and you're not comfortable with it, if you are comfortable with the handshake, , you move into the handshake right away.
Right? And that's one of the things that can, that doesn't always work. But it gives them kind of a, a social out to shift what they're doing and not have it feel, not, not seem as like a rejection for them. Uhhuh . .
Mark: Yeah. So the whole concept of boundaries and consent is something that you'll really want to keep at the forefront throughout the time that you're at a festival like this.
You may encounter people that aren't very good about that. Yeah. And so, being able to communicate clearly is important. You should that's, that's not comfortable for me. Yeah. You know, please don't do that. I'm not comfortable. . Yeah. That's, you know, no is a complete sentence. Mm-hmm. , it's perfectly all right for, for you to do that.
And you're not being a spoiled sport or putting a damper on the party or any of that. That's, you know, that's just not, that's not what you're doing.
Yucca: You've got, not only do you have every right, it's really important. . Mm-hmm. you that you have the boundaries that you're comfortable with and that people learn to respect that.
Mm-hmm. . So
Mark: now that said, you're gonna find people with whom you might be able to get real friendly, real fast, , and maybe you'll want to get real friendly real fast. That's okay. As long as it's your choice, right? Yeah. So the next thing that I would talk about is ritual. Et. . Just be aware of what, what the, and ask if you aren't clear about what the kind of ritual rules are.
There are some people that organize pagan rituals where if you have to leave the circle for some reason, you have to make some sort of big gesture of cutting, cutting the gate in the circle so you could leave and then resealing it. It's not as, it's not an issue. You can just leave and come back as you need to,
Yucca: or there's a certain spot that you're supposed to leave from.
Right, right, right.
Mark: Yeah, that's, that's another one. Some. Are very focused on turning clockwise accepted halls when they would go counterclockwise.
Yucca: Oh, and what are the fun words for those? The old-fashioned words? Oh,
Mark: Witter, deci and wit shins. Oh, that's just so fun. . Yeah, those are great words. Wi Witter shins.
Yucca: shins. Okay. Yeah.
Mark: Yeah. . Yeah. So just be aware. You know, and my rule as always is they're party their rules, so, mm-hmm. , you know, if, if you're an atheopagan, a naturalistic, pagan, and they start proclaiming how, you know, the goddess is coming down, come down Athena and yada, yada, yada, yada. , that's fine.
You know, we're not, we're not there to set anybody straight or, you know, convince them of our worldview. Just, you know, yeah. Waited, waited out, and you'll get to parts of the ritual that will resonate for you more. Yeah.
Yucca: Yeah. So just that, just that paying attention, right. And mm-hmm. and recognizing that.
You were the guest and enjoying it to the extent that you can. Right. And also if there's something you don't wanna participate in, that you, you don't have to. No. Right. So there's a, the big opening ritual, but you know that they're gonna be talking all about, you know, the gods and the spirits and the this and the that.
Then you, you don't have to put yourself into that position if that's not gonna work for.
Mark: No, you really don't. And or you can just do it and tough it out and see what you can get out of it. Any of those choices is fine. The, the main issue is choice. Yeah. . Another thing is that there will very often be a variety of intoxicating substances around mm-hmm.
And people will offer them to you. Just be aware of yourself, right? Mm-hmm. be, you know, , and that can be, you know, if you want to go into a Dionysian frenzy and you know, really be kind of out of control for a while that's your choice. You're, you're a grownup and you get to make that choice.
But that can possibly endanger you in some ways because you're not in full control of your faculties, right? Otherwise you can make judici judicious choices. using some or all of those substances and kind of, you know, keep, keep a lid on it, you know? Mm-hmm. with moderation. So that while you're altered, you're not you're not three sheets to the wind.
Yucca: Well then also have the awareness. , some people might be altered when you're not. Don't. Right, right, right. That, that may be part of the factor of the, the way that they're behaving. They're the choices or how they're, they are or aren't. Reading your social cues. Mm-hmm. ,
Mark: right? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And if, if things start going in a, in a general direction, like there you are around the bonfire and suddenly it appears that everybody is making out except you.
It's okay to go to. Yeah. or take a walk in the woods, or, I mean, you don't need to participate in anything that you don't want to participate in. Mm-hmm. . And it's, it's perfectly fine for you to make choices like that.
Yucca: Right. And we brought this up in the, the big scale, but this applies as well to the medium and, and I think it just sounds.
At least my personal philosophy, and it sounds like it's yours as well, mark, that that's a choice that you can make in whatever the, the. Scale of social gathering that you're in that Sure, of course. It's your body, your agency, your choice. Right, right, right.
Mark: Yeah. Yeah. It's just that the more people you,
Yucca: the more people around, the more pressure, the more the flow.
We we're social creatures, right? We just don't go. Yeah. And
Mark: there, there is a, a mob mentality at some level. I mean, a, a crowd of people has a personality of its own that is only partly determined by any one person within. Yeah. So it's it's important to be aware of that, not let yourself get swept away in the mob vibe if you don't want to go there.
Yucca: Or, and you're saying mob, but it may not, mob has a very strong connotation and it could have that, but it also, we were talking earlier about that kind of party friendly vibe that happens at many of these gatherings as well. It's not necessarily just the angry mob with pitchforks, but Oh, no, I didn't mean that.
Mark: No, I, I, I have yet to see an angry mob with pitchforks at a pagan festival, although certainly I've seen. Some behavior that probably deserved to win Angry mob in pitch Forest . Yeah. So. So, and the, the thing to be aware of is you can have a, a lot of fun and some really wonderful conversations and interactions and just, you know, really meaningful, enjoyable time at these kinds of gatherings.
It's just a matter of keeping your wits about you and just being aware, not letting yourself be swept away by something without considering it.
Well, we hope that in the coming months and years there will be more of these types of gatherings, especially as our community is growing. Mm-hmm. . And maybe one day we'll get to the point where we have one of these big ones, but for now we're, we're in this smaller scale. , right.
Mark: I think it's more likely that our sector of the community will become recognized more and more as part of the community.
And so we'll have recognizable contingents at some of the big ones that are already happening, right? Mm. But who knows? Yeah, who knows? I mean, you know, we're, we're still, we're still contending with Covid. There's, there's a lot to wonder about the future of social gatherings, in, in our world. Yeah.
I really hope that all of you listening will consider coming to the web weaving event in June. We'll keep you updated on what's going on with that. As I said, tickets will go on sale in April which gives us a couple of months to pull things together, and it would, it'd be great to see your face, so
Yucca: yeah, I'd really love to have
Once again, we really appreciate your listening and your interest in what we have to say. Go. If you haven't already please check out the new YouTube. Channels videos, right? Because that, that's now happening once a week. We're having new video content and as well as posting the podcast to to YouTube as well,
And there, and you can comment there. Mm-hmm. . So that's been lovely for those of uh, thank you so much for those of you who've been commenting. It's really nice to see that and get. Have that feedback and, and conversation around it.
Mark: Yeah, it's been really great. So thanks to all of you. Once again, you can still reach us if you would like to at the wonder podcast cues gmail.com and shoot us some email.
Let us know what you think or some ideas for a new show. Yep.
Yucca: Thanks everybody.