This past Saturday, I went to Fingerlakes Pagan Pride Day. As I was feeling lazy and wanted to do other things, I didn’t arrive until a little before 2pm. Once there, I immediately found Wendy and determined which Quarter I’d call during the closing ritual. Since they left it up to me, I chose to call Air. After all, both my sun sign and rising sign are air signs, and that’s how many groups assign quarters anyway. Of course, I realized after the fact (and after the other Quarters had been assigned, so it was too late to change my mind) that this meant I’d be the first one to call a Quarter during the ritual. As a rule, I don’t mind going first, but I’d never participated in a ritual organized by Wendy’s coven before. In such a case, I’d normally choose a Quarter to allow me to observe someone else call their Quarter first just to work out some of the details of how a given coven does things through observation. Fortunately, I did get a chance to ask someone about those details (e.g. “Do you normall call Quarters facing the Quarter or facing the altar?”) beforehand.
Pride itself was rather enjoyable. I can’t comment on a lot of details, as I didn’t participate in a lot. None of the workshops planned really tripped my trigger, so I spent most of my time just socializing. After all, as I said in a previous post, I find such events most valuable for networking anyway. And it gave me a chance to catch up with a few people I haven’t seen in a couple months or so.
I will say that one thing I like about this particular Pagan Pride is that because of how new it is, it’s still relatively small. It tends to give it a much more intimate atmosphere, and you feel like you can meet and get to know just about everyone. That may change in a few years, as I noticed a considerable increase in turnout compared to last year. Hopefully, those in charge can find a way to maintain the same style of atmosphere as it grows each year.
One particular moment from the festival I’d like to point out occurred during the closing ritual. Just after Wendy and Kiree served cakes and wine (well, cookies and water), a young man who identified himself as Zach asked if he could say something. After he received permission (not to mention heavy encouragement), he commented that there had been a time when he was afraid to identify as Pagan and speak up about his beliefs. He went on to comment that coming to Pride that day gave him the chance to meet kind-hearted and like-minded people, which both comforted him and gave him courage. His comments were deeply heart-felt and moving, and I think it once again reminded everyone in attendance just why we participate in such events.